Sony NEX-3

Released May, 2010
New: NEX C3 (Jun, 2011)
  • 14 MP
  • APS-C 23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Here we look at the RAW files processed through Adobe Camera Raw (in this case version 6.2 Beta).
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)
8.5 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Sony NEX-3

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range


How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Focus lag and focus points


How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Focus lag, continuous shooting and Startup delay


What do the experts think?

Reviews from,,, and 1 more


Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews


Benchmarks Real world tests of the Sony NEX-3

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

830 ISO
Nikon 1 J1
372 ISO
499 ISO

Resolution Results from photos of standard resolution charts

2,500 LPH
Alpha NEX-3N
2,200 LPH
Alpha NEX-6
2,300 LPH

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

670 ms
Nikon 1 J1
94 ms
204 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

115 ms
Alpha NEX-3N
22 ms
Alpha A5000
22 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

1,000 ms
Alpha NEX-3N
2,200 ms
Alpha NEX-6
2,000 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

7 fps
Nikon 1 J1
60 fps
Lumix DMC-GF2
3.2 fps

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Sony NEX-3

With E-mount (NEX) lenses, the aperture will adjust during the video to help maintain correct brightness (though giving the user no control over depth-of-field).

Viewed on the desktop there's an overall softness to the NEX-3's images that we hadn't expected - a soft sheen rather than digital crispness - which could well be down to the all-purpose nature of the zoom lens we had in for testing as much as sensor performance.

Whilst the standard zoom range is par for the course for a kit lens, the pancake option is a useful tool for taking wide angle shots of particularly high quality, and with pleasing de-focused background effects (bokeh).


7.9 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight


It does allow the use of some Alpha-mount lenses until Sony can start to provide the impressive-sounding E-mount lens lineup it has set-out.
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)
The majority of people walking into camera shops will be very badly served if they leave with a camera and nothing but an ultrawide angle lens.
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)
For sure the provided lens is one of the most important components of the NEX-3's set up, but with or without it screwed on to the front via Sony's new E-mount (as opposed to standard Alpha mount utilized by the rest of the DSLRs in its family) the camera design looks a little 'basic' compared to competitors - certainly when viewed from the front.
by Photography Blog (Sep, 2010)


Featuring a 14.2 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, 25-point contrast-detect autofocus system, 49-segment exposure meter and 3-inch tilting LCD panel with 921,000-dot resolution, the NEX-3 certainly seems to have what it takes to compete with the already well-established Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus, and the newer Samsung NX series.
by Photography Blog (Sep, 2010)
Unfortunately point-and-shooters don't get the full benefit of this in iAuto, which limits the (Auto) ISO range to 1600.
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)
Here you can see that the supplied software is applying much lower levels of sharpening, by default, than either the camera JPEGs or Adobe Camera Raw.
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)


A one-touch video record button features top right of the backplate where it falls readily under the thumb as the camera is gripped in the palm of the right hand.
by TrustedReviews (May, 2014)
The NEX-3's external backplate is a similarly pared down affair, the majority of it taken up by the 3-inch widescreen ratio angle-adjustable LCD that stretches from base to top plate.
by Photography Blog (Sep, 2010)
With its two NEX series models you feel that Sony has done just enough to stake its claim on the fledgling compact system camera market, whilst leaving plenty of room for refinement and improvement in future models - chiefly by adding a pop up flash, touch screen operation and greater flexibility as regards the movement of said screen.
by TrustedReviews (May, 2014)

Image quality

The following were all shot as maximum quality JPEGs under available natural light, with default camera settings applied to ensure a level playing field between this and rival models.
by TrustedReviews (May, 2014)
Despite being able to capture a wide dynamic range with lots of scope for highlights, the camera's apparently miscalibrated metering means it offers little advantage over its rivals - most mid tones are overexposed so that there is only around 3.3EV of highlight dynamic range left to accommodate any bright tones in the image (which is pretty much the standard highlight range figure we see in most large sensor cameras).
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)
The NEXs both offer pretty good noise reduction but it's fairly simple to get more out of your images by applying different sharpening.
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)


And by contrast here's an example of what's achievable at the telephoto end of the zoom, shooting handheld under near perfect daylight conditions.
by TrustedReviews (May, 2014)
Let's make it clear that we don't object to the lens at all per se; indeed we actually like the idea of having a compact wideangle prime to complement the kit zoom (arguably every system should have one).
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)
Sony has therefore incorporated 'Optical SteadyShot' into its kit zoom.
by DPReview (Jun, 2010)

Specifications Full list of technical specs


Megapixels 14 MP
Resolution 4592 x 3056
Size APS-C
Area 23.4 x 15.6 mm
Crop factor 1.5x
Pixel size 26.0 microns
Light sensitivity 200 ISO to 12,800 ISO
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes
Tested vertical resolution 2,500 LPH
Tested horizontal resolution 2,500 LPH

focus system

Type Contrast detection
Focus points 25
Cross type focus points 0
Supports continuous No


Min 30 s
Max 1/4000 s

form factor

Size 117 x 62 x 33 mm
Thickness 33 mm
Weight 297 g
Is weather sealed No


Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR Yes
Automatic panorama Yes
Create realistic 3D images Yes
Image stabilization None


Video 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps
Shoots video in 24p No
Shoots high speed video No
External mic jack 3.5mm
Autofocus while shooting video Contrast detection
Autofocus type Contrast detection


Type LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 920 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen Yes
Supports live view Yes


Viewfinder mirror None
Viewfinder None


Max continuous shooting 7 fps
Battery life 330 photos
Continuous shooting 7 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 670 ms
Shutter lag 115 ms
Startup delay 1,000 ms
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