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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Bye Bye Number 5, Hello 5N

I sold my NEX-5 so that I can upgrade to the new 5N, I was considering the 7 strongly but the increase in resolution seems to be negated by higher noise levels and the sensor doesn't have offset microlenses like the 5N, I have no idea why they have omitted this feature on the more expensive camera by they have and as a result the camera is less suitable for using many manual lenses.

The touch screen on the 5N is also more useful than I realised, you can use it to pull focus during video recording and it actually does a pretty smooth job of it, certainly good enough for the type of videos I would be interested in making. Talking of videos there's the clicking issue some 5N owners have experienced but as Sony has offered a free fix this doesn't bother me at all because there is a Sony service centre in my town so I can even drop it in to be modified if I get one that doesn't have a factory applied mod!

At first I thought the benefits of upgrading to a 5N were almost non existent but there's more than I realised such as:

  1. The sensor is only slightly higher resolution but has significantly better noise performance and also somewhat better dynamic range. It is considered by some to be the best all round APS-C sensor made so far.
  2. The burst rate has increased from an already impressive 7FPS to 10FPS
  3. You can record 1080P video at 60FPS meaning you can convert it to 24FPS and get awesome slow motion video!
  4. The screen is a touch screen and helps to overcome the lack of external controls and also allows new features such as touch activated automatic focus pulling.
  5. The video mode uses a much better codec and is sharper with less compression artifacts.
  6. The video mode now offers full 1080p instead of 1080i
  7. The video mode can now be controlled manually.
  8. The 5N has a higher ISO limit at 25,600
  9. The battery life is supposedly improved significantly which is good news as this is a major issue with the NEX-5
  10. Shutter lag is reduced significantly thanks to an electronic first curtain.
  11. You can use the optional EVF which is the same as the one found in the NEX-7 and is probably the best EVF made so far.
  12. The ISO range begins at 100 vs 200 so you can use faster lenses in daylight without bumping into the shutter speed limit as easily.
  13. The sunset image profile gives the impression of 10bit colour gradation solving one of the biggest issues with video enabled still cameras.



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