The Sony NEX-3N is a new mirrorless camera that complements the range of Sony interchangeable lens cameras in APS-C size sensors. It will be sold alongside the NEX-5R and NEX-5N, NEX-6 (which I am publishing the review of within a few days/hours) and NEX-7, the prosumer mirrorless camera.
The NEX-3N sensor is a well-known unit : it is the Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor of 16-megapixel which I have used and tested for three years now on various mirrorless cameras and SLRs. I know very well the sensor and its qualities in terms of sensitivity and dynamic range. On the NEX-3N, oddly enough, the ISO range is starting at ISO 200 and not ISO 100, as is the case on other cameras. It reaches the max ISO setting of ISO 16,000.
The NEX-3N talks to the fringe of amateur photographers willing to dive into the mirrorless camera experience. To achieve this, it is both compact and lightweight, weighing no more than 210grs. (without battery and memory card). It is also available with the new retractable supercompact and quite thin lens Sony E PZ 16-50 mm with which I have tested the NEX-6. Its LCD screen can rotate on one angle till 180°, upwards. Its definition is rather modest : 460,000 dots.
After reading the NEX-3N techical specifications sheet, I noticed with relief that Sony has gifted the NEX-3N with a built-in popup flash (guide number of 6). Too many mirrorless cameras are deprived of built-in flash, which is totally silly to me.
The contrast detection autofocus of the Sony NEX-3N has 25 points and can track a moving subject. In burst mode, the NEX-3N reaches the pretty slow, yet decent, frame rate of 4 fps, focus and exposure locked on the first shot. The duration of the burst is 9 consecutive photos in JPEG Fine, 5 in RAW and 4 in RAW + JPEG.
(see all mirrorless cameras)
The NEX-3N gets the usual Sony Intelligent Auto mode with automatic scene detection, Superior Auto, which uses shooting bursts to improve image rendering (HDR, handheld night photography…), PSAM modes, scene modes, sweep panorama mode which I always appreciate, here available only in 2D (3D panos… I am not going to cry for it…) The Sony NEX-3N also offers 6 shooting styles and 11 creative photo filters including: pop color, posterization, Toy Camera, or soft focus. The dynamic range optimizer which lightens the shadows and protects the highlights, the D-Range Optimizer (DRO) is there as well on the NEX-3N. So is HDR. These two functions will benefit from the generous dynamic range of the APS-C 16-megapixel sensor.
Full HD video is naturally offered by the NEX-3N, with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels at a frame rate of 50i.
The Sony NEX-3N is equipped with a micro USB port and a mini HDMI connector. Its battery life allows to shoot 480 images per charge.
Price and availability of the Sony NEX-3N
Sony does not specify the availability of its new mirrorless camera but announces its price. It will be available with the new lens, compact and retractable, the power zoom 16-50 mm which represents an important asset. Here are the sales prices of the two configurations in which the NEX-3N will be available:
- NEX-3N + 16-50: 500 €
- NEX-3N + 16-50 + 55-210: 750 €