Best bang for buck in the line
The NEX3 is the camera that finally sold me to mirrorless products. A few years into the trend, I observed that Sony seemed to have a product that fits multiple needs with the best implementation in the market regarding size and technology. The ergonomics is something of a P&S but very usable once one sets the control keys to own liking and starts using the swivel screen; that being said, the screen really improves on stability and is a throw-back to the twin-lens reflex days with perfect perspective for MF with vintage/manual glass.
As a fact, it was the release of firmware .04 and focus peaking functionality that finally sold me to the system. I immediately purchased a few adapters and started using the old glass. Needless to say, it is a treat: Sony makes that easy with the aid of the tilting screen and focus peaking. It is like they planned it in advance In any case, a good way to use the bodies while we wait for the NEX lens line expansion.
The kit lens is of great value, especially if purchased in a kit with the body. It is versatile and optically stabilized with tremendous sharpness (for any kit lens ever), fast to pick focus and in a very light but quality-feeling metalium body build: reminiscent of Zeiss design; definitely a nice touch.
I will not touch on the IQ very much as there are plenty of comparisons out there. I would simply like to say the 14.2 CMOS that Sony planted in there is more than adequate to rise to a variety of shooting situations from one extreme to the other: it is a consistent piece of technology, a tail and a hair above micro4/3 offers. The color is consistent with good natural rendering and the only thing to hold it down is, as usual, the glass.
The hotshoe is a typical Sony decision; speaking of that, does anyone use the "memory stick" card?! me neither.
The battery life is acceptable, although by 2010 standards, a bit run-of-the-mill: they did improve shooting time with the following model, the NEXC3, by 20%, so there is definitely room for improvement.
The menu/capability is simplified compared to the magnesium brother, the NEX5. Some functionality could be passed on from newer models, such as the creative options. Sony has showed they can attend to the customer's needs with the firmware updates; now it is time for them to confirm: the NEX3 is a great value little beast of a camera, however a firmware update would improve usability even more.
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bad for good for
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= community average
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