The main challengers to this particular category, stepping up from a compact camera, come from the smaller sensor cameras such as Nikon 1 system and the micro 4:3 format from Panasonic and Olympus.
Against the new Nikon 1 J3, with a DxOMark Score of just 52, the NEX-3N has a clear advantage from the size (larger surface area) and light efficacy of the Sony-fabricated APS-C sensor. The same applies to the mid-range micro 4:3 Lumix DMC G5 (we’ve chosen that model over the entry-level G3 as it’s becoming difficult to find new).
In every metric the Sony is ahead. In the low-light scores the Sony has a 1 ¼ stop advantage over the Nikon and just over ½ a stop over the Panasonic.
In the Landscape use category that we adopt to illustrate Dynamic Range, our measurements reveal a resounding 1.25 Ev improvement over the Nikon 1 J3 and a still sizeable 0.85 Ev gain over the Panasonic G5 (at base ISO), and that advantage continues over the whole ISO range.
As for Color Sensitivity, with a color depth of 22.8 bits the Sony has around +1 1/3 stop advantage over the Nikon at 20.4 bits and +2/3 stop benefit over the G5, at 21.4 bits.
In our second comparison, we’ve pitched the NEX-3N against its predecessor, the NEX-F3. With color sensitivity recorded at 22.7 vs 22.8 bits and 12.45 vs 12.3 Ev for the Dynamic Range, the scores for all three metrics are close enough to say the two models adopt the same sensor.