Sony's entry-level NEX-3 Micro System Camera is compact-like in appearance but has changeable lenses and produces DSLR quality. The What Digital Camera Sony NEX-3 review...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Sony NEX-3

Overall score:90%
Image Quality:95%


  • Affordable, image quality, small size


  • Fiddly flash unit, excessive menu digging, limited to three current lenses


Sony NEX-3 Review


Price as reviewed:



Sony NEX-3 product image front on with flashThe NEX-3 is mightily similar to its NEX-5 brother. What it loses in body build and grip-size it makes up for by slashing the price. At £440 with the 16mm lens it’s an absolute bargain that has class-leading image quality just the same as the NEX-5. Some firmware updates have improved start up times and added headline-grabbing features like 3D Sweep Panorama – the latter may not be used by all, yet it’s good to see future-proof forward-thinking. Sony has come on in leaps and bounds lately and the NEX-series is an absolute testament to that. An excellent Micro System Camera that could well open up the market to considerably more people thanks to strong features and image quality. Its main letdown is the lack of a more user-friendly layout when in more advanced modes, though the layout as it is does add to the overall charm and makes up part of what the NEX-system is: a compact-like camera with changeable lenses and exceptional image quality.


Memory Card:SDSD (HC/XC) / Memory Stick PRO
Output Size:4592 x 3056
Viewfinder Type:N/A
Compression:Not adjustable, ‘Fine’ quality only
Exposure Comp:Yes, ±2EV (in 1/3 stops)
LCD:3in, 921k-dot, tilt-angle, TruBlack LCD
Colour Temp Control:2500 – 9900 Kelvin
Field of View:100% approx
AF Points:25-point system
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
Max Flash Sync:1/160th
Sensor:14.2 megapixels Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
White Balance Bracket:No
DoF Prview:No (has Background Defocus Control mode)
Dust Reduction:Yes, Low Pass Filter and Electromagnetic Vibration Mechanism
Metering System:49-segment metering
Built-in Image Stabilisation:No, lens-based where applicable
Movie Mode:Yes, 720p HD, 30fps, M-JPEG format
Live Mode:Yes
Exposure Modes:P, A, S, M, Movie (720p Motion-JPEG), Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Scene (Portrait, Hand-held Twilight, Night View, Night Portrait, Sunset, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape), Intelligent Auto
Weight:239g (no battery, card or lens)
Connectivity:HDMI (c-type), USB (standard mini connection)
Power:Rechargeable li-ion battery
Dimensions:117.2 x 62.6 x 33.4mm
File Format:Raw, JPEG, RAW + JPEG
Shutter Speeds:30 – 1/4000th second (plus Bulb)
Focusing Modes:Continuous, Single Shot, Direct Manual Focus, Manual Focus
Drive Mode:Single, Remote Commander, Bracket, Self Timer, Self Timer (Multiple Images), Speed Priority, Continuous Advanced (to 7fps)
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
Built-in Flash:Yes, GN 7 (detachable unit)
Lens Mount:Sony E-mount (A-mount via an adaptor, sold separately)
White Balance:Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Setting the color temperature
  1. 1. Sony NEX-3 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality & Value
  5. 5. Verdict
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