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Sony Alpha NEX-3 Compact System Cameras
A compact alternative to digital SLRs, the interchangeable lens Sony NEX-3 has a 14-megapixel APS-C sensor for DSLR image quality. It also has 720p HD video, a tiltable LCD display and ISO 12,800 sensitivity.
Submitted by Greg McCary a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2011
Strengths: Image quality, tilting screen, image stabilization, size, focus peaking, nice LCD screen
Weaknesses: battery life, quirky navigation, kit lenses need to be sharper
I was intrigued by the DXO marks of the Nex. They are close to the Leica M9 which is a full frame camera. I read tons of reviews and ask lots of questions before the purchase. I tried three of the Olympus mirrorless cameras before I got the Nex. I was always frustrated at not being able to shoot in manual with the ease of a DSLR and found it very hard to use my Leica/Voigtlander lenses, focusing was a PITA and in the end I passed down the Olympus cameras to family members that were in need of a camera and I rarely used them.
I was told that with a firmware upgrade the Nex was easier to shoot in manual. So I bought one on a buyer whim. Welll I am glad I did. It is much easier to shoot manual than I thought. Better than the EPL-1.
Thew image quality of the Nex is close to that of my E5. The kit lensl 16mm, isn't as sharp as my Olympus lens but I have an HG lens on my E5.
The Nex has a learning curve coming from the Olympus line. The image stabilization is an amazing technology. Olympus uses a moving sensor while the Nex shoots six pictures and merges them together. I have tried to make a blurred image with the Nex and the IS works. No question.
The auto HDR is ok. But really isn't as good as HDRs done with software. Focusing is very quick as well but there have been a couple of times I missed a shot when the Nex didn't focus when I needed it to. But for a mirrorless camera I can't complain. The Olympus cameras were no better at it than the Nex.
I bought it with the 16mm lens because I really wanted a smaller camera not with a huge lens. Plus it was more for street photography and landscapes and not portraits. With the 16mm lens it is truely pocketable when I wear cargo pants.
I also have the wide adapter that increases the focal length about 4mm. Nice but really not that much wider.
Once I shot with the Nex long enough and learned it's quirks I find I like it more and more as time goes on. I think with a better lens it really would shine. I like it so well I am looking at maybe getting a Sony DSLR. The image qulity is really nice.
I also use my Leica and Voigtlander lenses on it and with it's tilting screen and focus peaking technology it is really easy to manually focus. My Voigtlander 28mm works great.
It may not be the prettiest duck on the pond but it packs a punch. I am glad I got it. I can not afford a Leica M8/9 but the Nex gives them a run for their money.
I am not dishing the Olympus line. The Nex really doesn't handle easier just different. Olympus also is way ahead with their lens line up. I ddin't pass the Olympus cameras down because I didn't like them. Just my family members really needed a camera and fell in love with the Olympus cameras.
All in all I give it four stars and would give it five if it had a thumb wheel to change shutter speed and not a dial on the back.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $350.00
Purchased At: used
Similar Products Used: Olympus E-P1, EPL-1
Type of photography: Outdoor
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