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- Sony Alpha NEX-F3
- We were able to get our hands on a production-level NEX-F3 for some hands-on shooting time. Read on for a full breakdown and our impressions of the latest entry-level compact system camera.
Sony Alpha NEX-F3 First Impressions Review$599.99
Lens Mount & Sensor
The Sony NEX-F3 uses Sony E-mount lenses, rather than the Alpha lenses found on full-sized DSLRs. The NEX system is uniquely advantaged in its ability to utilize adapters for nearly every major lens system on the market. While most of these adapters are third party, Sony does advertise this capability, making several adapters for their own Alpha lenses to be attached.
The sensor itself is a newer generation Exmor sensor, with an effective resolution of 16.1 megapixels. It has a slightly different ISO range from the NEX-C3, extending from 200-16000, as opposed to the C3's 100-12800 range.
LCD & Viewfinder
The rear monitor on the NEX-F3 is a 3-inch, 921k-dot display with Sony's Tru-Black technology. It's the same unit as found on the C3, offering a high resolution that renders crisp text and fine details well. The LCD sits on an articulated hinge that extends up and outward from the body. It doesn't match the 45 degree downward tilt of the C3, but it can now go 180 degrees forward, facing toward your subject (and flipping the display appropriately).
The NEX-F3 doesn't feature a viewfinder built into the camera, though Sony does make an optional electronic viewfinder that can be attached via the smart accessory terminal on the top of the camera. This does preclude using certain other accessories, though, such as the optional external microphone.
The NEX-F3 also now has a built-in flash unit, similar to the one found in the NEX-7. It extends up and out from the body, loaded by a mechanical spring in the camera. The flash has a power rating of 6 meters at ISO 100, though that's a little shorter than the external flash that came with the NEX-C3. If you want to add an external flash you still can, though the camera only has a smart accessory terminal and not a full hot shoe.
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
There aren't a ton of input/output options on the NEX-F3, with just a standard micro-USB and mini-HDMI port on the left side of the body behind some plastic flaps. On top is the aforementioned smart accessory terminal, with its main purpose being the use of the optional electronic viewfinder. The camera lacks a 3.5mm mic input, though the optional external microphone can be used if needed.
The NEX-F3 uses the same NP-FW50 battery as the C3 (and most of Sony's current lineup), though they squeezed another 70 shots out of it. All told (by CIPA standards) the battery now achieves 470 shots per charge, though it now has the ability to charge via USB, instead of just in an external cradle.
The Sony NEX-F3 uses both MemoryStick Pro Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, with a dedicated slot on the bottom of the camera. The slot sits beside the battery compartment, with the tripod mount slide over to the opposite edge of the camera. The placement of the memory card slot will likely not be reachable when the camera is on a plate, however.