With smartphone cameras getting better and better, it makes sense that the focus for digital cameras is shifting away from the basic point and click models towards prosumer devices that offer much more value for money—albeit at a higher cost.
One of the best examples of this new trend is the Sony NEX 5R, which released recently and is available for Rs.39,990. At that price, you could get a basic DSLR model, but the NEX 5R justifies the price by being much more portable, lighter, and much easier to learn to use, without too many sacrifices in quality or capability.
The camera is light and highly portable, but the real draw is in the intuitive control system. Instead of an array of confusing buttons and icons, the camera’s functions (aperture, shutter speed, exposure etc) are controlled using a context sensitive ring on top, near the on/off toggle. Instead of having four directional buttons on the back the menu also features radial controls which can be managed using the ring on the back. Between these two rings, you have all the tools you need to take great photos, but it’s also designed to be simple and accessible, and not even slightly intimidating.
At the same time, the camera uses a mirrorless design, which sacrifices the optical viewfinder but gives a good enough LCD viewfinder, with very little lag and good colour reproduction, which can with the press of a button show everything from a horizontal calibration tool to a miniature colour histogram, letting you access tools as and when you gain confidence.
Similarly, while the basic kit lens is very limited, it should suffice for people photography, getting close to your subjects or even photographing small products in a lightbox. And as you gain in confidence and skills, you can start to invest in more lenses and add a tremendous amount of flexibility to your gear.
This is a great way to learn more about photography, which is the niche that the NEX 5R falls in—it’s not professional equipment, but it’s meant for more than just taking pictures of last night’s party, to upload to Facebook.
The Sony NEX 5R is pricey, that’s true, but it’s a great buy for people looking to get serious about photography, and a highly light and portable camera for someone who already has higher end equipment.