Sony recently launched two new additions to their highly popular NEX lineup of interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras, the NEX 6 and the replacement for their hugely successful NEX 5N – The NEX 5R. But does the 5R advance the series forward enough to warrant an upgrade from the NEX 5N?
Here’s a nice video from The Digital Digest comparing the new Sony NEX 5R with the camera it’s replacing, the NEX 5N, which is one of our favorite cameras of the last year. And it seems like TDD feels the same way.
Here’s what they had to say >> One of the best cameras of the year just got better because of a price reduction. Granted, the 5N is about to be replaced with the launch of the 5R, it still represents one of the best cameras on the market today. Enjoy! -TDD
TDD is right on in asserting that the NEX 5N is a great camera and a fantastic value at around the $500 price point, but is it worth it to go for the 5R? Here’s some key differences that might help you make your decision…
Wi-Fi – The 5R is a Wi-Fi enabled camera, so not only will you be able to upload your photos and videos direct to the web, you’ll also be able to install apps and integrate with your smartphone or tablet. So you’ll be able to control the 5R directly from your iPhone, Android, iPad, etc., and we all know that where apps are invloved, anything goes. Check out the video below, also from TDD, to see the apps in action.
Hybrid Autofocus – The Sony NEX 5N and NEX 7 were among the top cameras in autofocus speed in the last couple of years, and they really helped raise the bar by which all other cameras are measured. So will the new Hybrid Autofocus system on the NEX 5R (and NEX 6) be that much of an improvement? In a word… Yes. It looks like Sony have really made strides with autofocus speed and quality with the new system, and it now ranks right up there with the autofocus on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the latest Panasonic Cameras, which is blazing fast (virtually instantaneous).
Sensor Overheating Issues – Though it looks like Sony have made some improvements with the sensor overheating issues (in continuous video mode) that have plagued the NEX series, it doesn’t look like they’ve been eliminated with the 5R. These Sony sensors product some of the best quality images (stills and videos) that you’ll get out of any camera, and they ARE great video cameras, but only if you’re looking to capture videos in short bursts – say… 2 to 5 minutes at a time. Typically, the NEX series has been known to overheat anywhere between the 5 and 15 minute mark in continuous video mode.
Menus – Both the NEX 5R and NEX 5N have touch screens and include smart phone style menus in which you’ll drill down to access different functions and features. If you’re the type of person who is comfortable with smart phones and tablets, and have no trouble navigating through their menus, then neither of these cameras will pose much of a problem for you.
Which camera is for you?
You really can’t go wrong with either one of these cameras, but…
- If you’re looking for a great bargain on a really great camera, but you’re not really concerned with Wi-Fi or apps and want to focus more on capturing beautiful quality still photos and shorter video clips, then the 5N is an excellent choice for you.
- If you want the latest tech, you love to play with apps, Wi-Fi, etc. and you’re concerned that really fast autofocus just isn’t fast enough, then you won’t regret springing for the extra $$ to get the NEX 5R.
- If you’re looking for more Pro Features, an electronic viewfinder and on body controls, you probably should look at the higher ups in the NEX lineup, the NEX 6 and NEX 7.
Other cameras you might want to consider…
- If you’re looking for an even better bargain on a really great camera, but you’re not really concerned with Wi-Fi or apps and want to focus more on capturing beautiful quality still photos and longer video clips (i.e. – you want to use your camera not only as a camera, but as a surrogate camcorder to capture birthday parties, Christmas Morning gift opening sessions, full Wedding Ceremonies, etc. – no overheating issues here), then we would recommend that you check out the Panasonic GX1 (an excellent camera which originally sold in the $800 to $900 range, but you can now get one for around $450 to $500).
- If you want all the features that you like in the NEX 5R, but you’re looking for alternatives to compare it to, you might want to check out the new Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 (Which is Wi-Fi capable, has an articulating touch screen which flips forward for easy self portrait shots, a Sony sensor and super fast autofocus.
Check out the NEX 5N, NEX 5R and our recommended cameras below: