That is indeed a great news, after the extravagant menu designs of the Sony, it is reconforting to think that some brands are actually thinking in another language than marketing-delirium when they make cameras.
I'm going to add my thoughts to the Sony menu/UI comments.
I've had a few days to play with a NEX-5.. firmware version 1. I've spent a few hours sitting here with it, reading the book, enabling different functions in different modes, and making sample images.
1. This is a very small camera, smaller than many point and shoots. There is only so much room for buttons and dials and knobs and the such.. not much at all. Physical room to put knobs/dials/buttons will forever be an issue with these small cameras.
2. When designing this type of camera I would think it quickly becomes obvious that because of this limited space for knobs/buttons/dials.. that either a traditional approach with limited function.. or a new approach with perhaps more function.. are the choices. Sony's new user interface is indeed the latter. A new approach.
3. New approaches aren't necessarily bad.. but they do go against the what we already know and are familiar with. The dreaded "change" rears its ugly head.
4. When faced with change we can either resist.. or put in some effort and try and see the designers point of view and give it a fair try. Expecting a new design to be like an old design is pointless. To give a fair appraisal you need to clear your head of what you know and experience the new. This is hard to do for an experienced photographer. This is why I asked several people to make certain settings using the new NEX-5, a Canon G9, and a Canon 400. Without going into the results I'll just say the NEX-5 was regarded pretty much the same as others.. in that if you looked in the book you'd quickly find the answer and "learning the camera" was required. Both remarked the way the Sony buttons changed functions was clever.
5. Myself.. I find 'most' of the functions I need in the A, S, or M modes are right there including Ev.. not sure how the "it's hard to change Ev" thing started. You press one button and then dial in the amount you want. ISO access could certainly be improved.. but this becomes another choice.
6. The NEX-5 does seem to target less experienced (or no experience) photographers assuming they'll make good use of the AUTO modes. Most functions/settings are easily available, but a few such as ISO are irritating.
7. As an experienced photographer how will you use this camera? It's a question I asked myself. Because of the small size and limited space for buttons what I'd really like is an awesomely capable auto mode. I use my DSLR in manual mode 90% of the time including manual exposure readings and manual focus.. I do this because the size of my DSLR allows for the placement of controls making their manipulation to effect a composition useful if not ideal. I can't and don't expect a pocket size camera to have this type of control. Sure, its' nice to go totally manual when I have all the time in the world no matter the size.. and this control is present in the NEX-5 if a bit hard to access. But for most of my use of this genre of camera.. I want a good Auto mode. At least that's how I used to use most of my pocket cameras. The NEX-5's new UI allows me to go further and using Av mode for instance is now very easy even for a small camera ISO settings notwithstanding.. Anyway, how we use the camera.. it's a question we have to realistically answer with small cameras. I don't see any pocket camera I've used the same size or smaller as the NEX-5 being any easier to use if you give it a fair chance.
There are some UI features I'd like changed, ISO access, a way to make the text on the excellent LCD bigger for sure (my eyes are getting more old every day).. a EVF would be nice. Rayqual just announced adapters for Canon/Nikon/Pentax/Leica lenses.. for $200 it might be interesting to see how certain lenses I already own perform.
Image quality is quite good though I won't/can't say for sure until proper raw software becomes available.. Sony's software is easily the worst I've seen.. not so much in the conversions.. it's okay there.. but the UI.. ;o)
The NEX-5 is small.. precise.. clean.. and I find I don't mind the small flash being mounted all the time where flipping it up (manually) activates it.. its powerful enough for snaps in a moderate sized room and fill outdoors. It's really like using a very small pocket camera but with a decent lens (only used the 14-55 so far) and with resulting great quality images you'd normally expect from APC-S DSLR.. Its certainly not perfect.. but the image quality puts it way above anything else in its physical size class.. I suspect we'll see some rapid firmware releases.