Sony NEX-3N review: Stylish replacement to NEX-F3

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday April 02 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Sony NEX-3N sensor performance | Sony NEX-3N versus competition | Conclusion

Sony’s annual update to the NEX range has so far failed to deliver the expected high-end replacement to the NEX-7. However, Sony has added the promising NEX-6 and refrevshed the popular, entry-level NEX-F3 with this new sleek looking model. Read on to see how well it performed in our labs.

Announced in February 2013 at the CES in Las Vegas, the Sony NEX-3N is the replacement for the popular entry-level NEX-F3. It adopts a 16.03M-Pix APS-C (15.6mm x23.5mm) CMOS sensor with sensitivity running from ISO200-16,000 but is unashamedly aimed at novices, adding several new features to entice those users from a compact stills camera.

These include a powered zoom rocker switch on the body for the bundled retractable E16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ kit lens (equivalent angle of view to a 24-75mm in 35mm full-frame terms). Not only is the lens more compact (when retracted) than previous offerings, it also features optical image stabilization.

Although the previous iteration had a tilting rear screen, given for the fad for self-portraits, the NEX-3N sees a simpler hinge mechanism located at the top to provide more flexible viewing options. The (3.0-inch) LCD flips up and rotates 180-degrees allowing the photographer to accurately frame and compose shots of themselves and friends at arm’s length or otherwise.

Like its predecessor a small built-in flash is included, but the NEX 3N does away with the accessory port, preventing the fitment of an optional electronic viewfinder, more powerful flash or even a stereo microphone further restricting the camera’s capability and flexibility.

With this model and the recently introduced mid-to-high-end NEX-6, Sony is more clearly defining the NEX range; the NEX-5R being the next step up in price and capability with the on-chip phase-detection pixels embedded in the sensor for faster AF, while at the top of the range is the semi-pro oriented 24P-Mpix NEX-7, though the replacement for that model, presumably to be called the NEX-9 is now well overdue.

Sony NEX-3N sensor performance

Sony NEX-3N versus competition