Sony Alpha NEX-3 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/16mm Lens (Black)

Sony Alpha NEX-3 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/16mm Lens (Black)

Sony Alpha NEX-3 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/16mm Lens (Black)

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Product Highlights

  • Extremely Compact HD Imaging System
  • 14.2 MP APS(1.5x) Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • Interchangeable 16mm/2.8 E-Series Lens
  • 720p HD / MP4 w/ MPEG-4 AAC-LC Audio
  • Tiltable 3" 921,600-dot TFT TruBlack LCD
  • Up to ISO 12800 / Up to 7 fps
  • Auto HDR capture / DRO Optimizer
  • In-Camera 226 Sweep Panoramas
  • Polycarbonate Body (8.1 Ounces)
  • Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD/SDHC Cards
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Sony NEX-3 overview

  • 1Description

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 up-wards 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 slim-profile Sony E-series 16mm/2.8 'pancake' lens (24mm equivalent), which contains 5 elements in 5 groups, 1 aspheric surface, and a minimum focus of 0.82' (0.25 m).

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.
In the Box
Sony Alpha NEX-3 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/16mm Lens (Black)
  • E-Series 16 mm /f2.8 'Pancake' Lens
  • HVL-F7S TTL Flash
  • NP-FW50 InfoLITHIUM Rechargeable Battery
  • BC-VW1 Battery Charger
  • Mini B USB Cable
  • Software CD
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Front Lens Cap
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    Sony NEX-3 specs

    Camera Type Compact E-mount interchangeable lens digital camera
    Resolution Effective: 14.2MP, Recorded: 14.6MP
    Sensor Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor (23.4 X 15.6mm)
    Bit Depth Not Specified by Manufacturer
    File Formats Stills: JPEG (Standard, Fine), RAW, RAW+JPEG
    Video: MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264))
    File Size 3:2
    L (14M): 4592 x 3056
    M (7.4M): 3344 x 2224
    S (3.5M): 2288 x 1520

    L (12M): 4592 x 2576
    M (6.3M): 3344 x 1872
    S (2.9M): 2288 x 1280

    Color Spaces sRGB, Adobe RGB
    Image Stabilization Anti-Motion Blur Function in camera, Some lenses have Optical SteadyShot
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Lens E-mount 16mm f/2.8 (35mm film equivalent: 24mm)
    5 groups, 5 elements (1 aspheric surface)
    Zoom Manual
    Lens Mount E-mount
    Focus Type Contrast 25 point autofocus and Manual Focus
    Focus Range 9.4" (0.24m) - infinity
    Accessory Lens/Filter Mount 49mm
    Shooting Controls
    Sensitivity Auto, 200 to 12800
    Shutter Speeds 1/4000 - 30 seconds, bulb
    Metering Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
    Exposure Modes iAUTO, Program Auto (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter priority (S), Manual (M), +/-2EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
    White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Setting the color temperature, Custom
    Mirror Lock-Up N/A
    Burst Capability Continuous (2.3fps)
    Speed Priority (7fps)
    Self Timer 2-sec. or 10-sec. delay, (single, continuous 3 or 5 frames)
    Interval Recording N/A
    Remote Control Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Built-in Flash No, External HVL-F7S flash supplied
    Effective Flash Range Guide Number: 7 (in meters at ISO 100)
    External Flash Connection Smart accessory terminal
    Dedicated Flash System Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Max Sync Speed 1/160
    Built-in Memory No
    Memory Card Type Dual memory card slot:
    Memory Stick PRO Duo, Pro-HG Duo, PRO-HG HX Duo
    SD, SDHC and SDXC
    Still Images per GB RAW: 68
    A/V Recording
    Video Recording Yes, MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264))
    Video Resolution MP4 HD: 1280 x 720 @ 30fps (29.97 Progressive) Approx. 9Mbps/ 6Mbps (Average bit-rate)
    MP4 VGA: 640 x 480 @ 30fps (29.97 Progressive) Approx. 3Mbps (Average bit-rate)
    Video Clip Length Depends on memory card size
    Audio Recording MPEG-4 AAC-LC format, Optional Compact Stereo Microphone
    Viewfinder Type Optional optical viewfinder FDA-SV1
    Viewfinder Coverage 100%
    Display Tiltable 3" 921,600-dot TFT TruBlack LCD
    Connectivity/System Requirements
    Connectivity USB 2.0, HDMI (Type C)
    System & Software Requirements Windows 2000, XP (SP2), Vista
    Mac OS X (10.1.3 or later)
    Operating/Storage Temperature 32 - 104°F (0 - 40°C)
    Weatherproofing None
    Durability Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Battery Type InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 battery, 7.2V
    Power Adapter AC adapter for NEX cameras
    Dimensions 4.61 x 2.46 x 1.31" (117.2 x 62.6 x 33.4mm)
    Weight 8.4 oz (239g)

    Sony NEX-3 reviews

    Alpha NEX-3 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/16mm Lens (Black) is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 33.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great new kind of camera The ultra thin body, which allows the use of so many different lenses, and the large sensor are the main advantages. The kit lens, the pancake 16mm, works very well for me since I love using wide angle lenses, but may not be enough as the only lens for many. But the combination makes it very compact and portable and produces great results. The tiltable LCD screen is very good to use, reminds me of using waist level twin-lens reflex cameras and is great for people shots. The menu system is very innovative but different from most cameras, but once I got used to it, it is very usable and not hard to navigate.
    Date published: 2010-10-03
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice for low-light photos I used this camera frequently during a recent vacation trip. Some observations: - great for nighttime photos, pictures in dimly lit bars, etc. - panorama is ok as long as there's very little to no movement; oftentimes half of someone's face would get chopped off though. - you have to do a lot of button pressing to do stuff like change the ISO level, but I didn't really find it to be as annoying as some online review sites have made it out to be. - there's a (configurable) delay during which the last photo is previewed on the LCD; during this time you cannot take any photos, which can be annoying if you want to take a bunch of quick photos in a row. You can disable preview completely, but it's kind of clunky. - As of 08/26/2010, Photoshop does not read this camera's RAW files! You can get CS5 to read them by downloading a pre-release plugin from the Adobe site, but you're out of luck for CS4 or for Photoshop Elements.
    Date published: 2010-08-26
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice upgrade from a point and shoot I bought this as an upgrade from a point and shoot camera. I've used it for about 3 weeks so far and am satisfied. The pictures are excellent. The 16mm lens is better for scenery but it works fine with photographing people as long as they're not at the edge of the frame. I've found this to be a good intro higher end camera
    Date published: 2010-07-16
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Times are changing I own a NIkon DSLR as well, but after buying the Sony is hard to justify the DSLR. Yes, picture quality is a bit better, but what does it really mean in practice. I get great, noise free, punchy photos out of my new sony, while I carry it on my wrist, without all the hassle of the dslr. And btw has a better screen as well. Very curious to see where DSLRs will be in a few years from now.
    Date published: 2010-07-11
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic camera in small format! This is a totally new generation of camera (14.2 megapix) - one that has a very small body but also has a large sensor and interchangeable lenses. It'll do 7fps, HD movies and panorama shots. Great for travel and at-home snap shots.
    Date published: 2010-07-10
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't stop using it! I bought this camera as a backup/more portable option to my Nikon D300, but I got this baby two weeks ago and haven't touched my dslr since! The 16mm lens it came with is a great wide angle option, and the adapter I bought allows me to use all my Nikon lenses I already have! The nex-3 is perfectly sized for grabbing as you head out the door and carrying around with you. While some may complain about the weight, it's nothing compared to a DSLR and is just enough to feel solid. While I miss having a viewfinder, the LCD screen is beautiful and between the swivel ability and a pretty wide viewing angle you shouldn't have a problem framing your shot. The sweep panorama mode and in-camera HDR work great, and the nex-3 takes very sharp pictures, even in low light. Sony has made a great little camera that will impress even the pickiest shooters out there.
    Date published: 2011-01-02
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exactly what I was looking for! I was looking for something better than a point-and-shoot, but not a big bulky DSLR that just screams mug me!. I wanted something easy to use but that will also give me the ability to really learn about photography and play with all the features that you normally have to buy a DSLR to have.
    Date published: 2010-08-25
    Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I expected I bought this as a light weight travel camera for when I didn't want to carry my Nikon D90 plus several lenses. I expected more than it delivers. The stock 15 mm lens is very limited and the available zoom lens would have made the package far too expensive (and, in my opinion over priced). The picture quality is similar to that which would likely have been achieved with a $200 point and shoot. On a positive front, the menu structure is easy to understand and the panoramic feature seems to do a good job. Another positive area seems to be the cameras ability to adapt well to low light conditions - just as well seeing that the flash is so tedious to install. Overall, I should have stuck with my original plan to spend less money on the Canon S90
    Date published: 2011-05-31
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