Sony NEX-3N Review

by Reads (3,703)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Image/Video Quality
      • 8
      • Features
      • 7.5
      • Design / Ease of Use
      • 8.5
      • Performance
      • 9
      • Expandability
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 8.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Great image quality
    • Simple user interface
    • Fast and accurate AF
  • Cons

    • No hot shoe
    • Awkward placement of zoom slider on lens barrel

Quick Take

The Sony NEX-3N is a compact  mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that combines the ease of a point and shoot with the features of a DSLR, making it a great option for anyone that wants to step up to a point-and-shoot but doesn't want to invest in a DSLR.


The Sony NEX-3N is a compact  mirrorless interchangeable lens digital camera that is designed to combine the ease of use and convenience of a point-and-shoot camera with the features of a DSLR. The camera, including the body and a 16mm-50mm/f3.5-f5.6 zoom lens, is priced at $500 at the time of the review, and is aimed at point and shoot users who want to move up to a higher quality camera but remain in a reasonable price range.

Sony NEX-3NDigitalCameraReview spent some time with the NEX-3N and found the metal alloy and polycarbonate body feels substantial and well constructed, yet still light. The camera also has weather and dust seals, as well as a real handgrip and zoom lens. DCR found the NEX-3N is pocketable and “tough enough to go just about anywhere including extreme environments.” DCR also said the camera’s control array, which features only a few key buttons, is well laid out and provides users with everything they will need, including “best composure arrangement that [reviewers] have seen to date.” The NEX-3N has a standard point-and-shoot zoom toggle and a zoom control ring on the lens, which functions by wire-control, which DCR notes means there will be a bit of lag time, making zoom control slower and less precise.  DCR also said the camera’s slider switch, used to adjust the zoom, is the worst design misstep on the NEX-3N.

The NEX-3N offers users various modes including auto, scene, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, sweep panorama and movie. DCR called the camera’s menu system “astonishingly simple, remarkable effective and absolutely intuitive,” and reviewers noted it offers the best menu system seen to date.

To compose and review images, the NEX-3N offers users a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 460K resolution and wide viewing angles. DCR noted the display is “sharp, bright, hue accurate and fluid.” The LCD gains up in dim lighting and brightness can be adjusted to the shooter’s preference. The screen also flips up the face the front, which comes in handy when taking selfies.  Reviewers at DCR noted the camera is fairly quick, moving from “off” to snapping an image in about two seconds. The camera offers a 25-point TTL Contrast Detection AF system with various modes and DCR found the system to be consistently quick and reliably accurate.

The camera has a 23.5×15.6mm (APS-C) Exmor HD CMOS sensor and saves images to Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards and can save images in either JPEG or RAW format. The camera also includes a built-in flash. Sony rates the NEX-3N’s battery for 480 exposures, but DCR found the camera is only good for between 350 and 400 images on a single charge, which reviewers note is still competitive battery life.

Sony NEX-3N displayThe NEX-3N is sold in kit form with an E-mount PZ 16mm-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Zoom lens, which DCR notes showed some minor corner softness, but center sharpness was “impressively good.” The camera records video in 1440x1080p at 25 frames per second and DCR found videos to be fluid and hue accurate with excellent resolution. When it comes to image quality, reviewers found images to show very good color, balanced contrast, and impressive overall sharpness. DCR noted image quality is excellent in good outdoor lighting and slightly better than average indoors. Reviewers noted some minor overexposure and slight chromatic aberration, but found it to be remarkably well controlled overall.

Overall, DCR found the Sony NEX-3N to be capable of “consistently and dependably delivering high quality images and excellent HD video.” DCR was impressed with the camera’s user interface and fast and accurate autofocus, but was disappointed in the lack of a hot show and the poor placement of the zoom slider on the lens barrel. In the end, DCR noted the NEX-3N successfully bridges the gap between company point-and-shoot camera and enthusiast oriented interchangeable lens cameras and notes the NEX-3N should appeal to serious photographers looking for a compact camera with a lot of features and potential.

Check out DigitalCameraReview for a full Sony NEX-3N review, including performance, commentary, and sample pics.



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