Sony NEX-C3 review

Does 16.2MP, a flip out screen and 720p video recording come at a price?

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Sony nex c3

Multi segment, centre weighted and spot metering modes are provided on the Sony NEX-C3, along with exposure compensation, covering a range of two stops above or below the metered value.

Multi segment metering performs well under a wide range of conditions, although it can be fooled by predominantly bright or dark subjects, so it pays dividends to check the histogram in challenging conditions.

A tiny detachable flash unit is provided with the camera, which folds flat against the top of the lens when not in use. Pulling the flash body up raises it about an inch above the lens.

Sony nex c3

The flash isn't very powerful and recycle times are slow at best, often resulting in flash being absent from the exposure if taking a few shots at a time. Flash exposures are generally well balanced with the ambient conditions and pictures taken with the portrait scene mode a have pleasant warmth to them.

Auto white balance does a reasonable job of correcting colour casts under a wide range of conditions. Under artificial light results are very well corrected, but when shooting in the shade, or at dusk or dawn, the results can often be a little cool if not overridden with one of the presets or a custom reading.

Images straight from the camera are sharp, and fine details are reproduced very well. Flare can be an issue with the supplied 18-55mm kit lens, especially if strong light sources, such as the sun, are in the frame.

Sony nex c3

The image processor in the Sony NEX-C3 does an excellent job of producing decent JPEGs, and there's little to tell the difference between them and RAW files processed in Sony's image editing suite.

Colours can be a little subdued using the standard picture style, but there are plenty of other presets to choose from and user customisable settings to give images a lift if required.

Recent advances in sensor technology have spawned cameras able to cope exceptionally well at high ISO sensitivities, and the NEX-C3 is no exception.

Images taken at sensitivities between ISO200 and ISO800 show no significant signs of noise, and should be more than suitable for large prints.

Sony nex c3

Increasing the sensitivity to between ISO1600 and 3200 results in a little noise becoming visible in the shadows, but the amount of detail retained is excellent and the images have a fine texture to them that will lend itself to printing well.

Even at the maximum sensitivity of ISO12800, the noise levels are very low. A little softening due to noise reduction can be seen, but images still retain a commendable level of detail, although colours do tend to shift a little towards magenta.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution16.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product Familyalpha NEX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital Zoom10x
Brand NameSony
DurabilityDust Proof
FeaturesFace Detection, Smile Detection, Live View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)225 g
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4912 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height60 mm
Width109.6 mm
Depth33 mm
Product SeriesNEX
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNEX-C3
Product Namealpha NEX-C3 Mirrorless Camera
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNEXC3KS.CEE5
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Capture stunning images with DSLR-like picture quality, plus the convenience of interchangeable lenses - all without the size and weight of a DSLR. Compact, beautifully styled and brilliantly easy to use, with amazing features like 3D Sweep Panorama and HD video shooting.

Package Contents
  • alpha NEX-C3 Mirrorless Camera
  • SEL-1855 Lens
  • NP-FW50 Battery
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year