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Sony NEX-3NL/B Mirrorless Digital Camera Kit (Black)
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- 16.1 MP Exmor APS-C sensor for great images
- New SELP1650 lens with motor zoom lever and body control
- Create easy self-portraits with 180° tilting LCD screen
- Full HD movie shooting 60i/24p
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Outdoor Shopping Deals||Amazon.com||42nd Street Photo||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Extreme Electronic|
|Screen Size||3 in||3 in||3 in||3 in||3 in||3 in|
|Item Dimensions||1.38 x 4.33 x 2.44 in||1.77 x 4.72 x 2.64 in||1.3 x 4.61 x 2.44 in||1.53 x 4.36 x 2.31 in||1.42 x 4.33 x 2.48 in||1.54 x 4.6 x 2.62 in|
|Item Weight||0.59 lb||0.76 lb||0.52 lb||0.61 lb||0.62 lb||0.73 lb|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||16.1 megapixels||24 megapixels||14.2 megapixels||16 megapixels||24.3 megapixels||16.3 megapixels|
|Photo Sensor Size||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)||APS-C (23.4 x 15.6 mm)||APS-C (23.4 x 15.6mm)||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)||APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm)|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080i_hd||1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p, 25p), 640 x 480 (30p, 25p)||720p_hd||1080p_hd||1080p_hd||1080p_hd|
You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. Thanks to the large 16.1 megapixel APS-C sensor size and Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise. Use this comparison chart to compare all Sony Alpha Mirrorless cameras.
From the Manufacturer
Meet your new partner for life. The world’s smallest and lightest camera10, NEX-3N produces fantastic high-resolution photos, Full HD movies and charming self-portraits, all with excellent edge-to-edge sharpness. A superbly designed, feature-filled interchangeable-lens camera that includes a large APS-C sensor, built-in pop-up flash, 4 fps continuous shooting, Auto Object Framing and much more. All the camera you need to capture the finer aspects of life with the greatest of ease.
Up to ISO 16000 sensitivity with advanced noise reduction
Superior Auto mode
Sony Suggested Accessories
2. In meters, IS0 100
4. Records in 29 minute segments
6. Actual performance varies based on settings, environmental conditions, and usage. Battery capacity decreases over time and use.
9. Files compatible with iMovie® '09 or later on Mac. Software not compatible with Mac OS® X.
10. Among interchangeable-lens cameras with an APS-C sensor and built-in flash as of February 2013.
© 2013 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, BIONZ, BRAVIA, Exmor, InfoLITHIUM, Multi Connector, Remote Commander, Sweep Panorama, and the Sony make.believe logo are trademarks of Sony. AVCHD is a trademark of Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation. Mac OS and iMovie are trademarks of Apple Computers, Inc. HDMI is a trademark of HDMI Licensing LLC. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Sony is not responsible for typographical and photographic errors. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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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