Sony NEX-5 RAW vs JPEG using Aperture 3.03

As many of you know, the Sony NEX- 3 and NEX-5 cameras are now fully supported by Aperture 3.03 as well as Lightroom 3. I have been using Aperture 3 lately but may switch to Lightroom as the demo seems pretty fast on my Imac, faster than Aperture. In any case, I ran out back this morning to take a couple of quick test shots to see how the RAW files stack up against the JPEG files of the NEX-5. The JPEGs from this camera have been known to be somewhat soft, so I was hoping the RAW conversion would have a bit more “POP”. At first glance, there did not seem to be much difference but upon closer inspection, with the 100% crop, the RAW is better, no question! So, now I cant wait to get out and shoot some real photos with the NEX-5, shooting RAW only and then see the results. Here are my quick test results from this afternoon…

Here is an image I took in my yard, using the spot metering of the NEX-5 so I exposed for the leaf. I shot this in RAW and JPEG and ย processing the RAW in aperture gave me plenty of detail with the 18-55 kit lens. Shot at f/5.6. You can click the image for a large 1800 pixel wide version.

and a 100% crop…

and one more. This one was shot with the 18-55 as well at f/4.5 at 4omm

and the crops!

So, like I said, I cant wait to get some real photos with this combo! I think I need a 1-2 day photo trip soon ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, Sony still tells me that the NEX-5 is sold out WORLDWIDE and it has been one of their most popular cameras. Ever! Demand is high for the 5 but for some reason no one seems to want the NEX-3? Same image quality, slightly larger body and 720 video instead of 1080, but its cheaper so also a good buy if you are someone looking into the Sony NEX system.

one more shot in RAW…click the image for larger 1800 pixel wide version!

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  1. Thanks for the report, Steve. I just received a CV Nokton 35 1.4 SC in the mail, and my NEX-5 arrives next week. I can’t wait to try that combo.

    p.s. I ordered my NEX through your Amazon link. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Steve – Would you consider making the raw images available for download, so that we can compare with various raw conversion tools?

    As always, thank you for the hard work.

  3. i could get the nex at a crazy discount given i work in the photography retail industry but still wont, lenses are more important then bodies and the sony nex lenses are bad. If i want to mess around with adapters ill get a epl1 or ep2 with a sharp kit lens then screw around.

    • Eric,
      I have to agree with you as I think you’ve just hit the nail on the head. The whole point of this kind of solution is that it’s a small, AF system that just works! Once you have to go fart-arsing around with adaptors to use MF lenses, you start asking the question ‘why am I not using a real MF camera?’. If you are using ‘M’ mount lenses, you’ve probably made a substantial investment and are not that far away from having a body to go along with it (that’s if you don’t already own one). Also the whole point of it is that it has AF! Once I forgo that luxury, then why aren’t I just using an MF camera that’s optimized for that?
      I’ve tried the ‘M’ mount adaptor for the panasonic GF-1 and after the initial novelty wares off, it gets left gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere,(I don’t even know where mine is) on account of it being yet another piece of gear that I have to schlep around or remember to.

      I have the NEX-5 and think it’s a great little camera, however the lens debacle is plain unacceptable. Personally I don’t understand the 16mmf/2.8 being the first prime offering, such a curious choice. I’m waiting to see if their equivalent 50mm will put up more of a fight but to me a camera is only as good as it’s lenses and so to expect a punter to go looking for better third party lenses in order to get great performance out of their system is utter lunacy and just plain amateur on the part of Sony.


  4. Steve, can you process the same images in LR 3.2 RC and apply the 18-55 lens correction? I would like to see the difference since so far LR has beat every converter I have tried.

  5. I’ve seen some nice pics taken with the NEX 5 using Contax and Leica glass. It might not be a rangefinder and it might not be as quiet as a Leica M, but it sure is cheaper than buying a second hand M8 or M9. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A camera shop close to me has an NEX 5 in stock and I am seriously thinking of picking one up. They are even willing to take in and digital point and shoot I have and knock off $80 from the price of the Sony. Result!!

    • I have seen some great stuff with the NEX5 and the same glass you mention. The quality is there, with the right glass. It’s still not like USING an M8 or M9 though. I may be picking up a mint used M8 myself, to tide me over until I can get an M9 again. In any case, the NEX5 has tons of potential.

      • Ah, that sounds cool. Mind if I ask how the used M8 is? I haven’t seen any for less than $2,500 without a lens. Way too steep in price for a newbie like me. hehehe.

  6. Steve, what’s going on with the upper right side of that tree.. is it me or does it look decentered/oof where it shouldn’t based on the aperture? Thanks for the comparison!

    • edit – eh, maybe it’s falloff in sharpness from center, but it seems drastic.. it’s by the split up a bit and to the right, the bark seems to lose a ton of definition no? sorry for the double post.

      • Yes, I agree. My main complaint with this system is the lenses…but, others are getting great results with adapters and using high quality primes. The kit lenses are a but below average.

        • Can we look forward to some elmarit or summilux on nex shots? What if we ask really nicely? ๐Ÿ˜€ I was quick to bash the NEX, however I am intrigued lately by the thought of using it only with mf lenses since the screen is so nice. Thanks for the quick responses, keep up the great work – I’ve linked back from l-cam as there’s a raging debate re: x1 vs NEX along with opinions from all sides.

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