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Sony Alpha NEX-F3 First Impressions Review$599.99
The Sony NEX-F3 replaces the Sony NEX-C3 as the entry-level model in the company's line of compact mirrorless system cameras. While it's entry-level, the F3 has quite a bit of punch to it, with 5.5FPS continuous shooting, a maximum ISO speed of 16000, and the ability to record full 1080/60i video.
The main change between the C3 and the F3 (in addition to the token upgrade to sensor and processor) has been the design of the body. While not radical, the F3 has a much more pronounced grip, aiding handling by putting the shutter button at an easier angle to press.
While a small increase in thickness may seem miniscule, it represents a pretty radical design shift for Sony's NEX system, which seemed bent on being the slimmest compact system camera when it debuted. The F3 kicks that marketing-friendly goal out, instead settling for improving the overall functionality and design of the camera.
In shooting with the NEX-F3, it's hard to believe that it's the bottom of Sony's barrel. It doesn't feel chintzy, but rather nice and compact. It's quite responsive, with solid autofocus accuracy when light is good. The menu system is also still nice, especially for beginners, though more advanced users might find its simplicity frustrating.
The formula for the NEX-C3 (and subsequently now the NEX-F3) isn't complicated: just make a good compact camera with an APS-C sensor, make it cheap, and have it perform reasonable well in most categories. The F3 builds on the C3's success, with subtle improvements that should aid the overall experience.
We'll have to get the NEX-F3 into our labs for a full report before we can claim that it's better than its predecessor, but we enjoyed our time with the camera. With a new image sensor, improved handling, and some usability upgrades, we're interested to see how it does in our full rubric of tests.