Without doubt, the world has moved away from film-based cameras. However, the SLR (single lens reflex) format cameras of that era continue to flourish even in these digital times. The only problem with them is that they come with a big bag and are not very handy. So far, the only alternative—if you wanted a small camera with great picture quality—was a Micro 4/3rd format. But here’s another now—the NEX series from Sony.
The camera can take both a Memory Stick as well as an SD card to store images. It can shoot 14.2 megapixel images and HD movies at 1080i in AVCHD format.
The first thing I noticed about the camera is that it is very compact, easy to hold and has single-hand camera operation. The second thing that hit me is that though its flash is a bundled accessory, it connects to the camera with a proprietary port. This means that unlike a DSLR, you cannot use just any flash unit from the market—you have to use one from Sony, specifically designed for the NEX.
The display screen is bright, and it flips open to let you shoot those difficult-angle shots. The camera comes with a full auto mode called Intelligent Auto and there are shutter- and aperture-priority modes too.
It also has all the image modes you may have come to expect in a good compact. That means you also have the freedom look for the perfect moment instead of the perfect shot.
A great feature in this camera is that its flash won’t fire till you raise the flash unit manually. That’s one feature I want on all cameras.
The NEX-5 comes bundled with an 18–55 mm lens, and because it allows interchangeable lenses, you can buy more lenses too. But here is the let-down. Not many photo shops in India carry Sony lenses and accessories, and this is where a regular DSLR scores heavily over the NEX.