Last year I tried out the NEX-5 and I was curious to learn about the performance of the NEX-5N. First, this is a very preliminary comment and I will update this page in the future with a few more thoughts. This is not an extensive review, but just a real world example. I used the 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 lens, auto ISO and aperture priority for all of the pictures I took. These settings makes this camera very close to a point and shoot camera where you can control artistic feel with adjust depth of field to some degree. First some picture examples and then some metrics about use.
The above picture was shot at ISO 100, f7.1, 1/640 @96mm.
The above picture was shot at ISO 100, f7.1, 1/800 @24mm.
The above picture was shot at ISO 800, f5.6, 1/160 @103mm.
Metrics: I am always a bit curious about real world use of different cameras. There is so much focus and energy devoted to pixel peeking and other technical issues that it seems we lose ourselves in the forest of details and completely miss the most important point: did the photographer with their camera capture a note worthy picture.
So the NEX-5N was accompanied on my family vacation with two D700's: one with a 24-70 attached and the other with a 70-200 attached. During travel times I had the NEX-5N around my neck and for the other times, I had the NEX-5N and a Nikon D700 with me.
Results: I took a total of 1328 frames over a 6 day period on Captiva Island-South Seas Resort (a great resort). 967 frames were taken with a D700 and 361 with the NEX-5N. The higher use of the D700 is probably explained by two things: I was shooting some high dynamic range images (lots of frames for one picture) and I was also doing more rapid firing shooting with the D700. The NEX-5N was set to single shot mode, although it can shoot up to 10 frames a second.
I have highly critical reviewers looking at the pictures and selecting the very best of them (family members), but they have no knowledge as to which camera generated the picture. At total of 316 pictures were selected as 'worthy' of public consumption (about 24%). Of the 361 NEX-5N pictures, a total of 113 were selected or 31% of the pictures selected. Of the 967 Nikon D700 pictures, a total of 203 pictures were selected or 21%. Given the different shooting style between the two camera types, I believe that in terms of 'note-worthy' pictures, the NEX-5N and the D700 were essentially equivalent in performance. SInce I really love my D700's, I would have to rate the NEX-5N very highly both in terms of image quality and usability.
The last picture above was shot at ISO 800 so low light performance is respectable, but is not as good as the D700 above ISO 800.
If you want to learn more about this great little camera, go to the Sony site. The picture below is what my particular configuration looked like. The lens is considerable larger than the body, but still small enough as to not attract attention to it, for the most part.