Will a Sony NEX F3 or 5N take pictures the same quality as an entry level DSLR?

Started Dec 23, 2012 | Questions thread
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KoroKoro New Member • Posts: 13
Will a Sony NEX F3 or 5N take pictures the same quality as an entry level DSLR?

Finally got the missus to agree to buy a new camera (hooray) and have about AU$750 to play with. Done lots of reading on this site and the net. Unfortunately, I live in rural Western Australia and the NEX cameras aren't in the shops to play with as is a small town.

I love the idea of a compact quality camera but the NEX but can't get one to play with so have to rely on other's expertise. Going to order them online.I want to buy a camera mainly for landscape and portrait stuff, with the odd baby baby photo thrown in eventually. My main priorities are good image quality (to justify the expense) and good low-light performance.  After that, being able to learn the art so I can do cool effects like Bokeh and nice macro shots would be a plus, but not the main need.

I have been tempted by Nikon D5100 with the 18-105 VR lens. I love the Sony A57 with the 18-135 lens but not so much the price here in Australia. That is what I was nearly ordering when I started looking up MILC gear.  Am tossing up between buying the real DLSR like the D5100 or Sony A37, or a CSC/MILC camera like a Sony NEX (F3 probably as the 5 & 6 are too pricey for me atm) or Olympus PEN E-PL5. I like the compact size, which will make carrying them around so much easier. However, I am worried that the image quality won't be as good as the Nikon 5100 or Sony A37/A57.

If anyone here would be able to let me know if the Sony NEX cameras are up to DSLR scratch in terms of image quality (for normal viewing on screen or printing up to 8x10")? And is their low-light capability any good? The wife/boss will kill me if I buy it and the low-light photos are bad. That is her one and only qualification on my choices.

If they are as good, any recommendations as to the NEX F3 vs PEN E-PL5 or Samsung NX20? I like Sony but would rather get the best bang for the buck for now.  I would be buying the twin lens kits so I have a smaller wide-angle one, and a zoom lens.

If, sadly, the DSLR is better in all but size, would you go for the cheapish, older D5100 18-105 kit box or the Sony A37 18-135 kit box?

Thank you to all who read and especially thank you to all those who reply.


 KoroKoro's gear list:KoroKoro's gear list
Ricoh GR Sony SLT-A57 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sony DT 55-200mm F4-5.6 SAM
Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Sony Alpha NEX-F3 Sony SLT-A37 Sony SLT-A57
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