Sony NEX-3N: Pushing APS-C mirrorless pricing to $350 with lens

Sony NEX-3N: Pushing APS-C mirrorless pricing to $350 with lens

Sony Alpha NEX-3N Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Black)As if point and shoot cameras weren’t having enough trouble, Sony is now selling a mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor for $350 with a 16-50mm lens. The features a 16MP sensor and BIONZ image processor. You can jack the ISO up to 16000 (although with noise of course) and it shoots 60 fps video at 1080i.  

I haven’t had a chance to review the yet, but given Sony’s track record I’ll bet on excellent image quality and shooting performance – especially given the price. You’ll sacrifice a bit of resolution and 1080p video compared to higher-end models, but it does include a built-in flash and 4 fps when shooting stills. You’ll also need to compose your images in the LCD as there isn’t an EVF. In fact the form factor (including the dimunitive 7.4 ounce weight) is not too far off from a large-sized compact camera.

Details on the

The black Alpha NEX-3N Mirrorless Digital Camera from Sony has an Exmor APS-C CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 16.1MP and a BIONZ image processor. It accepts Sony E-Mount lenses, including the supplied Power Zoom (PZ) lens, which has an effective focal length of 16-50mm (35mm equivalent: 24-75mm), a maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6, and both ED and aspherical elements. The lens is retractable and compact, measuring just 3/16" at its shortest length.
The camera also features a large 3.0" LCD screen that has a resolution of 460,800 dots and tilts 180° up. Capture Full HD 1080i video at 60 fps and 1080p video at 24 fps. The NEX-3N is effective in challenging lighting conditions without using the built-in flash, thanks to a wide ISO range of 200-16000 and advanced noise reduction. The camera has an Intelligent AF system and manual focus capability. Auto Object Framing fills the frame with your subject by automatically recognizing the scene and cropping accordingly. Using the Photo Creativity feature, you'll enjoy easy access to Picture Effect settings and controls for Background Defocus, Brightness, Color and Vividness.

The Exmor APS-C HD CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 16.1MP allows for clear, detailed, low-noise shots in dim lighting conditions, often without the use of flash. The sensor has RGB primary color filters. Color space is sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard, compatible with TRILUMINOS Color. Capture JPEG (Standard, Fine, Extra Fine), RAW, RAW+JPEG and 3D MPO images
BIONZ Image Processor
Chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 16000 sensitivity. Long Exposure NR can be turned on or off and is available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec. High ISO NR has High, Normal and Low modes. The processor also enables up to 4 fps continuous shooting
Sony E-Mount and A-Mount Lenses
The camera's Sony E-Mount accepts a broad array of interchangeable lenses, including the supplied 16-50mm (35mm equivalent: 24-75mm) f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom (PZ) lens. The 16-50mm features a motor zoom lever enabling effortless one-handed operation and smooth zooming--even when shooting self-portraits. Measuring just 3/16" when fully retracted, this compact lens has one ED (extra low-dispersion) element for correcting chromatic aberrations, as well as four aspherical elements for minimizing coma and other types of lens aberrations, even at the widest apertures. The aspherical elements also contribute to the lens' compact design. Additionally, the 16-50mm features Optical Steady Shot image stabilization, which provides the equivalent of four stops of shutter speed compensation for blur-free shooting. You can also use optional Minolta/Konica Maxxum A-mount lenses via the LA-EA1/LA-EA2 adapter (sold separately)
3.0" LCD
The camera's monitor features a resolution of 460,800 dots and tilts 180° up. Benefit from the following features: 100% coverage, continuous Live View, Histogram, Peaking with selectable High/Mid/Low/Off level settings and White/Red/Yellow colors, Grid Display (Rule of Thirds, Square Grid, Diagonal + Square Grid, Off), magnified display for playback, customization options for grid / grid line and histogram, real-time image adjustment display, and Auto and Manual brightness control in 5 steps between -2 and +2
Full HD Video
Record Full HD 1080i video at 60 fps and 24Mbps or 17Mbps. Capture Full HD 1080p video at 24 fps at the same bit rates. You can also record in HD 1440 x 1080p at 30 fps and 12Mbps, or 640 x 480p at 30 fps and 3Mbps. Capture movies in your choice of the Blu-ray quality AVCHD or PC-friendly MP4 format, and record stereo sound in Dolby Digital (AC-3) or MPEG-4 AAC-LC format to accompany your movies
Wide ISO Range
The combination of a broad sensitivity range of 100-16000 (for stills; 100-3200 for videos) and advanced noise reduction allows the NEX-3N to capture clear, detailed images in challenging lighting conditions--without requiring the built-in flash
Auto and Manual Focus
The Intelligent AF system uses contrast-detect autofocus and 25 focus points when Multi Point is selected as the focus area. Center-weighted and Flexible Spot are also available. Autofocus modes include Single-shot AF(AF-S), Continuous AF(AF-C) and Auto Focus. Additionally, Manual Focus may be used, and Direct Manual Focus (DMF) allows you to switch quickly between AF and MF while keeping your eyes focused on your subject. Benefit from Predictive control (AF-A, AF-C) and Focus Lock, as well as a built-in LED AF Illuminator with an approximate range of 3.3-9.75". Focus sensitivity ranges from EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent, with an f/2.8 lens attached)
Built-in Flash
Pop-up flash with pre-flash TTL metering has a guide number of 19.7' (6.0 m) to compensate for dim lighting when the CMOS sensor and high ISO sensitivity alone aren't quite enough to get proper exposure. Offers a coverage angle equivalent to that of a 16mm focal length lens. Recycling time is approximately 3 sec and flash bracketing can be done from -2.0 to +2.0 EV
Auto Object Framing
Fills the frame with your subject by automatically recognizing the scene and cropping accordingly. Advancements include two-person portrait capability, Face Detection and Tracking Focus
Photo Creativity Feature
Enjoy easy access to most Picture Effect settings and controls for Background Defocus, Brightness, Color and Vividness. Simply activate Photo Creativity, choose the appropriate item, and adjust while viewing in real-time on the LCD. You can also combine settings to achieve different creative results or compensate for difficult lighting
Picture Effect Modes
Camera features 11 modes that provide 15 artistic effects you can apply to photos and movies. These include Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R,G,B,Y), High Contrast Mono, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Mono, and Miniature. View effects in real-time on the LCD screen before you take the shot, so you can experiment with different looks. Please note that the following modes are not displayed in real-time and cannot be applied to movies: HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Soft Focus and Miniature
Creative Style
Prior to shooting photos or videos, choose from one of six settings - Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset or Black & White (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation(-3 to +3steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3steps)) - to help you achieve the desired result
Superior Auto Mode
Capture photos and videos easily by letting the camera recognize the current shooting environment and automatically adjust settings for optimal results. Superior Auto also includes Auto HDR and Hand-held Twilight modes; both of these use image compositing technology to handle difficult lighting by recording multiple images at high speed, then combining the best qualities from each image into a single exposure. For Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range), the exposure difference level is 1-6EV in 1EV steps. Hand-held Twilight mode gives you clearer, more detailed nighttime pictures without the use of the flash or a tripod. Six images are captured in a fraction of a second, then combined into a single sharper image with low noise
Anti-Motion Blur Mode
Corrects for subject movement to capture clean, sharp images in low light. In this mode, the camera takes 6 shots in a fraction of a second, then combines the data from all 6 to create a single, blur-free image
Face Detection / Smile Shutter
You can set the camera to recognize faces and smiles. Face Detection locates up to 8 faces in the frame, then adjusts exposure, white balance and other settings based on these faces. Face Registration and Face Selection are enabled. Smile Shutter, which provides 3 selectable levels for adjustment, automatically takes a photo when smiles in the scene are at their brightest
Speed Priority Continuous Mode
Freeze fast-moving subjects by shooting at up to 4 fps. In normal Continuous mode, you can shoot at 2.5 fps. The camera's burst buffer is 9 shots for Standard or Fine JPEG, 5 shots for RAW, and 4 shots for RAW+JPEG
Panorama Shooting
Capture still panorama images at a resolution of up to 12,416 x 1856 (23MP), achieved by combining multiple images into a single larger one
Scene Modes
Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Handheld Twilight, and Anti Motion Blur
Modes include iAUTO, Superior Auto, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter speed priority (S), Manual (M), Sweep Panorama (Horizontal (Wide/Standard), Vertical (Wide/Standard)) and Scene Selection. Exposure compensation for still images is -3.0 to +3.0 EV, adjustable in 1/3EV steps. For movies, the range is -2.0 to +2.0, with the same 1/3EV increments. Exposure bracketing is also possible via 3 continuous or single shots in 1/3 or 2/3 EV steps. Adjust Color Temperature from 2500 - 9900K in 15-step increments. Magenta/Green compensation (G7 to M7), Amber/Blue (A7 to B7), and Custom available. D-Range Optimizer is available and can be set to Auto, Level or Off. Exposure metering modes include Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot, and 1200-zone evaluative, while metering sensitivity ranges from EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent, with an f/2.8 lens attached)
Electronically-controlled, vertical-traveling, focal-plane shutter
Anti-Slip Grip
Natural form ensures comfortable handling and makes the camera easy to carry around. Textured grip prevents your hand from slipping, even when shooting one-handed or using very large lenses
PlayMemories Home Software
Included PlayMemories Home image management software is easy to use and offers the convenience of automatic installation on your Windows PC. Download photos and movies onto your computer, then view, organize, edit, retouch, print, burn to a disc, share or upload them to social networking sites. Also benefit from the included Image Data Converter Version 4 software
Available via the camera's HDMI port with a compatible BRAVIA HDTV (link menu). PhotoTV HD, too, is available with a BRAVIA Sync-enabled HDTV and HDMI cable
Runs on the Sony lithium-ion Stamina battery, which contains the InfoLITHIUM system that displays the percentage of battery power remaining
Dust Reduction System
Anti-dust charge protection coating on low-pass filter and electromagnetic vibration mechanism
View & Index
Single (with or without shooting information), RGB histogram and highlight/shadow warning, 4/9-frame index view, Enlarged display mode (L: 13.6x, M: 9.9x, S: 6.8x), Auto Review (10/5/2 sec, Off), Image orientation (On/Off), Slideshow, Panorama scrolling, Folder selection (still), Forward/Rewind (movie), Delete, Protect
Computer OS Compatibility
Works with the following operating systems:
Windows XP SP3: 64-bit and Starter Editions are not supported. Windows Image Mastering API(IMAPI) Ver.2.0 or later is required in order to use the function for creating discs
Windows Vista SP2: Starter Edition is not supported
Windows 7 SP1
Windows 8
Mac OS X v10.5-10.8: Image Data Converter and PlayMemories Home software are not compatible