Sony NEX-C5R full review

The third generation of Sony NEX cameras to feature the same large APS-C sensor as found in its Alpha DSLRs, the NEX-5R brings with it new wireless transfer abilities and compatibility with downloadable Sony ‘apps’, plus not only a back screen that can be angled down or up to such an extent that it can face the subject, but also one that is now a touch screen. Outwardly however the 16.1 megapixel model closely resembles its predecessors, thanks to a matt black finish, flat fascia and narrow body design only given a hint of shape thanks to a more prominent than average handgrip. Thus the NEX looks utilitarian next to the mini DSLR shapes and cool retro designs of its competitors, and, with provided 18-55mm (3x) optical zoom the equivalent of27-82.5mm on a 35mm camera screwed into place, can appear front heavy too.

Delivering 300 shots from a full battery charge, replenished with battery in the camera rather than via a standalone charger, the NEX-5R is pitched at intermediate users with most of the action happening via the screen. The purpose of the unmarked control dial on the top plate and two soft keys on the backplate falling beneath your thumb only become clear once the camera is switched on and vary according to whatever mode you’re in. We also get a scroll wheel serving much the same purpose as the dial; namely getting to your desired settings or pictures more rapidly than simply tabbing through to them.

What the NEX-5R most obviously misses is a built-in flash. Instead a small clip-on variety is provided in the box, which is better than nothing but useless if you forget to carry it with you. There’s no optical or electronic viewfinder as an alternative to the 3-inch, high 921,600-dot resolution screen, but to be honest at this level it’s not missed, especially when the LCD can be angled to improve viewing. As on Olympus and Panasonic touch screen rivals, a prod of the screen by a finger will fire the shutter. Images are warm and sharp with impressively little in the way of familiar bugbears such as pixel fringing. 

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