With this Spring refresh, Sony introduces a new entry-level Sony NEX compact camera. This model should basically retire the previous NEX-C3. As a new comer, the Sony NEX-F3 inherits from technology introduced in higher-end models, such as a 16 Megapixel sensor (same as in NEX-5N) or a built-in pop-up Flash that the C3 lacked. Of course, it is fair to say that the C3 body was smaller, so we can really blame it for not having an built-in Flash.
In terms of features, I think that the video-recording capabilities of the Sony NEX-F3 are quite a step-up from the C3 as it now records in higher quality AVCHD (up to 1080p 24Mbps) or MP4 (up to 1440×1080 12Mbps). In addition to this, the NEX-F3 is also capable of “enhancing” photos with software features like ‘Clear Image Zoom’ and ‘Auto Portrait Framing’ that are present in most of the newer Sony Cameras.
In terms of design, the Sony NEX-F3 looks much more like its older siblings the NEX-5N and NEX-7 than the NEX-C3. That makes it more comfortable to hold and has a bit more of a DSLR “feel” than the C3 would. The rear LCD can flip (only upwards) to 180 degrees which allows for self-portraits, and I noticed that the display had a tendency to be over-saturated, especially when I compared those with the Canon 50D that I had on hand. The additional saturation makes the photo “pop” more, but it is also less “realistic”, and although most people may like that as an “eye-candy”, I’m not sure how much control you can have over this.
These compact cameras with replaceable lenses are becoming really popular as they offer a path to higher image quality that classic compact cameras could never offer. And when we compare them to DSLRs, they may lack a bit in image quality and accessories availability, but they offer such a great image-quality/weight ratio that they are difficult to ignore.
- 16 Megapixel APS-C sensor (4912×3264 max. photo resolution)
- ISO up to 16000
- Sony E-mount lens system
- 3″ LCD, 920k pixels
- Shutter speed: 1/4000s to 30s
- Built-in Flash + Flash por
- Stereo microphone
- SD-SDCX storage
- 0.5lbs / 117x67x42mm