Home / News / Camera News / Sony Unveils World's Smallest Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Sony Unveils World's Smallest Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Gordon Kelly


Sony Unveils World's Smallest Interchangeable Lens Cameras

For years we have waited for a genuine compact DSLR beater and now we have a fourth format in 18 months. Step forward Sony...

Following in the footsteps of Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix G1, Lumix GF1 and Olympus PEN E-P1 and proprietary systems seen in Ricoh's GXR and Samsung's NX10 are the Sony 'NEX-5' (left) and 'NEX-3' (right).

Both shoot at 14.2MP, have Exmor APS HD SMOS sensors, 7fps shooting, ISO ranges of 200 - 12800 and are compatible with all E-mount lenses as well as A-mount lenses with an optional LA-EA1 adaptor. Striking fear into the heat of their rivals, Sony also claims they are the World's smallest and lightest cameras to feature interchangeable lenses.

How small? Just 24.2mm (NEX-5) and 25.4mm (NEX-3) - excluding grip and mount - and that certainly puts them into the same bracket as standard digital cameras, even if you are then likely to makes them comically long with the likes of an 18-200mm lens. As for their weight, this is equally impressive at only 287g (NEX-5) and 297g (NEX-3) including battery and storage.

How do they work? I'd love to tell you, but Sony isn't elaborating at this stage. In fact all we do know is they have a "mirrorless contruction". No kidding Sony! Meanwhile omitting a viewfinder may prove more controversial.

Moving reluctantly on then we also learn both models can shoot 1080p video in AVCHD, but the NEX-3 is limited to 720p in Mpeg4 while the NEX-5 is somewhat surprisingly restricted to 1080i. More positively, both models feature Sony's impressive Sweep Panorama mode, use 3in " Xtra Fine" LCD displays and promise speedy operation thanks to Sony's powerful BIONZ processor. You'll also get USB and HDMI ports, though more gimmicky camera connectivity like Bluetooth and WiFi are omitted. SDHC/SDXC and Memory Stick Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo cards are all swallowed without grumble and 330 shots can be taken before needed to recharge the battery.

Kit form, single and dual lens kits will be provided for each model and they'll go on sale next month. We don't know UK pricing as yet, but in the EU the NEX-3 is expected to start from a very reasonable 500 euros (£423) with a 16mm f2.8 pancake lens while the NEX-5 will carry a 100 euro premium. Body kits could be just half this and a small external flash is bundled meaning they could give current value for money champ the Samsung NX10 a real scare.

We're more than a little bit excited...


NEX 5/NEX 3 Product Page


May 12, 2010, 11:59 am

Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Please Cliff can you review the NEX-3!! It's only £446 with both lens out in Taiwan! http://www.photosharp.com.tw/p... I really need to dump my old Canon and pickup something smaller.

Geoff Richards

May 12, 2010, 12:10 pm

Don't panic, Rich - I'm sure it's on Cliff's list. Not sure what the UK release date is though.


May 12, 2010, 1:55 pm

"Meanwhile omitting a viewfinder may prove more controversial."

Spot on Gordon !

For me it would be crucial, I hope though that nobody will describe these interesting and desireable cameras as point & shoot, if there is a review.


May 12, 2010, 2:06 pm

It&#8217s all well and good being the &#8216smallest&#8217 but if waters down the experience to that of a point and shoot it just seems a bit pointless.

I am all in favour for smaller SLR&#8217s, in fact I love the idea, (My D90&#8217s a dam brick!) but I at least want a decent viewfinder and flash, or it&#8217s just another novelty camera to me.

I am sure lots of people will buy it so they can take nice photos of their new Ipad&#8217s!


May 12, 2010, 2:06 pm

And the problem solved by this design is, um...


May 12, 2010, 3:46 pm


Surely the problem solved is taking decent pictures, with appropriate lenses, without lugging around several kilo's of equipment everywhere. Having just got back form a 3 month trek around Borneo with a Samsung NX-20 + associated lenses @ 4.5kg, I can confirm there is a problem out there for solving... :)


May 12, 2010, 3:51 pm

Should be GX-20. Damn camera reviews....!


May 12, 2010, 5:00 pm

What crop will the sensor be in these bodies do you know?


May 12, 2010, 5:15 pm

Re lack of optical viewfinder FDA-SV1, check out http://www.sony.net/Products/i...

Described as "simple", it offers 16mm field of view.


May 12, 2010, 5:29 pm

@JDunn, you've never had to haul around a lot of kit on holiday then? My 350d + two lens is a couple of kg and peeves me off when I'm on my feet for 12 hours. Not to mention the size. Smaller is certainly better for those who want something more comprehensive than a point and shoot.

It looks like a 1.6x crop as it still fits other Sony lenses with an adapter. Built in image stabilisation = win too.

It's out in June over here, and I'm off to the local markets to have a play asap.


May 12, 2010, 5:48 pm

@Kaben: It's a standard APS-C sensor, so it'll have a 1.5x crop.

Luan Bach

May 12, 2010, 10:50 pm

Since it's mirror less means that the lens is closer to the sensor hence the crop factor should be less ?


May 13, 2010, 1:53 am

@GerryD: Unless I'm missing something, that doesn't look like it'll be capable of zooming with the lens, so its utility will be quite limited with anything other than the 16mm prime.


May 13, 2010, 4:36 pm

@Luan Bach - Crop factor is an expression of sensor dimension ratio in relation to 35mm film, and the APS-C sensor in the NEX is the same size as Alpha DSLR, so it's 1.5x. Focal length wise, the NEX lenses will be the same 35mm equivalent as the Alpha DSLRs - so an 18-55mm kit lens on both the Alpha DSLRs and NEX will have a 35mm equivalent of 27-82.5mm.


May 13, 2010, 9:08 pm

These really do look the part. But given that it is Sony I would exspect to see them around £600+ which would them make me think about a Samsung NX10 with twin lens or even the Panasonic G2.


July 5, 2010, 1:08 am

Like all Sony cameras it uses a non standard 'hot shoe'.

The flash is the size of a matchbox and the power of a glow-worms arm-pit.

One really has to wonder just what Sony have in mind here small is fine...up to a point. But the compromises forced by miniaturisation out weigh any gains.

The sticky out lens means it won't go in a shirt pocket, The add-on after thought flash should have been a pop-up unit so something else to loose.

The fundamentals are all there but the basic execution is somewhat flawed; with all the hype one expected better. Not a compact body with a lens mount...and an after thought flash.

comments powered by Disqus