Previously we have a post about DSLR vs Hybrid, The NEX-3 is a hybrid micro system camera, with the look of a compact, with the versatility of interchangeable lenses and DSLR-like quality images. This model is a slight compromise on SONY’s more advanced NEX-5, which was launched almost simultaneously. The NEX-3 differs ever so slightly from the NEX-5, making it a little more pocket friendly without compromising on image quality.
The SONY NEX-3 uses a sensor (the APS HD CMOS) the same size as most DSLRs, and the 14 MP CMOS is able to offer you a sensitivity of 12800 ISO! It can also capture 720 P HD movies. The camera can act as a point and shoot compact when you want it to, and it allows complete manual override when that is the need of the hour. The NEX-3 offers a variety of scene modes, some exclusive to SONY. We liked the Sweep Panorama option which allows you to simply pan the camera and the camera hands over a 224 degree sweeping panoramic image, stitched and ready to use straight out of the camera.
The NEX-3 has a compact like body, and anything other than a wide angle attached to it would make it seem a little front heavy. This said and done, it is a remarkable camera packed into a little body. You may feel a little awkward with the compact body especially if you are used to a DSLR. On the other hand, if you are moving up from a true compact, the features of the NEX-3 will not fail to impress. Another drawback of small size is the absence of easy access buttons and dials. You will need to go through menus to change most settings. But again, if you are used to compact cameras this wouldn’t bother you. We didn’t like the fact that SONY continues to make cameras without the usual hot shoe, but has its own range of flash units. The NEX-3 comes with an add-on flash that can be a pain to attach.
as mentioned above, we weren’t too happy with the design of the NEX-3. It is perfect for point and shoot, but then you want more out of a camera that offers more features! The jog wheel at the rear of the body is a saving grace when the camera is on shutter priority or aperture priority, and we wish it had more such handy options. The quick AF system is almost as quick as the contract-detect system, and we were pleased with AF results on the NEX-3. We’d love to see more lenses for this camera, especially for macro work.
4. Image Quality
This is one department where the NEX-3 proves its worth. The images it produces are crisp, sharp, bold and you wouldn’t be able to tell them from images from a DSLR. At the end of the day, the image quality makes this a gem of a camera.
At 440 Pounds, this is a great buy. Yes, the build quality could be better and yes some of the design options could improve. But after all, the NEX-3 is intended to be the affordable alternative to the NEX-5.