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

Although the Sony NEX-C3 may not be a camera for everyone – mainly due to the unconventional form factor requiring a flexible approach when first getting to grips with it – those who have the patience to get used to the slightly lens-heavy design will be rewarded with excellent quality images, even at very high ISO sensitivities.

A few weaknesses came to light during testing, such as difficulties focusing and composing images in very low light conditions, and the slow recycle times of the supplied detachable flash.

These aren't even really issues that can be worked around, so it may be worth exercising caution if these are weaknesses that may spoil your enjoyment of the camera.

With the street price already being discounted from Sony's recommended price of £500 for the 18-55mm kit to around £440, this camera is competitively priced in a hotly contested marketplace.

We liked

The performance at high ISO sensitivities is excellent.

Autofocus is lightning quick in good lighting conditions.

We disliked

In very dark conditions it can be difficult to compose images using the screen

The orange AF illuminator isn't very effective in very dark conditions.


Despite the odd handling niggle, the Sony NEX-C3 has proved itself to be a very capable camera with some innovative features to suit photographers of all experience levels.

The image quality alone will make this camera worthy of consideration, and so long as you are aware of potential weaknesses, it could prove to be a compelling choice among current compact system cameras.

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