Sony Alpha NEX-3N Review and Comparison

Sony Alpha NEX-3N is the next installment of Sony’s mirror-less Interchangeable lens camera lineup. It ships with a 16.1 mega pixel Exmor HD CMOS sensor, 3 inch display boasting 460k resolution and a 16-50 mm PZ lens bundled inside a tiny package which weighs around 210 g. Being a mirror-less camera it is bound to serve the expectations of the advanced amateurs and professionals likely to use this as a backup camera with a high end DSLR. Having done their fair share of research Sony seems to have understood their wish list quiet well. NEX-3N packs many settings to produce high quality images under many different lighting conditions. These include the 25-area contrast auto focus system, shutter speeds ranging all the way from1/4000th of a second to bulb mode, optical image stabilization and ISO range spanning from 200 to 16000. For those who need to record everything in video NEX-3N provides plenty, backed by the stereo mic for superior audio quality. It records 1080p videos in 24 fps in AVCHD format.

The Lens and Image Quality
The 16-50 mm PZ lens bundling along with the NEX-3N is a really valuable addition. First and foremost it is a Sony power zoom lens packing a zoom slider and a zoom ring on the lens body. This mechanism allows you to zoom in for typical telephoto end shots quickly and for zooming in gently for video tasks. The optical properties of the lens aren’t bad either. At the wide angle end it exhibits a maximum aperture of f3.5. The lens is quiet lighter than the regular 18-55 mm lenses the rest of the NEX lineup peers own. If you are a fan of manual focusing, the zoom ring can be used for that purpose as well. Overall it’s a great addition to the NEX-3N mirror-less camera. The camera operation itself is swift and fast, which can snap the first image in just under 2 seconds when switched on. From there on 2.5 frames per second rapid burst rate and 480 shots per charge cycle guarantee to deliver a superior shooting experience for you. However if you do lots of action photography NEX-3N might disappoint you a bit. Though 2.5 fps burst rate would suffice to thrill the average shooter, for a pro seeking a good backup camera this wouldn’t sound nice. The overall image quality is quiet pleasing, and largely is same as that of the predecessor despite its smaller dimensions.

Comparison with Predecessor
Sony NEX-3N is the successor to popular Nex-F3 mirror-less interchangeable lens camera. Evolution means change, either good or bad for the common good. It seems to be quiet true for the NEX-3N as well. There are key areas which have been developed in the successor, but unfortunately there are some drop offs as well. The overall dimensions have been reduced so that Sony calls it the smallest mirror-less camera to accompany an APS-C sensor. The weight too has been reduced. Battery life is slightly better than the F3 sibling though it’s not anything major for that matter. Many features still remain the same, such as the 16.1 mega pixel sensor, display size, metering range, burst rate and video quality. What is most attractive though is the price tag. Despite being new Alpha NEX-3N ships along with the 16-50 mm PZ lens for $500.That is $100 less than the Nex-F3 sibling. Unfortunately though, the cut in price tag results in few downgrades as well. Screen resolution of F3 for one has been downgraded from 920 k to 460 k. Sony’s Smart Accessory port too is missing from the newest design. This is quiet disappointing since this takes away the ability to connect external viewfinders or strobes to the camera. The tilting screen has suffered too, for now you can’t tilt it downwards like you used to.

Competitors
Olympus PEN E-PM2
Olympus E-PM2 mirror-less camera packs a 16.1 mega pixel Live MOS sensor, 3 inch touch display boasting 460k resolution and ships for $550 with a 14-42 power lens. The extra $50 wouldn’t be a total wastage after all for Olympus has some pretty interesting things to offer than the Sony NEX-3N camera. Those include the bumped ISO range spanning from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, the burst rate of 8fps in contrast to the 2.5 fps of the NEX-3N and 35 area contrast auto focus. However NEX-3N too excels in some aspects. For instance the Olympus shooter can only live up to 360 shots per charge cycle though NEX-3N could easily achieve the 480 limit.

Sony Alpha NEX-5R
NEX-5R is a big brother of course, though it fights off the younger sibling despite being manufactured by the same company. 16.1 mega pixel Exmor HD CMOS sensor, 3 inch touch screen boasting a resolution of 920k pixels, Wi-Fi connectivity are some of the main features of the big brother. Unlike the NEX-3N it can enjoy an external view finder and strobes thanks to the proprietary port glued to the body. The biggest advantage NEX-3N holds against its big brother is its attractive price tag. NEX-5R for that matter costs around $200 more if you buy it along with the 18-55mm lens.

If you are an average shooter seeking something more than a typical point and shoot for a competitive price tag NEX-3N could be for you. However there are many great rivals to the product as well. Compare them carefully and grab the ideal product that you’d love to have.

About the author: this is an article by D. Blackthorn, a gadget, software testing, online security expert and a part-time technology blogger. Visit his stop-ddos.net – DDoS mitigation service.

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