SLRs aren't for everyone, though nowadays you'll find them in the hands of everyone from high school girls to your grandfather. For those of you looking for something smaller but just as flexible and powerful, there are cameras like Sony's NEX-5, a pocket-sized cam that rocks interchangeable lenses. They recently launched this baby, together with the NEX-3, at the Hotel Sofitel a couple of days ago, and Third World Nerd was there.
The NEX-5 takes cues from Olympus' Micro Four Thirds camera system. It's mirrorless (unlike SLRs which can be large because of the system of mirrors inside) and it's got an APS-C sensor inside, making the NEX-5 exactly what it looks like: a small SLR. (Okay camera nerds, it's still technically not an SLR because it's mirrorless, but you know what I mean.)
I've been curious about this camera because its sensor is larger than the sensor used in four thirds and micro four thirds cameras. The four thirds system manages to come up with photos that come close to the quality of APS-C sensor cameras, so in theory, there will be no compromise on the quality for the NEX-5. It also means a slight bump in resolution to 14.2-megapixels. That's plenty.
Throw in HD video recording powers and the NEX-5 looks like a delicious package.
On the design side, the NEX-5 is definitely pretty. Sony's got a knack of doing that. Check out these photos:
Of course, the camera body itself is only half the story in an interchangeable lens camera. There are currently two lenses for the NEX-5, an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and a 16mm f/2.8 pancake lens. A 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 stabilized superzoom will follow.
With an adaptor you can use the 28 A-mount lenses from Sony's Alpha line. At the launch event they stuck this monster to the NEX-5, which borders on crazy, but hey, it's possible.
There are usually tradeoffs to using an adaptor though; such as slow autofocus when it's available and manual focus when it's not. We've yet to see if there any tradeoffs to using A-mount lenses on the NEX-5, but I'll be very surprised if there aren't any. (Going off-topic, if you want huge kick-ass zoom lenses, this camera probably isn't for you as the beauty of the system is its discreet size. But what the heck, some people lower pickup trucks, so what do I know?)
I, for one, am happy to see Sony jump aboard the small interchangeable lens camera bandwagon. Anyone who demands more from their compact camera or SLR enthusiasts looking for a second, smaller camera should take a look at the NEX-5.
If you want to find out more about the NEX-5, check out dpreview.com. They published a super in-depth review. Or check out Sony's website here.