THE ALL-ROUND DER

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - DIGITIAL LIFE -

Sony’s NEX range of com­pact mir­ror­less cam­eras have been ac­knowl­edged as among the best in this seg­ment. So when we got our hands on the new NEX 5R it had a lot of ex­pec­ta­tions to live up to. How­ever, af­ter a week of use we were con­vinced that if any­one has de­cided to buy a com­pact sys­tem cam­era we wouldn’t have any qualms on rec­om­mend­ing this one.

To start with, the 5R is a great piece of hard­ware. It is easy to hold and does not feel un­bal­anced, even with a 55200mm lens at­tached to it. Then it comes with a tiltable LCD screen, which, while let­ting you shoot at dif­fer­ent an­gles, also lets you com­pose frames un­der the harsh In­dian sun. Yes, there is a touch­screen, which though a bit laggy felt much bet­ter than the oth­ers be­cause it is not lim­ited to cer­tain parts of the screen. Then there is a very ro­bust lens ecosys­tem which is com­pa­ra­ble with the Lumix range.

The body looks and feels a lot like a cy­ber­shot, ex­cept for the e-mount which pro­trudes out. There is no flash here,

only a port where you can yoke the at­tach­ment. There are two di­als – one for the thumb and the other for the trig­ger fin­ger – that take care of most of the con­trols. Un­like oth­ers cam­eras of the kind, you can ad­just most of the specs with th­ese two and don’t need to press the Fn but­tons for this.

There is no Mode dial, but the same is avail­able on the screen all the time and can be ad­justed with ei­ther of the di­als, adding to your ease-of-use.

We tested the cam­era with the 16-50mm lens that comes in the kit and a 55-210mm zoom lens. The aut­o­fo­cus worked won­der­fully well on both oc­ca­sions. Plus, you can use the touch­screen to pin­point the area that you want to fo­cus. Since there in no viewfinder on this cam­era, you will need to use this quite of­ten.

What im­pressed us most was the pic­ture qual­ity of this 16MM APS-C sen­sor. We shot a pi­geon us­ing the far end of the zoom lens and re­sults al­most had us spell bound. The de­tails in the part that we blew up would have put any pro-qual­ity DSLR to shame. Sim­i­larly, we doubt if there are any com­pact cam­eras that will give you a clearer pic­ture of the craters of the moon. This pic­ture qual­ity is also due to the prow­ess of the op­ti­cal steady shot range of lenses.

This sen­sor-lens com­bi­na­tions also makes this a great video de­vice. We doubt if there are other com­pact cam­eras that let you change shut­ter speed or aper­ture so eas­ily even as you are record­ing a Ful­lHD video. We did this and much more, all the while shoot­ing with the 210mm lens. Plus, there is Wi-Fi con­nec­tiv­ity though it is not very easy to con­fig­ure.

The NEX 5R is one cam­era that will leave you sat­is­fied ev­ery time you pick it up and that is why we think this is the best com­pact mir­ror­less cam­era we have tested this year. It is also hard to over­look the fact that de­spite its ca­pa­bil­i­ties, this is a very af­ford­able cam­era.

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