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  • Sony Alpha NEX-C3 16 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera Kit with 18-55mm Zoom Lens (Black)
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Sony Alpha NEX-C3 16 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera Kit with 18-55mm Zoom Lens (Black)

by Sony
73 customer reviews
| 3 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
with Zoom Lens

From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 74%
See review summary and sample images
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Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • 16.2 MP Exmor APS HD CMOS image sensor has fast response, low noise
  • Sweep Panorama with incredible 23 Megapixel images
  • Six-shot layering with Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur modes
  • Picture Effects provides 11 artistic looks for your photography
  • Photo Creativity provides easy access to image adjustments
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Color: Black | Style: with Zoom Lens
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Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Silver Award August 2011
Photographers who are mostly familiar with compact cameras should feel right at home with the NEX-C3's simple, minimalist operational ergonomics.
Kelcey Smith Kelcey Smith Richard Butler Richard Butler


The NEX-C3, like its predecessors the NEX-3/5, is a well-built, easy-to-use interchangeable-lens camera. The NEX-C3 is capable of image quality that rivals the best of its APS-C DSLR competition while being significantly smaller and lighter. As well as effective handling and excellent image quality, the C3's user-friendly iAuto mode and full-featured PASM modes should satisfy most photographers.

Reasons to buy

  • Improved interface with increased customization options compared to NEX-3/5
  • High resolution sensor with excellent High ISO performance
  • Very good JPEG output quality
  • Very good build quality
  • Versatile, high-resolution LCD screen
  • Easy to use but versatile iAuto mode
  • Interesting and effective extra features such as in-camera HDR and sweep panorama
  • Good, clear live view magnification (particularly useful for using non E-mount lenses)
  • Useful built-in user guide (Shooting Tips)

Things to consider

  • iAuto mode does not take full advantage of the large sensor's low-light capability. (ISO is capped at 1600)
  • Optional flash is underpowered (and adds bulk)
  • Auto HDR is only available while shooting in JPEG only modes
  • Operation is very different in photo creativity modes compared to PASM modes - may be confusing for ambitious novices.
  • No hotshoe
  • No EVF option
  • 'Bkground Defocus' feature can encourage the use of the wrong settings

Suggested for

Compact shooters looking to upgrade but don't want the bulk or complication of a DSLR, as well as DSLR owners looking for a smaller alternative.

Not suggested for

People looking for a truly 'pocketable' DSLR alternative.
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (RAW)
Image quality (JPEG)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Color: Black | Style: with Zoom Lens

Product Description

Sony NEXC3K/B Digital SLR Camera (Black)

From the Manufacturer

The NEX-C3 fits between Cyber-shot point & shoot cameras and α full-sized DSLRs.  Sony's affordable compact interchangeable lens camera, the NEX-C3 is a step below the NEX-5 in video quality, but does have more MP @ 16.2MP vs 14.2MP of the NEX-3 and 5. Its easy to use interface provides powerful creative control for customers stepping up from compact cameras intimidated by DSLR complexity.

The performance of a DSLR in about half the size and weight. With the new Photo Creativity interface, you can take professional-grade pictures without having to be a professional photographer.  Enjoy gorgeous HD movies, astounding low-light pictures, continuous shooting up to 5.5 fps, incredible panorama shots, and Live View on a tilting 3.0-inch LCD.

Smallest in class
This is the world's smallest interchangeable lens digital still camera using a large APS-C size sensor (as of June 2011).  We removed the conventional mirror box, AF sensor and viewfinder, reducing the "flange back" distance from 44.5 mm to 18 mm.  The result has all the quality of an α DSLR, in about half the size and weight.

Interchangeable lenses
Compatible with Sony's E-mount series of smaller, lighter lenses designed specifically for α compact interchangeable lens cameras.  Opens up a world of creative options.

APS-C size HD image sensor
The same sensor format that Sony builds into the full-sized α DSLRs.  With 13 times the area of the typical image sensor, APS-C makes the difference between "snapshots" and "photographs," delivering an exceptional combination of high resolution, high sensitivity and gorgeous, blurred backgrounds.

HD movie recording
Capture vivid, lifelike HD movies in the PC-friendly MP4 format.  Shoot 720/30p high definition or standard definition 480/30p.

16.2 megapixel resolution
You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements.  Thanks to the APS-C sensor size and Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise.

Up to 5.5 frames per second
Capture the decisive moment in sports and get the ideal baby photo.  Up to 5.5 fps continuous shooting at full 16.2 MP resolution with exposure and focus fixed at the first frame. Standard continuous shooting at up to 2.5 fps.

ISO 12800 sensitivity
Incredibly clear low-light pictures without sacrificing detail.  As of June 2011, this is best-in-class performance, made possible by low-noise Exmor APS HD CMOS image sensor and refined BIONZ image processor.

3D Sweep Panorama Mode
Capture vast scenic vistas and 16:9 shots in spectacular 3D.  As you sweep across the panorama, the camera records separate right-eye and left-eye images that make landscapes come alive on your 3D television.  Records both JPEG and MPO file formats.

Sweep Panorama
Capture expansive landscapes automatically.  Press the shutter, sweep vertically or horizontally.  The camera does the rest, continuously shooting images and stitching them together.  Up to 23 MP image size.  Up to 202 degrees maximum sweep angle (16mm focal length).

Anti Motion Blur mode
Corrects for subject movement to capture amazingly clean and sharp images in low light.  The camera leverages the large, APS-C image sensor and captures six images in a fraction of a second.  Combining the data from all six creates a single image that minimizes subject blur.

Hand-held Twilight Mode
Get cleaner and sharper nighttime pictures—beyond the capability of traditional cameras—without using flash or a tripod.  The camera leverages the large, APS-C image sensor and captures six images in a fraction of a second.  Combining the data from all six creates a single image of extraordinary detail and low noise.

Auto HDR built into camera
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining the best highlight detail from one shot and the best shadow detail from another for one incredible shot. Until recently, you needed a computer and editing software.  Sony builds HDR in.  Handles severe backlighting and other high-contrast scenes.  Captures in a split second.  (Recommended for still subjects.)

Live View LCD
The LCD monitor is active full-time for composing shots.  Provides a what-you-see-is-what-you-get preview of white balance, focus, depth of field, exposure and 100% framing accuracy, plus informative on-screen displays.

Tiltable 3-inch LCD screen
Empowers your photography with a different point or view. Tilts down 45° and up 80° to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss.

921K pixel TruBlack LCD screen
Sony's Xtra Fine LCD monitor has best-in-class resolution (as of June 2011).  The TruBlack screen includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections, increase contrast compared to conventional LCDs.  Sunny Weather mode boosts visibility even further in bright sunlight.

Fast Auto Focus
Some cameras in this class are slow to focus.  That can make you miss the shot on fast-moving subjects like sports and unpredictable subjects like pets and babies.  Sony's fast Contrast Auto Focus system typically takes just 0.3 seconds.  Also offers continuous Auto Focus when shooting movies.

Intelligent Auto Focus
Pre-focuses as you compose the shot, further reducing focusing time to a bare minimum.

iAUTO (Intelligent Auto) mode
Unifies and simplifies Sony intelligent technologies.  Takes advantage of Intelligent Scene Recognition, Face Detection technology, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization without leaving auto mode so you always get the best shot.

On-screen Help Guide
Provides ready reference, explains the camera's modes and settings.  Walks you through camera operation so you get the best shot.  Helps you advance from basic operation to greater sophistication.

On-screen Shooting Tips
Offers expert advice so you can shoot like a pro.

Control Wheel + Customizable Soft Keys
Unlike cameras that bristle with knobs, buttons and dials, the NEX-C3 features a simple turn-and-click Control Wheel and context-sensitive Soft Keys.  It's elegant, uncluttered and intuitive.

Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
Conventional image sensors use only a handful of analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, which can slow you down.  The NEX-C3 Exmor sensor provides 4,912 column-parallel A/D converters.  You get fast response, superb image clarity.

BIONZ image processor
The brains of the camera is a refined version of Sony's BIONZ image processor.  Its chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 12800 sensitivity.  Also enables fast processing for up to 5.5 fps continuous shooting of data-intensive 16.2 megapixel images, 2D/3D Sweep Panorama and 6 image layering.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)
Dynamic Range Optimizer improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows.  Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off.

Accepts α DSLR A-mount lenses
Using the LA-EA1 adaptor (sold separately), you can attach the full selection of α A-mount system lenses, which includes 34 current models and an installed base of millions of lenses worldwide.  Operational restrictions apply.

25-point Auto Focus
25 sensors cover a very wide area of the scene, for accurate focusing even when the subject is far from the center of the frame.

Multi-segment metering
Optimizes exposure based on 49 segments.  Choice of Multi, Center and Spot metering accommodates a full range of shooting situations.

Manual Focus Assist
Greatly magnifies the viewfinder image when you touch the focus ring, making it easy to get razor-sharp images.  Works with E-mount lenses only.

Peaking for Precise Focus
The Peaking function makes precise manual focusing much easier by highlighting the edges that are in focus in your choice of three colors ( white, red, or yellow).  This is especially helpful during macro or portrait photography where your focal plane can make or break your shot.

RAW image capture
The NEX-C3 saves your pictures as compact JPEG files or ultra-high quality RAW files.  RAW files save images prior to de-mosaicing, white balance, sharpness and color enhancement.  This retains maximum latitude for enhancing the image on your PC.

"Background Defocus" control
Cameras with APS-C sensors take beautiful pictures because they can blur the background.  That helps make your subject stand out as the center of attention in portrait photography.  But you've had to know about aperture f-stops and shutter speeds.  Now Sony makes it easy.  Simply turn the Control Wheel one way for backgrounds in focus, the other for background defocus.

Accepts image stabilized lenses
Selected E-mount lenses incorporate Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to combat the effects of camera shake.  Building stabilization into the lenses enables the camera body to be remarkably thin and light.

Powerful supplied software
To help you refine and manage your images, the camera is equipped with computer software including Image Data Converter SR, Image Data Lightbox SR and Picture Motion Browser (PMB).

Face Detection technology
The camera can automatically detect up to eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. Can prioritize children or adults.

Smile Shutter technology
Captures a smile the moment it happens.  Simply select the Smile Shutter mode and the camera takes the picture automatically.  You can prioritize children or adults and adjust the smile sensitivity.

HDMI output for HD viewing
Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV.  The camera includes an HDMI output.  In addition, the BRAVIA Sync system works with compatible Sony BRAVIA HDTVs enabling you to control camera playback using the television's remote.

Eight Scene Selection Modes
These help you get the shot by optimizing the camera for specific shooting situations.  Select from Portrait, Sports, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night View, Night Portrait and Hand-held Night Shot modes.

Six Creative Style settings
Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste.

Photo Creativity interface
The Photo Creativity interface enables you to easily enjoy the creative expression of SLR-quality digital imaging.  Changes can be combined/removed and viewed in real time on the LCD making it a breeze to make adjustments. Choose from seven different Photo Creativity functions using the convenient control wheel and center button: Picture Effect, Background Defocus Control, Soft Skin Effect, Color, Brightness, Vividness, and Self-timer / Continuous Advance.

Picture Effect mode
There are 7 types (11 variations) of picture effects to choose from: Posterization (Color), Posterization (B/W), Pop Color,Retro Photo, Partial Color(R), Partial Color(G), Partial Color(B), Partial Color(Y), High-key, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera. Each is unique and each give you a new and exciting way to make your images and videos  pop.

P/A/S/M operating modes
The NEX-C3 offers a full range of controls from the beginner's iAUTO mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual.  On-screen prompts help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control.

Anti-Dust Technology
Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS sensor clean, resulting in consistently clear pictures.  First a static-free coating on the sensor's low-pass filter helps repel dust. Then vibration automatically dislodges dust from the sensor.

Up to 400 Shots of battery life
Take up to 400 shots on a single charge with Sony lithium ion Stamina battery power.  Sony's InfoLITHIUM battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence.

Supplied detachable flash
To help you shoot more effectively in formal portraits, the supplied flash has a Guide Number of 7.

Dual Format Media Card Slot
For cost-effective, convenient storage and sharing of your images, the camera accepts Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (Class 4 or higher recommended). (Memory card is required. All are sold separately.)

PhotoTV HD compatibility
Optimizes compatible BRAVIA televisions for gorgeous display of digital pictures.

Index and Slide Show Display
Quickly review your photos using 6- or 12-frame index views, or as an automatic slide show with fade-in/fade-out effect.

Supplied accessories
The kit includes a NP-FW50 Lithium ion rechargeable battery, BC-VW1 battery charger, Mini B USB cable, software CD and shoulder strap.

Product Details

Color: Black | Style: with Zoom Lens
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches ; 8 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B0054I54F4
  • Item model number: NEXC3K/B
  • Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,436 in Camera & Photo (See Top 100 in Camera & Photo)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at June 7, 2011

Read about our customers' top-rated cameras and lenses on our review pages: Compact System Cameras, Lenses

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Informed Buyer on August 22, 2011
Style Name: with Wide Angle LensColor: Black Verified Purchase
I've had many different digital cameras, but this one has rapidly become my favorite in most respects.

Camara Body and Feel
It is very small and comfortable to hold. It feels sturdy and well-built. All of the buttons are solid to the touch. Changing lenses is simple and fast, and it comes with an attachable flash.

The Menus/Interface
The interface is mostly easy to use and understand. It will take a little time to get used to, but it shouldn't be too much of a hindrance. There are only a couple of buttons on the camera that specifically do one function. Most of the buttons are assignable, so you can quickly get at the options you use most.

Image Quality
Stunning. Unless you're a professional who is used to cameras that cost several times as much as this, you will be impressed at the image quality. The large sensor allows for a lot of fine detail and really helps when there's not much light. The low-light capabilities of this camera are absolutely amazing. I can take clear photos in situations where all of my other cameras would require a flash or tripod to prevent blur. I'm a big fan of unique lighting, so this is very important to me.

I bought the one with the fixed 16mm lens, however I've also tried the 18-55mm zoom lens. The 16mm lens is surprisingly wide for the only included lens. Its very small, and I'll use it primarily for its portability and situations where I'll be focusing on something other than photography. The 16mm lens doesn't have SteadyShot.

I fully intend on buying the 18-55mm lens. I borrowed one and immediately fell in love with it. Its substantially more bulky, but its much more versatile. Full zoom on close subjects allows for a very good macro as well.
Read more ›
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By MS on November 1, 2011
Style Name: with Zoom LensColor: Silver
First let me say that I was an advanced point and shoot person just looking for better pictures, no more and no less. No, you do not need the Sony Nex 5N camera. The C3 is wonderful. Absolutely beautiful pictures. You CAN NOT get the depth of field, and the proper shadows that should be in pictures when you shoot normal people in a point and shoot camera. You need a full size APS-C sensor that is in the DSLR cameras but at a fraction of the size of these big cameras. The color and flesh tones are amazing. The richness of colors of the things in the backgrounds are so accurate. This camera uses easy to understand menus on the LED screen making this camera ideal for those afraid of stepping up to a full sensor camera. You do not have to know what an F stop is, an aperture, or what shutter speed to use to get great pictures. Just set it on automatic. This camera is so accurate in its picture taking. In low light you will get pictures you can not believe. This camera has so many in camera filters to play with if you want. Most things in this camera work with easy sliders. For example you can increase the brightness of the picture you see in the LED screen by just turning the round knob to the right or to the left. This camera has LIVE VIEW which means that what you see in the LED screen is what is printed. As you increase the brightness you will seen the picture in LED get brighter. When you you actually press the shutter button you will get this exact snapshot that you see in the LED. Point and shoot people, don't be afraid to buy this camera. For me picture quality is everything. Skin tones with depth is a must. This camera has it all. Its a Geeks dream camera. For those that want more advanced features with manual setting you have this also.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By M. Kearl on August 15, 2011
Style Name: with Zoom LensColor: Black Verified Purchase
So I bought this camera last week and took it on a 5 day trip to Arches, Bryce Canyon, & Canyonlands Nation Parks. It was great! We took video, pics, and everything. I sold my Nikon D80 and bought this and between the two, I think the photos are much nicer on the NEX C3. My only gripe is that the battery could last a little longer. I bought a big 16GB card and I have to charge the battery about 3-4 times in order to fill the card now. So it would be nice to have a little extra juice on the battery.

The camera is super small. I read all kinds of reviews, watched videos, etc.... but was not ready for how small it was once I held it in my hands. I have pretty big hands and it was a little weird to hold because of it. It wasn't a deal breaker by any means, but something to be aware. It is tiny. The weight and main bulk of the camera is the 18-55mm lens that comes with it, and not the camera body.

I've gone back and reviewed the video and photos I took. I can't say anymore how much I have fallen in love with the camera. There is just so much quality and value in this machine and I will recommend it to anyone in the market for something. I sold my HD camcorder and DSLR, then bought this which replaces both with shining colors. I am pretty excited to continue using it during the next few weeks to learn more and more about it. Again, excellent purchase and highly encourage those who are thinking about it do just buy it. They won't regret it.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Kriore on August 15, 2011
Style Name: with Zoom LensColor: Black Verified Purchase
First things first: I am not a professional photographer by any means. Photography is a hobby of mine and I love taking good pictures. I also like my camera to be fast, flexible, be small enough to carry around and easy to operate for my family members. Many cameras give up in the first two areas (fast and flexible) and the few who make this cut end up being digital SLR's that fail in the remaining areas (bulk and easy to hold/operate).

When Panasonic (followed by Olympus) introduced the new micro-four third's format I jumped in only to be disappointed by the Panasonic GH1. Based on the initial reviews (and the bunch of noise) I was very optimistic about the NEX-C3 and purchased it as soon as it was available on Amazon. I have been playing with the camera since a week and I can say perhaps Sony achieved what I think is the holy grail of camera design. This is a really small (really really small) camera with an SLR size sensor that is very fast and takes excellent pictures. The user interface is also one of the best I have seen in recent years with complexity hidden in a natural and progressive manner. The video mode has auto-focus feature which is incredibly important (and how many 1080P SLR camera's lack). On that point, the one "feature" this camera lacks is a 1080P recording (it does 720P). To me that is non-issue as I have yet to figure out why any non-professional would ever worry about 1080P. Highly recommended. 5 stars.
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