315 of 330 people found the following review helpful
I bought this last week at Best Buy after reading tons of reviews of various NEX and Micro 4/3 cams. I have previously owned a Canon D20 full-size DSLR, a Canon S100 semi-pro compact, and another Canon "Elph" compact. The S100 is the Camera which I have previously used the most. It has a bigger sensor than most compacts of that 2009-era, and a fast lens. I have rarely used my DSLR because it is too large and you look like a wanna-be camera geek dragging it around.
The photos from this Sony are impressive. Color is great. Exposure is spot-on. It takes decent shots even at high ISOs (up to 1600 look very sharp). Movies look incredible. It records truly DSLR-grade photos. My DSLR is dated. It won't sound like much saying that it takes better photos than my Canon D20, but, wow. It has twice the pixels as the D20 but takes in just as much light. What an amazing upgrade.
Honestly, I expected quality photos. I have read enough pro reviews of other NEX cameras with the same sensor to know that this camera is great at recording beautiful images. What I did not expect is how great the "auto" modes on this camera are. This camera's skill at automatically choosing the right settings for you is why you should buy it.
I never studied photography in school, but I have read enough, and have enough consumer experience to know how to balance aperture, speed, and ISO to get great shots. Because I'm not an experienced or pro photographer, setting everything on the camera has always been a bit trial-and-error. I've forced myself to do this chore because I always end up with better shots than most camera's "auto" modes. Well, if you're an amateur like me you may find yourself proudly turning the mode dial to the "superior auto" mode on this Sony. Unless you're a pro, this camera is great at quickly analyzing a scene and choosing the ideal settings. I still love to tinker when I have time, but it is invaluable to be able to turn the mode to "auto" and know your images will be brilliant.
I have only taken this camera out twice. Both times I needed to have the camera ready in a hurry for a few shots and just switched it to "superior auto." The shots have been nothing short of amazing in some very difficult lighting. The camera's "superior auto" mode doesn't just jack up the ISO to take in enough light, like most dumb cameras I've owned. It does all sorts of crazy tricks (like merging multiple exposures) and delivers breathtaking results. Today I photographed a couple who were forced to stand in the shade so we could get a landmark framed just-right in the background. The landmark was in bright sunlight. Looking at the final photo, there is no hint of anything but perfect lighting in both the foreground and background. All I did was point the camera. It even recorded a full-res' copy of the photo cropped much better than I had framed it. It is completely nuts how smart this camera is. It gives you all of this brilliant help without doing anything. On the images where the camera provided its own crop, it recorded both my framing and its own version of the image. It must have upscaled the images it automatically cropped, because they are not missing any flippin' pixels. The quality looks just as good as the wider-framed version I composed. Wow.
Shooting indoors sans-flash is just as great as you would expect when using a camera with a big sensor. It gathers tons of light, even in dim rooms. The slow kit lens will force the camera into ISO 3200 if shooting via lamplight and you will see noise in some indoor shots, but it is far superior to any point and shoot. True SLR quality in a compact-ish body. Shooting in "intelligent auto" mode delivers pro results. The camera doesn't intimidate subjects like SLRs tend to do. It's feather-light and easy to keep at your side. I'm completely in love with this camera!
The largest compliant that I saw when reading professional reviews of this camera, were about difficulty accessing settings vs a real DSLR. It's true that every setting is accessed using camera menus, but I have found the layout and ease of access to controls very impressive. It is more intuitive than the menu system on my Canon cameras. The main reason that I bought the camera at a store was so I could mess around with the menus and settings to see if the all-digital controls would be a deal-breaker for me. The fact that I could easily access and control everything quickly without having even read the manual was the thing that pushed me over the edge to make the purchase. I find the control menus to be really good and I would not want to trade this camera's small body for a bunch of dials which only occasionally save me a half-second button press. Having used the camera, the "superior auto" mode is much better than lots of easily accessible dials when you need to take a quick shot anyhow.
The included strap is too short to wear across your body if you're a bigger guy like me. It's fine if you wear it only around your neck but I hate carrying a camera like that. I find it easier to carry the camera at my side with the strap across my body. I had to buy a better strap. I highly recommend the BlackRapid RS10SC-1AO Metro Camera Strap (Black), even though it is overpriced. It is slim enough that it is a great match for the little sony NEX, and it has solid reliable-looking metal hardware.
Another minor complaint is the lack of a viewfinder or accessory port, which the other Sony NEX cameras have. I would really like to have a viewfinder, and because this camera lacks the accessory port, adding one is not an option. I haven't had great difficulty framing my shots using the screen on the rear of the cam, but I'm just old fashioned and miss having a viewfinder.
Lowered review to four stars for a few reasons:
I have run into a few situations where the display was too dim to frame shots properly in bright sunlight. There is a setting to put the display in "sunlight" mode which helps, but it is buried in the setup menu. The fact that this is not an automatic setting is absurd. Perhaps I'm spoiled by my phone and tablet, which do an admirable job of adjusting the display to light conditions, but the tech isn't groundbreaking and would be a huge asset to a camera where the display is the only option when framing shots. The lack of viewfinder, even as an add-on option, is the biggest shortcoming of this camera. After my last use, I have started to keep the camera in "sunlight" mode just to guarantee that I can use it easily outdoors when needed.
Several of the pro reviews and a few amateur reviews complain that the battery charges in the camera rather than in an external charger. I like in-camera charging and it is better than trying to remember to carry an external charger like my Canon cameras. I have a few micro USB chargers around for charging other devices (like my headphones and my Kindle). The problem is that the camera charges very very slowly. I was charging in my car on a three hour drive a few days ago and it was not able to fill the battery in this time. Also, it is very sensitive to charge faults. If you just plug it in and forget about it, you may find that the battery failed to charge at all. You should check the camera to insure the charge light is not flashing after it has been plugged in for a while (flashing indicates a charging problem). If you have a charge problem, you must unplug it and try again. Most of the time you must remove and re-insert the battery. It often requires several tries to get it to begin charging. This is a major inconvenience.
In the IAuto+ mode that I love so much, white balance is sometimes off. It can be severe when shooting indoors with incandescent light (very yellow cast). It can be corrected if shooting raw, but it's a pain. Shooting in raw mode also reduces the effectiveness of the exposure tricks it plays in intelligent auto mode. It's too bad that Sony doesn't allow adjusting white balance in the auto modes. The best solution for accurate white balance shooting indoors, without flash and without using raw, is to use aperture priority mode, shoot wide open, and set the proper white balance yourself.
I use a Mac. As of this writing (4/30/13), Apple's Aperture and iPhoto software do not support raw images from this camera. Sony provides a decent simple image editor called "Image Data Converter" for the Mac which works well. It is very straightforward and basic, but it gives lots of options for adjusting RAW images and doesn't have unnecessary BS trying to sell you prints and calendars. It's just a plain-Jane image tweaker for fine tuning and exporting RAW images as JPG. Apple is pretty regular about updating their software and I expect support soon, but the 3N is brand new and not supported in Aperture/iPhoto.
Update 6/3/13: Apple updated OSX with raw support for the NEX 3N. Raw images work in Preview, iPhoto, and Aperture.
Note about lens upgrade experiences:
I purchased the Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN- Sony E 330965 lens to supplement the kit lens. It does give a slight advantage shooting indoors. At 30mm (45mm equiv), the kit lens is f5 and the Sigma is 2.8. This gives about 1-1/2 stops of light gathering ability. In real-life, it only gives about a half-stop (handleld) because the kit lens is stabilized, allowing you to shoot a slower shutter speeds. I wish I had spent a bit more and bought the Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens instead. It's two full stops faster and includes image stabilization. it is more than twice as expensive as the Sigma, but offers a much greater advantage in real world use compared to the kit lens on this camera.
Conclusion after using it 5-6 times and a month of ownership:
The cam is compact and takes great shots. The kit lens is slow but acceptable in good light. If you have any doubts about not having a viewfinder and money is no object, spend a bit more and get an NEX 6 or 7. All NEX cams are compact. This one is more compact but you aren't going to get this thing in your pocket anyhow. Considering how much I have complained about not having a viewfinder, I would still buy the 3N again simply because of the low price compared the the rest of the NEX line. $450-$500 is a lot of money to me. The NEX six and seven are double the price. Remember, there are SLR options with optical viewfinders for similar pricing, but they are too large for everyday carry in my opinion. You really should go to a camera store to compare several cameras side by side. Personally, if money were no issue my ideal setup would be the NEX 6 body and the Sony 35mm f1.8 lens for a total of about $1200. The 3N is HALF the price of the 6 with the exact same kit lens, and 1/3 of the price of my "ideal" camera example.
This camera isn't perfect but it is hard to beat for the money.
130 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
I am a long-time, diehard Canon enthusiast who was in search of a large sensor compact system camera (CSC). To give some background, I've owned the following: S400, SD700, S90, XTi, XSi, T2i, 60D, and S95, with the latter three being in my current arsenal. The S95 is compact, but I've grown weary of its noise levels in low light and the fact that pictures from it still possess a point-and-shoot feeling. The T2i has excellent IQ and I love it, but it's on the edge of what I find convenient for travel. To that end, what I desired most was DSLR quality in a more compact form.
To fill this gap, there are Micro Four Thirds, 1" sensors, and a host of small body mirrorless APS-C variants. I also had a budget of $700 or less, because as technologies improve and become less expensive each year, I really didn't feel like spending a grand or so on today's camera tech. Having read, researched, and tested some models in my local B&M, I whittled down my candidates to the RX100, EOS M, and NEX-6 (though the 6 was getting out of budget). The RX100 was very attractive and highly acclaimed in the media, but at $650, it was pricey for essentially a P&S. Bearing a styling birthed from Canon's S90+ series, I had lingering doubts about getting yet another high end P&S which costs over twice as much as the S90+ series!. If I lowered the weighting of cost, then this was definitely on the top of my list. The EOS M was attractive as well since I was very familiar with Canon's crop sensor DSLR line, but the new EOS M mount has such a limited supply of lenses and I wasn't planning on spending an extra $150 for the M mount adapter. Rated battery life of 230 CIPA for the EOS M was very disappointing too. Last, I investigated and liked what I saw from the NEX line as an alternative to the RX100.
With APS-C sized sensors, the NEX mirrorless CSCs were starting to check off all my requirements, one by one. Though I liked the NEX-6, it was out of my budget, but it was at this point that I stumbled upon the NEX-3N, the current entry-level NEX from Sony. The 3N was released just months ago and was so new that professional reviews were sparse compared to the amount of literature on the RX100, for instance. As another reviewer summarized, the 3N gives you all the core features of the 6 at nearly half the price! Bonus features are stripped: wifi, EVF, high res LCD, and dedicated mode dial, all not present on the 3N. But look - same APS-C sensor, same IQ, same kit lens (16-50), same core features as the 6, but nearly half the price! This was compelling.
So, it became a duel between the NEX-3N and RX100. In favor of the NEX-3N were:
* cost ($500 vs $650)
* APS-C sensor vs 1"
* tilting lcd screen for self-portraits and tough shooting angles
* battery life (480 vs 330 CIPA)
* wider starting focal length of 24mm vs 28mm
While the RX100 has a faster lens, it's only faster at the wide angle start of the zoom range. Furthermore, the larger APS-C sensor of the NEX-3N can match the faster lens of the RX100 as it relates to depth of field.
Finally, here's a list of miscellaneous tips and things of note:
* because of the low res LCD screen, don't use it to pixel peep to check for sharpness (countless times, I've had doubts whether I had accurately focused, but upon import of the pics to my iMac, I was pleasantly surprised with the results, with a very high hit rate of sharp keepers)
* use focus peaking and coloration to focus along with DMF; use the LCD screen for framing
* if you come from a Canon background, the Sony menu system takes some time to get accustomed to
* looking for the perfect case? check out Lowepro's Dashpoint 20... fits the NEX-3N like a glove
* use the bounce flash to beautifully light up your subject
* get a 40.5mm UV filter and forget the lens cap
* the camera software has a tendency to quickly bump up the ISO in low light situations and favors high ISO vs slower shutter speeds... because you cannot limit or cap the ISO when it is in Auto ISO mode (unlike Canons), your only alternative is to hard set it to a lower ISO to force a slower shutter speed and reduce the noise... also, ISO configurability is only available in PASM
* some bemoan the lack of an external charger, but I found it convenient to use the same charging systems as those for my phone and tablets, plus, the battery does indeed last a very long time
* it's compatible with Eye-Fi cards
* videos are beautiful, zoomable, and auto-focus
* three ways to zoom provide great flexibility
* I don't use the camera strap; instead, I use a BlackRapid Metro sling which works beautifully
Sony made the right design choices in their quest to distill the bare essentials of the NEX line down to the core and achieve their MSRP of $500. So new and underrated, but so good. It's the sleeper hit of 2013.
The NEX-3N is not perfect, but for me, it exceeds my needs.
198 of 246 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
THE GOOD: The NEX 3N is said to be the world's smallest camera based on the APS-C sensor, which is the second-largest sensor (about 16mm by 24mm) commonly found in mass-market cameras. The result is fine photo quality in a small package, with good high-ISO performance. Moreover, the 16-50mm e-mount kit lens is optically decent, and retracts to semi-pancake dimensions when the camera is off. So you get true DSLR-like performance in a box that approaches pocket size -- and is indeed pocket-ish size when paired with one of Sony's true pancake lenses, such as the new and nice and very expensive 20mm e-mount.
THE BAD: The 3N handles slowly thanks to so many functions and settings being based in menus rather than in manual controls; a settings-control wheel that's small, jumpy and hard to handle; slowish focusing, and the 16-50mm kit lens, which telescopes at a leisurely rate. Worse, the 3N lacks some of the settings that we take for granted today in any capable camera, such as the ability to customize the parameters of the auto-ISO function or even to control the volume of the focusing beep.
THE UGLY: In a fit of the Cheaps and/or the Dumbs, Sony decided not to include a battery charger with this camera. Apparently, they've made the same annoying move with the NEX 6, which is the $1,000 big brother of the 3N. But that's OK, says Sony, because owners can charge the battery inside the camera -- using a tiny cable that the company did include in the kit. (I haven't encountered this very bad in-camera-charging idea since I bought a Canon G1 in 2001.) Sure, Sony, this is just what I want to do on my vacation: sit in a hotel room watching my camera charge my spare battery. Of course, a Sony website will happily sell you the company's very own (and very good) NEX-class charger for $55 plus tax (at other websites it costs more like $40, if you can find it). I would much have preferred a higher 3N kit price -- with the furshlugginer charger included.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2014
I'm new to photography and was tired of the often times poor picture quality from my point and shoot. I was looking to get better quality pictures without breaking the bank. Additionally, I wanted a small camera that was portable and not as bulky as a DSLR. Thus, the interest in the micro 4/3. After a lot of research, I settled on the NEX line of cameras. While the added features in the NEX 5, 6 and 7 were enticing, the cost was what prompted me to choose the NEX 3N. It uses the same sensor as the NEX 5, and although it lacks some of the features of that camera (including PDAF, higher video recording quality etc), I felt the NEX 3N offered everything that I was looking for at a fraction of the price. This little camera has far exceeded my expectations.
Set up: I use the 16-50mm kit lens, have also acquired the sony 55-210mm telescopic lens as well (fabulous lens, review to follow). Plan on getting a few prime lenses in the near future.
Initial impressions: The camera is small and well built. I can shoot with one hand even with the telescopic lens. The LCD has adequate resolution. The tilting feature is useful. Upgrading from a point and shoot, I'm used to shooting by using the LCD only but would see the disadvantage of not having an EVF to a more experienced photographer used to a DSLR. Image quality even with the kit lens is excellent, even at moderate to high ISO. The AF is a bit slow, particularly under low light and at max zoom but adequate for my needs. The auto features are excellent and I have taken some great pictures in this setting, but the camera really shines when under manual or aperture priority mode. There are plenty of excellent features to keep me interested and shooting everyday.
My major gripe, as has been mentioned in other reviews, is the menu. It is not intuitive at all and often slow to maneuver. It's a bit cumbersome and thus I find myself sometimes pressing button after button trying to find the feature I am looking for and not snapping away. While annoying, I suspect that as I get used to it, this may become less of an issue.
Conclusion: for the price, I can't imagine having made a better upgrade from my point and shoot than the NEX 3N. Considering all of the features, quality build, portability and picture quality, I have been more than satisfied with my purchase. While I wish the menu was a bit easier to use, I think with time this won't be as much of an issue. If you are looking for an upgrade for a point and shoot or perhaps a second camera for the more experience photographer, definitely keep this little gem in mind. I look forward to seeing how it performs with some quality prime lenses in the near future.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
First to make one thing clear: I'm not a professional photographer, don't really have and probably never will have the inclination to learn enough (or spend enough) to be one. What I do want to be able to do is to occasionally get better image quality than a typical point-n-shoot or cell camera offers.
This isn't to say point-n-shoots and smartphone cameras are all lousy; they aren't- especially these days. They're also a sight more compact, lighter, and handier than any semi-pro, prosumer, or pro camera on the market. For impromptu or casual pics, they're pretty hard to beat. However there are times when I do want something better, and that's where something like this comes in.
The reason I say you should consider this if you're in the market for a DSLR is that I wish I had. I actually bought a DSLR first (a Canon EOS Rebel T3) and honestly, this thing shoots better pictures most of the time from my experience. It's also a whole lot lighter and smaller; in fact it's not a whole lot worse in that regard than a point-n-shoot. This isn't to say these mirrorless cameras are perfect or a match for a DSLR in every way, but I'd say the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. These are how they weigh up according to my experience with these two cameras- both of which are aimed at people like me (an amateur looking for a step-up from a point-n-shoot):
Compact and light: this is far and away the biggest advantage of these mirrorless designs over DSLRs. The Rebel T3 is actually on the lighter side for a DSLR, but even that I find to be a bit too heavy and bulky for a lot of situations. While it isn't quite as compact or light as a typical point-n-shoot, the NEX-3N comes pretty darn close. It's still not pocketable (primarily because of the lens) but it doesn't feel like it's strangling you either. It is very maneuverable as a result of the handy size.
Better screen: the NEX-3N's screen is larger, sharper, and has a better menu layout. The UI in general is a lot more intuitive and easier to use than the Canon's, though I should point out that it had better be: there's no optical viewfinder on this camera and it lacks comprehensive mechanical controls. Furthermore, this screen can pivot 180 degrees, making it very useful for angle shots or selfies.
Very good shots with auto: Using superior auto, this camera tends to just work. It doesn't produce blurred out images nearly as often as the T3 even when the latter is set to action/sport mode. It produces excellent quality pictures in all light conditions and doesn't automatically fire the flash all the time (something a lot of cameras do in auto modes, which I find very irritating). For someone like me that finds manual modes too cumbersome and complex, this is great.
Better video: I'm not big on using these for recording video, but generally speaking the NEX is better at this. It shoots full-HD (the T3 is 720p) and the small size makes it a lot easier to hold and manipulate. You can use it with mini tripods easily, whereas the T3 is too big and heavy for anything less than a full-up tripod stand.
Self-cleaning: The NEX has a sensor cleaning mode. The Rebel T3 doesn't. This isn't a big deal for me, but if you're the type that changes lenses often this can be a big plus.
Better battery life. On a single charge, especially if you use only the optical viewfinder, this guy can last at least 800 shots. In fact the battery lasts so long that you really don't have to think about it- it'll probably last a whole weeklong trip of use. This isn't to say the NEX is bad; on the contrary it's very good for a camera that uses an electronic viewfinder. It has a hefty battery that gives it more run time than any point-n-shoot I've seen, but that's still quite a way's behind a DSLR.
Better for manual shooting. If you do want to use manual modes, this one is a lot easier to use. The difference is all the extra buttons and dials which allow you to easily adjust ISO, focus, shutter speed, etc. If you want to do this on the NEX, it's possible but you have to navigate menus which simply takes longer.
More and cheaper lenses available: I'm not really planning on buying any more of these things at the present. However, if I do it'll almost certainly be a Canon EF-S telescopic lens or one of the numerous 3rd party clones. These are generally a lot cheaper with more options than the Sony SEL/SELP lenses. Practically all of the Sony lenses are actually more expensive than the camera itself, which I find a bit ridiculous.
Somewhat faster autofocus/zoom: this is a bit of a trifling distinction, but the T3's focus and zoom are a bit faster. This makes it a bit better for capturing things that are moving quickly at range.
These two cameras are practically identical in cost now, so they're a particularly valid comparison. I should note that neither of them is particularly quiet- if you really care about that, Nikon seems to do a lot better in that regard. However, I'm really not bothered by the clicking noise and don't consider it a serious issue. For my purposes and the way I use them, the NEX is a lot more useful than the T3. However, I'll readily acknowledge that this might not be the case for everyone out there. If you're planning on really getting into photography- learning how to shoot in manual mode and getting a bunch of lenses- the T3 is almost certainly a better gateway camera.
Regardless, if you're looking for a step up from a point-n-shoot, the NEX-3N is a superb choice. It combines ease of use with novel hardware (especially the rotating screen) and excellent optics and sensor. The auto modes work well and along with the DSLR-size APS-C sensor produce really amazing shots. Best of all, it's small and light enough to take along anywhere you go.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2014
The competitors in this price range are:
- Panasonic Lumix GF3 is a rather outdated model and also has a smaller sensor than the APS- C ( has a worse performance in low light conditions , and have more distortion by adapting SLR lenses ) .
- Samsung NX2000 that has touchscreen and several features to make editing and sharing photos over wi - fi , but the overall picture quality is worse . Furthermore , the camera with the kit lens is much more massive than the NEX -3N . And the kit lens lacks optical stabilization ( if your hands are shaking too much, the picture will be blurry ) .
- Olympus E series that have the same problems the Lumix GF3 .
- Nikon 1J2 which has an even smaller that the Lumix GF3 sensor.
- Pentax Q which has an even smaller sensor than the Nikon 1J2 .
Of course the NEX - 3N is not perfect . The two main problems are: auto focus sensor does not have phase detect , and this causes the focus to be more slow and inaccurate. And the screen is too dark and low resolution , which makes it very difficult when setting attributes under the sun .
Some say that the NEX - 3N has few buttons , but the operation is very convenient . To swap the functions ( automatic, manual, scene ) , just press the center button and turn the dial . To adjust the aperture and shutter speed , just push down and turn the dial . To adjust the manual focus , just press the shutter button halfway and rotate the zoom ring . And all these operations are always visible on the screen .
Another strong point of the NEX - 3N is the image quality , the photos in daylight has a very professional look. And the performance in low light conditions , outperforms any of the competitors mentioned above .
Finally , NEX -3N is very compact , it has almost the same size as a compact super-zoom HX9V. With the lens attached, NEX -3N is twice the thickness of the HX9V.
The most compact bag for NEX - 3N is the Lowepro Dashpoint 20 , which fits the camera with 16 -50mm lens and a memory card . The dashpoint can be hung on the strap of the backpack or belt .
Another interesting bag is the Lowepro Apex 60 AW which fits the camera with 16 - 50mm lens , memory card , lens hood and two extra batteries . The apex can be hung on the belt , but not in the strap of the backpack.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
(Update, please see comments on this review)
I want to give this camera 5 stars, because it does take *amazing* pictures with excellent quality and full satisfaction in that area. The reason I gave it 4 stars, however, is due to a severe lack in accessories for the camera and a few 'use' issues.
I'll start with the not so great things about this camera:
The LCD takes up almost the entire back side of the camera, and what it doesn't take up is covered with buttons. The manual for the camera insists you should not touch the LCD and if you do, you should clean it off immediately with a microfiber cloth. So I spend epic amounts of time trying to not touch this screen that takes up most of the back side of the camera. This issue is mitigated to an extent by opening the LCD away from the camera and using the back of the camera to rest your hands, and that is a totally viable solution, but it takes a lot of getting used to, and it doesn't really help when putting the camera away or pulling it out of your bag/case/pack. It's INEVITABLE that you're going to touch this screen, yet, "you shouldn't do that." It's nerve wracking.
I have looked and looked for screen protectors that aren't just sticky plastic sheets. I want something sturdy and thick that will go over the LCD to keep any pressure or taps against it from causing any kind of issue, because I'm guessing replacing this screen would be a costly endeavor. I have yet to find anything that fits. Many items are advertised for "Sony NEX 3" cameras, but that is not the same as the NEX 3NL. Different LCDs, I found, after I ordered a LCD cover and was so excited to use it, and found it did not fit at all. I have finally ordered some of the sticky plastic sheets that I was hoping to avoid.
The LCD also has glare issues. I did expect that, so I'm not taking any rating points off for that, but I am irritated that there aren't any accessories for shielding the LCD. Especially considering there isn't an Electronic View Finder on this camera, some kind of anti-glare accessory is necessary.
The LCD making the camera difficult to get a good hold of makes me want a grip on it. I don't need a battery pack grip, but something to extend the bottom of the camera to give more area for holding would be an incredible blessing. As it is right now, I carry my camera around almost exclusively by the lenses.
The lens that comes with the camera in this kit (16-50mm) is on the slow side at 3.5-5.6.
This kit did not come with a body cap and rear lens cap. These are very important items for interchangeable lens cameras, so I think it was shortsighted to not include these items.
What I love about this camera:
This thing is feature packed. There are a million options for setting up your pictures for the specific situation you're in. If you are looking for a camera that you can use for setting up art photography, portraits, or a few light action shots, this is a great camera. It has several "scene" options, such as "twilight, night, landscape, portrait, anti-blur, etc." It gives you aperture and shutter priorities. It has basic color adjustment settings like high contrast black and white, color popping, and a couple of filter settings like 'retro' which gives a slight sepia tint to your image. I do a lot of after editing of my digital prints, but I've found with several of my photos with this camera I didn't have to do *anything* after the fact. They are high quality from start to finish if you take the time to use the features of the camera as you're taking your shots.
Despite it's size and location causing issues, the LCD is gorgeous. All the detail in your frame is available at first glance, which really gives you control over your shots. The ability to tilt the LCD all the way forward for self portraits or setting up a timed portrait is very handy and I've used it a few times at family events to much benefit.
The user interface for navigating the camera's features is very intuitive and I didn't feel lost the entire time while I learned. If you've used a digital camera at all, even just your phone camera, then you'll have a pretty easy time learning your way around the menus.
The camera's built in auto focusing and stabilization are great. Often the pictures come out cleaner than I expected and that's always a nice surprise.
I bought the camera when it was on sale and paid ~$350. I would buy the camera again, even with the knowledge I have, because I do love the camera. I am going to hold out hope for more accessories to come on the market.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2014
First things first, this a a remarkably small, genuinely pocketable camera that has the outstanding APS-C 16.1 sensor that is in first rate DSLR's like the Nikon 5100 and Sony 580. The Dxo scores for the sensor nearly match that of the Canon mark II. In order to get this sensor in a small, inexpensive package, you get very minimal additional features and controls. The 16-50 lens is mediocre, but very compact and the distortion can be corrected in lightroom. The lens is not very robust and does break easily if bumped hard in the front. There is an adaptor, which I used and later sold, but the bulk of the adaptor,the loss of optical stabilization, make using this camera with the adaptor a poor choice. An alpha55 dslr with a 16-105mm is just as compact and much easier to use. The native e mount lenses are much better but limited in selection. The 50mm 1.8 is a first rate portrait lens. The 55-200 is reasonably good. I don't see the point in lugging around an 18-200mm with this camera, where the whole point is to be small. My suggestion is just travel light and get the 16-50 only or get a small case and add either the 50mm 1.8 or the 55-200. The moveable flash is a very useful feature for indoor portraits. I strongly suggest getting the 50 mm 1.8 and a small case to clip on your belt, if you want to make this a bit more serious. You can get some of the "magic"of the narrow DOF and clarity of the prime lens without breaking the bank.
Mostly, the point is that the image quality is excellent from the sensor and cant be matched by small sensor cameras. Even though the lens is not as fast as I would like, the DOF control is still superior to the small sensor cameras. Charging is really not a problem, just get the charger and extra battery if you take more than 200 shots a day. This is a casual camera, not for doing weddings. The LCD is lousy, but that is part of keeping the price down. Menus take a bit of getting used to but can be mastered in a week or so.
If you want a small camera you can take with you everywhere, this is a serious winner. If you want to make the NEX system your main thing, you should probably get a more expandable model like the NEX6, If you want a travel camera, that you slip in your pocket, but shoots raw, has a great sensor and you can add one lens to make a kit that you can fit on a belt clip, this is the way to go. I have gotten some seriously good shots with raw and lightroom that would be absolutely impossible with the typical point and shoot, but the minimal expandability and lack of controls, makes this no substitute for a serious DSLR.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2013
I've been playing around with this for a few days now; having trouble keeping my hands off of it. It is so tiny and so much fun to fool around with. I have to say it...it's soooo cute!! Especially if you put a professional looking dslr strap on it.
I've been shooting with Nikon dslrs for years. Used regular SLRs before that, since 1987. I'm a serious amateur with a pretty good working knowledge of photography.
I purchased the Nex6 first. Started with that one because I thought I might replace my Nikon D5200 with it. I chickened out. Fear struck my heart when I thought about being without a dslr and the lenses I've collected.Then I decided that the Nex6 was a little too expensive to keep as a second camera and a little too large to be a replacement for my cellphone. I really was attached to the viewfinder, wifi etc but just couldn't justify the cost.
The Nex image quality is great. The price for 3n with the nice, compact zoom and a full APS sensor is outrageous. Auto focus leaves a little, just a little, to be desired. Missed a few shots of cats moving around too quickly in low light.
I gave it only 4 stars because the menu-based operation is a bit of a pain. The toggle on the top is for both zooming the lens in shooting mode and zooming in on pictures in viewing mode. If the last image is still displayed trying to zoom the lens to take the next shot zooms out or in on the last photo instead of zooming the lens. Half depress the shutter so your intentions are known and it zooms the lens, but you've lost a few seconds. Same thing happens with other features if the camera lingers on the last shot. Of course, you can set the camera not to display images and avoid this. In general, if you are accustomed to using a dslr with mode dials it takes a bit to get used to going to the menu to change things. At least the toggle allows for quick adjustment of ISO,shooting modes and displayed information.
Today I really had fun with the little bugger because I got the Fotodiox adapter (B003Y2YE3A to use the Nex 3n with my Nikon lenses. So now I can use my fast 35mm f1.8 and my 55-300mm zoom with it. Granted you have to use the manual mode with manual focus. But for the most part it was easy to get it right. It won't be good for shooting birds in flight or fast action but it was easy enough to use a prime lens for landscapes and portraits. It handles well in low-light already so it was great with a faster lens.
Also, for $24 you can totally stop whining about the in-camera charging. I ordered a charger and 2 batteries so I have power to spare. (B008X9L2TI I got the camera for $270 used; so what if I had to buy batteries.
I ordered an ever ready fake leather case, like the one I use for my Nikon, so I can carry it around without fear of damage.
In conclusion, I really love this little camera. It's a great value and it's easy to keep with you all the time. The best camera is the one you have with you.
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2013
Bought this camera as an early adopter from B..... Camera. Got the white model with silver lens. Very nice form factor for light and portable travel camera. Main reason purchased was for video and APS size sensor. Sony really hit the sweet spot with this package as the 16-50 power zoom lens is great for mass market appeal especially the zoom switch on the camera body like on most P&S cameras. Build quality is excellent for this price point. Video quality is exceptional and ability to smoothly zoom while filming is really the icing on the cake for the average video shooter. This camera has all the features of the best P&S camera plus added benefit of the APS sensor that allows RAW photos with much broader dynamic range. This is a great backup to a more serious DSLR camera mainly for the hobbyist.
I have mostly Panasonic 4/3 cameras and lenses but this is the perfect travel camera with a little better high ISO range that adds to flexibility in tough lighting situations. This is my first interchangeable lens Sony camera. The NEX form factor was always appealing but the oversize lenses prevented my purchase as the lens/camera combination provided no advantage over other brands. The 16-50 power zoom lens changed my mind on the NEX but the power zoom lever on the body sealed the deal for me.
I highly recommend this camera as it is the absolute best package available from any brand as I write this review. If you can be satisfied with only one zoom lens in a nice size this should be high on your review list.