Is the NEX-5N the right choice for me?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by demiro, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    I'm going to buy in to NEX (after years of fence-sitting) with a limited purpose in mind. My main goal will be to use it for shooting portraits. I'm thinking I'll pick up the 50/1.8 e-mount lens and an adapter for my Zeiss Planar 50/1.7 and be pretty well set. If I "fall in love" with NEX I will look at the 6 or 7 or 9 and more lenses down the road. I'm coming from an E-M5 and some nice m4/3s glass, and not looking to recreate that as it was underutilized. What I'm aiming for is relatively low cost, limited purpose, but highly capable.

    So, does the 5N seem reasonable, or is there logic in going with the 5R or 6 or even the 7 right out of the shoot?

    Also wondering about banding issues on 5N LCD. Is that a serious issue?

    Thanks.
     
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    There's a banding issue on the 5n LCD?

    From an IQ perspective the 5n, 6 and 5r are all the same. It's even been said that the IQ on the 16mp NEX cameras is a bit better than that of the 24mp NEX 7. They're all good. If you're planning to use a flash then I should think the NEX 6 with it's standard hot shoe would be a better option. If you're shooting available light like I do then the 5n is a great camera.
     
  3. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    There is a 5N for sale at a good price with comment that there are "occasional banding issues on LCD". I'm most likely to shoot available light, but if I go flash I like to go off camera anyway, so hotshoe is not a big deal to me.

    Thanks for the comments Kevin.
     
  4. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I would take 6. For me primary reason is the ISO hot shoe. It seems that in the new 3N won't be the smart accessory port and it's future is unclear. If you don't need flash 5N is ok. I have C3 and I am quite happy with it (except lack of flash choices).
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Any body in the 5 or 6 series will do you well image quality-wise. It then comes down to features that you want/need. Once you define your can't-live-without items then choosing a body is much easier.
     
  6. Rich

    Rich TalkEmount Veteran

    253
    Nov 20, 2012
    Salisbury UK
    Richard
    "What I'm aiming for is relatively low cost, limited purpose, but highly capable"

    From my personal experience, I would say that the 5N adequately covers the criteria above. Just a question of finding the right lens for your purpose.
     
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin TalkEmount Regular

    110
    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    The 5n is a good, low cost entry into the NEX system, but for me it also marked my exit. I suspect that if I'd jumped in with the 6 I might have stayed with it longer term because that camera seems to tick more boxes for me, but it was more money than I wanted to spend. To me the 5N felt like a slightly bigger, less refined version of an E-PM or E-PL Olympus.

    The banding issue might be something specific to that particular camera as I don't remember any problems like that on my former 5N.
     
  8. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    Nic, would you mind elaborating a bit more on this comment? Pretty big cause for concern for me. I'm coming from an E-M5, and while I don't expect the 5N to be on par with it I am hoping it doesn't seem way off in comparison. Thanks.
     
  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin TalkEmount Regular

    110
    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    As you'd probably know, from the the third generation of Pens (E-P3, E-PL3, E-PM1) the Olys have been very snappy little cameras. Not without their own quirks, but from that point in time I didn't feel that I ever had to wait for them to work. I only had the 5N (and 18-55mm) for a few months so I am far from an expert on it but it just didn't seem to quite have that same level of responsiveness. I also never got to grips with the touchscreen operation or menu structure which could be as much down to me as it is the camera.

    One issue that I found in particular was what I call "LCD bleaching". When the camera had turned off the screen to save battery and I woke it up by half-pressing the shutter, it would take a good few seconds for the screen brightness to normalise (when it turned back on it was bright white until either or both the lens aperture or sensitivity adjusted). I'm not particularly trigger happy and tend to have gaps between shots so I ran into this a fair bit. Ambient light would also have been a factor as well since it wasn't an issue in darker conditions.

    Handling was also an issue for me since while the 5N has a handgrip that projects forward a decent amount, the body is way too short for my hand. This is generally an issue that have with smaller bodied cameras which is why for example I have ended up with an E-M5 and GH1 as my Micro 4/3 bodies and why I no longer own a Pen.
     
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    That's an interesting comparison. Having has the E-PM1 and both the E-PL1 and E-PL2 I don't know if I would have come to the same conclusion. The AF is around E-PL2 speed with the newest firmware. Other that that however I find the 5n to be a much better camera than any m43 body I've had. The 900K LCD with a sunny weather setting that actually works, the much better available EVF (both larger and sharper), much faster shot-to-shot (10fps), focus peaking, better grip and IQ that is better than any m43 body including the E-M5. Of course I shoot almost exclusively MF legacy lenses so AF performance is not a big issue for me so the advantages of the mature m43 native lenses don't mean as much to me as they will to some folks and the LCD bleaching doesn't happen if you're using a legacy lens. I don't see the 5n as a low cost entry level NEX (that's the 3 series). I see it as a highly capable camera.

    That said, everyone has different things they are looking for in a camera and I can easily see how a NEX would not be the right camera for folks. It definitely has its quirks.
     
  11. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    Interesting comments guys. I appreciate the time everyone is taking to respond.
     
  12. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    I think that Bimjo is right when he says, "Any body in the 5 or 6 series will do you well image quality-wise. It then comes down to features that you want/need. Once you define your can't-live-without items then choosing a body is much easier."

    I have a 6 and it was the EVF that was the deciding factor for me.

     
  13. doinksdoinks

    doinksdoinks New to TalkEmount

    9
    Jan 27, 2013
    Philippines
    Nex 6 FTW!
     
  14. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Me too. Before the NEX-6, I had no interest in the NEX line. The NEX-7 was beyond my budget, and the NEX-5 & 3 options weren't significantly better than what I was using at the time (µ4/3 cameras).
     
  15. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    I would've said the same thing a few months ago. I even pre-ordered the 6 then canceled it. My thinking then was that I wanted something to replace my E-M5. Now I'm thinking value + limited purpose + highly capable and the 5N seems to make some sense.
     
  16. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    Well, I almost ordered an NEX-6, but instead decided to stick with my plan, as it were, and bought a 5N.

    I have the camera, 50/1.8 and 18-55 on the way, along with an adapter to use my Zeiss 50/1.7. I'll report back my impressions when I receive it all and have a chance to take it for a spin.

    Thanks again for all the input!
     
  17. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I had the 5N, C3, 6 and 7, and I had a bunch of m4:" bodies, including GX-1, E-PM1, E-P2.
    First off, comparing E-PM1 and 5N is just... Well, you can't do that. On a IQ alone standing point they're like night and day. The 5N has one of te very best APS-C sensor even as of today, while the E-PM1 has a really ancient and rather crappy m4/3 sensor. The control set on both cameras can be compared though, and both Oly and Sony menu systems have been known to give users nightmares. Personally while having a few gripes with Sony's, I still find it way less cruel and stupid than Olympus', but it's a matter of personal taste.
    What can be said about the 5N is that on IQ, there's nothing to fault. I'm on my second NEX 7 body, and while both cameras are night and day in usability and holdability, the IQ is painfully similar. I rebuke the myth that the 7 is poorer at high ISO, in my experience (with two different units), it's not been true. But basically the 5n gives you truly beautiful, rich, detailed yet smooth files, that once you've tested something always makes you reluctant to go back to a smaller chip (that's what happened to me anyway).
    It' the best NEX budget option right now, though I have a soft spot for the C3, which has a nicer form factor (for me, all the crazy angles on the 5N and body height lesser than lenses never worked well), but you have to be able to live with the double banged shutter. It's tough (but it's a lovely little body).
    However, since you're coming from higher end bodies, I'd strongly suggest you think long and hard about picking up a used 6 or 7. I'm a big 7 fan, who's had the 6 and found no compelling reason to use it over the 7. 98% same body seize and feel (7 slightly nicer to hold), 98% same IQ (large MP is an asset for some, a hindrance for others, so take those 98 in whatever sense you want), but the TriNavi controls on the 7 make all the difference in the world in usability.
    I had the SEL50:1:! and while very nice optically, it's slow to focus and a little boring, compared to a legacy nifty. Since you have older glass in that FL you might want to look at the recently released SEL35. It's faster to focus, has more character and will give you an indoor environmental portrait solution. Mine hardly ever comes off my NEX.
    For info the PDAF thingy on the 6 is a gimmick, most of us have seen little difference (if any) with it. Having your body running the latest FW is a must though.
    Hope this helps :)
     
  18. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    Thanks for the insight nianys. I'm sure you are spot on about the control set on the 7, or even the 6, vs the 5N. If I intended this to be my primary do-most-everything camera that would be a big consideration. But what I believe to be true (for now) is that I am really better served by having a few cameras that work best for me in a given situation. DSLR for action. X10 (maybe X20) for general use. 5N for good pics of the family. In truth I could certainly get by without the NEX option, but like most everyone around here playing with new gear is part of the fun, so that itch will be scratched (for now).

    I considered the 35mm Sony lens, and the Sigma 30mm mega-bargain, but decided to go with the 50/1.8 for starters. I really love my Zeiss Planar 50/1.7, after having quite a few different vintage 50s, so I want to compare that head-to-head with the AF lens.
     
  19. Grisu_HDH

    Grisu_HDH TalkEmount Veteran

    397
    Dec 16, 2012
    Southern Germany
    Markus
    As a 5N user I would definetely add a "YES" from my side!

    But the best advice has been given already: Think about which feature you really need and which not! That's all!
    I would not take a 5R over a 5N because I don't need the extra features.
    Main difference to think about: Do you want/need a viewfinder or not? If yes, go for the 6.
     
  20. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    The comparison is gonna leave you crying, I'd advise you buy the SEL from a seller with good return policy. Mine went back to Amazon within about 48h. it's beautiful but AF ain't much faster than MF with Peaking and it severely lacks in sexyness and character.

    I understand you'll be having a multiple camera set-up. My only thought is that, since the NEX is going to be your portrait rig, I really want something super usable when I shoot portraits, because that's when I have the LEAST time to battle with a camera (I have my hands full with the subject already, lol). Landscape is a totally different story, but when shooting portraits I want everything to run smoothly and without delay, so controls are really important. Then again, you can perfectly test waters with the 5N, and move up later if needed. That's what I'd do :)