NEX C3 hands on & samples photos

Started Jul 31, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Kwisatch_Haderach
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NEX C3 hands on & samples photos
Jul 31, 2011

Just received my NEX C3 16mm and 18-55mm kit ordered from Asia. I took it out for some pics (16mm pancake only, for now).

After taking forever (4hrs) for the battery to charge. The camera turns on almost instantly. The buttons in the back have some uncertainty in them as sometimes they don't register when you press them. The camera looks much better in person than in pictures, a little like a film camera. The build quality is very good (except for the buttons, the scroll wheel feels cheap too). However, it's a little straining to hold with one hand, but a little small to hold with two hands (with pancake). Also, it's a little awkward turning the scroll wheel with the thumb because the wheel is right under the thumb's joint. I wish they made the screen (which is great) smaller and gave the buttons better real estate.

As for shooting, the shutter is very loud (no chance of using it during a quiet performance). The camera focuses very quickly even in tough scenes (dark, uniform surface). I also notice a tendency for it to underexpose by 2/3 EV. This resulted in me constantly compensating the exposure. The thing most worth mentioning is the low light performance of this camera. When shooting at ISO 12800, the camera can see things in the dark that even my eyes cannot, while giving reasonable details. I've included a few pics below with high ISO and you can judge for yourselves. Photos are definitely printable up to 3200 and sometimes 6400. The performance at 12800 is noisy but I feel it is still leagues better than any camera this size. This isn't too surprising since it's the same sensor in Nikon D7000. This makes the camera a great carry-around snapshot camera, since you almost never have to use flash or be limited by slow shutter speed. Even in settings like dark restaurants I can snap at 1/50s and get v. good IQ (ISO 3200-6400). As for getting nice portraits with the 16mm lens, it is a little hard due to its focal length and somewhat smaller aperture of 2.8. With the 18-55mm it's even harder because of its even smaller aperture. So if you are expecting easy portraits with blurry background using the kit lens you are a little out of luck.

The interface is very customizable with four soft buttons and the ability to assign five custom functions to the center C button. However, the lack of buttons does get in the way of quickly changing settings. You really have to think to adjust several things in series, otherwise you will probably make a mistake. Then again, it's my first day with it so it might get better.

Playback appears after a short pause. However, if you select the full histogram + highlights then there is a 1-2s pause before the pic appears (Class 10 SD card). The playback zooming feature is clumsy as it pans in steps so fine that it takes some patience to inspect corner areas.

As for battery life, I took 205 pics and it used up 45% of the battery. So the quoted 400 seems to be accurate. However, I did not use any flash. LCD brightness was on auto and power off was 1 minute.

As expected from the previous NEX cameras, the image quality is excellent from the camera. Please see the pics in the attached album. I will try the 18-55mm the next chance I get. I also have a Minolta MD 50mm 1.7 lying around that I will try it as soon as I get my adapter.

Here are some pics taken around Boston. No additional noise reduction or sharpening PP done. All are from in camera jpegs. Enjoy and let me know if you've got questions about C3!

 Kwisatch_Haderach's gear list:Kwisatch_Haderach's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D80 Nikon D300 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Nikon D7000 +5 more
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