The most wanted model Sony NEX-5R is tested

While other mobile devices tend to grow, the cameras begin to miniaturize and more and more options for us with a high quality camera in very small chassis. Sony is one company that is committed to the interchangeable lens cameras without mirror. Such models get unify the convenience of a compact but without giving up the good optical quality.

The Sony NEX-5R is one of the models that the Japanese firm has in its catalog for some time, and that certainly ensure that can match the quality of a DSLR. A camera of this type may be the solution for the amateur user looking to raise the bar in terms of performance, but prefers the handling of a compact and lightweight. We tested the Sony NEX-5R with the objective 18-55 mm, and then we review the most important features and show the results we have obtained on the test.


The body of the Sony NEX-5R is really tiny, especially when compared to the target, though not large, is quite large in the set. The chassis is very small, much as any pocket compact camera. In fact, its thickness is only 2.5 inches at the thinnest part. However Sony has included a thicker portion (3.8 inches) to the right that serves as a handle, facilitating the management of controls and significantly improving grip. The area also carries an anti-slip texture to prevent slipping or that we’re uncomfortable to hold.

In the back there are several buttons and touch screen, which has the advantage of being foldable 180°, as seen in the image. The movement of the panel allows us to take pictures in low-angle and still see the screen properly. The feeling when holding the Sony NEX-5R is to have a compact SLR lens, the size difference between the body and the lens is disproportionate, but the set is quite comfortable with a balanced weight and ergonomic shape that fits well in the hand.

Sony NEX-5R

Controls and operation

The camera allows operation using the physical controls scattered around the chassis, but also through the touch screen of your backside. In the grip we find the switch on, around the trigger, and a wheel to change settings such as aperture, move through the menu or other possibilities as we are doing at all times. Right next to the wheel is a function button, mode video and also the key to access the photo album or video captured.

If we go to the back we see another wheel which also has several features that change with the time, and this wheel also functions as directional crosspiece with specific functions (capture mode, ISO, exposure control and on-screen display mode). In this area there are two physical buttons over and again their function varies depending on the part of the menu in which we find ourselves, at each time is indicated on the screen.

The screen on the Sony NEX-5R is tactile and from it we can manage certain parameters. But you can move through menus using buttons, so that the use of the touch panel is optional most of the time. Thanks are able to choose the control method that is most convenient. We have also noticed that the touch screen is a bit cumbersome to handle because it is resistive , meaning you have to press on the panel to make contact layers and detect our orders. Conversely capacitive screens respond with much softer touches. Anyway we could operate the camera with the use of wheels and buttons without any problems.

Speaking of display, it is a three-inch TFT panel with 921,600 pixels. The images reproduced are crisp and size acceptable for a camera of this size. The panel brightness is enough to see the content clearly on a sunny day, but sometimes feel a little uneasy reflection. To avoid such hassles can move the screen to a more comfortable angle. We also note the absence of optical viewfinder, a piece that could come in handy at times the screen does not look right, or simply because the user prefers this system to compose the shot. By eliminating the visor reduces the chassis, but then the only way to check the subject is photographed through the screen. We could say that Sony has sacrificed the functionality in this area, which can be inconvenient for users accustomed to this piece.


As mentioned, there are several settings that can make directly making use of the rear wheel, such as scene mode selection. But there are other sections that require us to enter the menu, so we review the options available in it and its structure. First, to enter the menu you have to press the button on the top right of the screen, press serves both on the screen itself as the physical key that is on your side. The options are divided into seven blocks differentiated.

  • Shooting mode: in this first section we can select the shooting mode you wish to choose, as we said we can access this option by pressing the center of the rear wheel.
  • Camera: within this block there are a number of settings that affect the shooting. For example we have the drive mode comprising single capture, continuous capture or timer. We also found the flash mode, manual focus auto, touch shutter (enables the photo by touching the screen), moving object tracking, face detector, soft skin effect and others.
  • Image size: as its name suggests, from this section you can configure the quality of the images as well as the aspect ratio, quality (RAW or JPEG) and also resolution of the videos. 
  • Brightness Color: This section has several important parameters such as exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, white balance, metering mode, flash compensation, and creative effects.
  • Playing: All these options refer to the reproduction of images, either in-camera or on an external device such as a TV. Desda here can also protect images or rotate them.
  • Application: using a WiFi connection you can download apps from Play Memories Camera Apps for Sony.
  • Settings: Settings menu finally meets formatting options such as memory card, the name you want to give the files, network settings, and other parameters of the (red-eye reduction, live view grid etc).

Shooting modes and settings

The Superior Auto mode is one of the advantages of this camera, especially for users who prefer to shoot quickly without wasting in search a scene mode or adjust the settings in manual mode. What makes this system is to detect the type of scene you are photographing and thereby activate automatically. For example if we ae doing a photo at sunset we will sunset mode and the same with backlight, night scenes and more. This feature is handy, but you should also keep in mind that can give undesirable results at times. In our case we find that the ISO sensitivity rose to 12,800 or even 25,600 in night scenes, with the obvious appearance of noise. There were times when we wanted to take a picture against the light, but the automatic mode softens the contrast. The Superior Auto is very versatile, but if we seek concrete results is much better to lose a few seconds to adjust to our liking making because if you leave them idle can give us some surprise.

The Sony NEX-5R has a number of preset scenes that also automatically adjust the parameters and in most cases for best results. If we entertain ourselves to experiment with these options see how there are details that highlight the scene photographed. For example in the portraits blurs the background and softens the skin, the sunsets come with very striking reddish sports action allows better focus moving objects.

The scenes make the camera fits the situation, but if we want to control all parameters is best to use the manual mode. Live Viewer is a detail of great help in this case because it allows us to see through the bottom screen. The top and rear wheels are used to adjust the aperture and shutter, so that if the image is dark we will see in the right panel. But besides these two parameters, we must also take into account other sensitivity as ISO, the method of measurement or focus; they can all be changed in the menu. Although it is possible to use the camera in manual mode, if you come from a DSLR as in our case, the handling is a little less fluid.


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