Sony NEX Field Test: One Month In Buenos Aires

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Is it possible to have quality AND convenience in one camera?

The Sony NEX has got it all. It’s small enough to carry with you every day but still produces amazing results. It’s the perfect camera to have at your side whether you’re traveling the world or hanging out at home with your family.

It will be your constant companion as you live a photographic life, and capture the everyday moments that you’ll want to remember forever.


Check out this video for a look at the NEX and why it’s a camera that will really get used!

For an entire month, we put it to the test in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is one of the biggest and most vibrant cities in the world. We traveled there with the NEX to give it a real field test. Would it be good enough to replace our big pro cameras for day-to-day shooting? We were skeptical, but the little NEX constantly surprised us with both the quality of the photos it produced, and how flexible and free we felt with it in our hands.

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IMAGE DATA: 55mm, 1/1000 SEC, f/5.6, ISO 400

On our first day in Buenos Aires we came across this scene. It was a great test of the NEX. I only had a few seconds to get my camera out, and my settings right, before the moment passed. I was able to quickly get the right exposure, even in a tricky lighting situation, and get the shot. This is still one of my favourite images from the trip.

We’ve been searching for a camera like the NEX for a long time.

As pros, we know how important it is to have a camera with you at all times—always ready to get the shot. Improving at photography takes a lot of practice, and there’s no better way than to shoot as much as possible. But we were frustrated by the bulky size and hefty weight of our pro DSLRs. They take great photos, but were just too much of a hassle to keep with us at all times. We needed something that would be practical enough to capture daily life, but have the image quality to meet our high standards.

Improving at photography takes a lot of practice, and there’s no better way than to shoot as much as possible.

At the same time, we wanted to find a camera for our friends and family who were eager to get into photography, and wanted to shoot their travels and their loved ones. But we knew that DSLRs were expensive, complex, and inconvenient. We couldn’t recommend a point and shoot (the quality was just too poor), but a DSLR was usually more camera than necessary. We needed to find something that was fun to use, and took fantastic photos.

Then we found the NEX, and knew it was something special for both pros and hobbyists.

Check out this video for some of our favourite features of the NEX

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For Pros + Advanced Amateurs

If you’re a pro or an advanced amateur used to SLRs, here’s what you’ll love about the NEX:

  • Take It Everywhere: Way lighter and smaller than a typical DSLR, but with many of the benefits of the larger cameras (described below). This makes it the perfect travel or all-around camera for pros looking for high quality results in a small form factor
  • Be Discrete: You’re used to having people stare when you pull out your DSLR. They get shy and uncomfortable. The NEX looks like nothing more than an average point and shoot, so people barely notice you. It’s liberating.
  • Depth of Field: The NEX features a DSLR-sized APS sensor. This sensor is way way larger than typical point and shoot cameras, which allows the NEX to produce impressive depth of field (i.e. nicely blurred backgrounds)
  • Tilt Screen Flexibility: The Sony NEX has a tilt screen, which makes it incredibly easy to take high and low angle shots. Once you start using it, you’ll be hooked. You can shoot way more discretely, as well as from vantage points that would be impossible looking through the viewfinder of your DSLR (watch the above video to see what we mean)
  • Interchangeable Lenses: Change your lens to best suit your shooting situation. Shooting street photography, or just want a great walking-around lens? Throw on the low profile 16mm wide angle lens. Want to shoot the action of daily life, or some flattering portraits? The 18-55mm zoom lens will be just right.
  • Full Manual Control: With quick access to aperture, shutter speed and ISO, you can control the camera in manual mode almost as easily as your DSLR
  • Flexible Post Processing: The NEX can shoot in RAW, giving you high quality files that have all the data necessary for processing in Lightroom. You can make already great images unbelievable. (If you want to learn how, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow tutorial!)
  • Great High ISO Noise Performance: Shoots up to ISO 800 beautifully.

    Easily make large prints at ISO 1600. At ISO 3200 noise becomes more visible, but can be managed with noise reduction. When there’s practically no light you can still turn it up to ISO 6400 and 12800 to get the shot.

  • Focus Assist: A small turn of the focusing ring puts the camera into Focus Assist mode. You automatically get a zoomed in view so you can nail your focus. Makes focusing so much easier (really wish I had this on my DSLR!).

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IMAGE DATA: 16mm, 1/100 SEC, f/2.8, ISO 1600

One night we checked out a unique restaurant called Sifones & Dragones. The kitchen was practically right in the dining room! Even though the light was super low, the NEX held up fantastically at 1600, and captured the atmosphere of the room.

For Hobbyists

If you’re just getting started with photography, here’s what you’ll love about the NEX:

  • Super Small and Super Light: It packs a DSLR sensor (which means higher quality files, more blurred backgrounds, and better shooting in low light), and pro level features (detailed above), but it’s about the size of a point and shoot. High quality without looking like the paparazzi!
  • Gorgeous Design: At a glance you can tell this is a special camera. The untraditional asymmetrical design really makes the camera stand out. At the same time it’s comfortable to hold, and easy to shoot with one hand
  • Easy HD Video: With a button dedicated to video, you can start recording in high definition in an instant. Add in stereo sound, and you have a fantastic video camera. The camera autofocuses in video mode, and you can tweak the brightness to get amazing results.
  • Sweep Panoramas: Shoot wide format panoramas simply by sweeping the camera across the scene! The camera then stitches the panorama together automatically. You’re going to get addicted to this feature.
  • Impressive Picture Modes: We’re not usually impressed by built-in modes, but the NEX has some surprisingly useful ones. The Twilight mode was particularly impressive. You can take hand held night shots without needing flash, or getting motion blur. The NEX takes 6 quick shots, and combines them to give some really incredible results.
  • Responsive: You can turn the NEX on, and fire off a shot, within 1 – 2 seconds. You won’t miss a moment fumbling for the on/off switch, or waiting for it to wake up.
  • High Quality Prints: The high resolution 14.2 megapixel sensor can produce large prints that look phenomenal. There’s a 16×24 inch print on our wall right now that I can’t believe was taken by such a small camera
  • Catch Fast Action: Not only does the camera have a quick response to pressing the shutter, but it can also capture up to 7 images per second! This is especially useful for fast moving situations—like sports or hyper kids!
  • Easy To View Screen: Whether composing your photo, or reviewing the images afterwards, the super large screen looks beautiful
  • Attachable Flash: It gets out of the way when you don’t need (which is most of the time!)

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The sweep panorama mode is seriously cool. You can create the standard horizontal pano, or a vertical format pano, like this one. This is the El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a bookstore in what was once a theatre. It is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. We visited it often as it was right around the corner from our apartment!

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This is a horizontal panoramic shot—it’s much wider than the vertical format pano. This scene is the Retiro train station in Buenos Aires. The French style of the station was stunning, and was the perfect place to capture a pano.

Image Quality

One of the most consistently surprising things about the NEX is the image quality that comes out of such a small camera. You have the super large sensor to thank for this! Even at 100% the photos are impressively sharp, with fantastic detail.

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IMAGE DATA: 41mm, 1/100 SEC, f/4.5, ISO 400

At the Sunday Market in the neighbourhood of San Telmo there were fascinating street performers everywhere. This gentlemen was a Carlos Gardel impersonator. Gardel is known as The King of Tango, and remains a beloved figure to this day. Though he died in 1935 in a tragic plane crash, the still popular saying “Gardel sings better every day” shows just how much of an impact he had.

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IMAGE DATA: 55mm, 1/125 SEC, f/5.6, ISO 400

This woman is a Frida Kahlo impersonator, and a striking one at that. One look at her literally stopped people in their tracks in a crowded street. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican surrealist painter, best known for her self-portraits. We were excited to get to see one of her pieces in a museum in Buenos Aires!

ISO Performance

We love how well the NEX handles high ISO. Shooting in natural light is way more fun than having to use the flash. You can get some absolutely gorgeous results by just using the light you have around you! But when there isn’t much light to be had, you have to bump up your ISO. Because of the large sensor the NEX performs incredibly well even at high ISO settings.

Shooting in natural light is way more fun than having to use the flash.

Here’s what we found at different ISO settings: 

  • From ISO 200 to ISO 800 there’s no real noise
  • At ISO 1600 there’s noise that looks more like film grain
  • At ISO 3200 there’s colour noise creeping in, but it can very easily be corrected in Lightroom
  • ISO 6400 and ISO 12,800 are noisier, as you’d expect. But having these options lets you get the shot even in super low light conditions

Here’s a shot taken at ISO 3200. A 100% crop of the straight-out-of-camera version shows that there is noise, but surprisingly small amounts for a non-DSLR. Then, with noise reduction and sharpening applied in Lightroom, it’s seriously impressive.

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Lenses

It’s super exciting that the NEX allows for interchangeable lenses, because that means you can get a lot more variety in your photos!

In Buenos Aires we used both the 16mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Lens and the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens.

The 16mm was the one that lived on our camera most of the time. It is super small, so the camera was lighter and less noticeable. The lens is faster (has a larger maximum aperture) so it’s better for low light situations. The focal length was wider (equivalent to a 24mm lens on a full frame camera) which worked well for the street and photojournalistic work I was doing.

The 18-55mm definitely got used though. Having such a wide range of focal lengths let me be really creative, and I was able to take some really nice portraits at the longer end (which is effectively an 82mm on a full frame camera—perfect for portraits).

The choice of which lens to get will depend on what you want to shoot. I like the 16mm a lot for the small size, but as soon as a 50mm f/1.4 equivalent comes out I’m jumping on it. The 16mm is still a bit too wide and slow (doesn’t have a large enough maximum aperture) to be perfect.

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IMAGE DATA: 16mm, 1/640 SEC, f/2.8, ISO 400

Buenos Aires has a fantastic cafe culture. No matter where you are, you can get a great (strong) cup. The first thing we did after arriving in the city was search out an espresso. This image does a great job of showing the beautiful blurred backgrounds the NEX is capable of producing, especially with the 16mm f/2.8 lens.

Shooting Video

The NEX shoots great HD video. You won’t need to have a dedicated video camera, since the quality this little guy produces is awesome.

One of the best features is the inclusion of a dedicated video button. You can hop into recording a video instantly so you won’t miss a second.

Here are a couple sample videos to give you a look at the results. These are taken with the NEX-3 which shoots 720p. If you go with the NEX-5, you can shoot 1080i, which is higher quality.

This was the view from our apartment. The intersection you see is one of the busiest in the city. With the constant buzz of traffic and people we had a bit of trouble sleeping for the month! But we were right in the thick of the action, which was perfect for getting lots of great photos and video!

The tango was born in Buenos Aires, and remains popular even today. Street performers were out every weekend, entertaining crowds with their complex footwork and passionate dedication to the art.

What Could Be Improved

No camera is perfect. The NEX comes close in our minds, but there are still some areas for improvement.

  • Necessary Firmware Upgrade: You have to upgrade the firmware (the program that controls the camera) to be able to customize buttons. This was absolutely essential to be able to reprogram the center button for easy access to ISO. Extra work, but at least the upgrade is free. (Links to upgrades can be found in the More Info section at the very bottom of this review)
  • Movie Playback A Hassle: It takes going to Menu, Playback, and then Still/Movie Select to choose if you want to view movies or stills. It would be way more convenient if they were all just shown together. Most of the time we only reviewed photos, but this was still a hassle
  • No Viewfinder: It would be nice to have a great, affordable, attachable electronic viewfinder for those times when you don’t want to use the screen to compose your image (e.g. super bright sunny days). Unfortunately Sony only makes an expensive optical viewfinder designed for the 16mm lens. The tilt-able screen makes up for this a bit.
  • Panorama Mode Limitations: If people are moving in your panos the camera won’t always be able to stitch things together well (people can get cut in half! Ouch!). It has similar issues sometimes with highly detailed scenes (for instance, the bottom of the bookstore pano above has a few stitching errors). It also cannot create a pano in RAW, which is a bit disappointing. Overall, the results of the panorama mode are impressive, with some limitations.
  • A Bit Unbalanced: The camera can feel a bit unbalanced, especially when using the larger 18-55mm zoom lens. While it’s easy to hold and take photos with one hand, making adjustments to settings feels more comfortable with two hands on the camera. The grip on the NEX-5 is a bit easier to hold than the grip on the NEX-3.
  • Limited Lens Selection: This is probably our main concern with the camera. At the moment the options for NEX E-mount lenses is limited. Sony currently only makes three E-mount lenses, and they’re all fairly slow (the 16mm’s widest aperture is f/2.8). However, earlier this year Sony released E-mount lens specifications to other lens manufactureres. Pretty soon we’ll see E-mount lenses from Carl Zeiss, Sigma and Tamron! If you can’t wait for new lenses there are a variety of adapters that let you use everything from Sony A-mount lenses to Canon, and even Leica M-mount lenses.

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IMAGE DATA: 26mm, 1/80 SEC, f/4.0, ISO 200

A fantastic statue of Gabino Coria Peñaloza, a tango composer. I loved his expression (and rad glasses!), and the colour of the wall behind him. But most of all, I loved the patterns of light that added so much interest to the image!

NEX-3 vs. NEX-5

Sony currently makes two versions of the NEX: the NEX-3 and the NEX-5. The cameras are virtually the same except for a few subtle differences

  • NEX-3 has a polycarbonate body. NEX-5 has a magnesium alloy body. This makes the NEX-5 slightly lighter, and quite a bit stronger
  • There’s a slightly different grip on each camera. The NEX-5 has a more defined edge, which we found made it a bit easier to hold
  • NEX-3 can record HD video at 720p. NEX-5 can record HD video at 1080i, which is higher quality. They have the same sensor, but the NEX-3 is limited by it’s firmware, which is a bit annoying
  • The NEX-5 costs $100 more

Given that both cameras have the same sensor (14.2 megapizel APS sensor) the main differences are the build, and HD video. We went with the NEX-3, because we got a great deal. The differences are pretty negligible in our minds.

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IMAGE DATA: 19mm, 1/800 SEC, f/5.6, ISO 200

The neighbourhood of Boca is one of the most colourful places we’ve ever seen. Full of vibrant bold shades, we were absolutely in photographic heaven, and glad to have the NEX with us.

Overall: Awesome!

Overall, the Sony NEX is an awesome camera for every level of photographer.

  • DSLR sized sensor in a point-and-shoot sized camera
  • Compact size and light weight mean it’s easy to take with you everywhere you go
  • Fully automatic mode makes shooting easy for beginners
  • Easy-to-use manual mode allows full creative control for advanced photographers
  • Great high ISO low noise performance
  • Captures beautiful HD video
  • High quality RAW data
  • A blast to use!

Whether you want a camera to take on your next trip, something to have at hand to practice your craft, or just a high quality option to take photos of your family, the NEX is the camera you’ve been looking for.

BONUS: Bundle this little guy with Adobe Lightroom, and you have everything you need to capture, organize, and edit your stunning images.

Highly Recommended

Full Kits


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Additional Lenses


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Accessories


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Editing


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More Photos

Wanna see more photos from our Buenos Aires trip with the Sony NEX? Check out this Flickr gallery, or click here to view ‘em big on Flickr!

More Info

Disclaimer: No part of this review has been sponsored. All opinions are our own.

Details: All images taken with the Sony NEX-3, and the 16mm and 18-55mm lenses. All image processing done in Adobe Lightroom 3.

Firmware Updates for the NEX:

More:

DP Review’s Comprehensive Analysis of the NEX 3/5

Flickr NEX Group

License:

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Copyright: All images are copyright Rob & Lauren Photographers, 2011

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Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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Discussion

43 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Great write up guys! I am in the market for a camera like this and had been looking at the Canon G series. Appreciate all that you do!

  2. Thanks so much Dennis! We actually had a G series a few years ago, but the small sensor just didn't give us the results we were looking for. We are still so floored at the size of the sensor in the NEX!

  3. Great review – I just talked a friend into buying the NEX-5 about a month ago and they're really thrilled with the camera as well. Looks like a winner!

  4. I'm so glad you tried out a Sony camera (since I am a Sony shooter).
    I have lot's of super fast and sharp lenses if you'd ever like to try them on the NEX… as far as I know, you can also use the cheaper Minolta lenses as long as you have the converter to change it to an alpha mount.

    Loving this site!

  5. NEX all the way! From the perspective of a super-beginner, I've got to say the NEX-3 is amazing because it doesn't make me FEEL like a beginner. Super-easy to figure out and use, and super-awesome outcomes. Yes! Can't wait to push it the way you did – the photos are simply stunning.

  6. *@Vi:* Thanks Vi! We've done the same, have a few friends out there running around with this NEXs and they love them too!

    *@Sheri:* Y'know, we were a bit skeptical, being Canon shooters forever, but we were so happy with the Sony! They really are thinking outside the box, and we dig it! Thanks for the offer to try your lenses as well, super kind of you!! We'll let ya know if we wanna play :)

    *@Steph:* That's awesome to hear! You're definitely rocking it, I still can't believe your food photography is taken with a non-DSLR! Can't wait to see what else you do with the NEX!

  7. Nice post guys. Impressive quality in the images. The Canon S90 gets fantastic reviews as well, but it's more of a point and shoot concept.

    It just goes to show that the quality of the photos is more driven by the user than the equipment. Just like Mario Andretti or Michael Schumacher could make a 30yr old Lada sing through an auto slalom course, but grandma would still knock the cones over while doing 10 km/hr in a supercar.

  8. Thanks Evan! You're totally right, the camera is just a tool. It's all about the photographer! And that's a hilarious and awesome analogy, loved it! :)

  9. Stephan says:

    great review, thanks a lot. I share most of your views!
    one note regarding "Movie Playback A Hassle"…there is actually an easier way to switch between pictures and movie playback! When in playback push the down button on the wheel and the navigate to the left bar where you can toggle picture and movie playback

  10. Great write-up! Thank you for thinking "out of the box" and taking the NEX-5 to the streets where it really shines. I think this camera got bashed undeservedly by the pro crowd repeatedly since its inception.

    I see that you considered the 16mm to be too wide at moments, but I would definitively suggest to you the VCL-ECU1 adapter which converts *in a snap* the 16mm to a 12mm (18mm fullframe equivalent). I have been using it a lot in the last three months and it is great for urban plus interior plus landscape photography.

  11. *@Stephan:* So glad you enjoyed the review! And a huge thanks for the tip, that's going to save me a lot of hassle!! :)

    *@Jerome:* Thanks for the super kind words! When it comes to cameras all we really care about it what it feels like to shoot, and how the photos look. The NEX totally impressed us, so we're happy to share!

    And thanks for the tip on the adapter, will have to check that out!

  12. WOW,
    It's definitely the Indian skill not the Bow & Arrow : )

    You could give me a $5000 camera and I still won't capture all those nice pictures.
    Very well done.

  13. Haha, thanks Lionel! That's such a kind compliment! It just takes practice, and anyone can take great shots!

  14. Thanks. I had decided to go for the NEX last month and was doing some last minute `research' today. Great writeup, totally took away any reservations I had left about this imminent purchase of mine.

  15. Thanks for the comment Mrugesh! Glad the review helped! Have fun!!

  16. I love my Sony NEX 5. I bought the kit that had the 16mm & 18-55mm lens. Then I bought the wide angle adapter, a screen cover for the LCD and a Gordy strap. I would like to get a neck strap instead due to the awkwardness of carrying the camera with the 18-55mm with one hand. It can get rather straining. I love the low-light capabilities of this camera. I don't own Lightroom, but after reading your article, it may be good to buy just for the noise reduction feature. I have Aperture but never really use it. I love Adobe products though. I also use a Leica D-Lux 4, because it's a blast to use. I favor the 1:1 square ratio, but do notice the small sensor limitations on it. I still love it though. I hope Sony's firmware update will have a square format feature added. Any idea when the new firmware will be out?

  17. Hey Lainer, thanks for the comment! How do you like the wide angle adapter?

    Lightroom is super awesome for noise reduction, let us know if you try it out!

    I haven't heard of when the next firmware update will be, your best bet is probably to watch http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/. They have lots of news on the NEX!

  18. What a comprehensive review. I enjoyed the fact you used the camera in world conditions for a month. I just got an NEX 5 with both the 16mm and 18-55mm lenses in a bundle with a tiny Sony case and 8GB Sony SD card. It was an amazing deal at under $800 total. I absolutely love this camera. I am a novice although I have owned film and digital DSLRs plus a Canon G9 and Sony R1. The size is what I cannot believe. An APS sensor in a point and shoot body! The firmware upgrade is a must, I agree. I am impressed by the full auto setting- this camera seems to get things right faster than I could do manually, although I do like the manual option.
    Thanks again for the complete review!
    Regards
    Jim

  19. You've mentioned a 50mm f1.4 lens. Does sony plan to produce such range ?

  20. malithi says:

    Your site just went from being super awesome, to unbelievably awesome! It's so nice getting such a comprehensive review of a camera! I can't believe you only shot with the NEX in Buenos Aires–makes the review that much more convincing :)

    @steph: I had no idea your shots weren't made with a DSLR! Again, really making me gravitate towards Sony, despite my partiality to Canon.

  21. Nice review! I love this camera.
    Lauren. you have a pretty awesome shot !

    @Doga sony planing do 50mm 1.8 for sony nex (in 2011-2012)

  22. Thanks to you, I'm now a proud owner of a NEX-5. Awesome experience! BTW, I'd like to take it on the road with me, could you please let us know the exact model of the Lowepro insert? Seemed a no-brainer bag for me.

  23. *@Jim:* Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed it! I totally agree, the size is incredible! That's great to hear that the auto settings do a good job! Thanks for sharing that tip!

    *@Malithi:* You're too sweet, thank you! I wanted to really see if it could produce something great, and I knew I'd have to commit to a thorough test to find out! And Steph does an amazing job with the camera!

    *@Bfox:* Thanks for the kind words! And double thanks for the tip on the 50! Exciting!!

    *@Wonder:* Fantastic! So glad you enjoyed the review. I hope you love the NEX, I'm sure you will!

    The bag is a *Lowepro Munich 100*. We got it at BestBuy, but it's cheaper "here on Amazon":http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X1M3FS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=photogrconcen-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003X1M3FS

  24. I just wanted to point out another big difference between the NEX-3 and NEX-5 is the infrared remote option. The NEX-5 can be controlled by remote and shoot in "bulb exposure mode" which allows you to take all sorts of interesting night shots. ^^ That makes the $100 difference seem less artificial.

  25. Thanks for pointing out that difference Victor!

  26. Hello again! Any thoughts on the NEX C3? …coming out in August (?).

  27. Hi Malithi! The NEX-C3 is a pretty minor update, from our perspective! There's an increase in sensor size, and a smaller body, but nothing too crazy other than that!

  28. First of all thank you so much for this awesome blog, I love it ! I read your article about the nex, and it was so far one of the best review for me.
    I bought my nex 3 with the 18-55 mm 4 days ago (I made up my mind before reading your article), I'm still learning how to use it, but I keep on being impressed.
    About the bag that you have, I would like to know, if it could fit with the 18-55 and another lens about the same size?
    Greeting from France !

  29. Hi Pioum! Thanks so much for the super kind words, we're so glad to hear you enjoyed the review!

    So I just took a peek at the bag, and I do think it could fit the18-55 and another lens the same size! It fits the 18-55 and the 16 no problem!

  30. Greetings from London!
    Awesome article guys! This is probably the best review on the camera i have read!
    I'm planning on taking my NEX-3 to Miami and you've given me loads of good ideas!!
    Your photos all look amazing! Thanks again :)

  31. Hey Kunal!! Thank you so much for the kind words! Miami is going to be such a cool place to shoot, hope you have a blast!!

  32. Thanks for the great article. Another great bag for this camera is the 3 million dollar bag by Crumpler. Fits just great!!

  33. Great suggestion Heidi! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  34. With the amount of reviews and videos on the internet you guys filtered it perfectly, directed the information at the necessary parties and covered all bases. You anticipated every possible curiosity I had. After shooting with the NEX 5 for months, dominating it in Manual, I thought I was ready to upgrade to a DSLR A55/65. After reading this I'm reminded what makes my NEX so special. Although I may upgrade to the NEX 7. (OLED viewfinder!)

    NEX + Lightroom = happy photographers.

  35. @Brendan Schimmel – "dominating the nex-5 on manual"….haha, made me laugh

    I got a killer deal on a Nex3 on FM and should have it early next week. I've been a little reluctant to pull the trigger before due to the limited lens selection.

    Have you guys used a lens adapter to use manual focus lenses on the Nex? If so, any recommendation on adapters or manual focus lenses?

  36. @ Brendan – I'm psyched for the NEX-7! There's also a Zeiss 24 f/1.7 that should be out around the same time. I think there's starting to be serious potential in terms of using the NEX professionally.

    @ Joshua – Awesome to hear that you picked up an NEX-3! We haven't used any lens adapters yet, but we have looked at the "e-mount to m-mount converters":http://www.ebay.com/itm/Leica-M-mount-Lens-Sony-NEX-3-NEX-5-E-mount-adapter-/200511682160?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eaf6d7670. M-mount is the Leica mount and we have a 50mm lens that would work well. I haven't tried it yet, but I think you can use digital zoom to get focus. And then control of aperture is on the lens itself so there is no electronic contact between the lens and the camera.

    For manual focus lenses "SLR magic":http://stores.ebay.com/SLR-Magic makes some interesting looking (if not experimental) lenses that work on the NEX.

  37. recently my digital camera was stolen, so i wanted to join the lenses world! i was convinced to buy a canon, probably a t3i or a t2i but yesterday i just saw this little guy, sony nex-3, at a local store. it's so small and cute (and half the price)! plus, i have really small hands, like kids hands, so drls cameras are big and heavy for me, in general. i'm reconsidering about the canon cameras now, but i'm not convinced yet… the lack of lenses are my biggest concearn, plus the fear i have on the quality of the photos. does this sony get way behind t2i, or its photos can actually compete with canon's?

  38. Hi Betina!

    Thanks for commenting!

    I think a big part of the way an image looks has to do with it's lenses. The NEX definitely doesn't have the same selection of lenses available compared with Canon cameras. So it's difficult to make a direct comparison with the T3i.

    However, we've found the kit lens (18-55) available for the NEX to produce quite beautiful and impressive results (as seen in the photos in this review). Also for the size and price, we feel this is the perfect camera for anyone looking to get more serious with photography, or for professionals who want a high quality, super portable camera.

    Hope this helps!

  39. Hi!,

    I am looking forward to get myself one of Sony NEX. I am photography enthuses, but I have never own a digital camera before (always use Iphone 4s). I am deciding between NEX 5 and NEX 6. I would like an advice on which one to choose.

    Thanks.

    Don

    • Hey Don!

      Sony should be announcing a new NEX style camera this week! Hold off purchasing a new camera until then!

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  41. A great review! I bought the SONY NEX 3N and I am genuinely amazed and delighted by the quality of the pictures. Like most I have had a number of point and click cameras and as around half of my pictures are inside and of my familly I just got tired of the quality of the images. For a few days I used the auto option and the black and white feature in particular and was amazed at the image quality. I read a few reviews and then messed around with ISO, Apperture and Shutter Speed on the camera and started using manual – and bingo that is how I have finally got pictures the way I want them! Here in Ireland the light changes by the second with sun, shade, rain clouds etc so auto is good outside as you can watch how the camera automatically changes the settings as light alters. Then I go into manual and tweak it a bit better. I would love to shoot in RAW and check out Lightroom so thats the next step …..

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