Sony NEX-C3 Concise Review
Using the NEX-C3/Handling
The NEX-C3 is a well-built and solid camera that feels good in the hand. Even though the body isn't much larger than a typical high-end compact camera, with a lens attached it creates a very natural two-handed shooting position. The C3's slightly rounded front hand grip and rear thumb pad make it possible to shoot one-handed comfortably, and when used with the articulated screen pointing downward, it's possible to get decent shots from a higher vantage point. Overall we feel that Sony has done a good job of creating a user experience that is not only unintimidating enough for novice shooters but also flexible and customizable enough to satisfy enthusiasts.
Specific handling issues
There are very few things about the NEX-C3's handling that we actively dislike. Operational control is well executed in both iAuto and PASM modes. As we've said previously, the new level of customization available on the C3 means that if you have an issue about where the placement of a certain feature is, it's quite easy to set it to a key or custom menu. That said, we did find two issues that hindered an otherwise pleasant shooting experience.
Direct Manual Focus (DMF) allows manual adjustment to the focus after the camera has already found a focus point using AF. To use this feature, first you half-press the shutter button to lock the AF. While continuing to hold the half-press, focus can then be fine-tuned using the focussing ring on the lens. As soon as you move the focus ring, the screen zooms in to the AF point picked by the camera to assist in manual focus.
This is a useful feature, but there are two issues which keep it from being truly effective. If the camera fails to find focus, it won't then allow you to adjust the focus manually as you would normally be able to. You are then left with the choice of either trying to acquire AF again, or switching to Manual Focus mode. This is particularly frustrating because it is precisely in this sort of situation that manual focus override tends to be most useful.
The second problem is that MF assist zoom in DMF mode isn't particularly well-implemented. If the camera does find an AF lock the MF assist will zoom into the region of focus. This is all well and good, but if it happened to pick a focus spot that is incorrect (when shooting in multi-point AF mode), then while it is technically possible to readjust the zoom position with the 4-way controller, doing so while keeping the shutter half-pressed without either accidentally pressing the shutter completely or letting go (and thereby forfeiting your previous AF lock) is nearly impossible.
Regardless of which shooting mode you're in, the NEX-C3 is an able and responsive camera. From power on to first shot is a little less than 2 seconds. The NEX-C3's autofocus system is relatively quick, although not the fastest contrast detection system that we've ever used (that honor belongs to recent Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds models). We've found that, given good light and contrast the AF system is quite reliable. White balance works well in a variety of lighting situations and even produces good skin tones under notoriously troublesome tungsten light. The metering issues that hindered the NEX-3/5 in their original firmware have now been resolved. The C3's Multi-Metering mode consistently delivers a good exposure in most environments.
Continuous shooting modes
The NEX-C3 has three continuous shooting modes: 'Continuous Adv.', 'Speed Priority Cont.' and AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing). In 'Continuous Adv.' mode, the camera will continuously shoot images at approximately 2.5 fps, with 'real time' focus and metering. In 'Speed Priority Cont.' the C3 will shoot at a higher frame rate of approximately 7 fps but focus and exposure are locked from the first frame for all subsequent images. In both of these modes, live view is still available but cuts out for a fraction of a second when each frame is captured.
In AEB mode the C3 captures three sequential images at 0.3EV or 0.7EV apart. The first image is correctly exposed and the subsequent two frames are over- and under-exposed respectively. In our tests using the 18 - 55 mm kit lens we've found the actual frame rate to be quite close to Sony's specs, and in some cases slightly faster:
To generate the timings shown below, we shot with the camera's burst mode set to Continuous Adv. (nominally 2.5 FPS) and Speed Priority Cont. (nominally 7 fps) , with a SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card.
Continuous Adv. (nominally 2.5 FPS)
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card
|JPEG||2.6 fps||Until card full|
|JPEG + RAW||2.3 fps||6|
Speed Priority Cont. (nominally 7 FPS)
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card
|JPEG||6.3 fps||12 at full speed, then 1.4 fps until card full|
|JPEG + RAW||6.2 fps||6|
Maximum framerate in Continuous Advance mode is close to Sony's indicated rate of 2.5 fps, but in Speed Priority Continuous mode the C3 gives a measured framerate roughly 0.7fps slower than the indicated maximum of 7fps. It's also important to note that the Speed Priority Cont. mode is limited to 12 frames (when shooting in JPEG only) before the buffer fills up, and the continuous shooting speed drops right down to about 1.4 fps.
Like all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the NEX-C3 relies on contrast detection to determine focus. In general this method is not as fast as the phase-detection systems found in DSLR cameras but in recent years the gap has closed dramatically. Unlike phase detection, contrast detection focussing systems must 'hunt' back and forth to establish maximum contrast, which denotes accurate focus. In low-contrast, low light scenes, this hunting takes longer, and as such, shooting with the C3 in this sort of environment can be time consuming and in some cases AF is simply not possible.
The NEX-C3 has a built-in AF illuminator but its settings are limited to 'Auto' and 'Off'. This means that in situations where the camera determines that there should be enough light to focus the illuminator may stay off, even if focus proves impossible to acquire due to low subject luminance or contrast. However, in sufficient light and when presented with a reasonably contrasty scene the NEX-C3 is able to find focus quickly. It is not quite as fast as the likes of the Olympus E-P3 or Panasonic GF3 but offers a virtually identical performance to the NEX-3 and 5.
Face Detection works well at locating and tracking multiple faces in a scene. In Auto Face Detection mode, the camera highlights the prioritized face with an orange box around the face that is closest to the camera and nearest the center, and this subject will then be given focus priority. In Child and Adult priority face detection modes the NEX-C3 does a good job at separating adult and children's faces to give priority focus to whichever you choose, but is nowhere near 100% accurate.
|I see you by Phocal|
from Animal eye reflection
|Apocalyptic Sunset by Impact Photo|
from A wheel good photo!
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!
Lightroom is hogging the spotlight at Adobe MAX, but Photoshop CC got some substantial improvements as well. Find out what's new in the latest version of Photoshop CC.
The aptly-named 'Nude' app automatically detects NSFW images on your iPhone, moves them to a protected vault and deletes the original files in the camera roll and on iCloud.
The Zeiss Milvus family of manual-focus full-frame lenses just gained a new member. Meet the Zeiss Milvus 24mm F1.4: a fast, rugged new lens designed primarily for landscape and architecture photography.
Lightroom has built a brand new Lightroom CC from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, and cloud-based. The application formerly known as Lightroom CC will continue to exist, and will go by "Lightroom Classic CC."
Google Research did a deep dive on the Pixel 2 smartphone's background-blurring portrait mode that uses neural networking and dual-pixel technology instead of a dual-camera setup.
With the arrival of the PowerShot G1 X III, there are now seven Canon cameras built around the 24MP Dual Pixel sensor and Digic 7 processor. We take a look at the differences and what might prompt you to choose one over the others.
Meet the HP ZBook x2. The so-called 'world's most powerful and first detachable PC workstation,' it was built with creative professionals in mind, and is being debuted at Adobe MAX.
PDN sat down with Ahmed Fakhr, director of photography at RollingStone.com, to talk about how the famed publication is adapting to the changing photo and video needs of the modern era and how he 'evaluates the skills of potential contributors.'
Kudos to Canon. Earlier today, the camera giant announced that it had produced its 90 millionth EOS camera and 130 millionth EF-series lens.
The ROV Slider is a portable, motorized slider that promises to bring 'beautiful cinematic video and time-lapse' shooting to anybody with a smartphone, GoPro or DSLR that weighs less than 5lbs.
The new Surface Book 2 laptops come with Intel's 8th generation quad-core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 GPUs. In other words: they pack a serious punch.
Leica is resurrecting a portrait lens from the 1930s: the Thambar-M 1:2.2/90. This lens features just 4 lens elements, and was famous for its spherical aberration that creates extremely soft images.
Google's Visual Core is an Image Signal Processor designed to power and accelerate HDR+ processing and other imaging tasks in the new Pixel 2 devices (and beyond).
The Google Pixel's camera is among the best we've reviewed, and its successor has already been hailed as class-leading. With expectations set high, the Pixel 2 has nonetheless left a very good first impression on us as we shot some initial sample images.
Leica is one of the oldest names in photography, and has long been one of the most prestigious. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Wetzlar, to see for ourselves how Leica's lenses are put together.
Canon went and put an APS-C sensor in a G series compact. The result is a mighty tempting camera for travel.
Google Photos is adding a few pet-friendly features that will make it easier to find photos of your favorite pooch. Now, you can organize your pet photos by facial recognition, and you can even search your library by breed.
Colorful tripod maker MeFOTO has launched a new tripod... and a whole new brand name. Meet the GlobeTrotter travel video tripod, the first product to be released under the MeVIDEO brand.
If you own a Moto Z, you'll soon be able to attach a Polaroid instant printer to it. Check out the unreleased Moto Mod, which was leaked earlier today.
DJI has developed a technology called AeroScope that allows law enforcement to identify and track airborne drones that are breaking UAV regulations, while simultaneously addressing privacy concerns.
The Nikon D850 is a 45.7MP full-frame DSLR with an autofocus system lifted wholesale from the pro-sports focused D5. 4K capture, continuous shooting at 7 or 9 frames per second make it sound like the ultimate all rounder. Is it all that these specs suggest?
The Mate 10's Kirin 970 chipset with integrated AI processing allows for object recognition, motion detection and automatic scene selection in the camera app.
DxO has announced version 3.0 of the iOS app for its 'One' connected camera. It adds support for multi-camera Facebook Live broadcasting and both time-lapse still and video capture. Android users will be pleased to hear that a One for their platform is on the way, as well. Several new accessories are available, including a battery pack.
Canon has introduced the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, which borrows the 24MP APS-C sensor and Dual Pixel AF system from the company's recent mirrorless and DSLR cameras, adds a 24-72mm equiv., F2.8-5.6 lens and puts them into a lightweight body – but it'll cost you quite a bit.
It's not often that we see a genuinely interesting compact camera, and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is one such beast. We've pulled out the top features of the camera and tell you why they matter – and put the Mark III up against the competition.