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Just posted: Our review of the Sony NEX-C3

By dpreview staff on Aug 22, 2011 at 22:57 GMT

Just Posted: Our review of the Sony NEX-C3. The third model in Sony's innovative NEX line, the entry-level C3 brings a host of improvements, headlined by a new 16.2MP sensor - an adapted version of the one used in the SLT-A55. An addition, the C3 also boasts expanded customization and a revised 'Creative Control' user interface, designed to appeal to compact camera upgraders. So does its higher-resolution sensor and tweaked interface make the NEX-C3 the ultimate beginner-friendly interchangeable lens camera?

Click here to read our review of the Sony NEX-C3

46
I own it
4
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21
I had it
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Comments

Total comments: 41
Reena
By Reena (Sep 8, 2011)

I'm an idiot in photography but I'm interested to take some night shots and capture moments of my growing children. My currently camera is a Canon IXUS 95 IS, which I'm quite happy with it.

I've seen NEX C3 at the retailer and I love the size. I was tempted to make a purchase but decided to read up on some reviews first before making a hasty decision. I know nuts about exposure, shutter speed, blah blah blah... They are all photography jargon to me.

Any experts here can give some suggestions?

0 upvotes
Jamespayne
By Jamespayne (Aug 23, 2011)

You cannot do self-timer with exposure brackets. This is annoying in landscape photography when shutter release (or remote control in NEX's case) is not available at hand. Is there any change on the C5 software?

0 upvotes
Oknis
By Oknis (Aug 23, 2011)

Why is the review and many comments here with an angry point of view?

1 upvote
Richard_ABZ
By Richard_ABZ (Aug 23, 2011)

I don't see an exposure lock button. Is it possible to set this up on one of the soft keys? Maybe the shutter release locks the exposure on half press but this usually also locks the AF which is not always desirable. I use the AE lock all the time on my LX3 (while pointing at something lighter or darker) which is much quicker than setting exposure compensation.

I guess this is no different from the earlier NEX models so if anyone has experience of this please share.

0 upvotes
Kelcey Smith
By Kelcey Smith (Aug 23, 2011)

You are correct. It's just like on the previous NEX models. The only lock is the half-shutter press that locks both exposure and focus.

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (Aug 23, 2011)

The review claims (page 9): "In RAW mode the NEX-C3 produces a measurably better result than the NEX-3/5, Panasonic GF3 and the Nikon D3100"

How is this true, when on the graph at Page 9 the noise curves (esp. chroma) for Nex C3 and 3/5 sit between those for Panasonic and Nikon? Moreover, Nex 3 seems to actually be slightly better than the C3? What's missing here?

0 upvotes
Kelcey Smith
By Kelcey Smith (Aug 23, 2011)

The text has been corrected on the site. Thanks.

0 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (Aug 23, 2011)

Quite impressed with high ISO performance, still an ugly camera (IMHO) and the comments about the MFT sensor being long in the tooth - true but look at the Oly E5, it does a good job and the G3 is impressive so they are on their way. Also, MFT is a whole new catagory so it will take time and as another commented, Sony are slow on new lenses where MFT has lots so where should the priority be? (rhetorical question).

Regarding arms length photography, I have to, as me peepers are useless :-) so waiting for a decent EVF in a rangfinder body, hopefully soon eh?

2 upvotes
BG_CX3_DPREVIEW
By BG_CX3_DPREVIEW (Aug 23, 2011)

i wonder which sold best, the 5 or the 3?

The Nex family is supposed to attract dslr buyers?

Than who would buy a 3 type?

Spent money on a cam that needs all kind of software to do the trick?

0 upvotes
jpr2
By jpr2 (Aug 23, 2011)

alas, no OVF :( - no even EVF (although this is much less desirable); so, shooting at arms length negates most of
possible advantages in IQ, etc.

0 upvotes
ecka84
By ecka84 (Aug 23, 2011)

I don't really understand this "shooting at arms length" concept. I can shoot with a P&S using its rear LCD at any length I want starting from about 15cm. Is this some kind of limitation for people with vision problems like hyperopia (farsightedness)?

0 upvotes
jgardia
By jgardia (Aug 23, 2011)

sorry, how you plan to put an ovf in a mirrorless camera that you can exchange the lens? It makes no sense at all. If you have something it would be an evf.

0 upvotes
jpr2
By jpr2 (Aug 23, 2011)

every RF uses OVF, and if you don't like RFs look at the hybrid VF of x100 which merges OVF and EVF into a single unit

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Aug 23, 2011)

^^ The Fuji X100 is not an interchangable camera so fixing an OVF is easy. An OVF is an impractical solution in a mirrorless camera as focal lengths can range from 14mm to 600mm (35mm equivalent)

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Aug 23, 2011)

It hasn't been officially announced yet, but the NEX 5N is supposed to have an optional EVF.

0 upvotes
Ralf B
By Ralf B (Aug 23, 2011)

"Auto HDR is only available when shooting in JPEG mode"

Puzzled by this 'con'. Is there a camera on the market that combines multiple shots into a RAW output file?

3 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Aug 23, 2011)

im surprised they didnt complain that sweep panorama is only available in jpeg too.. they should have provided output in RAW
/s

1 upvote
AlfBundy
By AlfBundy (Aug 23, 2011)

In Raw mode, Auto HDR is greyed out.
You have to dig into the menu to set the camera in Jpeg mode to enable it.
I think the "con" here is that the NEX doesn't auto-switch from Raw to Jpeg when you try to activate HDR.
It's very strange because other Jpeg-only features (Handeld twilight, Anti Motion Blur, Picture Effects, Panorama) DO automatically switch from Raw to Jpeg (and back to Raw when you deactivate them). So why not Auto-HDR ?!?

0 upvotes
Archer66
By Archer66 (Aug 23, 2011)

"■'Bkground Defocus' feature can encourage the use of the wrong settings "

ROFL you guys are getting desparate

0 upvotes
the great fiction
By the great fiction (Aug 23, 2011)

I apologize if this is a naive question, but why are the NEX lenses so large?

I realize their sensors are larger than those of the m4/3 system, but Leica has full frame range finders with rather small lenses.

Any insight on this question would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Aug 23, 2011)

Leica lenses are primes, you can't zoom in or out and they don't have AF motors/electronics.
The Sony lenses have these two extra functions built in, like most DSLR lenses. But you can always put a Leica lens on a NEX, if you use an adapter.

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Aug 23, 2011)

Those great old lenses have no focussing and other electronics in them (obviously) that add to the size. Aslo, some are relatively "slow" e.g. F4 compared to modern lenses

0 upvotes
the great fiction
By the great fiction (Aug 23, 2011)

Thanks, that clears it up.

0 upvotes
christophbodner
By christophbodner (Aug 23, 2011)

The circumcircle diameter of m4/3 is 21.6mm, NEX is 28.1mm, and fullframe is 43.3mm. In theory, if we could just scale the glass elements of a certain lens to make it match for a different sensor size, NEX would have a volume factor of 2.2 compared to m4/3 and fullframe would need 8 times (!) the glass volume of m4/3 -- because space is built up of three dimensions ;-)

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Aug 23, 2011)

Splendid small body without any real point as almost any lens you choose makes it far from pocketable.

Also, no EVF.
It is immaterial what the IQ is if you are trying to compose while waving it around at arm's length.

0 upvotes
bodziu
By bodziu (Aug 23, 2011)

Still smaller and far more portable than any dslr with the same lens mounted...

If I had problems with sight I just would not buy a camera which abandoned EVF, unnecessary buttons or built-in flash to become small like a walkman...
unless I'd always had a pair of reading glasses in a camera bag which solves the problem I suppose.
BTW, composing from the hip level becomes quite habitual with this camera...

0 upvotes
treepop
By treepop (Aug 23, 2011)

I am blown away by the low light / high iso performance of this camera! It bests even the D7000. Very nice indeed.

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Aug 23, 2011)

Wow, for current owners of compact cameras, that sounds like an absolutely fantastic upgrade.

1 upvote
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Aug 23, 2011)

It seems like the ideal upgrade doesn't it but the reality is that in order to take advantage of the compact dimensions there is really only one lens and that is the 16mm pancake lens. That translates to 24mm in 35mm film equivalent size or twice the viewing angle of a 'standard' (1x magnification) lens. The 16mm lens may be fun for a while but is not a very useful general purpose lens. Better to opt for a micro 4/3 camera such as the E-PL3 or GF3 which have small (pancake) lenses closer to general purpose focal length. The E-PL3 looks like the way to go as it has in-camera image stabilisation which offsets any disadvantage that the smaller m4/3 has in sensor noise.

1 upvote
Ztaz
By Ztaz (Aug 23, 2011)

The point is Sonys have a KIT 18-55 its enough for beginners. People who already have a DSLR will buy NEXT to use it with awesome old lenses like Olimpus 50mm f/1.2 or Leica 35/1.4 and etc. Problem of micro 3/4 is a sensor. Its small. Samaller sensors cutting everything tastefully from lenses which was designed for fullframe.

0 upvotes
pete_mb
By pete_mb (Aug 23, 2011)

rocklobster - unless there is anything moving in your image, in which case stabilisation won't help and you'll wish for the NEX's ~2 stops extra ISO headroom :-)
Agreed on lens size though, Sony really needs to bring out a 30-35mm (50mm EFL) pancake at least. Doesn't need to be super-fast, f2.8 would do.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Aug 23, 2011)

^^ You are in luck ! Sony has announced a 30mm f3.5 1:1 macro lens way back in 8th June so it should be available anytime soon.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1106/11060816sonye30macro.asp

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Aug 23, 2011)

pete_mb - I don't care about moving objects in my image and anyway with the Panasonic 20mm/f1.7 on the E-PL3 I have offset the NEX's ISO advantage (1.5 stops max) compared to the f2.8 Sony lens.

1 upvote
Michael Barkowski
By Michael Barkowski (Aug 24, 2011)

brendon1000, no such luck ... that macro lens is pretty slow at f3.5, and is not a pancake.

0 upvotes
draschan
By draschan (Aug 22, 2011)

lovely camerabody. I hope for some high quality fast primes. would buy it immediately. so I am opting for G3 plus panaleica 25 and 45. hopefully a good idea...

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Aug 22, 2011)

34 HRs until Sony D-day! NEX7, NEX5N, VG10, A77, A66, LEA2, 24/1.8, 50/1.8

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Aug 22, 2011)

Sony needs to buy another lens company, they are way too slow when it comes to pumping out lenses.

0 upvotes
czesiu
By czesiu (Aug 22, 2011)

Could someone please get Sony to tell us why don't they allow to change maximum ISO in Auto modes... :(

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Aug 22, 2011)

There is not (max limit) for auto mode?

0 upvotes
futile32
By futile32 (Aug 23, 2011)

Don't believe there is in my A700 or NEX5

0 upvotes
Fredy Ross
By Fredy Ross (Aug 23, 2011)

No mention of the loud shutter sound or did I miss it? Would be annoying for street photography. Is it a problem?

1 upvote
Total comments: 41