Sony NEX 3 Compact Digital Camera

Sony, father of the digital camera Mavica, waited patiently before
launching into the world of compact interchangeable optical. Until a
little sleepy giant, Japan woke up last year, turns the world into
compacts with Exmor R, a sensor that has been the success of WX1 and

Besides SLR, if the brand offers good equipment, it is far from the
leadership in terms of functionality. With its NEX range, Sony has limed
his teeth and left with a simple goal: to be No. 1 at the end of the
year. Nothing less! Ambitions its measure?

Once NEX3 is in hand, we must face the facts: there are technological
prowess. "Compact with interchangeable optics," Sony has understood the
meaning of the word "compact". The model that we test NEX3 very end,
NEX5 is even more. The giant, Japan, will pay the luxury to incorporate a
rotating screen! The finish is excellent and if the trolls will
complain of the smallness of the device, the normal hands (and
shoulders) will appreciate it.

Compact Ergonomics

Attention photographers and pros, the NEX3 is for a very large audience!
Point wheel, or wheel selection, or buttons galore: NEX approach is
based on simplicity and compactness. More open and direct in its
approach as Samsung (with NX10), Sony takes full public side and does
not bother Heritage ergonomic SLR. Five buttons, a wheel, a trigger and
that’s it. The device is destined to be used in automatic mode in 95% of
cases, this is not an embarrassment, you just know. That will reassure
fans, menus P, A, S and M are available in a menu: you can set
everything by hand, but this is not the primary purpose of NEX3.

What benchmarks says?

Easy to take in hand to take pictures at all, will without asking
questions, the NEX3 has a little worrying at first sight on its menus.
It must indeed go through menus to get the panorama mode and different
settings for image quality – RAW, ISO, black and white, etc. Just read
the information on the screen, but breaking with years of photographic
culture imposes changes disturbing at first.

Beautiful screen and practical

Sony NEX 3 has not only the camera that is fine but also the screen is
moving from top to bottom (down to the shooting at belly up for
concerts, for example). And what about the screen! Its definition is
excellent, as brightness, contrast and viewing angles. Difficult to find

The power of an reflex in a mini housing

Small in size, the NEX is shockingly powerful. Take the burst mode,
where Panasonic, Olympus and Samsung leveled at 2-3 frames per second,
the NEX 3 surf quietly at 6-7 fps. When the sensor micro 4/3 of
Panasonic and Olympus stumble beyond ISO 800 (Samsung not being better
with its APS- C) sensor cameras (APS- C) is clean up the NEX 3 ISO 200
(and growing to 12,800).

From the world of SLR: a look at the new series of Alpha A450 and A550,
we find the same technical characteristics. Sony has used the machine to
shrink and was able to pulverize the competition as regards
performance. And adds, compared to SLR, a video mode. A limited video to
720p on NX3 (1080i on NX5) but excellent bill: stabilization is quite
sound, as well as the level of detail and color.

ISO high-flying, noisy shutter

Suitable for ISO 1600, good for 3200 acceptable to ISO 6400, there is
only 12,800 that is limited by NEX3. In terms of digital noise, there is
clearly above (and below) that may provide competition, it will place
even among the best of reflex time.

In RAW mode, it can work without a flash in difficult lighting
conditions. For reporters discreet and secret agents, it is however
handicapped by the frank and very metallic sound of his shutter. We
would appreciate a quiet mode, especially for shows.

Claw flash impractical

Like Pen E-P1 and Pen E- P2, the NEX has an external flash – except that
Sony has the foresight to deliver basic when Olympus is a price to pay.
Small in size, this flash is forgotten or sits, but we do not spend
time apart. And for good reason, its attachment system (one screw placed
in the device) is not really ergonomic and is tedious to go !

Panorama mode scanning, 3D for the future

The world of compact states, since the advent of WX1, a simple panning.
It scans the image of a simple wrist movement and the device
automatically rebuild. Cheating is the method used is the video mode and
the image is only 1080 points in height (approximately 5000 wide).

Sony is again stronger in integrating this function in this unit with
large sensor (14.3 megapixel format SLR). The pictures are of enormous
blow (23 MP) and very detailed. To reserve the countryside with little
moving parts.

Also note that this method of shooting will be complete with a 3D
panorama mode in the coming weeks with a simple update. 3D files that
you can watch on the PS3 and TV compatible in the month of July, or on
his PC using 3D glasses a compatible 3D screen and a Nvidia 3D card.

The radius of the defects

A trigger is a bit noisy, a flash not necessarily well designed (but not
really necessary either), a menu button, which sometimes falls a
little below the left thumb, a device a bit unbalanced as it is small
the defects are NEX3 agenda retail and personal perception.

Technically, the camera is really impressive and does not sulfur
defects. It’s crazy to say but it does. Sony even has the good taste to
leave the choice between the memory stick or good old SD and SDHC (and
even SDXC!).

The only limit you can find at this park is the NEX optics, rickets, a
18-55 mm (eq. 28-90 mm), 16mm (eq. 24mm) and a 18-200 mm transtandard
(eq. 28-300 mm), but is expected to grow slowly, Sony targeting the
large audience that is not (yet) used to changing lenses frequently.

Optical side, we can also criticize the quality of 18-55 mm, really
mean. Hopefully the 18-200 mm is better bill.


  • Smallest in class: This is the world’s smallest interchangeable
    lens digital still camera (as of April 2010). We removed the
    conventional mirror box, AF sensor and viewfinder, reducing the "flange
    back" distance from 44.5 mm to 18 mm. The result has all the quality of
    an α DSLR, but is 48% smaller and 49% lighter than our α230.
  • HD movie recording: Capture vivid, lifelike HD movies in the
    PC-friendly MP4 format. Shoot 720/30p high definition or standard
    definition 480/30p.
  • ISO 12800 sensitivity: Incredibly clear low-light pictures without
    sacrificing detail. As of April 2010, this is best-in-class performance,
    made possible by low-noise Exmor APS HD CMOS image sensor and refined
    BIONZ image processor.
  • Anti Motion Blur mode: Corrects for subject movement to capture
    amazingly clean and sharp images in low light. The camera leverages the
    large, APS-C image sensor and captures six images in a fraction of a
    second. Combining the data from all six creates a single image that
    minimizes subject blur.
  • Live View LCD: The LCD monitor is active full-time for composing
    shots. Provides a what-you-see-is-what-you-get preview of white balance,
    focus, depth of field, exposure and 100% framing accuracy, plus
    informative on-screen displays.
  • Fast Auto Focus: Some cameras in this class are slow to focus. That
    can make you miss the shot on fast-moving subjects like sports and
    unpredictable subjects like pets and babies. Sony’s fast Contrast Auto
    Focus system typically takes just 0.3 seconds. Also offers continuous
    Auto Focus when shooting movies.
  • On-screen Help Guide : Provides ready reference, explains the
    camera’s modes and settings. Walks you through camera operation so you
    get the best shot. Helps you advance from basic operation to greater
  • Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor: Conventional image sensors use only a
    handful of analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, which can slow you down.
    The NEX-3 Exmor sensor provides 4,592 column-parallel A/D converters.
    You get fast response, superb image clarity.
  • Accepts α DSLR A-mount lenses: Using the LA-EA1 adaptor (sold
    separately), you can attach the full selection of α A-mount system
    lenses, which includes 28 current models and an installed base of
    millions of lenses worldwide. Operational restrictions apply.
  • Manual Focus Assist: Greatly magnifies the viewfinder image when you
    touch the focus ring, making it easy to get razor-sharp images. Works
    with E-mount lenses only.
  • Accepts image stabilized lenses: Selected E-mount lenses incorporate
    Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to combat the effects of camera
    shake. Building stabilization into the lenses enables the camera body to
    be remarkably thin and light.
  • Smile Shutter technology: Captures a smile the moment it happens.
    Simply select the Smile Shutter mode and the camera takes the picture
    automatically. You can prioritize children or adults and adjust the
    smile sensitivity.
  • Six Creative Style settings: Control how the camera processes your
    images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape,
    Sunset and B&W. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and
    sharpness to your personal taste.
  • Up to 300 Shots of battery life: Take up to 300 shots on a single
    charge with Sony lithium ion Stamina battery power. Sony’s InfoLITHIUM
    battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you
    can keep shooting in confidence.
  • PhotoTV HD compatibility: Optimizes compatible BRAVIA televisions
    for gorgeous display of digital pictures.
  • Interchangeable lenses: Compatible with Sony’s E-mount series of
    smaller, lighter lenses designed specifically for α compact
    interchangeable lens cameras. Opens up a world of creative options.
  • 14.2 megapixel resolution: You get incredible detail and gorgeous
    enlargements. Thanks to the 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.
  • Sweep Panorama: Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press
    the shutter, sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest,
    continuously shooting images and stitching them together. Up to 23 MP
    image size. Up to 202 degrees maximum sweep angle (16mm focal length).
  • Hand-held Twilight Mode: Corrects for subject movement to capture
    amazingly clean and sharp images in low light. The camera leverages the
    large, APS-C image sensor and captures six images in a fraction of a
    second. Combining the data from all six creates a single image that
    minimizes subject blur.
  • Tiltable 3” LCD screen: Empowers your photography with a different
    point or view. Tilts down 45° and up 80° to frame high- and low-angle
    shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss.
  • Intelligent Auto Focus: Pre-focuses as you compose the shot, further
    reducing focusing time to a bare minimum.
  • On-screen Shooting Tips: Offers expert advice so you can shoot like a
  • BIONZ image processor: The brains of the camera is a refined version
    of Sony’s BIONZ image processor. Its chroma noise reduction delivers
    high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 12800 sensitivity. Also
    enables fast processing for up to 7 fps continuous shooting of
    data-intensive 14.2 megapixel images. Sweep Panorama and 6 image
  • 25-point Auto Focus: 25 sensors cover a very wide area of the scene,
    for accurate focusing even when the subject is far from the center of
    the frame.
  • RAW image capture: The NEX-3 saves your pictures as compact JPEG
    files or ultra-high quality RAW files. RAW files save images prior to
    de-mosaicing, white balance, sharpness and color enhancement. This
    retains maximum latitude for enhancing the image on your PC.
  • Powerful supplied software: To help you refine and manage your
    images, the camera is equipped with computer software including Image
    Data Converter SR, Image Data Lightbox SR and Picture Motion Browser
  • HDMI output for HD viewing: Enjoy HD movies and stunning still
    images on a compatible HDTV. The camera includes an HDMI output. In
    addition, the BRAVIA Sync system works with compatible Sony BRAVIA HDTVs
    enabling you to control camera playback using the television’s remote.
  • P/A/S/M operating modes: The NEX-3 offers a full range of controls
    from the beginner’s iAUTO mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority,
    Shutter Priority and Manual. On-screen prompts help you refine your
    skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control.
  • Supplied detachable flash: To help you shoot more effectively in
    formal portraits, the supplied flash has a Guide Number of 7.
  • Index and Slide Show Display: Quickly review your photos using 6- or
    12-frame index views, or as an automatic slide show with
    fade-in/fade-out effect.
  • APS-C size HD image sensor: The same sensor format that Sony builds
    into the full-sized α DSLRs. With 13 times the area of the typical image
    sensor, APS-C makes the difference between "snapshots" and
    "photographs," delivering an exceptional combination of high resolution,
    high sensitivity and gorgeous, blurred backgrounds.
  • Up to 7 frames per second: You get incredible detail and gorgeous
    enlargements. Thanks to the 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.
  • 3D Panorama: Captures scenic vistas in spectacular 3D. As you sweep
    across the panorama, the camera records separate right-eye and left-eye
    images that make landscapes come alive on your 3D television.
  • Auto HDR built into camera: High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography
    captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by
    combining the best highlight detail from one shot and the best shadow
    detail from another for one incredible shot. Until recently, you needed a
    computer and editing software. Sony builds HDR in. Handles severe
    backlighting and other high-contrast scenes. Captures in a split second.
    (Recommended for still subjects.)
  • 920K pixel TruBlack LCD screen: Sony’s Xtra Fine LCD monitor has
    best-in-class resolution (as of April 2010). The TruBlack screen
    includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections,
    increase contrast compared to conventional LCDs. Sunny Weather mode
    boosts visibility even further in bright sunlight.
  • iAUTO (Intelligent Auto) mode: Unifies and simplifies Sony
    intelligent technologies. Takes advantage of Intelligent Scene
    Recognition, Face Detection technology, and Optical SteadyShot image
    stabilization without leaving auto mode so you always get the best shot.
  • Control Wheel + Soft Keys: Unlike cameras that bristle with knobs,
    buttons and dials, the NEX-3 features a simple turn-and-click Control
    Wheel and context-sensitive Soft Keys. It’s elegant, uncluttered and
  • Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO): Dynamic Range Optimizer improves
    results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows.
    Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and
  • Multi-segment measuring: Optimizes exposure based on 49 segments.
    Choice of Multi, Center and Spot metering accommodates a full range of
    shooting situations.
  • "Background Defocus" control: Cameras with APS-C sensors take
    beautiful pictures because they can blur the background. That helps make
    your subject stand out as the center of attention in portrait
    photography. But you’ve had to know about aperture f-stops and shutter
    speeds. Now Sony makes it easy. Simply turn the Control Wheel one way
    for backgrounds in focus, the other for background defocus.
  • Face Detection technology: The camera can automatically detect up to
    eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and
    flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends.
    Can prioritize children or adults.
  • Eight Scene Selection Modes: These help you get the shot by
    optimizing the camera for specific shooting situations. Select from
    Portrait, Sports, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night View, Night Portrait
    and Hand-held Night Shot modes.
  • Anti-Dust Technology: Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS
    sensor clean, resulting in consistently clear pictures. First a
    static-free coating on the sensor’s low-pass filter helps repel dust.
    Then vibration automatically dislodges dust from the sensor.
  • Dual Media Slots: For cost-effective, convenient storage and sharing
    of your images, the camera accepts Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick
    PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (Class 4 or higher recommended). (Memory
    card is required. All are sold separately.)


Drive System

  • Burst Buffer : JPEG (unlimited to card capacity)
    RAW (8 shots) RAW+JPEG (5 shots)
  • Continuous Shooting Speed : Continuous (2.3fps) Speed Priority
  • Drive Mode : Single-shot, Continuous, Speed Priority,
    Self-timer, Continuous Self-timer, Bracketing; Remote
  • Flash Sync Speed : 1/160 seconds
  • Self-timer : 2-sec. or 10-sec. delay, (single, continuous 3 or 5
  • Shutter Speeds : 1/4000 – 30 seconds, bulb
  • Shutter Type : Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse,
    focal-plane type

Focus Control

  • AF Illuminator : Built-in, LED type
  • AF Modes : Single-shot AF, Continuous AF, Direct Manual Focus,
    Manual Focus
  • Focus Area : Multi Point AF (25 points), Center Weighted AF,
    Flexible Spot AF
  • Focus Features : Predictive Focus Control, Focus Lock
  • Focus Points : 25 points
  • Focus Sensitivity : 0 EV to 20 EV (at ISO100 conversion with
    F2.8 lens)
  • Focus System : Contrast AF
  • Manual Focus Assist : Magnified display for precise manual

Weights and Measurements

  • Dimensions (Approx.) : Appx 4-5/8 ×
    2-1/2 × 1-3/8" (117.2×62.6×33.4mm) (W/H/D); 1" (25.4mm) excl grip and
    lens mount
  • Weight (Approx.) : Approx. 8.4 oz (239g) (excl battery &
    media) Approx. 10.5 oz (297g) (w/battery & media)


  • Battery Type : InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50,7.2V
  • Number of Shots : Approx. 330 images (CIPA standard)


  • Camera Type : Sony E-mount interchangeable lens
    digital camera
  • Lens Compatibility : Sony E-mount lens, (Sony α lenses when
    used with LA-EA1 lens adaptor)
  • Lens Conversion Factor : 1.5x
  • Lens Mount : Sony E-mount


  • Flash Bracketing : 3 frames, 1/3, 2/3EV steps
  • Flash Compensation : +/-2EV,1/3EV steps
  • Flash Coverage : FOV coverage up to 16 mm (in the focal length)
  • Flash Metering System : Pre-flash TTL
  • Flash Modes : Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync., Slow sync.,
    Red-eye reduction
  • Flash Type : Smart accessory terminal (HVL-F7S Flash Supplied)
  • Guide Number : 7 (in meters at ISO 100)
  • Recycling Time : Approx. 4 sec

Exposure System

  • Auto Exposure Lock : Yes (AE Lock with
    focus lock)
  • Color Temperature : 2500 – 9900 k with 19-step Magenta / Green
  • Creative Style : Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset,
  • D-Range Optimizer : Yes: (Auto, Level 1-5, off)
  • Exposure Compensation : ±2EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
  • Exposure Settings : iAUTO, Program Auto(P), Aperture
    priority(A), Shutter priority(S), Manual (M)
  • ISO : Auto, 200 to 12800
  • Metering : 49 Segment metering from CMOS image sensor
  • Metering Modes : Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
  • Metering Sensitivity : 0EV-20EV, (at ISO 100 equivalent w/
    f/2.8 lens)
  • Noise Reduction : Long exp.NR: (On/Off, available at shutter
    speeds longer than 1 second) High ISO NR: (Auto/Weak)
  • Scene Mode(s) : Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports action,
    Sunset, Night portrait, Night View, Handheld Twilight
  • White Balance Mode : Auto,Daylight, Shade, Cloudy,
    Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Setting the color temperature,Custom

Imaging Sensor

  • Anti-Dust : Charge protection coating on
    Low-Pass Filter and electromagnetic vibration mechanism
  • Color Filter System : RGB primary color filters
  • Effective Picture Resolution : Approx. 14.2 megapixels
  • Imaging Sensor : Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor (23.4 X 15.6mm)
  • Pixel Gross : Approx. 14.6 megapixels
  • Processor : BIONZ image processor


  • Audio Format : MPEG-4 AAC-LC
  • Color Space : sRGB, AdobeRGB
  • Media Type : Memory Stick PRO Duo/Pro-HG Duo/PRO-HG HX Duo
    media SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card
  • Still Image Mode : JPEG (Standard, Fine), RAW, RAW+JPEG
  • Still Image Size 16:9 : L (12M): 4592 X 2576 M (6.3M): 3344 X
    1872 S (2.9M): 2288 X 1280
  • Still Image Size 3:2 : L(14M): 4592 X 3056 M (7.4M): 3344 X
    2224 S (3.5M): 2288 X 1520
  • Video Format : MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264))
  • Video Mode : MP4 HD: 1440 x 1080/ 30p MP4 VGA: 640 x 480/ 30p


  • Aperture (Max.) : F3.5-F5.6
  • Aperture (Min.) : F22-F32
  • Blades : 7 blades (Circular aperture?
  • Filter Diameter : 49mm
  • Focal Length : 27mm-82.5mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Lens Groups-Elements : 9 groups, 11 elements (4 aspheric
  • Lens Mount Type : Sony E-mount
  • Lens Type : E-mount 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
  • Magnification : 0.3x (APS-C)
  • Minimum Focus Distance : 9.8" (0.25m)
  • Non-rotating Focusing Ring : No rotation


  • BRAVIA Sync : Yes, via HDMI with compatible
  • DVDirect: Yes, via USB
  • HD Output: HDMI (TypeC mini)
  • Memory Card Slot: Dual slot: – Memory Stick PRO Duo/Pro-HG
    Duo/PRO-HG HX Duo media – SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card
  • PhotoTV HD: Yes, with BRAVIA Sync enabled HDTV and HDMI cable
  • USB Port(s): USB2.0 Hi-speed (mass-storage, PTP)

Operating Conditions

  • Operating Temperature: 32 – 104 degrees
    F (0 – 40 degrees C)

Service and Warranty Information

  • Limited Warranty Term: 1
    Year Parts & Labor

LCD Display

  • Angle Adjustment: Up: Approx. 80 degrees, Down:
    Approx. 45 degrees
  • Brightness Control: Auto (-2 to +2 step sunny weather)
  • Coverage: 100%
  • Customization: Brightness: Auto, Manual, Sunny Weather Display
    Color: Black, White, Blue, Pink
  • Grid Display: Yes (On/off)
  • Histogram: Yes (On/off)
  • Live View: Yes, (Constant AF Live View)
  • Real-time image adjustment display : Exposure Compensation, WB,
    Creative Style
  • Type: 3” TFT TruBlack LCD (921,600 pixels)
  • Software
  • Operating System Compatibility: Microsoft Windows 2000
    Professional Windows XP SP2 Windows Vista Mac OS X(v10.1.3) or later
  • Supplied Software: PMB (Picture Motion Browser) 4.3.01 Image
    Data Converter SR 3.1 Image Data Lightbox SR

Advanced Features

  • Advanced User Interface :
    Easy-to-understand Graphic Display and on-screen Help Guide
    User-friendly function menu
  • Anti Motion Blur : 6-image layering
  • Auto High Dynamic Range : Yes, (Auto Exposure Difference, Exposure
    difference Level (1-6 EV at 1.0 EV step), off)
  • Face Detection : Off, Auto, Child Priority, Adult Priority
  • Shooting Tips : 80 expert advice shooting tips
  • Smile Shutter : Off, Slight, Normal, Big
  • Sweep Panorama : Horizontal, Vertical, and 3D Panorama


With NEX3, Sony has made a choice, the target of the large public. The
Japanese manufacturer has pulled it off. The device is the simplest and
let’s not mince words, the most powerful in many areas. Five stars and
the crown of laurels for the best compact optical interchangeable
general public category. For experts and professionals, models from
Olympus and Pansonic have always meaning, offering both better optical
and ergonomic nearest SLR.


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