Field Review: Sony NEX 5 (Day 3)

I stated that the Sony NEX 5 would be a great camera for vacationing in my previous posting. And so, I headed into the more touristy parts of NYC to do touristy things. The Sony NEX 5 went into the Ripley’s Museum in Times Square and then to Central Park. How did it do? Pretty darn well, actually.

Low Light in the Ripley’s Museum

If you’ve ever been to the Ripley’s Museum in NYC, you’ll know that the lighting conditions there are not ideal at all. In fact, they’re actually quite horrid. Because of the way that the autofocusing system works on the camera, I had to flip it into manual focus in order to get what I wanted in focus. In the Multi-point selection mode, the camera doesn’t seem to ever want to focus on the center point but instead always around it. Using the selection point though became tedious and slow at times and even inaccurate in some situations.

These photos are really the only ones that I can display. The reason for this is because in post-production, I forgot that I was still shooting in RAW and these were really the only ones I liked. Editor’s note: at the time of writing this post, Lightroom 3.2 was not out. 3.2 supports the RAW files, but it is being written in an order to show what I went through. Everyone else I shoot for always loves anything and everything that comes out of a camera that I’m shooting with. Me, not so much. As a reminder, at the time of writing this posting, I was not able to edit my photos in RAW in Lightroom and the Sony program was being problematic on my Macbook.

Overall though, the camera and 16mm F2.8 lens that can come bundleddid a pretty good job. What really came in handy was the flip-out LCD screen. This steadied my shooting and allowed me to hold the camera in closer to my body.

For the photo above, it even focused on the statue’s face. At least we know the face detection is spot on then.

For the opening photo of this piece, it was extremely hard to get the camera to autofocus on the amber piece. I needed to actually flip the camera into manual mode to do so. When the results were finally achieved, they delivered some beautiful photos.

Great Light in Central Park

If you ever wanted to test a camera out, I’d recommend heading over to Central Park. Anything a photographer could ask for is there: landscapes, sports, musicians, events, wildlife and the like. And so it was just a natural choice to test the NEX 5 out there.

This is where I really tried to test out the autofocus. First off, trying to photograph ducks with a wide lens and getting very close to them can prove disastrous. The ducks just kept running away from me. This wasn’t pleasant. During this time though, the camera was always a pleasure to hold.

For some odd reason, the camera almost never wants to focus on whatever is in the middle focusing point with the multi-selection focusing mode. Because of this, you’ll be switching modes often. The results of this will be one terribly annoyed user because of having to navigate through menu after menu and menu again (quite literally) to get to the autofocus settings. Sony could at least have put a programmable button of some sort on the camera.

The camera and lens do seem to like snakes a bit though. As it delivers some sharp results even if the focus is a bit off on this one.

It’s better in this one, though the exposure is off on this one. That’s the other thing: if shooting in manual mode, adjusting the shutter speed and aperture can take a bit longer than on your DSLR. Don’t even get me started on ISO.

But the camera will give you great colors if even a bit too saturated for my tastes.

And the flip-out screen allows users to get lower in and closer to their subject than a DSLR might without making yourself get in very close.

Plus the camera isn’t alarming to people that see it, as they think it is just a standard point and shoot. So it will allow you to capture a shot of a boy holding a Bicycle sign upside down (though we can’t see it very well).

And it will also aid you in capturing and documenting the pain in the streets because of this.

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Chris Gampat

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