Earlier this year, I made a pretty drastic change in my camera set up. I left behind my trusty Canon DSLR, and the lenses and accessories that had served me well for six years, and I picked up a Sony NEX-5N mirrorless camera. My reason for making the swap was purely convenience: I was just tired of lugging around my DSLR and all of its accoutrements every time I wanted better photos than my smartphone could offer. The NEX-5N solved this problem nicely — it's remarkably small and significantly lighter than a full DLSR, yet can capture incredible photos even in difficult lighting conditions. It can also shoot great 1080p video, meaning that I no longer needed to carry around a camcorder for video.

But not everything is perfect. The NEX-5N, while able to take fantastic photos and video, doesn't offer me the same level of control — or more specifically the same level of access to the camera's controls as a proper DSLR. That's a consequence of it being more compact, right? Logic dictates that a much smaller camera just too miniature to house all of the little buttons and dials that a DSLR can support.

Perhaps that was true last year, when Sony introduced the 5N. This time around, the company has revisited the model and upgraded it with the NEX-5R. The 5R is very similar to the 5N — it has the same photographic capabilities (16-megapixel APS-C sensor, 1080p HD video capture at up to 60fps, up to 10fps continuous shooting) and a very familiar design. But Sony has addressed some of the biggest complaints of the 5N by adding a command dial and some extra buttons to give photographers more control. The company also threw in some extras like Wi-Fi connectivity, an improved autofocus system, and a more flexible display. I've spent the last month or so with the $749.99 NEX-5R to see if its new improvements make it a better camera than the 5N and if it's still one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy today.