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Just Posted: Sony NEX-F3 hands-on preview

By dpreview staff on May 17, 2012 at 04:00 GMT

Just Posted: our hands-on preview of the Sony NEX-F3. The F3 is Sony's latest entry-level model, replacing the NEX-C3. It's built around the company's second-generation 16MP CMOS sensor, as featured in the NEX-5N and gains a built-in flash. It's also the first NEX to feature a screen that flips all the way into a vertical position, to make it easier to shoot self-portraits. We've been using an F3 for a couple of days - read our hands-on preview to find out what we thought and to see the images we shot.

Sony NEX-F3 Preview Samples - published 17th May 2012
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Comments

Total comments: 67
Wanderer10
By Wanderer10 (May 31, 2012)

No response to the my question earlier??? What kind of reviews you folks are doing? Did you really have a NEX-F3 or just faking it?

0 upvotes
Wanderer10
By Wanderer10 (May 29, 2012)

DPR or anyone: Does the F3 offer electronic first curtain shutter?

It may be a minor aspect for Sony (never bothered to disclose any of of the specs, Congrats!) but could be significant for some of the potential buyers.

Thank you!

BTW, the person who do these previews nowadays shows some decent sample images. Good for DPR! :)

0 upvotes
edotgm
By edotgm (May 23, 2012)

Wow USB in body charging is great!!! This makes me prefer NEX-F3 over every other mirrorless. I just bought NEX-5... already time to upgrade?

I hope this feature will be added soon to the other NEXes :-)

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (May 18, 2012)

Sony advertises that NEX cameras offer "DSLR quality that fits in your pocket". The pockets of Japanese jeans must be WAY bigger than the pockets of my USA jeans. (grin)

Is a mirrorless camera that won't fit in your pants pocket more convenient than a DSLR that won't fit in your pants pocket? Not for me.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 18, 2012)

Who said anything about jeans? Maybe they meant pockets of a flasher's coat. :) Self-portrait camera fits the bill well. :)

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (May 18, 2012)

I never quite understood the "If it won't fit in my jeans pocket, I might as well carry a large DSLR" argument. Carrying a small, light bag a whole day is surely more convenient than carrying a large, heavy one, wouldn't you agree?

9 upvotes
ntsan
By ntsan (May 18, 2012)

Nokia 808 is probably the only one that can say DSLR quality in your pocket... literally

3 upvotes
smileblog
By smileblog (May 19, 2012)

Sure my pocket is same as yours :-)
How about nex-3/5 and 16mm? I think it's OK with your shirt pocket. if not. you go m4/3.

0 upvotes
smileblog
By smileblog (May 17, 2012)

Why is the ISO range not same as NEX-5N?
- NEX-F3: 200-16000
- NEX-5N: 100-25600

I think both cameras have same sensor.

0 upvotes
chaking
By chaking (May 17, 2012)

Compare it to the NEX-C3, which is what it replaces, and I think you'll find it's the same. Just something they do to differentiate the cameras (5N is supposed to be more enthusiast than C3/F3).

2 upvotes
smileblog
By smileblog (May 18, 2012)

you mean it's just their marketing issue?
Kidding. Oh, just sad.

Anyway. Thank you reply.

3 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (May 17, 2012)

Well, better late than never on the review ... Shame every other gadget site on the web beat you sees ago!

0 upvotes
chaking
By chaking (May 17, 2012)

What? Who else already reviewed the F3?

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (May 17, 2012)

The NEX-F3 was under embargo until May 17, 12:01am ET. That's when we - as well as all other review sites who honor their NDAs - published.

14 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (May 21, 2012)

Dprevew in the pockets of the manufacturers!!!

0 upvotes
snovs
By snovs (May 17, 2012)

A little help?

Nex 5N, Nex f3, A37-- what to do??

Been taking pics on my iphone for years. Love the image quality of DSLRs and recognize when pics are shot with them. In the market for a new camera particularly to take on my honeymoon (leaving June 26th, very important) and also for future use with children etc..

Seems like I should eliminate the 5N no? What features would I miss with the f3? Any help would be much appreciated. Will probably post in multiple spots.

0 upvotes
Nerdlinger
By Nerdlinger (May 17, 2012)

Buy a Pentax K-5...best APS-C camera on the market. Great camera should serve you well. I have a K-x and love it. Will upgrade to a K-5 soon.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 17, 2012)

The 5N shoots 1080 60p video, which the F3 seems not to offer. Perhaps no big deal, since 60p video is hard to share. A F3 buyer may miss the clicking noise one years in 5N audio, if not sent to Laredo for an overnight grease job in a maquila lube shop to quiet a leveling sensor BB that knocks about.

0 upvotes
snovs
By snovs (May 17, 2012)

thanks for the replies. How real do you think the 6/15/12 date I see on Sony's website is? I suppose I could always buy the 5N if it is delayed.

0 upvotes
LucasO
By LucasO (May 17, 2012)

All depends on what size you're looking for. If a tidy package is what you want, these compact interchangeable lens cameras are pretty amazing. The f3 will probably give you great results. I personally use an Olympus PM1 (like the f3) and love it so much that my two relatively new SLRs stay in the closet at home.

0 upvotes
Hugo600si
By Hugo600si (May 18, 2012)

@Nerdlinger, do yourself a favor and have a look at the a77, nex-7 and some of the Canon and Nikon alternatives. That K-5 is not the best out there anymore by a long shot.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 18, 2012)

If you like NEX at all (there are better systems out there), you should buy 5N anyway, even if F3 is not delayed. 5N is significantly better and only $49 more.

0 upvotes
Photozopia
By Photozopia (May 17, 2012)

Is it just me .... or is Sony totally wasting it's in-house Zeiss lens agreement?

If ever a camera series was shouting for top quality lenses (from either Zeiss or Sony) then the NEX range is it.

Note to Sony - less bodies, more lenses. Preferably primes .... know what I mean?

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (May 17, 2012)

This is, almost, exactly my point of view as well. We now have had 6 bodies since Sony launched the range in 2010. There are a few expensive primes for it, but why also can't we less rich people have a better quality standard zoom. Sony did it with a superb Zeiss lens on their R1 way back in 2005, so why not now?

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 17, 2012)

Sony won't because it makes no money, net of royalties, on the Zeiss lenses. Sony also figures that a buyer's budget maxes out after getting the two kit lenses anyway. Limiting the NEX lens offerings also stokes upgrades to alphas.

0 upvotes
John 3
By John 3 (May 17, 2012)

Sony has no confidence in the longevity if the NEX concept for serious enthusiasts or professional photographers therefore no interest in the development of higher quality lenses. Just going by their actions which speak louder than words.

0 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (May 18, 2012)

Sony is an electronic company. They concentrating on making body, let other manufacturers make the lenses. That's why they have made the NEX mount open standard.

1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (May 18, 2012)

You can say all you want about how good a Zeiss lens is but when one is released the overwhelming sound you hear is the wail about the price. What Sony has learned is that consumers are all talk no buy when it comes to premium glass.

3 upvotes
Hugo600si
By Hugo600si (May 18, 2012)

@Photomonkey, the only Zeiss for nex (24) was sold out for a long time and is still hard to come by in many regions. That said, the nay sayers indeed seem to out voice the buyers.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 18, 2012)

It is not possible to make good lenses (especially zooms and tele) matching/balancing small NEX bodies in size and weight for APS-C sensor. On the other hand, sensors one step down in size, like those in Oly E-M5 and Canon G1 X, just became good enough (matching current crop of the best APS-C DSLRs).

1 upvote
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (May 17, 2012)

How about a built-in EVF on their entry level models? Dreaming now.

0 upvotes
bikebum
By bikebum (May 20, 2012)

I share your dream, waiting and waiting for one to come out. I could care less about pixle counts and interchanable lenses (any lx5 class camera will do) but something about shooting with a good vf makes photography "magic" for me.
Guess il have to wake up and settle for an external vf which makes the dream a little bulkier and expensive

0 upvotes
Lofi
By Lofi (May 17, 2012)

Question 1: does it "click"?
Question 2: does it overheat?

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (May 17, 2012)

pretty boring update. the builtin flash is nice though.

2 upvotes
Lofi
By Lofi (May 17, 2012)

I dismounted the flash of my Nex-5N a week ago. I figured I never used it. Neither had the need to use it.

1 upvote
Nikonworks
By Nikonworks (May 17, 2012)

The LCD can not face downward for overhead shots. A real waste.

99% Of familiess/friends do not carry a tripod for self portraits.
And how often are you going to hold a nex camera toward yourself to take a picture?

A real waste of a camera's capabilities IMHO.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (May 17, 2012)

Do you go out in the real world much? I see ten couples holding cameras in front of themselves for a self-portrait for every one I see try an overhead shot.

9 upvotes
BrendanSeabrook
By BrendanSeabrook (May 17, 2012)

You could rotate 90deg and shoot upside down :P

3 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (May 17, 2012)

Yep, upside down and pressing the shutter with your thumb is actually easier and it lets you hold the camera higher. The only thing it sacrifices is the monopod/remote-release overhead trick.

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 18, 2012)

The ultimate camera for narcissists. :)

0 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (May 17, 2012)

The F3 is an entry-level NEX, but its first-impression photos look quite good.

I'm more looking forward to a NEX with a fixed zoom lens (18-125, f2.0).
No need to bother with carrying extra lenses, or worrying about dust on the sensor.
Just one proper lens, factory-matched to the body for optimal results.
Those who read the LensRentals.com articles will understand the importance of factory-matched copies of lenses and bodies.

2 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (May 17, 2012)

Not gonna happen. Have you ever seen/held a 135mm f/2 lens? For a hint of practical lens size/features, look at the old Sony R1 (14-72mm f/2.8-4.8) or Canon G1X (16-50mm f/2.8-5.8).

4 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 17, 2012)

Look at the fixed F/2.8 50mm a77 kit lens. It is three times the size and weight of a NEX body.
The 14-140mm Panny m4/3 lens is smaller, but only F/4 at the wide end.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 18, 2012)

CDAF (mirrorless basically) cameras don't need factory-matched bodies and lens, they focus properly anyway.

1 upvote
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (May 23, 2012)

Erik, just an addendum for those who may not know, the R1 has an APS-C sensor. And as most know, lens size is mostly determined by this. The R1 lens is actually 16-80mm and given its relatively large max aperture and not too bad minimum, it will inevitably be large.

But put into context of the day it was released, this camera was not too out of place in size to the only other APS-C sensor cameras that were around viz DSLR's.

The R1 is big, and it is heavy, weighing in at over 2lbs. But it is a lovely camera.

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 17, 2012)

"It's also the first NEX to feature a screen that flips all the way into a vertical position, to make it easier to shoot self-portraits"

Thanks, that's all I needed to know about the target market.

2 upvotes
fastlass
By fastlass (May 17, 2012)

someone's pretty judgmental this morning...

17 upvotes
Goreyo
By Goreyo (May 17, 2012)

Not just this morning.

9 upvotes
True North
By True North (May 17, 2012)

Isn't that a self portrait beside your name Louis?

15 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (May 17, 2012)

OH, come on now. You mean the EM-5 target market is "pro" having that "Dramatic" and Pop-Art filter? :-)

3 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (May 17, 2012)

@True North , it was when he used lowly D3. Now that he uses superior micro 43 cameras he would not lower himself to that levels of self portraits.

2 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 22, 2012)

Not me who took the picture...

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (May 17, 2012)

Another nice NEX with a horrible lens.

9 upvotes
abi170845
By abi170845 (May 17, 2012)

We want MORE E Mount Lenses! Hello SONY are you deaf! Where is the ultra wide 16mm Equal FF like the Pana 7mmzoom and Oly 9mmzoom! Enough wit the disposable obsolete in 6 months bodies.

17 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 17, 2012)

Well, in six months maybe Sony will introduce bodies that make the E Mount lenses obsolete. F mount lenses will be the same, in most respects, but require new bodies. Ditto for batteries. Time to make all the old batteries and chargers obsolete. That will end the mis-match in obsolescence schemes.

0 upvotes
smileblog
By smileblog (May 19, 2012)

Agree. but Sony is that company. We already knew it.
Look at A-mount. still not enough lenses available...

0 upvotes
RadioGnome
By RadioGnome (May 17, 2012)

Don't like the colors of the sample images. It's not too much saturation alone, but some sort of color contrast, like paint which has been applied too thick.

I know the color of that Landrover very well. In reality it is less 'fat'. The color rendering of the boys pants don't match his skin tone. Every picture seems to have been applied with a mood-enhancer which has gone wrong.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (May 17, 2012)

Sony is apt to 'improve' your pictures in camera. Let's hope there is a neutral mode.

0 upvotes
soupnazi81
By soupnazi81 (May 17, 2012)

The sample picture exposures look underexposed by 0.7 of a stop similar to my NEX5-N. I have mine permanently set to +0.7 EV.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (May 17, 2012)

Not sure what the point is of the car ISO 12800 shot (and the next one), which are shot at slow apertures and rather high shutter speeds… ?

The same issue with the EM-5 gallery (ISO 6400 with 1/4000th shutter on two shots. What is that supposed to show? )

These are not real world conditions and don't show much the high iso performance. True lower light conditions are really tough on the sensor. F2.8- iso 1600/3200, 1/25th-1/35th as a start.

My years old Olympus e-300 can take fairly good ISO 1600 at high noon. What's the point?

7 upvotes
foot
By foot (May 17, 2012)

right on! totally agree. 1+

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 17, 2012)

The whole purpose of high ISO is to tease pixel peepers to look for noise. Who would think of using high ISO or wide aperture in the dark?

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (May 17, 2012)

@Cy Cheze - I don't know, maybe someone shooting Street Nightlife?

http://raist3d.typepad.com/files/oh_come_on.jpg

Or shooting a wedding reception at night?

Just because you don't need it nor use it doesn't mean there aren't others interested. Besides, there's no point in shooting in good light high ISO, so why bother.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 17, 2012)

No, Raist3d. I'm sure the "experts" around here use high ISO only to whet their obsession with pixel peeping. They avoid nightlife and leave the weddings ASAP. If they take night shots at all, they are with the lens cover left on, since that yields some exquisite NR effects to conptemplate in blow up. Some would excell as laboratory histologists, looking for neoplasms in biopsies, but prefer to dwell deep in salt mines.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (May 18, 2012)

@Cy Cheze - ok I guess you may be talking about a different group from the one you see me in. I can understand what you are saying, and in a way agree, but I also think my comments are legitimate for those of us who really shoot in high ISO conditions with good reason.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (May 17, 2012)

Wow!

Love the flip up screen. Perfect for self portrait with the kids.

2 upvotes
sdyzpjt
By sdyzpjt (May 17, 2012)

a typo:
The first page: "Sony NEX-C3 specification highlights"
should be F3.

Comment edited 7 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 67