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Sony Alpha NEX NEX3A/B Digital Camera with Interchangeable Lens (Black)

3.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
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  • The quality of a DSLR in about half the size, weight with 3 Inch LCD display
  • World's smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera
  • Same APS-C sensor size, same resolution as Alpha DSLRs
  • 14.2 MP; up to 7 fps shooting; ISO 12800 sensitivity
  • Sweep Panorama captures incredible landscapes
  • The quality of a DSLR in about half the size, weight
  • World's smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera
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Technical Details

Product Description

Product Description

The performance of a DSLR without the size and weight. The NEX-3 stands apart as the world's smallest interchangeable lens camera.3 Experience gorgeous HD movies,1 astounding low-light pictures, continuous shooting up to 7 fps, incredible panorama shots, and Live View on a tilting 3" LCD4.

From the Manufacturer

Sony has engineered an impressively small camera that takes incredibly good photographs. In fact, the a NEX-3 camera has all quality of a DSLR in about half the size and weight. Pulling off this minor miracle took some clever innovations in glass, silicon and software code.

Sony Alpha NEX-3 Overview and Highlights

Bigger Sensor, Better Pictures

Sony Alpha NEX-3 interchangeable lens camera from
In technical terms, the APS-C image sensor is approximately 13 times the size of the typical sensor. In human terms, you'll be taking photographs, not snapshots. The bigger sensor means softer backgrounds, for more attractive portraits. You'll see better into the dark after sunset, and all your pictures will benefit from 14.2-megapixel resolution.

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are equipped with a powerful new 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, specially tuned to deliver uncompromising still-photo and movie image quality. Equal in surface area and performance to the large, APS-C image sensors used in Sony's acclaimed a system digital SLR cameras, it offers exceptionally rich tonal gradation and true-to-life color. Proprietary Sony processing technologies are also incorporated directly into the sensor, assuring clean, low-noise signal output and ultra high-speed data transfer.

World's Smallest and Lightest
Sony Alpha NEX-3 interchangeable lens camera from
The NEX-3 delivers the quality of a DSLR in a camera that's ready to go wherever you go. In fact, this is the world's smallest, lightest interchangeable lens digital camera (as of April 2010). It's roughly half the size and weight of Sony's smallest, lightest DSLR, the a230.

Equipped with an image sensor that's 13 times the size of the typical compact camera's sensor, a NEX cameras turn snapshots into photographs. The bigger sensor means images with softer background that make your subject stand out and stunning low-light shots.

Expect More from a Camera
Sony has always recognized that a digital camera could take pictures in ways that film cameras never dreamed of. That's why we've created new capabilities to take your photography further than ever. These include Sweep Panorama, Auto HDR, Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur modes.

Thanks to their powerful Exmor CMOS image sensor and BIONZ image processing engine, both these cameras can offer high-speed continuous shooting at up to 7 fps (approx.) in Speed Priority Continuous mode, and at up to 2.3 fps (approx.) in Continuous Advance mode. In addition, their 10-second self-timer also has a 3-shot continuous shooting setting.
Sony Alpha NEX-3 interchangeable lens camera from

Hand-held Twilight Mode takes six shots at high speed when the shutter is pressed, and then aligns and merges them into a single image, significantly reducing the graininess and noise that can degrade image quality when shooting in extremely low light. Combined with the outstanding low-noise performance of the Exmor CMOS image sensor, it lets you take exceptionally clear, beautiful, nighttime photos without using a tripod or flash.

Like Hand-held Twilight mode, Anti Motion Blur mode uses exclusive Sony image analysis and alignment technologies to combine six shots into a single image. Ideal for low-light and telephoto shooting, it makes it easy to get clear images that capture the mood and atmosphere of the moment.

HD Movie
Capture vivid, lifelike HD movies in the PC-friendly MP4 format. The NEX-3 gives you a choice of 720/30p high definition or standard definition 480/30p.

Sony Alpha NEX-3 interchangeable lens camera from
One-touch recording means there's no need to fumble with menu settings when you want to shoot a movie--recording can be started or stopped simply by pressing the dedicated MOVIE button.

When you're shooting movies in AF mode with an E-mount lens, the camera smoothly adjusts focus and exposure in response to changes in the scene, and you can use the control wheel to instantly adjust exposure compensation on the fly. If desired, you can also preselect white balance and Creative Style settings before movie recording begins.

Although many recent video cameras incorporate high-power zoom lenses, none can match the framing flexibility and creative freedom of interchangeable lenses. With the NEX-5 and NEX-3, you get a choice of dedicated E-mount lenses for wide-angle, standard zoom, and high-power zoom shooting, optional ultra wide-angle and fisheye converters, and--via a simple mount adaptor--the full range and world-class optics of the a digital SLR lens lineup.

Sophistication Made Simple
Sony Alpha NEX-3 interchangeable lens camera from
Some cameras bristle with knobs, buttons and dials. The NEX-3 replaces them with a simple turn-and-click Control Wheel and a pair of Soft Keys. These give you easy access to the full power of digital photography. To make learning even easier, Sony includes an On-Screen Help Guide and On-Screen Tips.

iAuto mode automatically applies exposure values and Scene Selection modes that are optimized to suit each scene. What's more, they combine this full-auto convenience with a Background Defocus Control function that lets you enjoy one of the biggest creative advantages of interchangeable lens photography--the ability to defocus the background to make your main subject stand out from the scene. Just press and rotate the control wheel to set the level of background defocusing you want--it's easy and intuitive because you can confirm the level of defocusing on the LCD monitor in real-time.

In addition to basic Help Guide information, these cameras are also equipped with built-in shooting tips. The tips provide information relevant to the current shooting situation or mode selection, and are designed with both beginners and more advanced users in mind. Two types of tip are offered: 1) tips about particular types of subject and scene, and 2) tips on general photographic technique. Since the entire library of shooting tips can also be accessed via the Camera menu and viewed as a single guidebook, it's like having a complete photography tutorial built right into your camera.

Sony Alpha NEX-3 interchangeable lens camera from
The main menu features six clearly labeled icons that can be selected simply by rotating and pressing the control wheel. Inside, standard scrolling menus provide quick access to settings for shooting and playback functions, as well as a host of other user preferences and camera settings. The wide-screen format of the LCD monitor also contributes to enhanced menu legibility, so text and icons are always easy to see and select.

The Creativity of Changing Lenses
The beauty of SLR photography is the ability to change lenses to match your shooting situation. Now Sony brings that beauty to a compact camera. The NEX-3 gives you a choice of dedicated E-mount lenses, plus a choice of 28 A-mount lenses via an adaptor, sold separately.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 4.6 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches
Item Weight 10.4 ounces
Shipping Weight 1.7 pounds
Item model number NEX3A/B
Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Customer Reviews
3.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #23,866 in Camera & Photo
#442 in Electronics > Camera & Photo > Digital Cameras > Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Mirrorless Cameras
Date first available at September 1, 2008

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

So I've been waiting for a compact camera with either 4/3rds sensor size or larger and priced around $600. There are only a few on the market:
- Sigma DP1, DP2 (Sensor size 20.7mm x 13.8mm)
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 (Sensor size 4/3rds : 17.3mm x 13.0mm)
- Olympus PEN E-PL1, E-P1, E-P2 (Sensor size 4/3rds : 17.3mm x 13.0mm)
- Sony NEX3, NEX5 (Sensor size APS-C 22.2mm x 14.8mm)

I was leaning towards the Olympus but read that Sony was going to make a APS-C size sensor compact camera so I waited and finally got it.

I own lots of cameras, Nikon D700, Nikon D300, Nikon D50, Panasonic LX3, Canon S90, Canon SD960, and a bunch of others.

Pros about NEX3:
- This thing shoots fantastic photos.
- The 16mm : 24mm equiv lens is awesome.
- HD video is pretty cool.
- Innovative controls need to get use to.
- Panaramic shooting mode.
- Photos are very sharp.
- Cool screen flexibilities.

- Only got the pancake 16mm for compactness, 18-55mm is too big and defeats the whole purpose.
- It's possible to shoot manual but ISO is hidden under two menus to adjust, apperture & shutter is easy to adjust.
- Battery does go fast even when turned off, the firmware update did help.
- Weird flash attachment, wish it could bend upwards for ceiling bounce flash.
- Wish they sold a snug fit leather case like shown on website.

Other than that, it's a pretty sweet camera. I heard Nikon is developing their own so that they can keep up with the compact large size sensor market. I hope it's a DX format sensor so almost equivalent to APS-C sensor.
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This could have been a very positive review, except for one very significant issue. I bought the NEX-3 after months of reading and researching. I chose it over Panasonic based on its sensor size, unique features, form factor, weight and several very favorable reviews in professional newsletters. I think the firmware upgrade in the Fall made the user interface and navigation much better and easier, and I have not experienced the battery issues that some have reported. Overall, I like this camera and I want to like it more and use it more, but Sony's lack of lens support for the platform thus far should be a red flag to anyone considering the NEX series. There were reports of a Sony NEX 5 telephoto lens SEL 18200 earlier this year. One report even said it was shipping. But no retailers have the lens and I could not find it mentioned in the lens section on Sony's NEX website. That leaves just two lenses in the entire NEX series -- a 16mm wide angle lens and a less than satisfying 18-55 zoom lens. Instead, there appears to be a strategy to push NEX users toward the existing Sony Alpha lens series, which requires purchasing an adapter plus using lenses that are reported to be ridiculously slow in the NEX autofocus mode. That is NOT why I bought this camera and would have stayed with my trusty Panasonic LUMIX point-and-shoot and Canon digital SLR if I knew that Sony was going to offer so few NEX lenses. Meantime, I am beginning to regret buying a promising platform that once seemed like the ideal solution for me. I am watching enviously as competitors I had compared to Sony expand their offerings while Sony seems to be standing still or falling backwards.
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I took the Nex-3 to Vegas for a 4-day trip. Took quite a few pictures and was quite impressed with it, but I will return it afterward due to the following short-comings:
. Failed to power on at times: this problem happened intermittently (twice during 4 days of use) and was annoying. The firmware version was 1.0
. Unpredictable images: at times, a picture taken would have the object (my girlfriend) too dark. When I retook the picture, it would be brighter the 2nd time, but it's just unpredictable. I use Intelligent Auto mode all the time.
. Severely distorted images on the sides: people on the left or right side look fatter. This must be caused by the 16mm lens, and I wish I had the 18-55mm lens instead.
. Confusing User Interface & operations: beside the cumbersome UI menu, I one time ran into situation when the camera refused to take picture (I believe after a self-timed picture). I tried switching modes, powering off, as well as other things, but ended up taking out the battery to clear it. Whatever that was, I wouldn't want having to do it again.
. One instance when night-time recording of fireworks couldn't focus: as I was recording fireworks and paused in-between scenes, the camera was completely out of focus and I was powerless to do anything beside turning it off and on.

Other than those, I really like the look and feel of the Nex-3 (it fits my small hand better than the Nex-5). Non-flash pictures taking in minimum lighting turned out great (the most important feature for me). The screen is gorgeous. And the camera feels quite compact with the 16mm lens.

Other side notes: a mini-HDMI cable/adapter is not included, so you'll need to buy one in order to hook the camera to an HDMI monitor.
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