Steve.                                                                        

Here are a few observations and comments on my first 7 days with the Sony NEX-5.

It is a good solid camera with easily assessable controls and menu items.  Reading through the instruction manual is easy and helps considerably with understanding the many and various functions on the NEX-5.

It will take some practice to make adjustments on the fly when facing various shooting possibilities.

The 16 mm lens makes the camera a decent “pocket fit” and that is a plus for me when just moving around town or at a restaurant. The lens is good and seems to give clear pictures when I set my priorities correctly. The “zoom” feature with the 16 mm lens is a surprise and does provide adequate pictures in a pinch.

The video camera feature is good but the on/off button is a bit difficult to use when holding the camera in a firm non-shake position. The picture quality is fine in the AVCHD shooting mode.

I re-read your column dated July 31, 2010 with the review of the NEX-5 during the trip to Pattaya with your son and it has provided some good information. The use of the 16 mm lens on this trip was very helpful in how it performs in that environment,

The HDR feature on the camera does make a difference on most night scenes and really enhances the picture quality by combing three exposures into one shot. I have not tried the DRO option yet to compare it with the HDR feature. Question is why not use HDR on all night and day pictures for best results when just shooting scenery.

The one area where I am still not getting good results is with outdoor scenes that contain a lot of green plants, bushes, lawns and trees. The greens are not that vibrant and generally not in good focus. I am using the Program Auto and Intelligent Auto shoot modes most of the time and perhaps I need to experiment more. The “depth of field” in some shots has been clear in the foreground but blurry in the background or visa-versa. People pictures taken outdoors are good and clear but the backgrounds are blurry. The defocus – clear feature is still a bit confusing and a challenge. I am working on correcting this by reading the manual and taking lots of pictures.

The use of the 3-inch variable-screen that moves up 80 degrees and down 45 is really a good feature on this camera for taking waist level pictures of interesting subjects.

I guess all the years with point and shoot cameras has made me a bit lazy considering my last SLR was a Nikon Nikkormat 35 mm that I used underwater.

Rickster

 

Hi Rick –

 

More great feedback!  Thank you.  Others have been asking if others have reported positively on this, and now I can post something from a ‘non-pro’ which seems so important to everyone.

 

The greens..  What firmware do you have installed?  I already told you a new one is coming out this week?  One before it took care of some other issues.   And if a certain color isn’t looking right, then consider adjusting the white balance.  Make sure it’s either on auto white balance, and if that isn’t working for you then try a warmer setting.  If you’re shooting raw you can just adjust later. There have been people reporting “muddy greens” on the first samples, but the first firmware revision took care of most of that.

 

You do know the ‘zoom’ feature is nothing more than a digital zoom which you can do a better job of by simply cropping the image later?

 

I agree with you about the HDR, but hope that in a future firmware revision they allow HDR and the sweep panos in raw and not limit them to jpegs like they do now.

 

About your question on HDR.  HDR requires you hold very still and not move the camera between shots, and that nothing in the frame moves between shots including clouds, cars, people, waves in the ocean, or any dynamic part of the frame.  This isn’t always possible.  Then there’s the issue of taking more time to make the capture so you lose frame rate speed which might be important with some shoots, and of course being limited to jpegs isn’t much fun and strips away a great reason to shoot this camera with its nice big sensor in the first place.  Plus, while HDR can be done in camera and this is a great feature when in tourist mode, you’ll get much better HDR’s by simply bracketing your shots and performing HDR later during post-processing.

 

The people being clear and the background defocused is a huge benefit of a larger sensor.  You should notice as your focal length increases, your aperture increases (gets bigger, but the number gets smaller ie. F2.8 vs. F11), and your focal distance decreases, then you’ll get more of a defocused background.  If you want more depth of field, simply reverse the above.  Reading the manual is a good start, but most manuals will leave the reader at least a bit confused.  Take a look at some of my DOF articles here , here ,  and here.  Oh, and here too.. ;o)

 

I agree the articulating LCD is a great feature and lets you get in position for perspectives you wouldn’t get without it, or without laying in the street.  A great way to get more interesting photos!

 

I suspect you’ll get a lot more out of the camera as you learn it’s functions and ask questions.  Don’t forget to send in some examples to share with us.

 

Take care

 

Steve