The scene above taken at ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, and 25600 can better demonstrate NEX-5N's high-ISO image quality at nighttime as well as the performance of the 18-55mm kit lens at 18mm.
KIT LENS PERFORMANCE
dpreview reviews show that the Sony NEX 16mm F2.8 and the NEX 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS deliver better overall performance than the similarly priced Canon 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS and Nikon 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR with the two Sony lenses achieving much higher center sharpness throughout the aperture and focal range. The NEX 16mm, being a little sharper in the center, but softer at the corners than the kit zoom, reaches its maximum overall sharpness at F5 while the NEX 18-55mm peaks at F5.6 on the wide end and F8 on the telephoto end.
The NEX 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Pancake OSS Power Zoom is an ultra compact kit lens with 24-75mm equivalent focal range. Measuring 30.2mm (1-3/16") retracted, this lens is only 7.7mm (5/16") deeper than the 16mm pancake 22.5mm (7/8") and half as long as the 18-55mm kit lens 60mm (2-3/8"). ePhotozine NEX 16-50mm review.
Sony also offers a wide-angle conversion lens that turns the 16mm prime into a very useful 12mm (18mm equivalent) ultra-wide lens. Purchased with the NEX-5N/18-55mm/16mm kit, the three lenses cost less than $300, which is by far the most affordable way to get 12-55mm (18-83mm equivalent) coverage of any interchangeable-lens system. Here's a full-resolution photo taken with the wide-angle conversion lens.
Zeiss - Carl Zeiss Optic, G - High Performance Optic, OSS - Optical SteadyShot ™, SSM - Super Sonicwave Motor, SAM - Smooth Autofocus Motor.
The NEX LA-EA2 lens adapter provides SLT phase-detection autofocus that is compatible with all of the A-mount lenses while the LA-EA1 enables the use of camera's autofocus with the Alpha SSM and SAM lenses. The LA-EA3 lens adapter enables the use of A-mount full-frame lenses on the NEX FF cameras.
With an EOS-NEX adapter, our Canon lenses deliver excellent results on the NEX-5N as manual lenses. AUTOFOCUS
PHOTO AF: This Mirrorless Reviews video demonstrates NEX-5N's contrast-detection autofocus with firmware 1.01 is generally very quick and accurate. However, the contrast-detection autofocus cannot track moving subjects as well as the latest NEX on-sensor phase-detection system.
VIDEO AF: This camera features camcorder-quality, silent video autofocus that delivers smooth and steady transitions between subjects. Autofocus area can be selected, using the touchscreen during filming - an extremely useful feature in many situations. (Length 0:45, 1000x562 60p from 1080 60p AVCHD source)
The LA-EA2 lens adapter adds SLT full-time phase-detection autofocus to the NEX system. Here are two videos, showing this adapter's impressive ability to track fast-moving subjects on the NEX-5N and NEX-FS700. 1080 60P VIDEO
This camera has the ultra-smooth and best-in-class 1080 60p HD with full manual control over shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation during recording.
VIDEO: Low-light Tests: Most clips were recorded at ISO3200 with Custom White Balance and AF. (Length 0:49, 1000x562 60p from 1080 60p AVCHD source)
1080 60p vs. 30p vs. 24p: The differences between frame rates are quite noticeable on a large-screen HDTV, especially when viewing panning shots of fast-moving subjects like children running around the playground. Here's a simple panning shot recorded in 60p (F5.6 Aperture Priority, 1/250 to 1/400sec), 30p (1/60sec Shutter Priority), and 24p (1/50sec Shutter Priority) to show how smooth and lifelike 60p really is: Use "Save Link As..." to download the 1920X540 60/30/24p video (26.7MB .MP4) or the original clips - 1080 60p (54.6MB .MTS), 1080 30p (22MB .MP4), 1080 24p (43.5MB .MTS).
24p, 30p: 1/60sec or slower shutter speeds must be used to introduce motion blur to lessen, not eliminate, the choppy appearance. Shooting with slow shutter speeds under bright sunlight, ND filters are required to control depth of field and to prevent sensor dusts from showing up prominently at F11 on up.
60p: Since 60fps videos will turn out smooth even with shutter set well above 1/60sec, Aperture Priority can be used to control depth of field under bright sunlight without an absolute need for ND filters. Filmmakers - James Cameron, Peter Jackson, and George Lucas - have all produced 60-frame-per-second projects when they are not required to shoot 24fps - Avatar 2 & 3, King Kong Universal attraction, and Star Wars Star Tours attraction - because they believe 60fps delivers a more lifelike and immersive experience.
FYI Mac users: iMovie `11 (version 9.0.4) will not import 1080 60p videos from the camera directly. The easy workaround is to copy the video files onto the hard drive (best done with BootCamp Sony Picture Motion Browser) and then re-wrap the 1080 60p (.mts and .m2ts) videos into QuickTime (.mov) movies, using ClipWrap. To prevent iMovie from transcoding the rewrapped videos during importing, follow these instructions to turn on a hidden ClipWrap feature BEFORE processing .mts or .m2ts files. Re-wrapping AVCHD 2 video avoids the time-consuming transcoding into Apple Intermediate Codec, which can quadruple the video file size and cause slight loss in image quality.
To export edited 1080 60p videos from iMovie, go to "Share / Export using QuickTime... / Options / Video" and make sure "Size / Dimensions" is set to 1920X1080 and "Settings / Frame Rate" is set to 59.94. The exported 1080 60p video will play smoothly on Macs fast enough to handle the format.
Final Cut Pro X is highly recommended for professional-quality editing and exporting, and best of all - it's easy to learn and use. VIDEO SILENT LENSES
NEX lenses are video silent so there won't be noise made by Optical SteadyShot and autofocus audible in the videos. FOCUS PEAKING & MANUAL FOCUS ASSIST
Both features will be on when AF/MF Select is set to MF or DMF. DMF = AF (Autofocus) + MF (Manual Focus).
The Focus Peaking function highlights in real time all of the in-focus edges or objects in the scene to make it much easier to verify and fine tune focus. To take a macro shot in the DMF mode, simply autofocus first, hold focus, and then either turn the focus ring or move the camera slowly in and out, and the intensity of the highlight will indicate precisely when maximum focus is achieved.
Manual Focus Assist enlarges the screen image to 460% whenever the focus ring is turned. Use the Bottom key to enlarge the image to 950% and then cycle back to 460%.
The Focus Peaking and Manual Focus Assist functions are extremely helpful, especially when using non-native lenses under difficult lighting conditions. PROGRAMABLE KEYS
Seven functions can be assigned to three programmable keys for quick access. Our seven most-used functions are: Center Key (5 programmable functions): (1) ISO (2) RAW / JPG (3) Autofocus Area (4) Autofocus Mode (5) Dynamic Range / HDR Right Key (1 function): Autofocus / Manual Focus Select Bottom Key (1 function): White Balance
With White Balance assigned to the Bottom Key, press the B button once to bring up the White Balance Select menu - screen shot above right. Press the B button again to bring up the White Balance Graph. Then use the Left, Right, Up, Down buttons to fine tune the screen image to match the scene.
Adjusting White Balance at the scene is the best way to obtain the most accurate colors under difficult lighting situations - much better than adjusting WB in RAW days, weeks, or months later from fading memory. Since RAW is only available for photos, Custom White Balance must be set properly on the spot before shooting videos. IN-CAMERA LENS CORRECTIONS
Chromatic aberration, vignetting, and lens distortion can be corrected in camera, which will reduce the need for RAW processing. Lens distortion correction is set to OFF by default so users need to enable it in the "Setup" menu. COMPACT SIZE
With either the 16-50mm Pancake Power Zoom or the 16mm Pancake Prime, the NEX-5N is a miniature take-everywhere camera that delivers professional dSLR image quality. My wife loves this camera because it fits perfectly inside her purse. UNDERWATER HOUSING
Rated 40 meters or 130 feet, this NB case with build quality similar to our Canon OEM housings turns the NEX-5N into the most affordable APS-C point-and-shooter for kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and white-water rafting. The main complain with this acrylic case is that the rear wheel doesn't turn easily. To avoid using the wheel underwater, simply set the Aperture Priority to F5 for both stills and videos since the 16mm pancake is at its sharpest at F5 and 1080 60p HD will turn out lifelike smooth even with shutter set well above 1/60sec.
However, for more advanced underwater photography and videography, an aluminum housing at six to twelve times the cost will provide far better durability and capabilities.
LOVE THIS CAMERA - great image quality and great video in such a tiny package! Autofocus performance under low-light situations is NEX-5N's main weakness. The good news is that the latest NEX on-sensor phase-detection autofocus system now delivers much better overall performance.