The Sony NEX-C3 squeezes a new 16.2MP sensor into a yet smaller Compact System Camera body. Is it the best NEX yet? The What Digital Camera Sony NEX-C3 review…

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Sony NEX-C3

Overall score:90%
Image Quality:95%


  • Good image quality, improved start up time, button customization, small size


  • Poor menu system, no Quick Menu layout, Smart Accessory Terminal fitting, no viewfinder (nor accessory option), battery life still not long lasting enough


Sony NEX-C3 Review


Price as reviewed:


Value & Verdict

Sony NEX-C3 review – Value

Sony NEX-C3 product shot top

At around £450 with either the 18-55mm or 16mm f/2.8 lens, the NEX-C3 represents good value for money and the latest release hasn’t driven up the cost compared to its predecessor. However, in the year since the original NEX-3 was launched, other manufacturers have been releasing products with similarly fierce pricing – the Panasonic GF3 with 14-42mm lens is available for around £430, as is Samsung’s NX100 with 20mm lens. Each product has its own positives and negatives, but the pricing gap between all the major players has been sequeezed down to a minimum. There’s plenty here for the money, and with a top-drawer sensor such as this (think Nikon D7000, Pentax K-5) the Sony will attract a lot of positive attention for its reasonable price.

Sony NEX-C3 review – Verdict

Sony NEX-C3 product shot front

The Sony NEX-C3 takes an already successful Compact System Camera concept (NEX-3 and NEX-5) and improves upon it yet further. The C3’s new sensor is a success, images look great and the camera’s smaller design looks the part too. The price is held at a very reasonable sub-£450 point and there’s very little not to like bar some control issues. While more buttons are available for customisation than previous generation models and, therefore, user experience is better, the overall feel of the menu systems and how tucked away some options are still doesn’t feel right – but that’ll be an ongoing feeling with the NEX-series. The Smart Accessory Terminal is also a fiddly fitting to add the provided flash to and there’s no way to add a viewfinder to this model. But for everything else the NEX-C3 does put on offer it does so with class. It’s a leading light in the Compact System Camera market – if you’re looking for a small and compact, viewfinder-free interchangeable lens system then the C3 has a lot going for it.


Built-in Flash:Not built-in, but included in box. Connects via Smart Accessory Terminal. GN 7 equiv. (ISO 160)
Lens Mount:Sony E-mount
White Balance:Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom, 2500-9900k with 19-step Magenta & Green adjustment
Compression:Fine / Standard
Cable Release:No
Exposure Comp:+/-2EV with 1/3EVsteps
Memory Card:SD (HC/XC)
PC Socket:No
Viewfinder Type:N/A
Output Size:4912 x 3264 (3:2)
LCD:3in, 921k-dot, tilt-angle LCD
Field of View:100% approx
Colour Temp Control:2500-9900K in 100K
AF Points:25-Area
White Balance Bracket:No
Sensor:16.2 megapixel APS-C size CMOS
Max Flash Sync:1/160th sec
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
DoF Prview:No
Dust Reduction:Yes, charge protection coating and electromagnetic vibration mechanism
Metering System:49-segment metering
Built-in Image Stabilisation:No, lens-based where applicable
Live Mode:Yes
Movie Mode:Yes, 720p M-JPEG MP4
Exposure Modes:Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Scene, Movie
Weight:225g approx
Connectivity:HDMI, USB 2.0, Smart Accessory Terminal
Power:Rechargeable NP-FW50 li-ion battery
File Format:JPEG, RAW, RAW & JPEG; MP4
Dimensions:109.6 x 60 x 33mm
Shutter Speeds:1/4000 - 30 and bulb
Focusing Modes:Single-shot AF (AFS), Continuous AF (AFC); Direct Manual Focus, Manual Focus Autofocus Mode
Drive Mode:Single, Continuous (5.5fps max; 2.5fps max with continuous AF), Self-timer 2sec / 10sec
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
  1. 1. Sony NEX-C3 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Movie/Video Mode
  6. 6. Value & Verdict
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