First Impressions: Sony NEX-5N

Lately, I’ve really been into photography as it was once a hobby of mine in my younger days, but something that kind of just fell off in my mind. I’m trying to get back into it however thanks in part to my kids and Instagram. (Yes, Instagram). Seeing all the amazing images that people were capturing really inspired me to pick photography back up as hobby.

Today, I received a Sony NEX-5N camera. I ordered it on Wednesday of this week and got it today via FedEX. (On a side note, love Amazon Prime). Upon receiving the package, I was quite surprised at the size of it. I imagined that the box would be a lot bigger than it was. Upon opening the box, you’ll see that everything is neatly packaged within the box. The instructions and included software will be the first things you see, which is standard for all digital cameras. Flipping over the cardboard separation, you’ll see that the camera and accessories are underneath and also separated by cardboard and plastic bags.

The Sony NEX-5N accessories include a camera strap, battery, battery charger, external flash add-on, USB cable, and a lens hood. I was surprised by the lens hood attachment as I did not know it came with one and none of the reviews I read mentioned it coming with one. It was certainly a welcomed bonus. The camera itself is wrapped in an anti-static white bag and the lens and body already come attached together along with the lens cap. The only thing that is disappointing about this is that the package does not include a lens rear cap or a cap for the body if you wanted to store each separately. These are optional “accessories” you would need to purchase.

One of the first things I did was inspect the body and lens just to make sure everything was in good order and in good cosmetic condition. I wasn’t able to turn on the NEX-5N yet due to the fact that the battery does not come charged and I have to wait about 3 hours for it to charge up. This is the first time I’ve run into a piece of electronics where the battery didn’t at least come partially charged. It’s not a big deal but this just means I have to wait longer to play with the camera. I’d say it’s similar to receiving the keys to a Bugatti Veyron, but not being able to drive it because you have to walk 5 miles to get gas and then walk back to fill her up.

Since I wasn’t able to play with any of the camera’s functions yet, I examined the camera itself first. The first thing you’ll probably notice about the camera is how light it is, yet how solid it feels in your hands due to the mainly all magnesium construction. The body is matte black and has a real nice stealthy look to it. On the back of the camera, the NEX-5N features an articulating touch screen LCD panel. Most  articulating screen I’ve seen are either hinged on the side or the bottom and usually feel a bit flimsy. The Sony screen however only articulates for tilting the screen upwards and downwards. The hinge system they use seems really strong and built to last as it’s also made entirely out of metal and hinged in 3 spots instead of 1.

The lens attached to the body is a Sony made, E18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. Unlike traditional DSLR lenses that are mainly plastic and rubber, this lens is made entirely out of metal (I don’t know what kind) and has a really nice industrial look to it. Because of this, it too feels very solid in your hands. When combined with the body, the fit is so exceptional that it almost feels as if the body and lens are one piece. Very impressive indeed. As you can see from the image, I attached the lens hood to it just to see how it would look.

I do like the contrast between the matte black body and brushed silver lens which is one of the reasons I got it in this color combination. I’ve seen the silver bodied NEX-5N and just didn’t like how everything blended together.

Overall, I am very impressed with the whole presentation of the NEX-5N, its build quality, and the solid feeling this thing has in my hands. It’s a fairly small camera when compared to other in it’s class, so people with large hands might not like it, but for me, it fits perfectly in mine and the weight of it terrific. As soon as this battery finishes charging, I’ll be able to dig into the camera software a bit and then over the weekend, take some sample images to see if the image quality really is as good as everyone says it is.