Sony Nex-5

edited December 2010 in KAP Cameras
New KAP beginnings with the Sony Nex-5. The following is a detailed discussion of preliminary KAP testing with the Sony Nex-5 over the WW Chester Springs KAP proving grounds



  • Nice write up Jim. The NEX-5 definitely has appeal for KAP and PAP. I am curious about the specifics of your autofocus and power conservation adjustments. Can you tell us what settings you invoked to tweak autofocus and minimize battery use while in flight?
  • Autofocus hasn't been an issue in my limited experience with the NEX-5. I have been using single-shot AF, but if you continue to have issues, you might try continuous AF which is designed for tracking moving subjects. I do use that type of AF with my Canon XSi and have seen noticeable improvement over standard AF.

    Power-wise, I recently got more than 900 shots on a single charge of a aftermarket NEX battery I bought from an EBay seller for about $13. If you need more than 900, you can stick a mini-HDMI plug in the proper port to disable the LCD. I bet you could get 2000 or more shots if you were to do so.

    Regarding sharpness, I believe that shooting with a dSLR sensor AND shooting RAW images will both require more sharpening in post-processing than you've been used to with the point and shoot cameras you've been using. In addition, the 16mm is sharp in the centers but soft in the corners with wide apertures. Stopping down the lens will help sharpness a lot. Try shooting at f/4.0 at least, with better results at f/5.6, f/6.3, or higher. The performance of the NEX's sensor at ISOs above 200 will allow you to stop the lens down and still shoot at a sufficiently fast shutter speed without losing much image quality.

    A shutter speed of 1/2000th seems like overkill...I'd consider knocking that back to 1/1000th or using aperture priority.

    Have fun with that baby!
  • Very interesting stuff, Jim. I agree with Cris: details plz on autofocus and power conservation tweaks.
  • Flight testing of the Sony NEX-5 camera continues over Chester Springs.

    Each flight brings a few more refinements.

    I will post shortly a summary of the camera settings that I am experimenting with.

    See flickr set here for recent KAP session from December 29, 2010.

  • it .... it was confusing because when you said "Subsequent KAP flights I tweaked the auto focus parameters a bit and got much better results that matched close to the G9 performance (90-95% in focus)" it sounded like you already completed the testings and had the settings figured out.
  • edited January 2011
    As promised, see Sony NEX-5 camera settings that I am currently using for KAP with excellent results:

    - Focus issues have been resolved, now getting over 95-99% of shots with good focus.

    - Power consumption has not been an issue with several KAP flights over 1.5 hours. Estimate 2 hour KAP flights can easily be reached.

    Sony NEX-5 camera setting.
    - Lens: 16 mm (24 mm 35 mm film)
  • edited January 2011
    KAP testing of the Sony NEX-5 over snowy Chester Springs continues.

    The focus of this short flight was performance under low light.

    Test conditions were a late winter evening with the sun just setting, light snow falling from small squall line moving in. The light was falling quickly.

    The wind was near zero most of the day and was just picking up as a squall line was approaching.

    The fled kite was used due to the light wind
  • Have you tried it with and without image stabilization? With other cameras there are questions about whether it helps or hurts with KAP rig types of motion.
  • edited January 2011
    Wind Watcher
  • Cris - Your three axis Sony NEX-5 KAP rig looks great! First pictures do also. I agree with your thinking above. I tried also to figure away to set the minimum aperture at f4 or above with out also getting slow shutter speeds. So far I am having better luck with the shutter priority mode (set with fast shutter speed) and auto ISO. Other than low light conditions this setup works great (see below). I too am impressed with this little wonder.

    All - Formal testing of the Sony NEX-5 continued today over snowy Chester Springs with a head to head comparison with the Canon G9.

    Conditions: bright sunny day with snow cover. Wind was blowing hard - 20-30 knts at altitude. I few two short KAP sessions back to back with single camera auto KAP rig set up. First up was the Sony NEX-5, followed about 30 minutes latter by the Canon G9 (after a quick swap out of the cameras in the field).

    The shutters speeds were as follows: Sony NEX-5 1/2500 second. Shutter priority, auto ISO. The Canon G9 was set with 1/1000 second and auto ISO.

    Results: Both camera's put in good performances. I will let the KAP community comment on which ones you like best.

    The full flickr set can be found here with high res images.


    KAP Testing Sony NEX-5 vs Canon G9 Over Snowy Chester Springs
  • Formal KAP testing with the Sony NEX-5 has concluded...successfully. The Sony NEX-5 has found a warm spot on my KAP rig (especially under low light conditions). The G9 will still fly... the Go Pro also - but more in special conditions - super light wind or amphibious KAP operations.

    Next up for testing ..... some different lens for the interchangeable lens NEX-5 camera.

    It seems the creative juices are really picking up at Sony.....stay tuned for more details.

  • Formal testing has ended, but the fun continues with the Sony NEX-5.

    Cold flat overcast day offered opportunity to try a few more camera settings.

    Hamish - yes, agree the images are a bit overcooked. I am still coming up to speed on LR3 for post processing. I am noticing a difference from post processing in LR3 and what is posted to flickr. Looks like LR3 takes your post processed files and "cooks" them again when you post to flickr direct out of LR3....need to experiment more in this area than with the kite and camera in the air! ... but having too much fun flying right now.... ;-)

  • WW - excuse my ignorance, but where do you set the choice between RAW and jpeg in the NEX-05?
  • edited January 2011

    Menu >> Image Size >> Quality >> choice of RAW, RAW+JPEG, Fine (JPEG), Standard (JPEG)

  • Thx Hamish.
  • The learning curve with the Sony NEX-5 continues.

    5 KAP sessions over Istanbul and 2 additional KAP sessions over Puerto Rico highlighted the need for a few refinements. (few more KAP stories in the hopper....need a bit of time to complete....).

    Additional testing under snowy Chester Springs was successful with the switch from multi point to spot auto focus for KAP sessions. This reduced the common fault of "string focus" during KAP sessions.

    Cold out here....but still good weather to fly kites and take pictures! See full set here.


    Kite Over Snowy Chester Springs - Sony NEX-5
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