Following on from my recent blog post on my related website, where I looked at the alternatives to always carrying my heavy professional DSLR kit around with me at all times this  Sponsored Post  looks at one of the options available in the market. This is the new generation camera –   a Compact system camera that allows DSLR-quality images to be shot, yet remains as compact as a Cyber-shot camera.


I’ve done my homework:  I’ve looked online at all the various review sites, I’ve talked to my friend-photographers on the best social network for photographers (flickr), and I’ve been along in person to my local camera shop to actually try out a few cameras for size (you can’t beat holding them in your hands to know if you are going to feel comfortable using it). After much head-scratching and deliberating, I’m now seriously considering one of the Sony Alpha NEX cameras.


I’ve decided I still need an Interchangeable lens camera because of the versatility such a system gives me, and because I’ve yet to hear of the existence of any single lens that goes from wide angle to telephoto at the speed and aperture that I want.


But which of the Sony’s range best suits my needs? There are plenty of the technical considerations yet to be made, but on balance my favourite at the moment (and the one which best suits my budget) is the new NEX-5N which has made several advances from its already excellent predecessor the NEX-5.


Here are the key specs…


16.1 effective megapixels Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and new BIONZ processor enabling ISO 25600 high sensitivity

Full HD Movie with 50p/25p, manual focus, full P/A/S/M exposure control and improved audio

Tilt-angle 7.5cm (3”) Xtra Fine LCD touch-screen and easy-to-use Photo Creativity interface

10 fps continuous shooting (In Speed Priority Continuous mode)

Styled in magnesium, just 23.3mm slim (Distance from front of body to LCD monitor screen surface)


The only reservation is that after years of DSLR use I really love having a viewfinder and that could just be the thing that swings me up towards the next one in the range – the NEX-7. It still has all the great reviews and even more enhanced specs, as well as a viewfinder AND built-in flash. This package makes it a serious contender to replace my DSLR and not just be a compact alternative for the days I need a break from the heavy lifting!


Take a look at these specs for the NEX-7 and you’ll see that it really does compete with the big boys without  compromise


24.3 effective megapixels Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor

Quick, responsive autofocus and world’s fastest (0.02 sec) release time lag

Quick, versatile new TRINAVI control

High-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ and built-in flash

Full HD Movie with 50p/25p, manual focus, full P/A/S/M exposure control and improved audio

10fps continuous shooting (Speed priority mode)


So I’ve looked at the impressive specs and all the great technical reasons to go for a NEX-5N or even the NEX-7 but there’s also something to be said about the other end of the scale and saving some money by going for the cheapest offering of the family, the NEX-F3.  It does offer a fair bit of the oomph of the others, and the lower price point means you’ve got more left over to buy some of those interchangeable lenses.


Here are the key specs for the NEX-F3


APS-C size image sensor with 16.1 effective megapixels

180° tiltable LCD for easy self-portraits

Built-in flash, helpful in low-light conditions

Auto Portrait Framing for easy, top-quality portraits

AVCHD (50i/25p) ensures smooth, high quality video

Clear Image Zoom doubles effective focal length while maintaining full pixel count

Great results made easy with Superior Auto mode

Long 470 shot battery life and easy USB charging


On balance, the winner for me is the NEX-5N, since it offers the best combination of value for money and amazing features.


NEX-5N black 1855 lens