Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sony Alpha NEX-5T Review

I show some teaser earlier of the Sony NEX-5T and now it is time for some full review after shooting with it for few days under difference situations. All this is to prepare this blogpost! Please note that this post has contain quite alot photos and some full resolution photos by hover the mouse over on the image. The first section of this review mainly focus on image quality by Sony NEX-5T. When come to about image quality, Sensor is one of the main element that contributed to it. Sony NEX-5T come with 16 Megapixels APS-C sensor which usually seen in entry level and mid range DSLR. Which no doubt the big sensor is good enough for low light and also bokeh (defocus)! The 16 Megapixels also large enough to do some cropping as well.



Note :

1) The Noise Filter is turned to low.
2) Camera was on Manual mode all the time with my own setting.
3) Saturation, contrast, sharpening was set to 0 and White Balance is Auto.
4) All photos was shoot in RAW and converted to JPEG without any post processing except resizing and adding watermark.
5) I am not a professional photographer. This is user based experience review.


Thanks Sony for providing me both 35mm f1.8 and also 35mm f3.5 Macro lens for the review. Immediately, I went to butterfly park to shoot some macro to test out the macro lens as well as the details in 16 Megapixels.

* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/11 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/11 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/11 *

I am not a macro expert but I am impressed with what NEX-5T can do. The details and sharpness no doubt is good. Most of the time I shoot it together with my Macro Ring Flash.


* 35mm lens, ISO 200, f/8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 800, f/14 *

* 35mm lens, ISO 800, f/14 *

The 35mm f3.5 Macro lens not the best but not disappointing either. It failed to focus sometimes and it seem doesn't love to give precise focus. I am force to use manual focus to achieved shot that I want's. Honestly, with 16MP in the camera, I can easily crop out too if I want a closer full jpeg of the insect. Obviously I did not do that on this reviews.

* 35mm lens, ISO 400, f/13 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 400, f/13 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 400, f/13 *

For the lowlight test, I grab the opportunity to took a walk at night market and shoot around there. I mounted the 35mm f1.8 and confidently shoot in between ISO 6400 or 3200 because I want a faster shutter speed. In the same time, you can see some beautiful defocusing (Bokeh) background using the f1.8 and also thanks to the APS-C sensor.

* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/4.5 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/4.5 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/4.5 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/4 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/4 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/4 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/2 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8 *

The AF speed is fast enough to focus even on low light. It lock target very quickly and I can easily instant snap. I will talk more about AF speed in next. The tilt screen also help alot in shooting since I don't need to actually squat down when shooting kids.


* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 6400, f/1.8 *

Here the ISO comparison for the Sony NEX-5T ranging from 100 - 25600.

* ISO 100 *
* ISO 200 *
* ISO 400 *
* ISO 800 *
* ISO 1600 *
* ISO 3200 *
* ISO 6400 *
* ISO 12800 *
* ISO 25600 *

It is clearly seen that details started to smudge in ISO 6400. In ISO 12800 it is almost not usable with all the colors noise pop out.

I also brought along the NEX-5T for some shooting at Batu Caves. I tagged along with Justin who wanna do some documentary video of Batu Caves with his new loaned Panasonic G6. The camera is cool yo! Deserved to be sit in between GH2 and GH3. Nevertheless, Justin loaned me his Samyang 85mm f1.4 to play around with bokeh.

* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *

* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *
* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *

I decided to use focus peeking when switching to the Samyang 85mm since auto focus is not available and the sun actually very glaring that I hardly see the LCD screen on NEX-5T. At this time I wish I could have an electronic viewfinder. The focus peeking wasn't that precise either since it doesn't provide me outline of the subject details such as eye or mouth. Most of the time it only showing me the subject overall outline. Hence, I have difficulty to get focus that I want with manual lens.

* 85mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.4 *
* 85mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.4 *
* 85mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.4 *

Nevertheless, f1.4 is very bokehlicious! Thanks to the APS-C sensor also to make it happen due to 1.5x crop factor. 85mm also a very nice focal length for portrait. It actually make my heart itchy abit to get one.

* 35mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.8 *
* 16-50mm lens, ISO 100, f/4 *
* 85mm lens, ISO 100, f/1.4 *
* 85mm lens, ISO 100, f/2 *
* 16-50mm lens, ISO 100, f/5.6 *
* 16-50mm lens, ISO 100, f/4 *
* 16-50mm lens, ISO 100, f/4 * 


Sony NEX-5T is a great camera. Huge sensor, small body and also fast hybrid AF that I gonna talk about it next. I even used it to shoot Arthur's Day that just happened last Friday night by pushing ISO up to 1600 or 800 with kit lens only. The 16-50mm kit lens is equivalent to 24-75mm which provide me wide enough focal length.

Next it is about the Fast Hybrid AF in the NEX-5T. When come to choosing camera, it is unavoidable that fast Auto Focus will be my first priority. Just like the previous NEX-5R, Sony NEX-5T also features Fast Hybrid AF auto focus technology, which combines phase-detection and contrast-detection methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus in any shooting situation. The intuitive focusing system uses 99 phase-detection AF points arrayed on the image sensor to detect a subject’s distance and quickly lock focus. Then, contrast-detection AF confirms extremely fine, precise details.


In Speed Priority mode, the camera will switch automatically to phase detection tracking AF to track fast-moving action accurately in each frame up to 10 frames per second. Of course, the frame rate may vary based on shooting conditions.

So far the AF speed in the NEX-5T is not disappointing. During my shooting at Arthur's Day with kit lens, it managed to locked target pretty fast and accurate. However, there is once in a while it focus hunting and failed to focus. But overall, the successful focus rate is higher and fast too. Thanks to that, I actually can capture pretty good Arthur's Day photos when the artist posing or doing some quick action that most photographer easily missed.





On my Macro shooting, the 35mm f3.5 actually pretty hunting. I blame the lens focus system actually, not the camera itself.





On night market as well, I never failed to get inaccurate focused. It focus the target immediately when I pointed my camera and pressing the shutter button half way.




As overall, the AF speed and precisely focus is very reliable in Sony NEX-5T in most of the situation. I won't say it is 100% fast since it is much dependent on the lens that you equiped too but during most of my test with kit lens, it is definitely reliable.

Sometimes, I really can't help it but to praise Sony NEX design. The NEX-5T is so tiny yet manage to slot in APS-C sensor body. The Sony NEX-5T is measured at 111 x 59 x 39 mm with only 276 g (body only with battery).


If to compare with my one of the most compact super zoom camera, Sony HX50V, both seem pretty much identical in terms of size if you ignore the lens. This has make Sony NEX-5T really really small with huge sensor on boards.



Obviously it is smaller than my Olympus E-P3 too. Not to mentioned it offer much better grip than my Olympus. Grip is really important for some photographers for comfort when holding the camera especially when shooting for long hours with long and heavy lens. Kudos to Sony!



Sony NEX-5T also come with 180 degree tiltable screen. In other words, you can do high angle, low angle and even self portrait with Sony NEX-5T!




Here some example how I use the tilt screen in capturing some low angle and high angle shot. Even selfie XD Bet alot girls gonna like this.






Beside use for photos, the flip screen is usable also for video shooting. You can easily achieve high and low angle thanks tot he screen flexibility. At least you don't need to lay down on the road for low angle or need to be damn tall for high angle. Check out the video sample I did. I gotta squeeze my eye and sweat alot coz it is really hot and sun burning!



Overall, it is one of the flexible camera that Sony NEX-5T offer. It is compact in size, pocketable if you mount pancake lens (which is 16mm f2.8 or the 16-50mm kits if you pocket large enough), medium size grip and also tiltable screen! Not to mentioned it offer high quality performances in small body.

People nowdays are also getting demanding more and more especially posting better image quality on their social network site such as Facebook or Instagram. Hence, camera nowdays came with Wi-Fi built in to full fill the requirement to post up better images on social networking site on the go. Sony introduced the NEX-5T that came with NFC which make pairing and connecting with the smartphone easier via One Touch!


Obviously the first thing you need is a smartphone. Well no joke you need to have at least an Android or iOS smartphone. Then proceed to download PlayMemories Mobile app by Sony at here for Android user or here for iOS user. The pairing will be much easier and faster if you have NFC on-board on your smartphone. If not don't worry, you still can pair it manually via Wi-Fi.


Open the image you wanna transfer to your smartphone on your NEX-5T and grab your phone just pair it via NFC and you'll get the photo immediately. Or else, you need to go to menu on the NEX-5T and go under playback, then select "Send to smartphone". Then open your PlayMemories Mobile app in your smartphone and connect the NEX-5T account.


I have done a video demo as well. Check it out ;)



I found out there is another app in PlayMemories store which allowed more control during doing remote control using the smartphone.



You send the photo to computer as well but apparently it need a wireless router with a WPS button. Unfortunately I don't have one thus I couldn't test it. You can view the tutorial here or watch the demo video.



I uploaded few photos in my Instagram account, jackieloi. All taken with Sony NEX-5T :)

So you think PlayMemories app only limited to smartphone? You're wrong! Sony NEX-5T (and previous NEX-5R & NEX-6) has it's own app store also known as PlayMemories Camera Apps. It is an exclusive store where user can download the apps from there and personalize the camera by adding new features of the suer choice. PlayMemories Camera Apps can make your camera easier to use, help refine your photos and take you in new creative directions.

They are three ways to access PlayMemories Camera apps :

1) Inside the camera itself


2) via website : sony.net/pmca


3) Install the PlayMemories Home into your pc when you connect the camera.


Either way you choose to access the PlayMemories Camera Apps, you need to sign up for an account before you can use it. After done signing in, just browse your favourites apps to be download into your camera. Follow the instruction and everything will goes well :) It is pretty simple and direct.


One of my favourite app is none other than the Picture Effect+. The app able to Add more creativity to your camera. It expand your camera’s capabilities and your imagination with multiples effect to be chosen. One of my favourite is HDR effect. It looks good with landscape!


There is also smart remote control app that I mentioned before during my part 1 review. You can easily control your camera with your smartphone. Just use your smartphone as remote viewfinder and shutter release. You can even use it to adjust the exposure and see your new photos. Not to mention, instant sharing to social network!




To learn more about the apps, you can check out at http://discover.store.sony.com/playmemoriesapps/. I wish I could purchase the Time Lapse apps but apparently it wasn't available for Malaysia region. That's sad or else I could produce some pretty cool Time Lapse.

Been shooting for almost a week with NEX-5T, I started slowly to adapt it. Don't get me wrong, I still love my faithfully Olympus E-P3. However Wifi & NFC, huge sensor, better bokeh, tilt screen and also good video recording offered by Sony NEX-5T is pretty tempting. If there's a cons I would complain in this camera, it will be the lacked of standard hotshoe and also low battery life.

If you have any question about the camera, feel free to drop a comment here and I will try my best to answer it ;)

Sony NEX-5T is available in Malaysia now with RRP RM2,299 with 16-50mm kits.

7 comments:

Jadice Lau said...

Thank you for your review! I am thinking of buying this newly released camera. ;p
I was wondering if the remote control can be done via Wifi connection with phones.
Since my smartphone has no NFC function, it is definitely taken into account.
Looking forward to your reply !!! xP

Jackie Loi said...

Hi Jadice! Ya sure it can be controlled via WiFi :) NFC is just help to pairing and hassle free by doing manually connection. Plus NFC only for transfering photo. For remote control it definitely need manually connect to wifi.

Hope that help :)

Unknown said...

Jloi, thank you for sharing. I just bought NEx-5T 2 days ago (which actually a gift from wife) This is my first time using Sony camera. Still getting use to it. Your sharing help me a lot. Thanks again.

Jackie Loi said...

@Unknown Hi there, nice! you had a lovely wife :) Hope you have fun with the NEX-5T and keep shooting!

EnMin Ser said...

hi i just bought the exact camera. for the self portrait, the image always flipped itself after that. how do i change the settings for it?

EnMin Ser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackie Loi said...

@EnMin u mean flip after shoot? strange it didn't happen on mine.