Sony Nex 5N Camera Test Video.


The new Sony Nex 5N camera is a killer little interchangeable lens camera. We needed an ultra portable camera that I can always have with me at all times. We decided to not go the traditional camera test route and have a little fun this time around. Models in Bikinis instead of charts and ISO scales. We simply wanted to see how this little puppy would handle skin tones in varying light. We also wanted to see how well we could handle it under pressure. We only had the models for about an hour, so in many ways this mimicked a real shoot. We had to deal with a few issues along the way. One of the hurdles was the Sony interface. We are not at all familiar with it and trying to navigate through a new menu system slowed us down a little. However this only lasted a short while as we found the few critical adjustment options WB, ISO, Frame rate, etc and we were ready to rock and roll. We shot everything in the “standard” picture style and made zero adjustments. We used Contax Zeiss glass ranging from 16mm f2.8 through 85mm f1.4 and also tried out the tiny Contax 28-70mm f3.5 zoom lens. We used a Sony E mount to Contax/Yashica Dot Line adapter. (Stay away from this one it showed some areas of light leaks in our ISO test). The interior shots were simple enough. We got some killer advice from our friend Nancy Schreiber to use both black and white backdrops. This really did show us quite a lot about the cameras performance. Notice the white backdrop in the shadows as the light dims. This was a critical test because we will be using a black backdrop for all of our interviews for “The BoardOf Education” Documentary. I am employing this technique mostly for continituity but to also isolate my subject and make them feel a little uncomfortable. (More about that later). We also wanted to check out how well the new 1920 X 1080 60P worked. This is one of the strengths of this ultra compact camera. A first for a camera of this kind. We will need a little slow motion here and there for the transitions between states in our movie. This also turned out to be a huge pain in the ass on the post side of life. FCP and FCPX can not recgonize the AVCHD 2.0 60P footage from the Sony Nex 5N. (Other editing systems like Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 will handle the .MTS files without a hitch). Luckily we turned to the twitterverse and got a few solid suggestions. Andrew Reid over at EOSHD recommended using Media Converter to simply convert the AVCHD files into .MOV files. That solved the problem of reccognition. We were in! Not quite, we had to backpeddle a little because our footage was shot at 60P but played back normally. No slow motion effect. Step two. We had to then take the new .MOV files and convert them to ProRes files in MPEG Streamclip and then conform them to 24P in Cinema Tools. We picked up the second half of the equation from our dear friend Philip Bloom. Finally we were able to start editing. This conversion process took a considerable amount of time. A good thing to know for future refrence. This is mostly due to the very new AVCHD 2.0 CODEC required to shoot 60P at 1920 X 1080. I’m sure there will be plug ins and remedies in the near future. However for now this is the only way to deal with it if you are using FCP. This is why we test these cameras. There is no replacement for going through this process. No manual is going to tell you the steps required to figure this out. No blog post will give you the ability to use a camera in a professional manner. It is time spent shooting with the camera system that will give you the capability to make it perform the way you want. I cannot emphisize this enough. Take the time to become confidant with your cameras and you will get stunning results. It may very well be your confidence that sets your imagary apart from the others. The camera is simply the vehicle to get you there.

A few things to note before buying one of these bad boys.

1. No Hot Shoe Mount. AKS will have to be rail or clamp mounted.

2. SD card in Battery Compartment. Lame placement.

3. No External Microphone input. Sony ECM-SST1 Sony Mount is pretty lame. Click here for test.

4. Mini-HDMI Out. Full 1080 HD. No scaling while recording with a Marshall 7″ monitor.

5. Mini-USB Out.


Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Koo

    Thanks for testing. Is the HDMI out clean (no graphics, etc)?

  • Goforjared

    Nope, tons of menu items. Not great for external recording devices. Full 1080i out though with no scaling in record mode like Canon 5D. 

  • Jmhogan69

    The 1080/60p stuff looked like sub 720 and slowed from 24p. Ya think it’s from the work around for FCP you used?

  • Chris Collins

    yes that’s most likely the reason.  seems like something a future plugin should fix. if anybody knows of a better way to do this please let us know.

  • snik

    You don’t have to convert the .mts files with Media Converter to .mov. Instead you could use Remux to simply change the container to .mov (without recompressing or any quality loss) Just remember to choose reencode to aac 2ch 128k for the audio from the option. It’s blazing fast and you get untouched x264 footage to run through MPEG Streamclip for a ProRes final footage to ingest in FinalCut Pro or X.

  • jhog

    Here’s another test with some pretty awesome looking 1080/60p. Man, that little cam really packs a punch! I guess the cam also does better with banding compared to the Canons.

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  • Philip Bloom

    This is how I convert my FS100 50p/60 1080p files into 25/24p. Use clip rewrap to convert to a .mov h264 file when magic bullet grinder can conform it to your frame rate when converting to prores for final cut workflow. try that, the 60fps will be super smooth then.

  • TK Brown

    Quick note guys of a Cold Shoe adapter accessory designed for the NEX5 and NEX5N that plugs directly into the sony mount for 60$  The company who makes it is JTEC.  Here is the link:  It also comes in Black or Silver.  I’m hoping this will solve your problems guys!  Mines in the Mail!

  • Goforjared

    That is some killer info. Crazy price! But a necessary tool for the Sony Nex 5N. Thanks for the tip!

  • Chris Collins

    thanks philip!

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I have to say: HORRIBLE ! That slowmo stuff looks awful… I’d like to see a test done using an actual “proper” recipe for conversion because this looks just… BAD !

  • Goforjared

    I agree. That is why we test this out before any real shoots. We hope that we can all learn from our mistakes. Thanks for the comment!

  • Anonymous

    “We had to then take the new .MOV files and convert them to ProRes files
    in MPEG Streamclip and then conform them to 24P in Cinema Tools.’

    You did NOT have to do this if you were using FCPX. When you drop it in the timeline, it plays as normal, you click on the retime tool and press conform speed and boom, it plays slow mo.