Sony NEX 5-R: A new Sony NEX-5N?

Thursday November 08 2012

Sensor Review
Introduction | Sony NEX 5-R sensor performance | Sony NEX 5-R versus competition | Conclusion
Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-5R

With an overall DxOMark Score of 78, the NEX-5R places 28th in the DxOMark rankings. It beats its predecessor, the NEX-5N, by only one point, which clearly indicates that it uses the very same sensor.

The NEX-5R jumps 5 places ahead of the Sony SLT-A57, the DSLR equipped with the same sensor but somewhat handicapped in low-light sensitivity by its use of Translucent Mirror Technology. The NEX-5R also jumps ahead of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV by 9 places as well as the Fujifilm X100 – a camera of reference – by 10 places.

For color depth, the NEX-5R scores 23.7 bits, so no improvement here with respect to the NEX-5N.

The NEX-5R delivers a maximum dynamic range of 13.1EV, a very honorable score that puts it into 15th place in the DxOMark rankings. However, as far as this precise criterion goes, the NEX-5R is still beaten by several other cameras equipped with apparently similar sensors, such as the Nikon D5100 and D7000, which measure 13.6 and 13.9EV, respectively, as well by as the Pentax K-5, currently in first place among APS-C cameras for dynamic range with a score of 14.1EV. We note a slight improvement of 1/3EV over the NEX-5N (a difference that is hardly noticeable on final print images).

For low-light sensitivity, the Sony NEX-5R achieves a score of 910 ISO, which puts it in 39th place in the DxOMark rankings. By comparison, the camera with the most sensitive APS-C sensor in this category, the Nikon D5100, racks up a score of 1183 ISO. This is a big difference in terms of absolute values, but translates into an improvement of only 1/3EV, which is scarcely noticeable on a print.

The Sony line of compact hybrids also includes the NEX-F3, which shares its 16Mpix CMOS sensor with the NEX-5R. The NEX-5R scores 5 more points on the DxOMark scale than the very consumer-oriented NEX-F3 — a difference is achieved thanks to the NEX-5R’s 100 ISO setting (the NEX-F3 starts at 200 ISO), which improves the maximum dynamic range that the sensor can deliver (2/3EV greater for the NEX-5R than for the NEX-F3).