As you know, I just recently purchased a Sony NEX-5N in order to take more pictures of my kids and all my experiences with them. When compared to a DSLR however, the Sony NEX-5N is just too pretty to let get scuffed up so I had decided to buy a case for it. Sony sells a leather 2-piece case for the the camera, but it retails for around $90 when purchasing both pieces. This was way more than I was willing to spend on a case so I did a quick search on Amazon and came across several similarly looking cases to the official Sony case. These obviously are no-named products and are sold mostly by third party vendors on Amazon. The look fairly close to the way the Sony case looks, except that the price is way more affordable at around $25 for both pieces.

For $25, I decided to take a chance on one of them and ordered the one that seemed to have the best reviews. This one comes from a company called COSMOS and is a dark brown with a soft brown interior lining. I went with the brown color because I figured it has a retro feel to it and would be a nice contrast to the modern looking Sony.

When receiving the case, I was actually quite surprised by how small it actually was, but then remembered that the Sony NEX-5N isn’t exactly what I would call a large camera. The case comes assembled, so you’ll have to disassemble it a bit in order to install the case. The bottom piece of the case covers up the bottom, part of the left side, and most of the entire right side of the handgrip. It is attached via a screw mechanism that screws into the tripod receptacle. Once it’s screwed on, on their pretty solidly and doesn’t feel loose at all. It’s not a super tight fit, but it does hug the camera nicely and the padded, soft inner lining gives the camera some good protection from small bumps. There are also little loops on the sides that seem to go over the metal loops for the camera straps which is a nice touch and allows you to use the straps still.

The 2nd portion of the case is the lens cover and it snaps to the first part on the bottom of the case. There are 3 snaps, but you only need to unsnap one of them to flip the hood down and use your camera. This portion fits the kit lens that comes with the NEX-5N so if you’re worried about fitment, don’t. It will probably not fit any longer lenses than that however. If you use a smaller lens than the kit lens, this case might be a bit large but luckily you can just detach the lens hood portion and just use the camera body portion of the case.

For those that like using the flash, this case sadly does not allow you to have the flash attached to your camera. It just won’t fit in the case with the lens cover attached. This is a minor inconceivable for some but for those who rarely even use the flash, it should really matter that much. You can however store the optional lens hood with the case on. All you have to do is store it flipped around and it will fit.

If you looked at the images of the case, you’ll also notice that you can still use a tripod with the case attached as it has the receptacle for it on the bottom. There are a couple other minor annoyances with the case you’ll encounter when using it. First, you’ll have to take it off every single time you want to access the battery or the memory card. That will affect most users who have to charge their batteries a lot. For me however, it’s not a big issue as I don’t shoot enough per day to warrant me charging the battery daily.

For $25, I had nothing to lose purchasing this and I’m glad I took that leap of faith. It is a well made case with very little to complain about as it fits the Sony NEX-5 / NEX-5N perfectly. This is mainly due to the fact that it is almost a carbon copy of the official Sony branded leather case. I haven’t seen the genuine Sony case yet, but I’m assuming this generic branded one in terms of quality isn’t as good as the Sony’s, but for the price, I’m not complaining about it. I love the retroness of it as well as the color which is a huge contrast to my matte black and metallic colored NEX. I recommend this case for those who don’t want to spend close to $100 on the the Sony branded one. If you search Amazon, you’ll also be able to find similar cases to this one in different colors as well.

UPDATE 02/07/12 – It’s been about a week since I got the case and after a week of usage, one of the buttons fell off. It broke clean off with no way of putting it back on so now it’s going back to Amazon. I’m a bit weary of purchasing another one just to have it break again so at the moment, I don’t recommend that you buy this case or any of  the cheap knockoff cases. I’m not sure if it was just a defect with my case in general or if it’s because the case uses cheap materials. Either way, I won’t be purchasing another one of these. 

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