Trying out a new camera is always fun for me, especially when it is one of the more popular ones. This week I have the good fortune of testing out the Sony NEX-5N. I am delighted with the image quality and the fast and sharp focusing. When set in iAuto mode, taking a sharp and well-exposed pictures is, well, just a snap.
So what sets this camera apart from the average mid-range shooter? The controls are very well laid out. It has a touchscreen LCD (which I don't care much about). However, as far as I know, all the items on the screen can alternatively be selected by the use of the two context buttons and the control wheel (think of a Nokia phone's four-way controller and two selection buttons, held sideways). I wish it had physical buttons for ISO and metering, though, for faster operation.
I liked the panorama mode (see below). It does an excellent job of stitching up the shots for you in an effortless way. I like the ability to shoot at very high ISO without visible loss of quality (see picture of cables below, taken at ISO 12800 at 1/80 sec. I think the image stabilization works very well, as almost every shot I took showed no sign of camera shake. The colours are lovely and accurate, thanks to good auto white balance.
There are many camera effects to play with, although I think not many serious photographers will make use of them very often.
Overall, I find this a highly capable camera. The lack of sufficient physical buttons will slow down your work - not so good if you are shooting sports or wedding. It is great for casual shooting and for taking with you on a vacation. There are enough capabilities to match a regular DSLR, if you can afford to call up the menus.