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Showing 1-10 of 181 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 231 reviews
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.
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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.
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on May 26, 2014
I sold my T3i in search of a compact camera that takes crisp pictures in RAW while also capable of shooting HD video-- without the weight, bulk, and "Hey, I'm a tourist!" look of the dSLR.

I thought I was going to go Olympus PM-2, but wanted a tilted screen. The PL-5 felt awkward and cheap. I also realized how much I prefer buttons and wheels for menus rather than poking around on a touchscreen.

I then looked at Fuji cameras, the X series -- beautiful and unique images, and the cameras felt great and solid in my hands -- but the lens selection is limited and VERY pricey. No thanks.

Enter Sony NEX. I haven't held any models aside from the NEX-3N, but it feels great and well-made. No obnoxious touchscreen, and a menu that's easy to understand.

I bought a NEX-3N body new from a dealer on Amazon for $190 and skipped the kit lens. I picked up a $30 RainbowImaging 35MM lens for portrait shots and coughed up $200 for a 19mm Sigma lens for landscapes.

I've only had the camera for three days, but I've been blown away by the quality of video when paired with the fun little 35mm lens. It truly looks like it was filmed with a dSLR -- and all for less than $250! I cannot wait to take this little guy on my travels.

The only thing I wish this camera really had was a mount for an external microphone, but I knew that before I made my purchase -- so I can't be too upset.

**EDIT: Bizarre flaw in this particular camera -- whenever you take a picture, it emits a fake shutter sound from the bottom speaker in addition to the actual shutter noise. It's quite loud, tacky, and cannot be disabled. Several NEX-3N owners have been campaigning for a firmware update, but Sony continues to claim it's the "real" shutter.
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on November 15, 2014
Great camera! Takes good photos and handles my abuse. Image quality is competitive with entry level DSLRs. Lenses are a bit more expensive than with the more common types, especially cannon.
Only complaint is that without a viewfinder shooting in the sun can be problematic. Navigating menus can be a bit slow, but once you get comfortable with shooting in all manual you don't need to do that much. The manual mode can take a little getting used to but I am quite fast with it now.

Included photos:
I can take long exposures that can see stars and the milky way (with the kit lens that comes with the camera, no less). The included shot was taken with this camera on a tripod with a 30 second exposure from the top of crater lake.

The splash was also taken with the kit lens, the lighting wasn't even that bright and you can still see the droplets. This is a great camera for getting into photography.
review image review image
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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.
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on January 14, 2014
I have had this camera for several months now. It takes great images. My two major faults with it are;
1. No shutter release. You can't release the shutter by remote. The self timer given within the camera maxes at 10 sec which is just not enough time for me.
2. Viewing screen can be very hard to see when in the sun.... I have tried several anti glare covers but with no positive result. I just accept this fault and have mastered the "I THINK I got it". If I must see right away I just find a shady area.

On the bright side, camera is very light compared to my old Canon Rebel. It has a load of option I didn't expect but enjoy playing with. It has the ability to do all the work for you or you can go manual and do the settings yourself.

I like this camera so much that I am currently awaiting my birthday so I can level up to a Nex 7.
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on March 16, 2014
First, I highly recommend this camera for someone who likes Auto, I-Auto, or Superior Auto, or any of those automatic modes. Sony does a good job in those modes. Sony's stitch panorama is the best of any maker. Fuji is a close second.

I wouldn't recommend this (or any NEX) to someone who likes to shoot in Aperture Priority or likes to customize their camera. Here's why:

1. Sony's NEX menus are terrible - Seriously. You have to get to root level to get into any sub menu, and it's easy to forget which items are in which root menus. Nobody should make menus like Sony.
2. Customization isn't consistent - If you change the functions of the control dial buttons, your custom settings revert in other modes. In real life experience, this means it's very easy for the NEX to provide an inconsistent and confusing experience. keep in mind this only happens in Aperture, Shutter, or Program mode. So if you shoot in Auto, or I-Auto, or S-Auto, then it's not a problem.

Sony's AF used to be notorious for missing the correct subject. For example, the NEX-6 would often pick trees in the background than people in the foreground even when people covered 60% of the frame. But Sony seems to be getting people. Most people shooting in Auto would just take another picture in the hopes that NEX-3N would get it right.

Being so affordable, I recommend the NEX-3N to anyone who shoots in Auto. For people who like to customize their camera, the NEX-3N would most likely find it frustrating.
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on January 20, 2014
I've been wanting to get a new camera for awhile since my p&s camera is about to die. Started looking at dslr cameras before Christmas and was deciding between the Canon 3t and the t3i. I saw the Sony NEX-3N on the lightning deal so decided to research it. Spent the day looking at reviews, videos, etc...decided to give it a try. I liked that it was the perfect middle ground between the light weight point & shoot and the heavy dslr. I'm not a professional photographer and only wanted a camera I can take to my kids sporting events, vacations, etc...
I have to say I'm extremely happy with my decision so far! I love that it isn't so heavy and I can switch out the lenses. I have friends with dslr cameras and they hardly ever take them anywhere due to not wanting to lug it around, they end up just using their cell phone cameras while their expensive camera sits at home. This past weekend I popped this camera into my purse and took about 50 pictures at my son's basketball game. Got some wonderful action shots! I ordered a 32gb memory card when I ordered the camera since it doesn't come with a memory card.
My only complaint which are super small is that the lens cap isn't attached to the camera so I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I lose it & the neck strap isn't very comfy to wear for an extended period of time so I ordered a neoprene one.
Down the road I will probably look at the N5, 6 or 7 since I like some of the additional features they have but for now the NEX-3N fits my needs. I've already ordered the Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Lens and can't wait to try it out. Happy with my purchase and very glad I dragged my feet on the dslr purchase.
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on April 3, 2014
I have been a loyal Canon customer since the early 2000's. In no way am I a professional, but I do read up on tutorials and appreciate taking beautiful photos using what I've learned. I've owned a few Canon point and shoots, video cameras, the Canon Rebel XTI with several lenses, and most recently the Canon PowerShot S100 which I absolutely loved. The Rebel SLR was fun but became too much of a burden to carry around once the diaper bag and baby gear became priority. And we had way too many near misses with dropping the heavy camera on baby (thank goodness for the neck strap and quick hands)! That's where the S100 came in for beautiful shots, ability to take shots in low light of sleeping babies, pocketability, video function and ease of use. I completely recommend it over a typical point and shoot. All was well until it dropped and the cost of repair couldn't be justified. Plus, who refuses an excuse to buy a new camera? My sister has the Sony Nex5R with stock lens and I found myself borrowing it several times. The photos were so bright and clear, with a nice soft airbrushed effect on skin. I took photos with my SLR and Sony Nex at the same party and I could immediately notice the difference once I uploaded the photos to the computer. I researched the various NEX cameras and wavered between the 5T and 3N. The 5R, though discontinued, wasn't much cheaper than the 5T. I finally decided on the 3N because of price (all 3 models have the same internal sensors and are mirrorless), the kit came with a pancake lens, built in flash, video capability, small size and great overall value for the price. I am usually one to go with the newer models and latest trends, but the 3N just made more sense. I kept reminding myself that I was looking to replace my S100, not my SLR. Some of the newer features of the 5/6/7, such as touch screen and wifi capability, aren't a selling point for my needs. I did buy an external charger and battery for convenience (I do not like having to charge the battery inside the camera), a B&W lens filter/protector (don't buy a cheap filter, it will negate having a quality lens) and anti-glare screen protector. I do miss having a viewfinder because the screen is a bit difficult to see in bright sunlight, but the screen protector helped a bit.. But after a month of casual use, I am very happy with the camera. The images are beautiful, it didn't take long to learn the menu and functions, the size is great for carrying around on my neck or in a bag, and the price is pocket friendly! The kids love when we take 'selfies' with the swivel lens, the video quality is nice, and when they become more involved in sports, I will definitely look into a lens with larger zoom. Thank you!
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on October 14, 2014
I love this camera! As a novice photographer I wanted a camera that had a great auto feature and some "extra" features that I could play around with. This fits the bill.

Pros: The auto shoot mode takes fabulous pictures both indoors and out. It even has a superior auto mode that I found really useful because it can tell the difference between a portrait, landscape and macro and will take the picture accordingly without me having to switch the mode. I love the high contrast black and white picture effect. It makes for some really cool portraits. I love the size. It's more substantial than a compact point and shoot but a lot smaller than a big DSLR and the pictures are just as good as my husbands expensive camera. Battery life is good but if you will be taking a lot of pictures in one day you might want to invest in a second battery.

Cons: the LCD screen can be a bit hard to see in the sunlight and the lens cap really needs a string connected to it so it doesn't get lost. Other than that, I am totally happy with the camera.
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