Companion Camera under 500$, is the NEX 5N the answer

Started Oct 29, 2012 | Questions thread
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tsk1979 Senior Member • Posts: 1,160
Companion Camera under 500$, is the NEX 5N the answer

My primary camera is the D7000. I use it for all kinds of photography. Sometimes I shoot fisheye, sometimes I shoot telephoto, but most of the time I use 16-85 lens.

Infact, I am mostly using the 16-85 lens as its not often possible to keep changing lenses.

So I have to make a choice while on travel. Not take those 10% telephoto shots because it would cause me to miss out of the landscape opportunities.

Or not use the  fisheye because changing lens is a hassle.

So go get out of this dilemma I got a FZ-35 few years back. Stick the telephoto on the D7000 and use the FZ-35 for landscapes.

But there was a problem. The dynamic range and image quality of a small sensor camera is never good.

At that time, for cheap you could buy a small sensor camera. Many times when I cannot carry weight I use this FZ-35, but IQ is not upto the mark.

The recent churn the the mirrorless world gave me an idea. Why not buy a mirrorless.


1. I would have a video camera - D7000 AF during video is horrible. I am assuming most mirrorless cams do great video AF

2. I can use the kit lens on my mirrorless camera when I put a "specialist lens". This way I can still take landscape shots with good quality

So then came the options

1. Panasonic GX1

460$ with 14-42 lens (28-84 equivalent)

Decent image quality

Excellent video capabilities, with great Autofocus during video. This is a must for me

Small size


1. Smaller sensor - Low light capability is not so good

2. Dynamic range not so good - Landscape shots I do in RAW, and often I need shadow highlight recovery.

2. Sony NEX 5N

490$ with 18-55 kit

Same sensor as my D7000(16.1 MP). Excellent dynamic range

Medium size - In future with new lenses(16-50?) I can have a smaller size too!

Cheap telephoto (55-210 available), can use at places where I need ligth cam


1. I am unable to find out if video AF is fast enough?
2. No EVF. I am not used to shooting with the screen

3. No cable release available. Though there is a wireless remote

4. I am not sure if it comes with wall charger. Though I am told that is a problem with entry level NEX-c3 type of cams.

So these two options have me stumped

I also considered the Nikon 1 system, but sensor is too small, and IQ is just okay

What do you guys suggest? Can the NEX 5N function as a proper video camera? Is the Af good enough?

I have no doubt about image quality though, its the best. It also supports bulb mode(yay)

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Nikon D7000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Sony Alpha NEX-5N Sony Alpha NEX-C3
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