First thing first: I prefer a Contax 139, or a Nikon FM2, to the Sony NEX-5. But this comparison would be too much heterogeneous: the NEX is a digital camera. As such, the NEX is a great camera, and I think that disparaging it mostly comes from a psychological embarrassment of the kind “too small, not big enough”.
The camera has many features that only a few years ago were only present in some very fine cameras, if not professional, and even today are rare:
- easily selectable metering mode (zonal, center-weighted, spot);
- optional vertical viewfinder (just like a Rolleiflex), just by tilting the display;
- accepting a huge range of fine lenses (Contax, Nikon, Canon, Leica, Sony Zeiss!), by means of common adapters;
- the viewfinder shows 100% of the final image;
- depth of focus preview (a dedicated button is not even necessary: the display always shows a stopped-down through-the-lens image, with corrected brightness for easy viewing).
For street photography, the NEX is even better of Leica Ms, being absolutely non-obtrusive.
I like my NEX!