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The 5n a heck of a deal

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by dixeyk, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    There are a lot of wonderful cameras out at the moment but I do find it interesting that the NEX 5n is kind of flying under the radar at the moment. Granted it's an older body but it can be bought for under $400 new, still delivers excellent images and depending on your needs it very much in the same league as newer bodies. Of course your expectations play a huge role in what you do and do not find acceptable but for me the 5n is still a great body. For a shade under $400 you get an outstanding APS-C sensor that has better DR, lower noise and better color depth than the much loved Olympus E-M5, and IMHO pretty close to that of the Fuji X bodes. It's small, shoots 24p video, has a 900K flip up touch screen, focus peaking and can shoot at 10fps. It has it's weaknesses (such as uninspiring AF) but considering that it is half the price of the Olympus E-M5, a third the price of the Fuji XE-1, half the cost of the NEX 6 and a tenth the price of a Leica M8 I still find the 5n mighty impressive.

    One of the things that the 5n gets hammered for is the weird UI and skimpy controls and I think it's a fair criticism but at least for me it doesn't really pose that much of an issue. I shoot almost exclusively with MF lenses. I do have a Sigma 30 for those moments when I want AF but I'll be the first to admit it's not great AF. The lens is nice and I think capable of superb results but the AF is middling at best. I've seen worse but there are a lot that are faster. I think part of the problem is that the NEX doesn't immediately tell you when it fails to lock focus. It keeps hunting. If it employed an immediate fail like you see on the Fuji X-1 Pro I think the NEX AF might not seem quite as bad. So again, for my purposes it is not much of an issue. The other thing that the NEX 5n gets criticized about is the paucity of controls on the body. This is where I have to disagree a bit. Of course it's different for everyone and I wouldn't dream of saying that someone that finds it problematic is wrong, but instead I'll say that at least for the way I use it I don't find that I feel particularly deprived.

    I shoot in either A mode or M mode. I rarely switch when shooting. I use MF legacy glass so aperture is controlled on the lens. Exposure compensation is mapped to the wheel on the back and typically I set it and forget it. WB and shooting mode are also on the rear dial and MF assist on the bottom button and since I got the hang of peaking I rarely even bother with that anymore. The tilting LCD is bright and sharp and the sunny weather mode really works well. I shoot available light so I don't need a flash and while the layout isn't perfect I got used to it pretty quickly. Now that I have it set up I rarely menu dive and I don't find that the camera really gets in my way when I use it. Of course there are things I wish it did...I'd love it if I could remap the video button and had more flexibility to remap the rear dial but considering the price of the 5n right now and the kind of performance it is capable of I think it's a hell of a deal.
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Bang on assessment I'd say. :)
     
  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    If something happened to my 7 and I needed a replacement in the shoestring dead of winter, I'd get a 5N in a heartbeat! :)
     
  4. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I was reading a post on m43 and saw someone ragging on NEX and going on about how great their camera was in comparisons and while there are some terrific cameras it occurred to me that at $400 the 5n is a lot of camera for not that much green. It also occurred to me that I don't particularly feel compelled to replace it anytime soon. The 5n does what I want it to do and gives me wonderful images...what more do I need?

    Granted, there are a lot of cameras that I think would be fun to have (The Fuji XE-1 comes to mind) but if I am honest with myself I don't see that the $800 difference in price gives me that much that the 5n does not. You get an EVF, a gorgeous design and what appear to be very nice controls but the AF is not that much faster, there is no focus peaking and no flip up screen. Like all things it would be a trade-off and a spendy one at that. Of course this just applies to my specific needs but since I'm the one that would be shelling out the money that's the one opinion that matters to me.

    I'm not sure what it would take to make a switch worth it right now...I'm sure there's something but I don't see it in the current offerings yet. I think if there were the digital equivalent to a Voigtlander Bessa with a real RF that would get my attention. A NEX with an articulating LCD would also be pretty compelling.
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Another one? I'm thinking of picking up a backup body myself.
     
  6. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    469
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    It was definitely a toss up for me between the lower priced 5n and the 6 that I ended up with. If I wouldn't have gotten my NEX-6 for such a great deal, I probably would have opted for the 5n.
     
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    LOL...you know though, at the price they're going for right now I could see doing that.
     
  8. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    What the 5N is : a fabulous sensor wrapped in a not so wonderful body. I've shot pretty extensively the 5N, 6 and 7, and sure the 7's chip has an extra detail and DR range (due to massive resolution) but by a pretty SMALL margin.
    However, and not to disagree with you Kevin, who are my mentor in all things mirrorless, everything around that sensor was making me a little more frustrated by the day. The body is too small, and awkward (not too mention not very pretty). The tilt screen is ok but top hinged, bottom hinged screens (à la 6, 7) are much less conspicuous to shoot from the waist. The touch operation is err... coming from a nice responsive touchscreen on the GX-1 the 5N's feel crude and slow. That being said I hear the 5R's is even much worse, so I won't complain here. The limited controls are indeed not such a problem. I just wish you wouldn't have to press-turn to access exp comp. That's why in the end I always shot my 5N in M mode, I still had to turn that fiddly back wheel to alter exposure, but at least I didn't need to press first. I won't even mention the AF which seemed like a joke at first. Last but not least, it's a camera that takes its sweet time to do everything, deleting pictures, navigating through menus, formatting, etc... I was happier with the little faster pace of the 6 and 7 (truly, the 7 is close to just right). I guess in the end the lenses are what keep you with or away from a system. NEX lenses didn't cut it for me and as much as I love my legacies I do want some native options that I can feel good and warm, not sorry, about.
    But on the whole I can perfectly see myself picking up a 5N again to use my orphaned legacies, yes. And personally I used the little add-on flash a whole lot, once bounced with a reflector it works beautifully :)
     
  9. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I saw a brand new 5N (body only) on ebay last night for 300euros (not from a private seller but from a shop - NOS)!!! It took a lot of effort to resist clicking the "buy it now" button...
     
  10. Bradwin Cruz

    Bradwin Cruz New to TalkEmount

    9
    Sep 22, 2012
    All very good points. Being a nex 5n user I agree.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I agree about the 5N. Another one to look out for is the C3. Compared to the 5N, the C3 loses the touchscreen, 1080p/60fps filming, the extended ISO range, and metal body. However the handling, controls, and image quality are similar enough as to be the same to me. I've seen C3 new pricing as low as $260 body only or $350 with 18-55 lens, and used bodies in great condition are easy to find for $250. I think the best buy in all of mirrorless for those on a budget has to be a used C3 plus the Sigma two-lens bundle for an additional $200. Grand total of $450 for a great camera, wide angle, and normal lens.
     
  12. zapatista

    zapatista TalkEmount Rookie

    24
    Sep 4, 2012
    Denver, CO (USA)
    Mike
    I like the separate areas for the SD card and battery on the C3. I bought a Nex5-N used to flip from amazon a couple weeks back ($340 ish with the 18-55mm) and ended up keeping it. I'll probably get a Nex 7 as GAS on my new (old) system sets in for the built-in EVF. I still hate the screw in interface on the accessory port for the NEX.
     
  13. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    You must be reading my mind, because I was fancying getting one to keep the Peaking ability of the NEX :)
     
  14. scinkk

    scinkk TalkEmount Regular

    118
    Jan 9, 2013
    Czech Republic
    I was thinking what NEX to buy over one month (maybe two) :) I wanted nex6 but without no experiences with this system, with the size, with manual focus and so on so I decided finally for F3 for half price (about $400 with kit lens) for start. The 5n was difficult to find for good (same) money (with country warranty) and the F3 is newer model with built-in flash. IQ is similar, something better something worst than 5n (but I guess the F3 is better than C3) Im happy with the decision and probably I will buy a successor of 6 or 7 :)
     
  15. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I still use my trusty NEX-5, and can't complain about IQ. The price of the 5 series of NEX cameras always went crazy low after the successor was released (which surprises me, as the price of the 3 series doesn't fall that much ...). However, there are three things I miss: A little bit bigger body (NEX-7 seems fine for size), a EVF and a better video codec (the original 5 only shoots 60i at 17mbit/s).
     
  16. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    If what you want to do is use native glass then m43 and Fuji (at least in the mirrorless world) are a lot better choice. Also preference really depends on how you use the camera and a good bit on what it comfortable. My needs are pretty minimal and to be honest I could probably get by with a camera that had just a shutter release and a screen. You use flash a lot so the lack of a hot shoe is a big deal as well as the various controls you need. That said, I still think that the 5n is a lot of camera for the price. It's the fact that it is going for under $400 new that really makes it most appealing.

    For my particular situation the 5n makes a perfectly fine digital back for my manual focus lenses. I'm pretty adaptable to shape and such. That said, I am not someone that tends to change settings much while shooting. It minimizes my trips into the admittedly "challenging" UI. That's not to say I wouldn't prefer another body...I'd love and M8 but I don't see it being $5000 better. I'd like an XE-1 as well but they lack of focus peaking would be hard for me as I can't use an EVF effectively because of a vision problem. The flip up LCD on the NEX is much easier to use so the Fuji (while super appealing) doesn't make a lot of sense for me in its current state. Now, the new focus peaking enabled X20 and X100s are a different story and I could see picking up once or the other as a companion to the NEX. The X10 has been brilliant and I have to say I really like the Fuji UI and control layout.

    Now an XE-2 with focus peaking and maybe I'd change my mind. Add a flip up screen or better yet an articulating screen and I'd be all in.
     
  17. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    ^^My thoughts exactly (plus the build in flash/capabilityn to use flash and viewfinder at the same time)
     
  18. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    The C3 is a very sweet camera and I agree also a heck of a deal. I used one for several months and it is a very capable camera. It's got the LOUDEST shutter I ever heard...it's hilarious. Sounds like my old Konica T2. It had a certain old school charm.
     
  19. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    AH yeah Kevin, you warned me about that CLANK ! Haven't picked one up yet but might in the future. From tomorrow I'll be busy juggling with the X10, loaner GX-1 with dual PL lenses (25+45) and LVF2, AND from Friday, loaner X100 !! That's a lot of cameras, even for me, lol...
     
  20. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    The GX1 and PL45 is a terrific combo. I think the PL45 is my all time favorite m43 lens and comes close to one of my all time favorite lenses...period. I shot a lot of my favorite portraits of your future son-in-law with that lens. I found I much preferred it over the PL25.

    The shutter sound on the C3 is pretty funny. Like I said it has a funny old school charm but it is is hilariously loud. By comparison the 5n is whisper quiet.