There’s not much room for anything except a handful of buttons and a giant lens relative to its body. But the Sony Alpha NEX-5 may be the best of the recent move towards ultra-compact SLR-like digital cameras.
The form factor is svelte, at about 4.5 by 2.5 by 1.5 inches, and the NEX-5 gets away with that by eliminating the flash, and no eyepiece viewfinder, according to the New York Times review. It’s the smallest camera where you can swap out lenses.
CNET agreed with the hype around the NEX-5, arguing that it had the right combination of easy to access controls and high-sensitive photo quality. Those helped it get past a frequently confusing user interface.
For those looking to compare the image quality to full-size SLRs, the NEX-5s APS-C sensor is on par with mid-range models, although at a fraction of the size according to PC Magazine. It also has a substantially larger sensor to capture images, about 60 percent larger than similar competitors.
If you’re serious about taking photos with stunning quality but want a smaller form factor, the NEX-5 might be right up your alley at about $600. If you don’t need a metal casing or video capture, the NEX-3 comes in at about $100 less.