Hands On: Sony NEX 5T

November 21st, 2013 | by Wilson Wong
Hands On: Sony NEX 5T

The SONY NEX system has been around for quite some time. It’s been using the APS-C crop sensor as its first mirror-less system while relying on the company’s own E-Mount ingeniously when the mirrorless market was still at its infancy.

At that point in time, having a full-frame 35mm equivalent sensor would have priced the NEX cameras out of reach for many. Using the 16.1 MegaPixel APS-C sized crop sensor was, and still is, a good balance of size, price and image quality. This is clear in the latest NEX-5T, which goes for S$999 here in Singapore.

The size of NEX cameras was also designed to be compact and easy to bring around, much to the chagrin of those who love to hold a camera firmly like a DSLR. Couple this with the huge E-Mount and the series has always been marked as a camera that has serious ergonomic issues.

The latest NEX-5T hasn’t improved much with the the top dial and rear wheel being so close to the thumb, so you need two hands to operate it well. Of course, you could hold the camera precariously with one hand while changing settings using the thumb but it’s be much better to do it all with one free hand.

Fortunately, the inclusion of the touch screen, the top dial and rear wheel does made the NEX-5T a bit more user friendly. The exposure compensation and ISO settings can be changed via the rear wheel, four-way buttons. This makes it one of the easiest compact system camera to use in manual mode.

The unique feature of the NEX-5T is the ability for its rear screen to point forward, making it one of the best cameras out there to take a “selfie”. That’s definitely a killer feature for those who love to shoot portrait shots of themselves.

Image quality wise, the NEX-5T with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom kit lens does deliver, especially during challenging hand-held night shots and with its good ISO noise control.

My only gripe is the power zoom, as it doesn’t give the precise zoom that I want. I would very much prefer a lens that has manual zoom ring for better control of my zoom.

Good clarity and sharpness.

The Singapore Skyline with the NEX-5T on a tripod. Silky smooth water surface and blue hue of the skies beautifully reproduced. Distortion is well controlled too.

The rear screen can flip up to attempt a bottom-up shot of the dancers without resorting to lying on the ground.

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