Sony NEX-F3 review

An entry-level CSC with a tilting screen and built-in flash

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It's interesting that Sony has chosen to replace the NEX-C3 with this NEX-F3 camera so soon, but by doing so, it has addressed some, if not all common issues with the older model. Thanks to the slightly bulkier body, and inclusion of a decent finger grip, this camera is much easier to hold, and controls are easier to access. Photographers of all experience levels should appreciate this.

Focusing on ease of use doesn't mean that the Sony NEX-F3 will disappoint those who want to take complete control of the camera. All the usual metering modes and manual functions are included, along with two fully automatic picture-taking modes for those who wish to simply point and shoot.

Image quality is impressive too, especially at high sensitivities, where a slight improvement on the performance of the NEX-C3 has also been made.

Incompatibility with specialist accessories, such as audio microphones with a 3.5mm or XLR connection, or external flash equipment, can't really be held against the Sony NEX-F3. It is an entry-level CSC, after all.

We liked

The Sony NEX-F3 packs plenty of features into a lightweight and reasonably compact body. It is more than capable of producing high quality images under a wide range of conditions and feels very responsive in use. Features such as the 180-degree flip-out screen and customisable controls make this camera stand out from other entry-level CSCs.

We disliked

The articulated arm that supports the pop-up flash looks a little flimsy, as does the exposed ribbon cable between the flip-out screen and camera body. Autofocus performance in very low light conditions is poor too.

Final verdict

The Sony NEX-F3 is a well rounded entry-level compact system camera, offering excellent image quality and plenty of features. It is currently priced similarly to alternatives from other manufacturers - such as the Panasonic Lumix GF5, Olympus PEN E-PL3 and Samsung NX1000 - so it should make a good value choice due to the great range of features, handling and image quality.

Sony has packed the NEX-F3 with plenty of features to satisfy both novices and advanced photographers alike. Many of the shortcomings of its predecessor have been addressed and image quality improved. It should make a good choice for anyone in the market for a good quality compact system camera.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.2 Megapixel
Product Familyalpha A
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Eye-Fi Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameSony
FeaturesFace Detection, Smile Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, 3D Panorama
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MPEG-4 AVC
Weight (Approximate)255 g
Image Sensor Size23.40 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4912 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height66.6 mm
Width117.3 mm
Depth41.3 mm
Product SeriesA
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNEX-F3K
Product Namealpha NEX-F3K Mirrorless Camera
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNEXF3KB
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Little big shot.

Get DSLR quality that fits in your pocket. The interchangeable-lens NEX-F3 goes anywhere to capture stunning high-res stills and Full HD video courtesy of a large 16.1MP APS-C HD sensor nestled inside its ingeniously compact form factor. The 180° tiltable LCD screen makes self-portraits foolproof and fun. A powerful pop-up flash delivers a dose of illumination to brighten dark scenes. Just getting started in photography? Shoot like a pro with Superior Auto mode which picks the optimal camera setting for you-simply click away and collect the compliments.