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Customer Review

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullseye for Point & Shoot Upgraders, August 25, 2010
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX-3 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/18-55mm Lens (Silver)- 14.2 Mpix (Electronics)
I'm experienced with 35mm SLRs and Digital Point & Shoot cameras, and I recently bought this camera (Sony NEX-3 with 18-55mm lens) because I have been disappointed with the quality of photos I can achieve with Digital Point & Shooters. Having been originally spoiled by my Nikkormat and Minolta 35mm cameras I found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures on my small Digital cameras simply because the pictures were just OK. So, with some important life events coming in the next couple of years I decided to upgrade, yet I dreaded the thought of carrying around a bulky and heavy DSLR.

The NEX-3 has solved this problem for me: Great pictures, excellent indoor pictures often with no flash needed, and much better portability than a DSLR.

Before purchasing I read the reviews and noted some were especially critical of the user interface Sony designed for the NEX series, so when I went to the store to try one I was expecting the worst. Instead, I found the NEX to have an extremely elegant and seductive interface, much better than any of the Digital Point & Shoot cameras I've had. I repeat, the interface is actually seductive. Now, if you compare the interface to a DSLR you will immediately see that the controls are not always visible and at-hand, they must be pulled up on the screen via the menu buttons. Therefore, I do not recommend this as a "downgrade from DSLR" camera until you have tried one in person. However, with my SLR experience I was pleased to see the animated representation of the P-A-S-M knob. And once "A" (aperture priority) is chosen, for example, the aperture adjustment is directly available as part of the viewfinder display. The interface is immediately recognizable to anyone with DSLR/SLR experience.

The second thing that struck me while testing the camera at the store was how fast it is. It powers up very quickly, and the delay between shots is better than any digital point & shoot I've seen.

Based on these in-store observations and the consistently strong reviews regarding picture quality, I decided to purchase the NEX.

There are several cool and innovative features on the NEX that I've not encountered before, and I'll mention the two I think most people will find useful.
- The panoramic photo feature will knock your socks off. The camera automatically captures a series of images while you pan from one side to the other (or up-down) and then stitches the images together into a single panoramic photo. This performs very well, and is very useful for many outdoor scenes.
- The integration with Eye-Fi wireless SD memory cards makes for a very nice automated transfer of your photos to your computer and to online sharing sites. When I'm shooting in my house the photos are uploaded right then, while I'm shooting. If I'm away from home then when I return I simply turn on the camera and the photos automatically upload and after a minute of idle time the camera shuts off. If you buy a Sony NEX I strongly recommend you consider getting an Eye-Fi wireless SD card.

Upon buying the camera I left the next day for a trip to Colorado for a wedding and to visit friends and family. Everyone that saw the camera was enthralled with it. My daughters immediately took to it and snapped many excellent photos using it. My wife's reaction during the return trip: "That camera has already paid for itself!"

Other details:
- I'm getting about 300 pictures on a battery charge, and will probably purchase an additional battery within 6 months or so.
- The high resolution view screen is part of the secret to liking the camera. You get immediate satisfaction from seeing the excellent picture quality.
- The flash is workable but will not impress anyone with DSLR experience. I hope Sony comes out with an improved version.
- If Sony introduces a normal lens (30mm) it will be tempting, since it may allow the camera to be easily carried in a coat pocket.
- I don't take a lot of videos, but the NEX-3 video is quite good and will suffice for any purpose I will ever have.

I highly recommend this camera for someone upgrading from a Digital Point & Shoot.
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