Sony NEX-3 review: Sony NEX-3

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

5 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good High-resolution, tilting display; 7fps continuous shooting; decent image quality at high ISOs; good value for money.

The Bad Tiresome interface; clip-on flash; quality of 18-55mm kit lens is only fair.

The Bottom Line Why pay more for the Sony NEX-5? The NEX-3 is identical in almost every respect, but this compact camera with interchangeable lenses is around £100 cheaper

Editors' Top PicksSee All

The Sony NEX-3 is the NEX-5 's younger bro. It's made of plastic, shoots 720p high-definition videos as opposed to 1080i flicks, and is 1mm thicker. It's also about £100 cheaper than the NEX-5, so penny-pinching photographers might be wondering if this camera is the better deal.

You can get the NEX-3 in more than one kit configuration. The cheapest comes with Sony's 16mm fixed-focal-length pancake lens and is available for around £400. The next step up is an 18-55mm, 3x zoom lens, which will set you back around £440. That's got to be the best option all-round, even though it does practically double the camera's front-to-back size. If you can't make your mind up, you can get both in a twin-lens kit for around £570, and it will still work out at about the same price as a NEX-5 with the 18-55mm lens only.

Punch for your pound

Apart from the differences in their movie-recording capability and bodies, the NEX-3 and NEX-5 are effectively the same. That makes the NEX-3 rather good value for money. You get the same 14.2-megapixel sensor, the same 7-frames-per-second continuous-shooting mode and the same '3D sweep panorama' feature, although you'll need a 3D Bravia TV and a pair of £100 specs to see the effect.

Wow, now that is barrel distortion. It's the same 18-55mm kit lens as the NEX-5's, so it's no great surprise. What both cameras deliver, though, is super-saturated colours, good definition and excellent high-ISO performance (click image to enlarge)

The control layout's the same, the features are the same and the crazy, what-were-they-thinking clip-on flash is the same. It slots into a connector on the top that will also accommodate a stereo mic if you decide to get into serious film-making.

The 920,000-pixel, 76mm (3-inch), tilting LCD display is also the same as the NEX-5's, and the controls have the same metallic precision. Honestly, why would you pay the extra?

Sweet pancake lens

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Sony NEX-3

Part Number: CNETSony NEX-3

Typical Price: £440.00

See manufacturer website for availability.