Customer Review

180 of 221 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Small Camera, Small-Minded Manufacturer, April 23, 2013
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This review is from: Sony NEX-3NL/B Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera Kit (Black) (Electronics)
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.
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 24, 2013 2:05:34 PM PDT
I.Peters says:
Enjoyed you review. I am also puzzled by that battery charger omission and had to chuckle reading your hotel room scenario - the same thought crossed my mind as well.

Posted on May 2, 2013 3:05:28 PM PDT
zubat says:
very good review. 3N has the poorest display ever using for NEX, just half resolution of other NEX cameras(even including the first NEX). If Sony keep doing these things(display, battery charger), they will be facing bankruptcy.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2013 5:32:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2013 5:32:44 PM PDT
Unfortunately these are the types of things a lot of consumers don't pay attention to. This camera is very attractively priced compared to the competition and so plenty of people will buy it for that reason. Just talk to people in Best Buy sometime and find out how many think that megapixels are the most important thing to determine the quality of a camera, and you'll see how little the average shopper really knows about cameras and what to look for. Those are the people this camera is marketed to.

Posted on May 8, 2013 3:31:27 PM PDT
A. Shrestha says:
Spot on with the negatives. The NEX handles quite poorly in terms of navigating the menus or changing settings. My biggest gripe was that after customizing the buttons (mainly the 'center button' and 'right' button), my changes revert in the Auto mode. It makes for a very frustrating experience. And NEX auto-focus, even on the NEX 6, is quite slow compared to the OM-D E-M5, E-PM2, or E-PL5, or Fuji X20.

But I think people who shoot primarily in Auto and JPEG and don't care about changing settings/modes will like this camera.

I recommend the Wasabi charger. It's an additional 30 bucks.

Posted on Jun 5, 2013 5:50:25 AM PDT
Rodwally says:
Now comes the news from a certain highly reputable photo and video supply house in New York City that the "Sony Alpha AC Charger for W Series Battery has been discontinued." What is Sony thinking? Unless they change that policy, this is my last NEX camera. I don't want to charge batteries in-camera.

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 1:11:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2013 1:12:06 PM PDT
Yarii says:
Most camera manufacturers are now doing in-camera charging and I'm sure the #1 reason is to save money. I always pick up a non-OEM battery charger for my cameras on eBay....but I refuse to buy a non-Sony battery. I don't trust cheap Chinese-made Sony knock-off batteries in my cameras.

Posted on Aug 5, 2013 6:37:15 AM PDT
HD Rider says:
I really take the complete opposite view. I purchase cameras (and I have quite a few) based on the fact that I CAN charge the battery in the camera through a USB. I HATE having to carry/remember/lose a separate battery charger when all I need is a USB cable that I can pick up at any store for a couple dollars and charge from my computer. And it's not a sign of cheapness by Sony. If anything, it costs more to integrate the charging electronics into the camera than it does to stick it into a cheap plastic brick. I do not buy cameras with separate chargers. And why do you think that is it so tough to charge a second battery overnight in the camera? Do you think Sony would have discontinued the external charger if people were actually buying it?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2013 11:11:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2013 11:20:29 AM PDT
E. Snyder says:
I'm considering this or a 4/3rds camera to put on my model aircraft, so the display doesn't matter, don't want extra weight from viewfinders; etc. Just need to check functionality and need a good quality yet light weight wide lens for a decent price.

I sometimes use my DLSR while another battery is charging in my house. They are forcing anyone halfway serious to buy a second battery and the external charger. You can by 3rd party batteries for next to nothing for most cameras, buy 2 spares and live with the internal charger. Might be able to find 3rd party/Chinese charger on ebay too.

Posted on Nov 10, 2013 9:42:39 AM PST
David Murphy says:
I think that this review should be taken with a proverbial grain of salt. Reading the manual and learning more about the camera would be much more useful than this review.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 9:28:20 PM PST
TrailBlazer says:
It's kind of come full circle. In the early days, many Sony cameras (F505, P200) would charge the battery in-camera. Sony would supply an outstanding quality AC adapter charger. One of the advantages in those days was that you also had a nice AC adapter for indoors use. Not we are back to the same idea.
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