THE ALL-ROUND DER
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.