[REVIEW—SONY NEX-5r compact system camera

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Price: $1000 with 16–50mm lens

Nicely refined

THE LOW-DOWN: This 16 megapixel camera compact system camera is the latest development of Sony’s NEX range. The overall design has been refined to improve the aesthetic balance of body and lens. When the lens is retracted it no longer over-powers the body. The NEX bodies have always been petite and this one follows in the tradition, while packing in all the controls expected on a DSLR. The excellent tilting, high resolution 75mm LCD incorporates some touch functions. WiFi sharing with smartphones and computers is built in. The camera comes with an external flash unit in a case designed to attach to the camera strap.

LIKE: The image quality is excellent, as is to be expected from a sensor also used in DSLRs. The WiFi sharing with smartphones is brilliant – just download the PlayMemories Mobile app and the camera and phone find each other and start communicating in a trice.

DISLIKE: This is a beautiful camera, but the beauty is bought at the expense of useability. Even with the touch screen access it is a nuisance to have to go into the menus to set shooting mode. Such basic controls should be on the camera body. And sadly the otherwise fine LCD is not up to the job of being an adequate viewfinder on a bright day – it goes black in sunlight.

VERDICT: We said of an earlier version of the NEX that it was the sensible alternative to a DSLR for most people and that is even more true of the NEX-5r. The range of e mount lenses is constantly growing so the NEX-5r is the basis of a system that can be as simple or as serious as the user requires. The APS sensor is shared with a number of DSLRs, not just Sony’s, and it performs well in all its manifestations. The simple and straightforward WiFi setup is the icing on a very attractive cake.

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