Hands-on Sony NEX 3N review

    | Compact Cameras | Reviews | 24/02/2013 14:00pm

    The 16.1-megapixel Sony NEX-3N shares the same sensor as the Sony NEX-5R but offers a smaller, lighter body. Find out our first impressions of this new Sony camera in our hands-on Sony NEX-3N review video.

    The NEX 3N comes as the direct replacement to Sony’s entry level compact system camera, the F3, and as with the F3 it’s aimed at those looking to make the jump from a pocketable compact to a camera with an interchangeable lens.

    As a Sony NEX-F3 replacement, the Sony NEX-3N offers a redesigned chassis that makes it what Sony claims is the smallest and lightest APS-C size compact system camera in the world.

    Along with its 180-degree tillable LCD screen and a host of features like Auto Object and Auto Portrait Framing, the Sony NEX 3N could be the perfect ‘next step’ camera for compact camera owners looking to take more control of their photography.

    Find out some of the key features and why this may be the camera for you in our testing team’s hands-on Sony NEX 3N review.

    Hands-on Sony NEX 3N Review Video Transcript

    The NEX 3N comes as the direct replacement to Sony’s entry level compact system camera, the F3, and as with the F3 it’s aimed at those looking to make the jump from a pocketable compact to a camera with an interchangeable lens.

    Whilst the specifications of the 3N shows a comfortable improvement over the F3, when it’s in your hands it proves far more impressive than the specs let on; for instance there’s a big boost in build quality, button and dial layout and a new sleeker look, all of which helps reinforce a feeling that Sony is pushing harder than ever to be number one in the market.

    Despite being Sony’s entry-level CSC, and having a price tag of just £400 for body and 16-50mm lens kit, my first impression wouldn’t put this in the same category as many other entry level CSC’s. As mentioned the build quality and overall ergonomics are reassuringly solid, with a metal rather than plastic body and well designed grip that actually manages to look sleek whilst still providing a good comfortable grip.

    Internally being an NEX it has Sony’s APS-C sized sensor, so a larger sensor than those offered by Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon and Canon.

    At 16.1 million pixels this might not seem ground breaking in comparison with the other manufacturers, but when it comes to noise at the higher sensitivities this increased sensor size really will make a difference, especially if previous NEX models such as the 5R are anything to go by.

    This sensor combined with the updated Bionz processor should ensure CSC beating image quality, and performance throughout it’s 100-16000 sensitivity range, a full image quality test will be carried out once we have full production samples.

    The 3N will sit below the 5R in the NEX line-up and features in common include a full mode dial, 180 tilt-able LCD and to a certain degree it looks, but it lacks the 5R’s touch-screen and the finesse of the large thumb dial, which, I felt during testing, set the 5R apart from the crowd, but then again it looks as though Sony could be following the trend started by Olympus by giving photographers great image and build quality across the range, and just reigning back the features to separate models.

    For this reason the 3n sits very comfortably between premium compacts and the 5R, offing updated features such as Auto Object Framing that expands the Auto Portrait Framing feature that we’ve seen on previous NEX models, and now adds Auto Macro and Tracking framing. Again a full update on how well these work when we have full review samples.

    Unlike the 5R, but similar to the F3 and Cybershot range the 3N features a pop-up flash with a GN of 6 at ISO 200, and a very familiar feature for all compact users is this zoom lever which with the new 16-50mm kit lens enables you to zoom in and out from the camera body, very nifty and compact like..

    Size is also similar to premium compacts, and whilst the NEX range has never been large, the 3N is noticeably smaller than the F3 as is the new kit lens which almost halves the size of the previous version

    So the NEX 3N looks very interesting and promises from what I’ve seen so far to be a very high quality entry level offering and will be available from mid-March. For more information check out


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    Posted on Sunday, February 24th, 2013 at 2:00 pm under Compact Cameras, Reviews.

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