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Sony announces Alpha NEX-5R Wi-Fi capable mirrorless camera with hybrid AF

By dpreview staff on Aug 29, 2012 at 15:00 GMT

Sony has announced the Alpha NEX-5R, the latest in its series of mid-level mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The 16MP 5R adds on-sensor phase detection elements to enable hybrid autofocus, and gains a control dial and dedicated function button over its predecessor, the 5N. The 5R also gains Wi-Fi capabilities and the ability to run proprietary in-camera apps to extend its capabilities.

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Press Release:

New Sony NEX-5R Camera Delivers Professional Imaging Power and Wi-Fi® Convenience in Lightweight, Stylish Package

SAN DIEGO, August 29, 2012 – Combining a stylish, lightweight design and the freedom of interchangeable lenses with large-sensor image quality, speedy AF and the introduction of Wi-Fi capability, the new Sony α NEX-5R compact system camera offers all the benefits of DSLR-style imaging in a more convenient, portable package with added connectivity.

The NEX-5R camera features a newly-developed 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor - identical in size to sensors found in traditional DSLR cameras - combined with a powerful BIONZ® processor to assure richly detailed still images and crisp Full HD videos in all types of lighting conditions. 

In a first for Sony’s line of interchangeable lens cameras, the new NEX-5R model features “Fast Hybrid AF” autofocus technology, combining phase-detection and contrast-detection methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus in any shooting situation.  It is also Sony’s first interchangeable lens camera with integrated Wi-Fi capabilities for easy image sharing, saving and viewing, and introduces the new concept of downloadable Camera Apps for adding creative, fun features that can be personalized to fit a photographer’s needs.

“With the NEX-5R camera, Sony brings the core strength of our consumer electronics business into play to fully support our digital imaging business.  This unique combination of technology and style results in a compelling new product that strikes the ultimate balance between size and performance.” said Mike Kahn, director of the alpha interchangeable lens camera business group at Sony Electronics. “With a host of exciting, innovative new features and the same outstanding image and HD video quality that our E-mount line has become known for, the NEX-5R is an ideal choice for step-up point-and-shoot users or more serious photo enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise on image quality and connectivity while traveling light.”

Fast Hybrid AF

The intuitive new “Fast Hybrid AF” autofocus technology utilizes 99 phase-detection AF points arrayed on the image sensor to detect a subject’s distance and quickly lock focus on it, and then utilizes contrast-detection AF to confirm extremely fine, precise details. In Speed Priority Continuous shooting mode, the camera will switch automatically to phase detection tracking AF and can track fast-moving action accurately in each frame up to 10 frames per second.

Wi-Fi Sharing and New Camera Apps

The added connectivity of the NEX-5R camera allows photos and videos to be transferred wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet running Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app, available on both Android™ and Apple iOS platforms. Additionally, content can be directly uploaded from the camera to Facebook® using a Wi-Fi connection and the new “Direct Upload” application, part of Sony’s new PlayMemories Camera Apps platform.   

This new concept of PlayMemories Camera Apps is the world’s first application download service in an interchangeable lens camera that allows consumers to install new functions on demand, tailoring their cameras to fit their personal shooting needs.  The service can be accessed over Wi-Fi or when the camera is connected directly to a PC via USB.

Available apps at launch, outside of “Direct Upload” as mentioned earlier, will include “Picture Effect+”; “Bracket Pro”; “Multi Frame NR”; “Photo Retouch”; and “Smart Remote Control.  A variety of other apps including “Time-Lapse” and “Cinematic Photo” are also planned for release. 

Shooters can also utilize the family of PlayMemories applications to transfer content directly to a networked PC, streamlining the image back-up process and avoiding the need to connect cables or transfer memory cards between devices. Additionally, they can transfer photos to any DLNA® compatible TV either through a wireless access point or any TV supporting Wi-Fi.

Added Flexibility and Functionality

Aesthetically, the new NEX-5R features a new fully programmable control dial and function button, a versatile combination for photographers accustomed to the flexibility and direct control of a DSLR camera.  It also has a switchable on-screen digital level gauge that helps keep horizons level with landscapes and architectural shots.

Additionally, the new α NEX-5R model features an intuitive touch-screen LCD with a Touch Shutter function for added convenience.  The clear, bright touchscreen can also flip upwards 180 degrees for easy arm’s length self-portraits.

Full HD (1920x1080@60p) movie shooting is enhanced with a new Auto Slow Shutter feature, adding extra detail to low-light clips. The camera detects dim interiors and night scenes, automatically switching to a slower shutter speed to brighten footage. 

New Sony α Accessories

On the α accessories front, the stylish new LCS-SL20/B soft carrying case will be compatible with the new Sony NEX-5R model as well as other E-mount camera bodies.  It features four internal dividers for easy storage of camera bodies and lenses, as well as a dedicated space for a tablet.  The new LCS-SL10/B soft carrying case offers two internal dividers and multiple storage pockets in a compact size.

Also designed for Sony’s E-mount line is the new LCS-EME/BL, a modern, innovative sling bag.  With space to accommodate an NEX and two additional lenses, the LCS-EME/BI is a perfect accessory for active photographers.   Additionally, a new Screen Protect Semi-Hard sheet (model PCK-LM13) will be available that will help protect both the camera and lens of the new NEX-5R camera.

Pricing and Availability

The NEX-5R compact system camera will be available this October in silver, black and white for about $750 with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens as well as body-only for about $650.   

The new camera and all compatible accessories will be available at Sony retail stores ( and other authorized dealers nationwide.

Please visit  for a full video preview of the new NEX-5R compact system camera and follow #SonyNEX on twitter for the latest α NEX camera news.

Sony Alpha NEX-5R specifications

MSRPWith 18-55mmm : $750/ £670/€749 ; Body Only: $650
Body type
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialMetal top/front plate, Polycarbonate
Max resolution4912 x 3264
Other resolutions4912 x 2760, 3568 x 2368, 3568 x 2000, 2448 x 1624, 2448 x 1376
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.4 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Standard
File format
  • RAW
  • JPEG
Image parameters
  • Contrast -3 to +3 steps
  • Saturation -3 to +3 steps
  • Sharpness -3 to +3 steps
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Selective single-point
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Live View
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points25
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3
Screen dots920,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTilt Up 180° Down 50° TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic (optional)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modes
  • iAuto
  • Program
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Macro
  • Sports Action
  • Sunset
  • Night Portrait
  • Night View
  • Hand-held Twilight
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Accessory Port)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in
Continuous drive10 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, 10sec (3 images))
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1440 x 1080 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Storage typesSD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Storage includedNone
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini Type C)
Wireless notesShoot and share via smartphone apps
Remote controlYes (Yes, by optional RMT-DSLR1)
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NPFW50 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)330
Weight (inc. batteries)276 g (0.61 lb / 9.74 oz)
Dimensions111 x 59 x 39 mm (4.37 x 2.32 x 1.54)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo

Additional images

I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 52
Francis Sawyer
By Francis Sawyer (Sep 2, 2012)

How do you write these "apps"? Where's the SDK?

And how do you write a phone app to take advantage of the Wi-Fi access?

And the fact that long-overdue and expected functions like time-lapse aren't built in should serve as a warning about Sony's forethought and design here.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Eric Naizer
By Eric Naizer (Sep 1, 2012)

Looking forward to digging into all these features, but I think Rooru has a point. A few more accessories would be nice. Overall, it looks like it's a winner.

Rooru S
By Rooru S (Aug 30, 2012)

They should release more accesories...i.e. a new flash allowing for bounce in vertical orientation AND a hot-shoe for other Sony flash units (or at least a control unit allowing Wireless control of flash units). Good to have nice upgrades in the recent bodies but good accesories is needed aswell (Don't forget about new lenses, although 3 are coming in Photokina).

By RAG64 (Aug 29, 2012)

"This new concept of PlayMemories Camera Apps is the world’s first application download service in an interchangeable lens camera that allows consumers to install new functions on demand, tailoring their cameras to fit their personal shooting needs. Available apps at launch, outside of “Direct Upload” as mentioned earlier, will include “Picture Effect+”; “Bracket Pro”; “Multi Frame NR”; “Photo Retouch”; and “Smart Remote Control. A variety of other apps including “Time-Lapse” and “Cinematic Photo” are also planned for release."

So let me see if I get this right: the purpose of a NEX apps store is to allow me to pay extra money for extended capabilities which would have otherwise been included for free by Sony with the camera upon their development, added to the software package or made available by 3rd party hacks...? Cool! :P

By Combatmedic870 (Aug 29, 2012)

They apps will be free soon after they start selling via people pulling them zipping them correctly and making them flashable.

By Guidenet (Aug 30, 2012)

That doesn't make them free. It makes them stolen. If theft is rampant then people won't bother to develop for it and other companies won't come out with apps. This idea would die early and that would be a shame.

If it just happened to Sony apps, it would give Sony the clear sign they'd need to become draconian about software theft, something they've done more than once in the past.

By micdair (Aug 30, 2012)

Got to agree, this stuff makes me worry. I'm afraid this will tempt the camera maker to cripple the camera down just to squeeze further money out of the customer. That would be extremely frustrating.

Also the approach of incomplete device may result in less thought-out, less comfortable handling. Nothing forces you to make a well-advised camera, you can throw out the app later if the customers will complain too much...

I don't want the camera to be turned into computer. Imho the photography is about taking pictures not tweaking the apps and tuning the OS.The camera should allow the user to focus on the subject with the least distractions possible...

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
By kkardster (Aug 30, 2012)

If they aren't providing the features with the cameras now, at least this gives us an option. They may try to squeeze more money out of us, but at least they're opening the camera up for developers. I've been waiting a long time for this to happen and hope it spurs other manufacturers to do the same. I'm sick of being stuck with the often paltry set of feaures provided. Let's hope these apps are highly configurable as well so we aren't stuck with single-purpose expenses we rarely use but rather can be leveraged.

Just one example is the self-timer on the camera - replace the standard 2 or 10 second delay with whatever you want or fits your need. Allow specifying the number of exposures, interval, etc. and you've got a highly customizable intervalometer.

In-camera stacking is another rarely-provided feature. These apps could not only provide it, but again possibly in a more customizable versin than the canned features normally provided in the firmware.

By pentaxination (Aug 29, 2012)

Sony has been really great in past few years with their cameras. Even is saying that I say that they still seem to come up short, as though they are not in tune with buyers and/or indifferent to consumer wants so as to not have one model in their line encroach on another. An evf comes to mind immediately. I am sure glad I didn't wait for this one to roll out.

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Aug 29, 2012)

Well, I am confused. On the one hand DP REVIEW had educated me in connection with a recent review of a Canon-brand camera that the Sony digital cameras do not have "hybrid autofocus." On the other hand, this is what DP REVIEW states here:

"Alpha NEX-5R Wi-Fi capable mirrorless camera with hybrid AF."

Well, which way is it? Hybrid -- or no hybrid?

By Revenant (Aug 29, 2012)

Well, the NEX-5R is the first Sony camera with on-sensor PDAF, and it was announced today. DPR usually don't talk about unannounced cameras even if they know about them.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Aug 29, 2012)

Revenant is exactly right. What I told you is that Sony and Panasonic did not offer cameras with hybrid AF (using a combination of CDAF and PDAF).

As of today, Sony does.

Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Aug 29, 2012)

Great. Could we have some lenses please?

By peevee1 (Aug 29, 2012)

The most significant here is not WiFi (old news) or "Apps" (just optional firmware features which should be standard) - it is tracking AF at 10fps on a mirrorless camera. If it really works, the kinds of 7D have a really big problem...

1 upvote
By TrojMacReady (Aug 29, 2012)

While it might work to some extend in good light, I doubt it will work in lower light, but I'd like to be wrong.

By tkbslc (Aug 29, 2012)

The kind of people who would use AF tracking at 10fps are going want something better than the slow 200mm variable zooms that Sony offers.

By noegd (Aug 29, 2012)

Will there be an SDK for third party apps development? Could be fun...

By Sdaniella (Aug 29, 2012)

Finally a flexible screen that has Face-FORWARD utility topside and works while on a tripod... (rather than bottom side which doesn't work with a tripod)

now all they need to do is offer a flexible vari-angle swivel screen, VASS, like Canon PowerShots... and Sony CyberShot DSC-R1

given the NEX is a very small-form factor... such a VASS would make more sense on larger alpha-SLT models instead (which all currently STILL lack full flexibility, just up/down tilt only or flexible, but stuck 'bottom-side' (SLT-A65)).

however, given NEX are close to most digicams in size... a VASS isn't that unreasonalbe (PowerShot G series... Samsung TL500 (EX1) to mention a couple)

By TrojMacReady (Aug 29, 2012)

Huh, the very first NEX 3 and NEX 5 already had a "flexible screen that has Face-FORWARD utility topside and works while on a tripod...".

By TrojMacReady (Aug 29, 2012)

Oh and one more thing, the A77 SLT LCD is *NOT* stuck at the bottom.

By SamTruax (Aug 29, 2012)

@ TrojMacReady
Please show me a NEX 3 that has an LCD with face-forward utility.
sdyue is wrong in stating that this camera is the first to have it but the NEX 3, 5, C3, 5N definitely don't have it. I believe the first NEX with the flip up LCD was the F3.

By TrojMacReady (Aug 29, 2012)

I guess I didn't understand what she meant with face forward, but you're right, even in that case the F3 already has it.

By Jabba23 (Aug 29, 2012)

Implementing the screen the way you are saying isn't any better than what they have now. The way you are proposing doesn't improve on the top down shooting experience and I think detracts from it and I don't think it helps with the portrait node all that much. I think it makes holding the camera more awkward. The way they have it is good, some more engineering trickery is needed to make it truly usable in portrait mode.

By tkbslc (Aug 29, 2012)

What, no lenses?

By jsis (Aug 31, 2012)

you mean like the Nikon 1 series?

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
By dfstarman (Aug 29, 2012)

Awesome specs apps are exciting, but I heard it will only work with special lenses and there only 3 at first

By TrojMacReady (Aug 29, 2012)

AF will work with all E mount AF lenses (8 or 9 currently from Sony, 2 from Sigma, 3 more announced by Sony in 2 weeks) and A mount lenses through the SLT adapter. PDAF with E mount will work with 4 lenses for now, more after firmware updates, according to Imaging Resource.

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Aug 29, 2012)

Better option would be to get a Sony Alpha-mount camera (SLT) instead, with those there are a whole gamut of lenses available from many optics mfrs.

By HowaboutRAW (Aug 29, 2012)

Now how about a 75mm F2 lens, and say an 18mm F2.4 lens?

Both made with good Minolta glass and coatings.

A 30mm, non Zeiss, would be good too. Again not with the crappy Sony glass.

Except for the buffer problems the Samsung NX210 and NX20 outshine this good Sony camera body.

By lefkop (Aug 29, 2012)

more gagets on board not sure I am so into that. Hope they fix the overheating issue on this model when using video. Lets hope for a better Jpeg engine too.

1 upvote
By mosc (Aug 29, 2012)

Does this mean reasonable AF with alpha lenses through the cheaper adapter? I don't think it's possible but that would seem to be the main reason for this. Canon seems to be having mixed results with their attempt. Nikon's mirrorless is so much smaller I don't know if it's even a comparable technology.

By HowaboutRAW (Aug 29, 2012)

The Nikon 1 serious has phase detect AF on the sensor, like this new Sony Nex 5.

Your first question is a good one.

By jeerzz (Aug 29, 2012)

99 phase-detection points!!!

are those all cross-type?

By peevee1 (Aug 29, 2012)

Probably actual POINTS. ;)

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Aug 29, 2012)

Until Chipworks strips the sensor down, we won't know. Sony represents them as crosses but I wouldn't take that to guarantee that they're cross-type (vertical and horizontal sensitivity).

By Guidenet (Aug 30, 2012)

I'm not sure why one would really care.

By TrojMacReady (Aug 30, 2012)

Apparently you cared enough to reply.

By shademaster (Aug 29, 2012)

No pancake zoom announcement? Boo-hiss.

By HowaboutRAW (Aug 29, 2012)

Howabout a 16mm pancake, and skip more zooms?

By TrojMacReady (Aug 29, 2012)

Give it 2 weeks.. ;)

By Guidenet (Aug 30, 2012)

In my opinion, Sony really needs to up the lens offerings as to quantity and quality for their E mount. At this time, the selection really is quite pitiful. You have a line of interchangeable lens cameras with not a lot of selection where one can match the glass to the job.

Secondly, the selection that does exist isn't really bad, but they don't look that good either. Most look like kit type zooms with fancier silver shells. Where's the quality glass to choose from?d

By TrojMacReady (Aug 30, 2012)

You missed the:
19mm F1.8
24mm F2.8
30mm F2.8
50mm F1.8
(asside from the zooms, macro lens, 16mm pancake and wideangle plus fisheye converters)

And in two weeks, a pancake zoom, 10-18mm wide angle zoom and 35mm F1.8 will be announced.

By Boerseuntjie (Aug 29, 2012)

I was watching the UK IFA 2012 when this was announced, but I was more excited by the 4K 84" Bravia TV

1 upvote
By MikeNeufeld30 (Aug 29, 2012)

Nice move on Sony's behalf. Nice integration of Wi-Fi and useable app software. If it is a step up from the 5n, this will be a fantastic upgrade. Now all we need is some more lenses in front of these great bodies.

By mpgxsvcd (Aug 29, 2012)

"Full HD (1920x1080@60p) movie shooting is enhanced with a new Auto Slow Shutter feature, adding extra detail to low-light clips. The camera detects dim interiors and night scenes, automatically switching to a slower shutter speed to brighten footage. "

This is great because it essentially means variable frame rate video. Panasonic has been doing it in their cameras for years.

1 upvote
By Jogger (Aug 29, 2012)

thats not what it means at all. it means that it chooses a slower shutter speed.

and what panasonic camera exactly allows variable framerate video?? if they are using avchd, they are fixed at 60/30/24

By Lucas_ (Aug 29, 2012)

Pany's IQ sucks in view of what Sony gives, no matter whatever video features it has.

By mpgxsvcd (Aug 29, 2012)

I like the idea of the apps. This will quickly expand the capabilities of cameras. I will probably get the GH3 instead just because I have so much m4/3s glass. If I didn't have any lenses yet then this camera would interest me greatly.

By Combatmedic870 (Aug 29, 2012)


This camera looks awesome! I will most likely buy it if they come out with 35mm.

By zstan (Aug 29, 2012)

very very interesting! finally apps are coming to cameras!

By Combatmedic870 (Aug 29, 2012)

sad.....i was first!

1 upvote
By kkardster (Aug 31, 2012)

Why sad? You don't have to buy apps and I'm sure the cameras will continue to provide minimal feature sets as they do now.

But this could provide some real useful or specialized features that wouldn't be possible from standard firmware builds. Say you are into macro - an app could provide automatic focus stacking using your desired start/end/interval, etc.

Total comments: 52