NEX-5N - Some more experiences

Published at Sat, 2011-10-01, 06:16

In this article I want to note down some additional insights I gained since I wrote my Review of the NEX-5N.


As I wrote before, I experienced some issues with overheating when I was out for my first test shoots. They arose when leaving the camera on for some time, not recording one long clip but keeping it ready to shoot. When the camera is getting too hot, one gets a warning sign on the screen as can be seen in the image on the left, and a few minutes later the camera will power down.

Today I started recording and checked the camera state every few minutes for signs of impending heat issues. I set the camera up outdoors in the shade, it was about 20°C on a sunny day. My first test was at 25p, 24 MBit/s and the overheating warning appeared after some 12 to 16 minutes, while recording continued until a total of 22:54 minutes was reached and the camera switched off. After letting it cool down I started the second test at 50p, 28 MBit/s. It recorded a full 29:50 minutes and I continued immediately. It stopped after 9:23 minutes.

This little Test is absolutely unscientific but shows that there is a problem with overheating and the NEX.

Photographing with the NEX

Every contemporary camera allows one to take great photographs. What matters most for a good result is the photographer, so the photos I got from the NEX are very beautiful with the correct settings and a nice scene.

But something that can be very helpful is a good autofocus. I love my A850’s, which is very good and served me well in many situations. It’s really fast with the sony’s supersonic motor lenses. The 70-200 f2.8 has a wonderful autofocus speed on the A850, so I hoped that with modern contrast measurement techniques the NEX-5N would have a nice autofocus, although knowing it would hardly match a real DSLR’s.

While testing the NEX a bit more in depth I also went out to take some photos with the autofocus enabled. As I wrote before, I want full manual control when shooting video and don’t miss autofocus there. But while playing with photos I realized that the NEX’s autofocus is a mess. It takes seconds – feeling more like minutes – even with a lens as fast as the 70-200. Maybe it works better with the NEX lenses but I really can’t find a reason why it should.


After seeing the bad start of the A77, which came out these days with some big firmware bugs, I’m even more happy that I took the NEX (which also has its issues like the clicking noise). All in all I’m happy with the NEX but I won’t if I had bought it for photography. So as I predicted the A850 is and will be my photo and the NEX is the video cam.

Leave a comment


Mon, 2012-01-30, 09:43 wrote Andy

Hi heres some tips.
If you shoot 50p video the camera will heat up quicker than when using 25p. Also having the lcd screen flipped up away from the camera gives you a bit more time before heat up warining.
The warning can be incorrect and sometimes just by switching the camera off and on again will remove it.
Make sure first curtain shutter is set to on in settings…this will remove shutter lag.

Slow AF is due to your adapter LA-EA1 (its well known to be slow) not the 5n in general. The new sony LA-EA2 corrects this but is more expensive. Nex lenss have okay af but is contrast detection only.
I use manual lenses myself. The 5n is great using manual with peaking ;-)

Wed, 2012-02-15, 12:01 wrote ingmar

Hey Andy,

I’ll try out if the overheating really depends on 25p or 50p. I’m curious about the difference between the LA-EA1 and LA-EA2 and I don’t want the LA-EA2. This adapter steels you some light and isn’t usable for video. (They say it’s the technology from the A77 so I don’t expect it to focus better.)

I didn’t planned to really use autofocus for filming but I didn’t expected that the autofocus is that slow with the LA-EA1.

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