Top positive review
121 people found this helpful
Excellent photos but a User Interface that needs improvement
on June 10, 2012
Picked this camera up at Best Buy. So instead of relying on Amazon you should definitely check and see if one of your local stores has it in stock.
Anyway, the first thing you will notice about this camera is that its a bit larger than its predecessor (and the 5N). I've heard a lot of the reviewers bemoan the fact that its a larger camera, I guess those folks like their cameras to feel extremely front-heavy? With the NEX-F3, the camera feels much more balanced and much more pleasant to hold and shoot with. Also, the deeper hand-grip up front and the placement of the shutter button are plusses as well. It's still quite compact, though.
On this camera, the battery charging is done in-camera like a cell phone. The camera takes a long time to charge though, from what I have noticed so far. The SD card has been separated from the battery slot but it still sits on the bottom of the camera. This can make it a real pain if trying to use a tripod.
The camera's weakest spot is its user interface. Sorry, I should not have to go digging in the menu system to change the ISO. And I should also be able to adjust the shutter speed and aperture while adjusting the focus area which I can't do on this camera. The system for changing settings on this camera is so menu driven that it might slightly irritate enthusiasts who want direct controls to quickly adjust settings. Basic direct access controls should not be a luxury Sony reserves for its more expensive cameras.
The LCD is bright and clear, and articulates. Although this one flips up so you can take self-portraits with it if that's your thing. When you flip up the LCD to face you and press the shutter, you get a 3-second countdown before it snaps a self-photo.
The video is excellent on this camera as is with most Sonys. I haven't played much with it other than shooting short clips but from what I have seen thus far it does really well. It doesn't have much of an enthusiast feature set though.
The camera has excellent image quality...on-par with its sub-$1,000 DSLRs peers. Even at ISO1600 you have to look very carefully to notice some effects of noise reduction and detail degredation. Sharpness and detail capture are excellent. The camera tends to underexpose a little but I would rather it do that than overexpose. The default color output is a little muted, but change the color setting to Vibrant and you get much punchier results (if you're the type of person that prefers more saturated colors). But if you're coming from a point and shoot or even an enthusiast compact, you will certainly notice the different in image quality with this camera. The 18-55 kit lens that it comes with is an okay performer. I think the 16-50 pancake zoom that just came out is a little bit better optically but as a starter lens, the 18-55mm lens is fine.
Shooting performance is top-notch, the AF is snappy even in low-light, and shot-to-shot times are good.
If you don't mind the quirky interface that this camera has, you'll find it to be an excellent performer otherwise. Excellent image quality, decent AF performance, and a comfortable shooting design.