New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

Started Jun 13, 2013 | Discussions
RyoHazuki224
RyoHazuki224 New Member • Posts: 8
New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

Hey all! I'm new here, and a new owner of an NEX-F3!

I know, it's the older model, but after looking at comparison's between this and the new 3n model, I felt that the F3 had a few better features (mainly their hot-shoe, I plan on getting the better microphone for it for when I take video), and plus I found a good deal on Amazon for it that was bundled with a "starter kit" worth of extras.

Now, some of those extras turned out... well, not so good (two 52mm Zeikos add-on lenses, with no step-down ring adapter. I had to buy one, it's in the mail so I've yet to test these lenses). Some were good though, got a nice tripod with it, a decent carry case, set of filters, and of course an original Sony zoom lens for it.

Now, I will say that while I've always been interested in more advanced photography, I've never had a chance to explore that area until now. All my past cameras has been basic point-and-shoot digital cameras, and of course before that, cheap rinky-dink film cameras.

I have to say that so far I've been having a lot of fun with the NEX! I've been doing some quick reading up about features, and I do have a basic understanding of how aperture and shutter speed works. I just really now need the practice to really know what setting works best in different situations. I'm trying to stay away from the intelligent auto modes unless I just want to take a quick snap of something.

So, does anybody have any beginners tips that I should try out? Like, I have some lens filters that came with the bundle, what really would be the best situations to use these in and why? I live in the New Mexico desert, so I'm guessing the UV filter would come in handy on bright days?

Anything other cool tips or tricks that I can try out would be much appreciated! I look forward to learning some amazing things in this promising community!

 RyoHazuki224's gear list:RyoHazuki224's gear list
Sony a6300
Sony Alpha NEX-F3
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seachicken2000
seachicken2000 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,242
Re: New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

RyoHazuki224 wrote:

So, does anybody have any beginners tips that I should try out? Like, I have some lens filters that came with the bundle, what really would be the best situations to use these in and why? I live in the New Mexico desert, so I'm guessing the UV filter would come in handy on bright days?

Anything other cool tips or tricks that I can try out would be much appreciated! I look forward to learning some amazing things in this promising community!

Hi, can congratz on your new F3. I've got one of them too, and I don't have many complaints.

I am not sure a UV filter would be useful (I may be wrong). There's one in the camera in front of the sensor that does a pretty good job of cutting UV. The main use would be to protect the front element of the lens from damage, but on the other hand filters sometimes introduce flare. I tend not to use UV/skylight filters.

Tips... I recommend you turn off the AF assist lamp. Most believe it messes with the camera's ability to focus in low light rather than helps things.

I'd also recommend you make use of the flexible spot for focusing. You can use it in the center of the frame if you are in a hurry, or move it to just about anywhere for accurate focusing. It's the most precise way of focusing. I often see complaints about the NEX AF system here, but I've had very little trouble.

If you're feeling adventurous you might want to try your luck with an adapted lens (a cheap one to start with). NEX's are quite good with adapted lenses, and this has been a source of a lot of fun for me.

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 seachicken2000's gear list:seachicken2000's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony a7R +21 more
Untameable Forum Member • Posts: 59
Re: New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

I'm a beginner too. I can't give you advice but I'll tell you what I'm doing.

I don't seem to be able to take interesting photos just because I want to, they are things that happen or that I spot spontaneously, and so I need to take my camera everywhere even if it looks like I'm a stupid tosser with an expensive accessory around their neck. I don't take it to the supermarket, but I do take it to work, the coffee store, driving, etc.

I leave my camera in manual mode (there's a video on froknowsphoto that has a good explanation of this). When I spot something I take a couple different shots from different angles or adjusting a setting like aperture or shutter speed or focal length. I keep all the terrible photos.

Every night I go home and import them on my computer. I have some diary software but a Word document would do. I quickly go through the photos, pick my best ones for Facebook (if any) plus just one for that day's diary entry.

Then I write a few paragraphs about what photos I took, what settings I changed, why some photos worked and other ones didn't, and what I learned through extra research or want to try next time. A lot of it is technical about the camera or software, but just as much ends up being psychological... how I feel about different focal lengths, how hard holding still for manual focusing is, daylight issues on the screen...

Something I wrote about last night was that I'm still in P&S mode mentality. I spent $1k on my NEX but take photos slightly out of focus and sometimes just walk away because my arms/legs are tired of contorting into weird positions (I take mostly macro shots). If I want to get better, then I better start taking it more seriously and pumping out not 5x photos, but 20x photos, and learning how to use focus stacking (I tried last night and failed, because the shots were slightly different exposures and that's a no-no). I also don't like cropping ...

It makes me feel I'm making some progress and am thinking critically about what I'm doing. It also gives me good reasons to try to leave the house and get photos if I haven't already, though I definitely haven't taken photos every day, at least it's something I progress towards (and will put extra effort in on the weekends to correct instead of staying indoors watching movies).

Sonyshine
Sonyshine Veteran Member • Posts: 8,901
Re: New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

First of all don't run before you can walk. So don't shoot full manual until you have mastered A or S mode.

Shooting in A mode with auto ISO is a good start. Then shoot A mode with manual ISO. Get to understand the relationship between aperture and depth of field and speed.

Use the centre ( moveable) focus point for more accuracy. Use Af-C and speed mode if shooting handheld macro, 'burp' shooting will get you more keepers than single shot.

Shoot JPEG if you are not good at PP. Shoot RAW if you are a competent post processor.

Turn off AF assist light.

Enjoy your F3. Its a very good little camera.

 Sonyshine's gear list:Sonyshine's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Panasonic Leica D Summilux Asph 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +3 more
Tturtle1 Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

Ive had the F3 for about a month now and am really loving it. A few thoughts:
1. You'll here a lot of moaning about the lack of a viewfinder on this camera. Would be nice to have but many great photographers (google Diane Arbus) have worked with cameras that didn't have them. The flip up screen is great for composition and also lends itself to more intimate and candid portraiture since the photographer is not necessarily looking directly at the subject as with a viewfinder.
2. The F3 has an unintended but very useful flash feature in that you can direct the flash upwards with a finger or paper clip ("bounce mode") rather than firectly at the subject. This makes for a semi natural indoor lighting that is very pleasing. Especially useful for indoor pictures of children. May need to apply exposure compensation and works best in rooms with standard ceilings but the results can be very impressive.
3. The 18-55 kit lens has had mixed reviews and I have found it to be very unimpressive optically but very convenient. There are many old cheap manual focus lenses that will give significantly better image quality on this camera. Also the 18-55 looks to me somewhat fragile. You will see that if you extend the zoom out there is a lot of play at the end of the lens barrel. I always retract the lens when carrying the camera around.
Overall I love this camera wich like all of them has strengths and weaknesses. Learn to recognize or create photo opportunities that play to the many strengths of this excellent camera and you will be very happy with your purchase. -Tom

RyoHazuki224
OP RyoHazuki224 New Member • Posts: 8
Re: New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

Thank you all for the tips and advice!

This weekend I'm going to go out and about to get some good practice with shooting just about everything I can think of. This may seem silly but one of the main reasons I really wanted a more advanced camera like this is the long exposure ability. I want to take those cool long-exposure shots of like traffic at night, and also maybe try to get some star-trails.

Anybody have any advice for doing long exposure shooting? Like, what's a good aperture and ISO setting for something like night-time traffic with a 5-10 second exposure? And would I change those settings for a longer BULB mode exposure for star-trails?

Does anybody also use their NEX for video as well? Next week I'm going to a comic convention, and I want to get some good video of cosplayers. Tomorrow I'm going to practice with my friend to do some sweeps and panning around him to see if I can keep him in focus but have the background defocused. I'm thinking of keeping the spot focus mode on for this.

I'll post some shots that I took to see what you all think.

Thanks again!

 RyoHazuki224's gear list:RyoHazuki224's gear list
Sony a6300
boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: New NEX owner - Sony NEX-F3

RyoHazuki224 wrote:

Hey all! I'm new here, and a new owner of an NEX-F3!

I know, it's the older model, but after looking at comparison's between this and the new 3n model, I felt that the F3 had a few better features (mainly their hot-shoe, I plan on getting the better microphone for it for when I take video), and plus I found a good deal on Amazon for it that was bundled with a "starter kit" worth of extras.

Now, some of those extras turned out... well, not so good (two 52mm Zeikos add-on lenses, with no step-down ring adapter. I had to buy one, it's in the mail so I've yet to test these lenses). Some were good though, got a nice tripod with it, a decent carry case, set of filters, and of course an original Sony zoom lens for it.

Now, I will say that while I've always been interested in more advanced photography, I've never had a chance to explore that area until now. All my past cameras has been basic point-and-shoot digital cameras, and of course before that, cheap rinky-dink film cameras.

I have to say that so far I've been having a lot of fun with the NEX! I've been doing some quick reading up about features, and I do have a basic understanding of how aperture and shutter speed works. I just really now need the practice to really know what setting works best in different situations. I'm trying to stay away from the intelligent auto modes unless I just want to take a quick snap of something.

So, does anybody have any beginners tips that I should try out? Like, I have some lens filters that came with the bundle, what really would be the best situations to use these in and why? I live in the New Mexico desert, so I'm guessing the UV filter would come in handy on bright days?

Anything other cool tips or tricks that I can try out would be much appreciated! I look forward to learning some amazing things in this promising community!

Welcome!

- A (Aperture priority) mode is great, quick and easy - just leave EV at 0 or +0.3, dial your aperture to suit your taste (more or less depth in focus), the camera calculates shutter speed instantly, and shoot! Keep shutter speed above your focal length as a rule of thumb e.g. at 30mm - 1/30s. Use higher ISO in low light with wider apertures - up to 1600 is good enough quality. Try hand-held twilight & anti-motion blur also.

- turn off Auto Focus assist lamp (works better without it, lol!)

- shoot JPG + RAW. Even if you don't use RAW to post-process yet, you may in the future, and be glad to be able to go back to clean up older shots. And this mode uses fine/best JPG setting also.

- learn to do some basic processing in Photoshop/Gimp/LightRoom etc. - blemish removal, selective sharpening techniques, colour balance correction, cropping/straightening.

- tweak JPGs to your taste in Creative Settings if you prefer not to post-process - Standard, Vivid etc plus contrast/saturation/sharpness level Options.

- good technique  - tilt up screen, looking down, elbows in to sides, camera against torso, is very stable, cradle lens/mount with left hand, press shutter on top with thumb. The f3 shutter button is annoyingly hard to reach with thumb like this, unlike other NEXes, but a cheap stick-on "pearl" (like a half a globe, a card of them costs $2) from a kids arts/craft shop works great. Someone on ebay sells a dedicated version of this to improve shutter ergonomics for $10 or so.

- brace your camera on a tripod/wall/rock/bench etc at every opportunity for stable scenic/landscape shots and clean night shots at base ISO200 - use 2sec self-timer, and turn off OSS (and back on for hand-held!)

- shoot, shoot, shoot some more,  learn about composition, light, colour, contrast, depth of field, rule of thirds, leading lines, verticals/horizontals/diagonals/curves, negative space, get in close, pull back wide, start seeing like a photographer!

- have fun!

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