Field Review: Sony NEX 5 (Day 2)

At the time of writing this posting, despite it performing very admirably, there have been technical problems with the Sony NEX 5. Because of said problems, this posting will talk about the sweep panorama feature and the image quality delivered from the camera using this feature. Once again, the RAW files cannot be processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3and the provided program did not work on my Macbook laptop at the time of writing this piece. Editor’s note: once again making a note that Lightroom 3.2 can process the files and that this review is being written as it happened in chronological order for accuracy. On my PC, the program works, but it is quite cumbersome and slow to use. In a couple of days, all images recorded from the camera will be shot in JPEG unless otherwise stated.

Sony’s Sweep Panorama Feature in the NEX 5

The sweep panorama feature is perhaps the best implementation of a panorama feature I’ve ever seen in a camera with the older version in HP’s cameras being a close second. What it does is takes pictures from left to right and “stitches” them together into a single very wide photo.

The Sony on-screen menu guide you in the process of making the photos. The camera optimizes the aperture, shutter speed and ISO levels when doing this. Results are always in JPEG format. As you can see in the opening photo for this posting, this is even regardless of low-light situations.

This feature is perhaps the most fun to use option that the camera offers users.

In Practice

In practice, swinging your camera around from right to left to take the photos is actually pretty cool and very fun to do as stated earlier. You look like a kid with a new toy and the camera is obnoxiously loud when doing this, but it is a great feature nonetheless.

It isn’t without its flaws though. Take a look at the above photo. At first glance, it seems fine. Then take a look at the right side—there is a big problem. As you can see, the area showing Dennis’s hand and the Nerf gun on steroids is repeated. This isn’t good or accurate to what we see in real life at all.

A similar problem happened with exposure and stitching as seen on the right-hand side of this photo. Perhaps there is a slight problem with that area.

All photos were taken with the 16mm F2.8 Sony lens. It comes bundled with the NEX-5 along with a little flash that can be mounted on camera.

It isn’t always a problem though as seen in this photo and the opening one. Sony’s on-screen menu does actually tell you if you are going too slow or too fast. However, all results here are shown with the camera going at the recommended speed according to the camera.

This feature can be very useful if you’re vacationing and want to capture large landscapes or taking a big family photo. Otherwise, it’s just plain fun.

Editor’s Note: The raw files now are working with the provided Sony software on my Macbook. Day 4 will talk about this and show off the photos.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.