Updated (August, 2012): Compare the Nikon 1 J2 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

61

vs

Nikon 1 J1

45

Nikon 1 J1

Runner-up
     

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Great color depth
Color depth
22.2 bits
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
12.2 EV
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
1000 ms startup delay
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon 1 J1

High-speed framerate
High speed movies
1,200 fps
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
60 fps
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Badge
Phase detection video autofocus
fast and accurate
 

differences

Advantages of the Nikon J1

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
94 ms vs 670 ms
Help
7.1x less delay when taking photos
Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
60 fps vs 7 fps
Help
More than 8.5x faster continuous shooting
High-speed framerate
Records high-speed movies
1,200 fps vs None
Help
Capture events too fast for the naked eye and play them back in super-slow motion
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Focus points
Significantly more focus points
135 vs 25
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Fastest shutter speed
Much faster max shutter speed
1/16000s vs 1/4000s
Help
4x faster max shutter speed
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Size
Slightly smaller
106x61x29 mm vs 111x59x38 mm
Help
More than 20% smaller
Thickness
Thinner
1.2" vs 1.5"
Help
More than 20% thinner
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$228.70 vs $398.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $169 cheaper (more than 40% less)
Nikon 1 J1 Learn more about
the Nikon J1

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 11 EV
Help
1.2 f-stops more dynamic range
Overall image quality
Better image quality
69.0 vs 56.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Screen flips out
Has a flip-out screen
Yes vs No
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
796 ISO vs 372 ISO
Help
The NEX-5 has excellent image quality 1.1 f-stops higher ISO than the J1
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.7 more bits of color
Battery life
Significantly longer battery life
330 shots vs 230 shots
Help
More than 40% more shots per battery charge
Sensor size
Larger sensor
APS-C 23.4x15.6mm vs Nikon CX 13.2x8.8mm
Help
More than 3x larger sensor
Lens availability
More lenses available
21 lenses vs 8 lenses
Help
More than 2.5x more lenses available
True resolution
Higher true resolution
14 MP vs 10 MP
Help
Capture around 40% more detail in your photos
Sensor cleaning
Has a self cleaning sensor
Yes vs No
Help
Removes dust from the sensor automatically, avoiding spots in photos
Startup delay
Less startup delay
1000 ms vs 1400 ms
Help
Around 30% less delay when turning on
External flash
Supports an external flash
Yes vs No
Help
An external flash often produces better looking flash images
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The NEX-5's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Learn more about
the Sony NEX-5
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent mirrorless cameras, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 J1 45
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save

        vs

        61 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              Size Fairly small Help
              J1:106x61x29 mm
              NEX-5:111x59x38 mm
              Common Weaknesses
              Longest exposure Short max exposure time Help
              30 seconds
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              J1:10 MP
              NEX-5:14 MP
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Viewfinder No viewfinders Help
              Can only preview photos on the screen
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 - $689 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Color depth Has slightly more color depth
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $352 body only

              $320 - $420 with 16-50mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Autofocus Users slower contrast detection autofocus
              Canon EOS M

              Canon EOS M

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $235 body only

              $315 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Autofocus Users slower contrast detection autofocus
              Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

              Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

              Pro digicam

              $498 - $578

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Image stabilization Has image stabilization
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Interchangeable lenses Has a built-in lens
              Sony Alpha A6000

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $444 - $448 body only

              $598 - $600 with 16-50mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $310 - $527 body only

              $389 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $272 - $387 body only

              $410 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker

              Nikon 1 J1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon 1 S1

              Nikon 1 S1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $149 with 11-2mm lens

              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Weight Slightly lighter
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Nikon 1 J3

              Nikon 1 J3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $333 with 10-30mm lens

              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Nikon 1 V1

              Nikon 1 V1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $410 body only

              $490 with 10-30mm lens

              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Autofocus Slower autofocus
              Size Larger
              Nikon 1 J2

              Nikon 1 J2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $290 with 10-30mm lens

              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Nikon 1 J4

              Nikon 1 J4

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,047 with 10-100mm lens

              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Autofocus Slower video autofocus
              Color depth Worse color depth

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $298 - $350 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $587 body only

              $968 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,199 body only

              $809 with 18-200mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony NEX-5T

              Sony NEX-5T

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 body only

              $630 - $640 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos

              appearance

              Nikon 1 J1 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Nikon 1 J1 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Nikon 1 J1 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Nikon 1 J1
              1 J1
              Nikon

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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

              Report a correction

              Showing 3 comments

              Avatar for Antonio Pires Antonio Pires (11:03 AM, December 23, 2011)
              Dave, the Sony NEX-5 is better for lightpaintings using its longer exposures (until 30s), and the Nikon 1 just go until 1/3 sec. (0.33 seg.).

               
              Avatar for Antonio Pires Antonio Pires (11:03 AM, December 23, 2011)
              Dave, the Sony NEX-5 is better for lightpaintings using its longer exposures (until 30s), and the Nikon 1 just go until 1/3 sec. (0.33 seg.).
               
              Dave (9:17 PM, November 24, 2011)
              Hi, maybe it's a very noob question, but can you do lightpainting or timelapses (tuese type of things) with the nex5 or j1? Thanks.