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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2010
So I've been waiting for a compact camera with either 4/3rds sensor size or larger and priced around $600. There are only a few on the market:
- Sigma DP1, DP2 (Sensor size 20.7mm x 13.8mm)
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 (Sensor size 4/3rds : 17.3mm x 13.0mm)
- Olympus PEN E-PL1, E-P1, E-P2 (Sensor size 4/3rds : 17.3mm x 13.0mm)
- Sony NEX3, NEX5 (Sensor size APS-C 22.2mm x 14.8mm)

I was leaning towards the Olympus but read that Sony was going to make a APS-C size sensor compact camera so I waited and finally got it.

I own lots of cameras, Nikon D700, Nikon D300, Nikon D50, Panasonic LX3, Canon S90, Canon SD960, and a bunch of others.

Pros about NEX3:
- This thing shoots fantastic photos.
- The 16mm : 24mm equiv lens is awesome.
- HD video is pretty cool.
- Innovative controls need to get use to.
- Panaramic shooting mode.
- Photos are very sharp.
- Cool screen flexibilities.

- Only got the pancake 16mm for compactness, 18-55mm is too big and defeats the whole purpose.
- It's possible to shoot manual but ISO is hidden under two menus to adjust, apperture & shutter is easy to adjust.
- Battery does go fast even when turned off, the firmware update did help.
- Weird flash attachment, wish it could bend upwards for ceiling bounce flash.
- Wish they sold a snug fit leather case like shown on website.

Other than that, it's a pretty sweet camera. I heard Nikon is developing their own so that they can keep up with the compact large size sensor market. I hope it's a DX format sensor so almost equivalent to APS-C sensor.
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42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2010
This could have been a very positive review, except for one very significant issue. I bought the NEX-3 after months of reading and researching. I chose it over Panasonic based on its sensor size, unique features, form factor, weight and several very favorable reviews in professional newsletters. I think the firmware upgrade in the Fall made the user interface and navigation much better and easier, and I have not experienced the battery issues that some have reported. Overall, I like this camera and I want to like it more and use it more, but Sony's lack of lens support for the platform thus far should be a red flag to anyone considering the NEX series. There were reports of a Sony NEX 5 telephoto lens SEL 18200 earlier this year. One report even said it was shipping. But no retailers have the lens and I could not find it mentioned in the lens section on Sony's NEX website. That leaves just two lenses in the entire NEX series -- a 16mm wide angle lens and a less than satisfying 18-55 zoom lens. Instead, there appears to be a strategy to push NEX users toward the existing Sony Alpha lens series, which requires purchasing an adapter plus using lenses that are reported to be ridiculously slow in the NEX autofocus mode. That is NOT why I bought this camera and would have stayed with my trusty Panasonic LUMIX point-and-shoot and Canon digital SLR if I knew that Sony was going to offer so few NEX lenses. Meantime, I am beginning to regret buying a promising platform that once seemed like the ideal solution for me. I am watching enviously as competitors I had compared to Sony expand their offerings while Sony seems to be standing still or falling backwards.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2010
I took the Nex-3 to Vegas for a 4-day trip. Took quite a few pictures and was quite impressed with it, but I will return it afterward due to the following short-comings:
. Failed to power on at times: this problem happened intermittently (twice during 4 days of use) and was annoying. The firmware version was 1.0
. Unpredictable images: at times, a picture taken would have the object (my girlfriend) too dark. When I retook the picture, it would be brighter the 2nd time, but it's just unpredictable. I use Intelligent Auto mode all the time.
. Severely distorted images on the sides: people on the left or right side look fatter. This must be caused by the 16mm lens, and I wish I had the 18-55mm lens instead.
. Confusing User Interface & operations: beside the cumbersome UI menu, I one time ran into situation when the camera refused to take picture (I believe after a self-timed picture). I tried switching modes, powering off, as well as other things, but ended up taking out the battery to clear it. Whatever that was, I wouldn't want having to do it again.
. One instance when night-time recording of fireworks couldn't focus: as I was recording fireworks and paused in-between scenes, the camera was completely out of focus and I was powerless to do anything beside turning it off and on.

Other than those, I really like the look and feel of the Nex-3 (it fits my small hand better than the Nex-5). Non-flash pictures taking in minimum lighting turned out great (the most important feature for me). The screen is gorgeous. And the camera feels quite compact with the 16mm lens.

Other side notes: a mini-HDMI cable/adapter is not included, so you'll need to buy one in order to hook the camera to an HDMI monitor. The strap included with the camera has a super-cheap feel, so you'll probably want to buy one as a favor for your neck. And while you're at it, buy a capkeeper cuz the lens cap is much smaller then the barrel and is real hard to put on and can drop easily if you didn't put it on right. There's no printed manual, so you'll have to look it up in the included CD instead.

I wanted a Point-and-shoot camera that can give me good pictures in low-light conditions (at parties, clubs, or under street lights) and decent auto-focused videos, while being easy to use. The Nex-3 is almost there but is not there yet.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2011
I bought this about 4 months ago and have shot about 2800 pictures using mostly the 18-55mm lens but also some old Canon manual focus prime lenses for which I bought a $20 adapter on ebay. In this review I'll confine my remarks to the experience with the 18-55mm lens.

My reason for buying this camera was that I wanted to take high quality indoor pictures without flash of my grandchildren, who won't sit still. Flash, in my opinion, ruins pictures. I didn't want the bulk of a dslr, and felt that the mirrorless large sensor cameras such as the Nex, Panasonic G, and Olympus PEN are technologically the future and appealingly small. Of those, I chose the Nex because it has the best low light sensitivity of the mirrorless system cameras, which was my main reason for buying a new camera.

The results greatly exceed my original hopes. I have gotten great people/children shots, indoors, in beautiful natural low light, with never any motion blur, and never any bothersome noise/grain, using the 18-55mm lens. It is a pleasure to use and the results are spectacular. I'm sure that this low light quality is also achievable with a dslr, but unlike a dslr this camera fits in my jacket pocket, dangles comfortably on a wrist strap, and is not intimidatingly large object pointed at children and people. If you have struggled with using a small camera getting glary flash pictures with red eye or, alternatively, blurred, noisy, low light pictures of moving people, (which is what I was tired of) this camera is great solution. The results are beautiful. For me that makes it worthwhile and I am thrilled with this purchase.

A few other notes that may be of interest. I carefully compared graininess/noise between my old canon point and shoot (a fine camera) and the Nex. Grain/noise at ISO 800 on the point and shoot is about the same as ISO 12600 on the Nex, IS0 400 is similar to ISO 6400. With the NEX you can comfortably shoot at ISO 3200 and not worry about noise. That is huge for low light. I find the focus speed with the Nex to be very good, very fast and very accurate. Also unlike my point and shoot the focus motor is silent so no focus noise gets into your movies.

Frankly however if you shoot travel photos outdoors in sunlight, you would need to be a very fussy person to care about the improvement in picture quality between this sensor and a decent point and shoot camera. Yes it is sharper even outdoors in bright light, but frankly not enough to make the upgrade worthwhile for me, but that is a personal choice. If you would only shoot travel pictures with a dslr, then you will like this because the sensor is the same as the those sensors. If you are happy with your point and shoot for those pictures, I'm not sure you will see the improvement unless you put pictures side by side.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2011
I bought this camera with both lenses, this review emphasizes the performance of the 16mm kit lens. (See the other kit for the opposite emphasis.) I had no preconceptions and bought it on a whim, amazed by its size. It's easy to hold, but also easy to cover the AF lamp. With the 16mm lens is actually fits in a large pocket.

The 16mm lens is simply not acceptable for point-and-shooters, unless you enjoy performing manual correction on every image afterward. The primary use will be in portraits, which end up with distorted body parts at any reasonable distance, though the resolution is certainly high enough that you can step back and still get good shots. Be ready to undistort in PS, because there's no compensation in the camera. Because it lacks IS, it will seem like a major step backward to anyone used to getting sharp pictures with a handheld digicam. Only the zoom lenses have IS, and it definitely shows up between 16m and 18mm shots. The downer to the other lens is that it's VERY large, so the camera instantly goes from handheld to SLR size. Badly needs an in-between lens.

Easily the best feature of the camera is the merge mode that's appeared across most of the Sony line: 5 shots without flash at default shutter merged into one, compensating for any movement, makes for some awesome pics at any light level. However, my HX5 compact has the same feature and looks nearly as good (just takes longer), plus you still have auto mode problems.

An unfortunate downside to the camera is the lack of mode dial. Switching between Auto, 5-shot, and shutter was agonizing when I needed that quick shot, and blinding in the dark, plus is some modes the quick mode change button becomes something else, so that you have to go into the full menu. I despised that delay. I loved that flash could be turned on or off instantly by raising or lowering the physical flash module. It was high enough that there were zero red-eye problems. Sadly, using the flash means no other accessories. The inner lens ring also doesn't control anything that I could tell; I never got it to change aperture, focus, speed, etc. The screen tilt was useless to me without side-tilt.

Very problematic is that while Sony designed this camera around Auto mode, it just plain isn't fast or sensitive. In shutter mode, you can ramp down the timing and force it to use much higher ISOs, which still manage to look breathtakingly clear with the large sensor, but Auto mode just plain refuses to use them. If you try to use Auto in dark settings, it will bump the shutter up past 1 second, even with flash. (I got very pissy at the camera at a club when it kept using 3.4s with flash off and 1.8s with flash on, in Auto. ??? Everything was blurry in Auto, of course. It's the only camera I've ever owned to do this.) Due to this, the sensor is crippled, IMHO. If you are willing to use it in shutter mode at night, quality is fantastic. In daylight, Auto will blow you away just fine. Manual mode is such a pain that I skipped it completely; there's no way to adjust ISO quickly.

Video looks pretty good. I didn't use it much but it's definitely on par or better than any video camera I've used. Panorama stitch also looks great. Sport mode does not.

The battery is surprisingly small, only 1080mAh, when each of my AA are triple that. The camera will last a few hours, but my old Canon S2 can do 2-3 times as many pictures easily. I nearly ran out of juice one night. Invest in a spare.

My final verdict: A study in compromises that turn a fantastic sensor into a mediocre product. If you want it, get the 18-55 zoom lens kit. I took it back; the search for the perfect SLR continues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2011
I'm very happy with this camera which takes picture of DSLR-like quality while fitting in your pocket. You can use it in point & shoot on in more advanced modes allowing you control over aperture, shutter speed, etc. The basic lens is very wide angle and takes in a lot of light, which makes the need for a flash nearly nil in low-light conditions. Only downside is there's no digital zoom, but you can workaround it by taking higher-res pix and then cut in photoshop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
I will never own another camera besides an NEX. This is without a doubt the best camera I've ever held... those that can't decide between this and the Olly, definitely this. The only downside is the zoom, which I believe they've fixed on the other models, and it really isn't that hard to get used to. (They don't have an exterior zoom button, you have to go into the menu.)

WORTH IT! Buy an extra battery, because you will not want to run out once you get started!!
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on March 1, 2013
I have a Canon 5D, full frame SLR. I use them about equally, meaning when I decide which camera to take, the NEX gets picked about the same as the professional camera. The NEX blows away point and shoot cameras, first off. It's a true high end camera, with removable lenses and a Sony sensor straight out of more expensive Sony and Nikon professional SLR cameras.

Compared to an SLR, it's smaller and lighter to cart around. It doesn't scream "steal me" as much, and if it does get stolen is cheaper to replace. The picture quality is equivalent to similar SLRs, because it uses an SLR sensor. It would be inadequate for sports compared to an SLR, but works fine for other purposes.

My favorite aspect is the ability to use older manual focus lenses, including ones I can't use on my Canon. This alone makes the camera worth it for the access it gives you to great lenses. You'll have to work harder with them, but that attention results in better photos.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2011
I have had many cameras, film and digital both, and to me this camera is the best of all worlds.

1) It is small and light enough to take with you everywhere.
2) The electronics are really excellent, with a sensor that's big enough to make seriously good photos.
3) To me, I love the fact that I can use almost all of my old lenses, especially the fixed lenses. They are crisper and more fun, in my view, and I now have the best of both worlds: the past and the present. I am able to to take lots and lots of excellent photos. Isn't that the point?

Cons? I always say that I'm going to read the manual front to back, and I never do, because they're so tedious. I'm probably missing something. But:

1) Indeed, using your own adaptor and lens requires a couple of obscure adjustments, but just Googling the question gave me the answer fast.
2) Manual focussing is very hard to do with the LED screen, especially with bright light. That's the only downside of using legacy lenses, and it's not a problem when you're doing landscapes, etc.

My advice: Go ahead, you geeks! Why pay for, and carry, a heavy and expensive machine that flips mirrors?
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on December 14, 2014
Great camera.
For the money, at 200$ used, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
I only wish there were a manual viewfinder. We had to buy a magnetic viewfinder that gets in the way so we could see the screen.
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