Sony announces 16.1MP NEX-5R with Fast Hybrid AF, WiFi and downloadable apps (hands-on video)
By Zach Honig posted Aug 29th 2012 10:41AM
Sony announces 161megapixel NEX5R with Fast Hybrid AF, WiFi connectivity and downloadable apps handson video
Sony’s entry-level NEX-C3 was recently updated with the NEX-F3, so it was only a matter of time before the company’s mid-range mirrorless model scored a successor of its own. Keeping in line with its familiar naming scheme, the NEX-5R includes a new 16.1-megapixel sensor that’s based on the version packaged with the 5N, and boasts low-light sensitivity through ISO 25,600. The new model offers a bevy of new features, however, with many stemming from its new-found ability to connect to the web, as Sony’s first mirrorless camera with built-in 802.11 b/g WiFi. Standard remote functionality is included, via the Smart Remote Control app that lets you use an Android or iOS device to snap photos, Direct Upload for sending media to the web, and a typical suite of sharing features, including PC and DLNA access.
The 5R takes connectivity leaps further with PlayMemories Camera Apps, letting you download applications directly to the device, including tools that assist with retouching and sequential shooting. (Sony hasn’t confirmed whether firmware updates will be pushed wirelessly as well, but it’s a possibility.) With the 5R, the camera maker is targeting current DSLR users who are ready to upgrade but would consider a switch to mirrorless. Digital SLR-like controls will help ease the transition, including a new dial near the shutter release. There’s also a new Fast Hybrid AF, which pairs 99 phase-detect AF points with a 25-area contrast system, resulting in noticeable improvements with any lens. There’s also 1080/60p video, along with a 10 frames-per-second continuous shooting mode (with AF tracking!). If you were fond of the front-facing self-portrait LCD mode on the F3, you’ll be happy to know it’s here as well, complete with the downward-facing option included with previous-gen NEX models, but notably absent from the F3.
We took Sony’s latest ILC for a quick spin, and noticed improvements immediately, especially when it came to the focusing system — going side-by-side with the C3, the newer camera was able to focus much more quickly and accurately in low-light, even with the standard (and generally unimpressive) 18-55mm kit lens. Touchscreen functionality was present as well, just as it was on the 5N, though you can navigate all of the menus with dedicated controls, should you wish. We weren’t able to test WiFi functionality, but it sounds promising in theory, especially considering the optional apps. We’ll be taking a much closer look once Sony releases its NEX-5R in mid-October – the camera will ship in black, silver or white for $650, or $750 with the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. For now, you can take a closer look in our gallery below, or the hands-on video after the break.