Field Review: Sony NEX 5 (Day 5)

The Sony NEX 5has an ISO range from 100-12,800. Most photos in the previous postings have been shot at ISO 1600 and below and so the higher ISOs had to be tested. How did the new NEX 5 sensor perform? As a note, this posting has been written after the release of Lightroom 3.2 and so everything was shot in RAW.


First off, note that no noise processing was done to these photos and that they were just sized down for the web. All shots were at ISO 12,800 and 6400.

Now, the camera’s sensor seems very standard. By that, I mean that it can handle high ISOs very well, but still exhibit both chroma and luminance noise. The former is worse, and that’s the really bad type of noise.

To be honest though, both the Canon 7Dand Nikon D300sexhibit better noise performance. Granted they are DSLRs, but they have approximately the same sized sensors (the Canon’s is slightly smaller actually). Nikon’s also has less megapixels and is optimized for high ISO shooting.

In some of the darker regions, viewers will see lots of chroma noise. For most cameras, this is standard. Most users will not be pleased with the noise though as it is clearly visible even on the back LCD and the noise doesn’t even look artistic of filmlike.

To be fair, after some testing in Lightroom 3.2, the noise canceling can easily be applied. Further, these are some of the most versatile and sensitive RAW files I’ve ever played with in terms of color applications, details that can pulled out, etc. Although at the time of writing this, the 16mm F2.8 lens doesn’t seem to be the sharpest.

Take a look in the gallery below for more. Let us know your thoughts: am I being too picky?


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Chris Gampat

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