Sony's α (Alpha) NEX-3 takes mirror-less/finder-less, interchangeable-lens camera technology to the next level by integrating the resolving power of an APS-format imaging sensor in a camera body that's 48% smaller and 49% lighter than traditional compact DSLRs.
While the camera is physically smaller than a compact DSLR, it retains the imaging qualities of an APS imaging sensor, which contains 58% more surface area than a Four Thirds imaging sensor, and about 13 times the surface area of point-and-shoot imaging sensors. The end result is true pro-quality resolving power in a far smaller package. For still imaging, the NEX-3 captures JPEGs (Fine or Standard), RAW, or JPEG+RAW in a choice of sRGB or Adobe RGB color spaces. In addition to stills, the NEX-3 also captures extremely vivid 720p video @ 30 fps as well as standard-definition video recording. For more precise audio there is an optional shoe-mounted shotgun mic that features 90°/120° tilt movement.
The NEX-3 is designed to use Sony E-series lenses, a compact line of optics designed to work with the reduced flange distance that resulted from the removal of the reflex viewing system. The new E-series optics are smaller than Sony's traditional DSLR optics while retaining the imaging qualities Sony is recognized for. In addition to Sony E-series optics, you can also use any of Sony's traditional DSLR lenses (as well as all Minolta AF-mount optics) on the NEX-3 by using the optional LA-EA1 lens adapter. (Note - Manual focus and full-open aperture metering only when using LA-EA1 lens adapter).
The Live View viewing system of the Sony NEX-3 consists of a hi-fidelity 3", 921,600-dot TFT TruBlack LCD that can be tilted downward 45° and upwards of 80° for composing still or video images from extreme angles and/or in tighter shooting quarters.
As for performance levels, the NEX-3's Contrast Auto Focus system has quick response times and can capture full-res stills at burst-rates up to 7 frames-per-second. Low-light shooters will appreciate the ability to increase ISO sensitivity up to 12800, not to mention the NEX-3's Anti-Motion Blur and Hand-held Twilight modes, which capture 6 rapid-sequence images of a subject, analyze the exposure and focusing details of each image, and layer the optimum portions of these exposures into a single optimized image.
Another cool feature found on the Sony NEX-3 is Sony's renowned Sweep Panorama mode, which captures up to 60 individual images and stitches them together in-camera to produce panoramic images up to 226° across by simply pressing the shutter and 'sweeping' the camera vertically or horizontally across the area you want to capture.
Other features found on the Sony NEX-3 include manual overrides for focus and exposure controls, Auto HDR capture and a Dynamic Range Optimizer for expanding shadow and highlight details, Advanced Anti-Dust technologies, 8 Scene modes and 6 Creative settings, Background Defocus, for in-camera selective-focus control, a 25-point AF system, HDMI connectivity, and up to 330 exposures per battery charge.
Because Sony NEX-series are designed with hand-held, low-light/high ISO imaging in mind, there is no built-in flash. But for times you want or need to use flash, a low-profile Sony HVL-F7S TTL flash (guide # 7m @ ISO 100) is included with each camera.
Included with this kit is a Sony E-series 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens (27-82.5 equivalent), which contains 11 elements in 9 groups, 4 aspheric surfaces, a minimum focus of 0.82' (0.25 m), and Optical SteadyShot technology for up to 4-stops of vibration reduction.
- Smallest in Class
- This is the world's smallest interchangeable lens digital still camera (as of April 2010). Removing the conventional mirror box, AF sensor and viewfinder, and reducing the "flange back" distance enables image quality of a DSLR, in a camera that's 48% smaller and 49% lighter than Sony's compact DSLRs.
- APS-C Size HD Image Sensor
- The NEX-3 contains 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.
- 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.
- HD Movie Recording
- Capture vivid, lifelike HD movies in the PC-friendly MP4 format. Shoot 720/30p high definition or standard definition 480/30p.
- 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.
- Up to 7 Frames-per-Second
- Capture the decisive moment in sports and get the ideal baby photo. Up to 7 fps continuous shooting at full 14.2 MP resolution with exposure and focus fixed at the first frame. Standard continuous shooting at up to 2.3 fps.
- 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.
- 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 226 degrees maximum sweep angle (16mm focal length).
- AntiMotion 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.
- Hand-held Twilight Mode
- Get cleaner and sharper nighttime pictures-beyond the capability of traditional cameras-without using flash or a tripod. 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 of extraordinary detail and low noise.
- 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 (Recommended for still subjects).
- 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.
- Tiltable 3" LCD Screen
- Empowers your photography with a different point of view. Tilts down 45° and up 80° to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss.
- 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.
- 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.
- Intelligent Auto Focus
- Pre-focuses as you compose the shot, further reducing focusing time to a bare minimum.
- 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.
- 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 sophistication.
- 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 intuitive.
- BIONZ Image Processor
- The brain 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 layering.
- 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 Off.
- Accepts α DSLR A-mount lenses
- Using the LA-EA1 adapter (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.
- 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.
- Multi-segment Measuring
- Optimizes exposure based on 49 segments. Choice of Multi, Center and Spot metering accommodates a full range of shooting situations.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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 (PMB).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Supplied Detachable Flash
- To help you shoot more effectively in formal portraits, the supplied flash has a Guide Number of 7.
- 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.)
- PhotoTV HD Compatibility
- Optimizes compatible BRAVIA televisions for gorgeous display of digital pictures.
- 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.