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Sony NEX-5R review



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Sony NEX-5R 5
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  • Sony NEX-5R
  • Sony NEX-5R


Our Score:



  • Various well-placed and useful buttons
  • Good image quality
  • Flip-out LCD screen


  • Lacking both a built-in flash and mode dial
  • Touch screen buttons somewhat undersized
  • Poorly though-out menu system

Key Features

  • 16.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor; 3-inch, 921k-dot vari-angle LCD screen; Sony NEX lens mount; ISO 100 – 25,600; 1920 x 1080, 50p / 50i video capture
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £350.00

What is the Sony NEX-5R?

The Sony NEX-5R is the third iteration of the growing ‘5’ strand of the NEX series. Although it takes a host of its design cues from its predecessor – the Sony NEX-5N – it is in fact a complete different camera, featuring a specification that is aimed at bringing the ‘5’ range right up to date. Like all the Sony NEX range, it aims to combine DSLR photo quality with a compact format that still appeals to enthusiasts. It’s become a very popular range of cameras, so the Sony NEX-5R has much to live up to.

Sony NEX-5R 5

Sony NEX-5R : Features

One of the headline features of the Sony NEX-5R brings it in line with the current state of the compact system camera market. It now has Wi-Fi that supports a host of wireless controls and features through the simple installation of the Sony PlayMemories app on either iOS or Android.

This apps lets you control the camera through a direct Wi-Fi connection the smart, while the app also supports the wireless transfer of images for either storage or review. This wireless transfer is also possible between the NEX-5R and any networked PC or Mac.

The Sony NEX-5R’s auto-focus system is improved, too. It combines both a phase and contrast-detect AF system with a view towards switching between the two and providing an optimised, and therefore faster, AF system.

Sony NEX-5R 1

The screen found on the rear of the Sony NEX-5R is the same as that found on the rear of the Sony NEX-5N. It measures in at 3-inches and features a resolution of 921k-dots, while it’s also hinged so it can be viewed from a variety of angles.

The LCD is also a touch screen unit and thus supports touch focus amongst other functions. Added to this list on the NEX-5R for the first time is touch shutter functionality that allows image capture from simply touching the screen.

In terms of core imaging functionality, the Sony NEX-5R features an APS-C CMOS chip, as did its NEX-5 predecessors. The sensor itself, however, is redeveloped according to Sony and now features a 16.1MP resolution.

The sensor is paired with Sony’s BIONZ processor, a chip that offers some impressive shooting figures. These include an extensive ISO range of 100-25,600, continuous shooting speed of 10fps and the promise of noise-free images at the higher ISO settings.


September 30, 2013, 9:18 pm

Is the nex5-T, the replacement of this camera not already out?


October 1, 2013, 8:37 am

You should be reviewing the 5T. This one is over a year old.


October 1, 2013, 8:46 am

It is coming, yes. We just realised we missed this one and wanted a review of it for reference. We also have a feature coming that includes it.

Brian O'Neill

October 1, 2013, 9:50 am

I just bought one of these last week. I got a refurb one for only £260 with the 18mm to 55mm lens. You can get some great deals from the sony outlet store, or amazon warehouse. I also have the rx100 so the good thing is the operating system is very similar. No mode dial is an odd omission, but I think this camera is amazing value. Sony cameras are fantastic all round, I was a canon man for years but now I am Sony all the way.


October 1, 2013, 9:59 am

I don't quite understand reviewer's insistance that NEX cameras "don't have a mode dial" and that this is a crucially missing feature; my NEX-C3 came with the default setting that pressing the button of back-face rotary dial brings up the mode selection then the rotary dial switches. Sure it's a couple of button presses more than a dedicated dial, but it's incredibly easy to switch modes using this central button!


October 1, 2013, 10:52 am

We will be.


October 13, 2013, 4:35 am

I just wanted to note that not ALL NEX lenses are stabilized as mentioned at the bottom of page 2. The new NEX-5T is out, but honestly the only major thing they added was NFC. If you don't need that and don't care for the 16-50mm lens(over the 18-55mm kit), you can find great deals on the "old" 5R.

Paul Deutsch

November 14, 2013, 5:53 pm

You have a typo under the Cons on the first page: Poorly though-out menu system should read Poorly thought-out. . . .

Simon Hall

July 21, 2015, 2:50 am

An excellent still photo camera. However, please be aware that the Sony NEX-5 and NEX-6 cameras have overheating issues that cause the device to shut down after 10+ minutes of video recording. These devices are often promoted as a good vlogging camera, but we ended up throwing ours in the bottom draw and replacing it with something else, because it kept turning off during video recording.

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