Sony NEX-3 / NEX-5 Review
The NEX-5 and 3 might well win an award for the lowest number of external controls of any camera. The scarcity of buttons seen on the mock-ups shown at the PMA 2010 exhibition were interpreted by many people to mean the cameras would have a touch screen, but this isn't the case.
In fact, Sony has taken an unconventional approach, and three of the six buttons on the body do not have a fixed function. Instead their functions are context-sensitive - changing in relation to which mode you're in and what you've just done. It's an interesting idea and one that particularly suits the NEX cameras' unintimidating, easy-to-use philosophy.
The effect is initially impressive, particularly in the camera's automated modes. Sony has added the ability to manually configure the actions of the central and lower buttons when shooting in the manually controlled PASM modes, allowing the assignment of up to four key shooting parameters. This, along with the features already offered on the four-way controller, gives a high degree of rapid access to key functions, despite the small button-count.
The Alpha NEX-5 features an all-new, 100% electronic E-mount. Sony has managed to reduce the flange-back distance (the distance from the front of the mount back to the sensor), to an incredible 18mm - 2mm shorter even than the Micro Four Thirds system. This allows the camera to be extremely narrow.
Cleverly, the lens mounts of both the NEX-3 and NEX-5 extend a little way forward from the bodies, making the already thin cameras seem slightly thinner than they are, but even ignoring this optical illusion, it is clear from this diagram that Sony has made impressive size reductions with the NEX-3 and 5 compared to a conventional Alpha DSLR.
To facilitate the shorter flange back distance that is necessary to keep the NEX-3 and NEX-5 as compact as possible, Sony has designed a new lens mount, which it is calling the E mount. Apart from the mechanical locking pin on the bayonet, the E-mount is 100% electronic, and represents a complete break from the semi-mechanical coupling inherited from the old Konica-Minolta Dynax mount used by Sony in its Alpha DSLRs. Losing the physical AF motor and aperture actuator has allowed Sony to reduce the size of both the NEX bodies and their lenses.
Interestingly, one of the consequences of Sony's drive to make the NEX-3 and NEX-5 as small as possible has been to remove the space required for a sensor-based image stabilization system. The NEX-3 and 5 are the first Sony Alpha cameras, in fact, not to feature a variant of Sony's Super SteadyShot stabilization system. Instead stabilization is supplied by Optical SteadyShot units inside some E-mount lenses, including the 18-55mm kit lens, and the forthcoming 18-200mm superzoom.
The NEXs don't feature a built-in flash, but do come supplied with a tiny external unit, which draws its power from the camera's main battery - bolt-in, if you like. The HVL-F7S screws into the camera and plugs into the accessory socket above the lens. Its Guide Number of 7m (at ISO 100) puts it on a par with the built-in units on cameras such as the E-PL1 and GF1, significantly lower than that of the Samsung NX10 and most DSLRs, and a world away from the sort of power you usually expect from an external flash.
It is also worth remembering that with the flash attached, the accessory socket is taken up, and cannot be used for anything else, like (for example) the optical viewfinder for the 16mm pancake, or an external microphone. The NEX cameras are also the only interchangeable lens cameras we can think of that don't offer a hotshoe, so there are currently no options for more powerful flashguns or flash triggers.
|Sony NEX-3K Digital Camera 14.2MP w/18-55mm F3.5-5.6...|
|With Wide Angle Lens|
Sony's new 400mm F2.8 G Master rounds out the company's commitment to provide a complete range of pro-level lenses to photographers who use the Alpha system. In this week's episode of DPReview TV, Chris and Jordan take this behemoth for a spin and share their first impressions of Sony's exciting new telephoto.
Dials and sliders and buttons, oh my! This modular set of editing controls hopes to improve your photo editing workflow – for a price.
The UK's recent heatwave has provided a glimpse into Britain and Ireland's history, revealing the outlines of ancient structures and buried features in the grounds of historical buildings.
The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS), was founded in 2007, making it the longest running iPhone photo competition in the world. Now in its 11th year, the winners of the IPPAWARDS have just been announced.
Our technical evaluation of the Panasonic GX9 has included a trip to the studio, where we put its 20MP Four Thirds sensor in front of our standard test scene.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI earned high marks in our recent review, and we've revisited our collection of buying guides to reflect our final conclusions. Click through for links to our updated guides covering the best pocketable and long zoom compacts as well as the best choices for travel, which has a new winner (hint, hint).
Fujifilm has announced the XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR telephoto lens along with a matching 1.4x teleconverter. This weather-sealed lens - 'matte silver' in color with a bold green hood - has a total of 19 elements, a nine-blade aperture and five stops of shake reduction according to Fujifilm. The lens and teleconverter kit will be available in late October for $6000.
Fujifilm has updated its X-mount lens roadmap with three intriguing new models, which include 33mm F1.0 and 16mm F2.8 primes and a 16-80 F4 zoom.
Fujifilm's widest X-series zoom lens to-date, the XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR, will hit the market in late November for $2000. The weather-sealed lens features ED, Super ED and aspherical elements along with a Nano GI coating.
We've seen different flavors of 360° cameras over the past couple of years, but the Vuze XR may be the first one that's designed to shoot both 360° spherical and 180° stereoscopic video in a single unit.
Huawei has launched the world's first photography contest with both AI and human judges. The contest began on July 12 and will run for 8 weeks. During this time, photographers can submit their images via a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Fujifilm has announced the XF10, a premium compact camera with a fast 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens and 24MP APS-C sensor. This replacement for the X70 will ship in August for $500.
It won't come as a surprise to anyone that there are some unpleasant, predatory men within the photography industry. However, a long-form, extensively researched special report in the Columbia Journalism Review about sexual harassment is still a depressing, eye-opening read.
Is this the end? Nikon's UK and Japanese websites now list some of its KeyMission action cameras as discontinued.
Leica Camera AG is now an investor in Light, the makers of the innovative L16 camera. According to the company, the funding will allow Light to 'expand the reach of its imaging platform beyond consumer photography'
YouTuber ZY Productions has a video wherein he provides a succinct summary of how phase detection autofocus systems work, their benefits and their shortcomings.
The X-U is Leica's first ruggedized compact camera and is still the only waterproof camera on the market with a large APS-C sensor. That sensor sits behind a 35mm-equivalent, F1.7 lens, and we've taken it to the mountains and back to see just what it's capable of.
Gitzo and Sony have teamed up to launch a new tripod and L-bracket designed specifically for Sony α-series cameras.
There have now been seven variants of the Sony RX100 series, and at least six of them are still current models. Confused? Here's an updated look at their differences, and our recommendations among them now that we've tested the Mark VI.
The Kodak-branded 'Kashminer' Bitcoin mining scheme announced at CES has apparently collapsed, with Eastman Kodak distancing itself from the company behind it.
The software uses computational imaging techniques to boost detail and dynamic range in your images, and reduce noise levels.
As part of a promotional giveaway, Fujifilm Korea has released kimchi-flavored instant noodles wrapped in branding inspired by Fujifilm Provia 100 color reversal film.
The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH is a fast, high-quality and decidedly heavyweight short telephoto prime lens, designed for use with Leica's digital M-series rangefinders. We've been grappling with it for a little while - take a look at our sample images.
70-200mm F4 zoom lenses may not get as much attention as their faster F2.8 siblings, but for many photographers these lenses hit the perfect sweet spot of price, performance, and weight. This week, we shoot the new Tamron 70-210mm F4 alongside the equivalent Canon and Nikon models to see how they stack up.
Blackmagic recently worked with Apple to develop Blackmagic eGPU, an external GPU that brings "desktop-class graphics performance" to the new MacBook Pro laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lightroom alternative Luminar has received numerous updates across both its Mac and Windows versions, primarily improvements to existing features, as well as support for additional cameras from Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Pentax.
Sony has quietly updated its RX100 V, bringing a couple of the goodies from the RX100 VI travel zoom. The updated RX100 VA gains a new processor and various firmware tweaks but misses out on the VI's other hardware improvements.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro series of notebooks with 15in and 13in models that are claimed to be better for intense image and video editing. The company says the new models are the most advanced ever, and that they feature 8th generation Intel Core processors for faster performance.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Adobe will announce a full-fledged Photoshop version for the iPad at its annual conference in October.
The last day to place an order for Apple photo prints and related products is September 30th.