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Nikon L840 vs Sony NEX-F3

The Nikon Coolpix L840 and the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2015 and May 2012. The L840 is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-F3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (L840) and an APS-C (NEX-F3) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon L840 VS Sony NEX-F3
Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
22.5-855mm f/3-6.5 Sony E mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 16 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-6400 ISO 100-16000
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
7.4 shutter flaps per second 5.5 shutter flaps per second
590 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
113 x 78 x 96 mm, 538 g 117 x 67 x 42 mm, 314 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix L840 and the Sony Alpha NEX-F3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon L840 and the Sony NEX-F3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The L840 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the NEX-F3 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).

Size Nikon L840 vs Sony NEX-F3
Compare L840 versus NEX-F3 top
Comparison L840 or NEX-F3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-F3 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Nikon L840. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the L840 nor the NEX-F3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the L840 has a lens built in, whereas the NEX-F3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the NEX-F3 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon L840» 4.4 in 3.1 in 3.8 in 19.0 oz 590 n Feb 2015 299iNikon L840
 
Sony NEX-F3« 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.1 oz 470 n May 2012 599iSony NEX-F3
 
Canon SX530« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jan 2015 429iCanon SX530
 
Canon SX520« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jul 2014 399iCanon SX520
 
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549iCanon SX60
 
Nikon B600« » 4.8 in 3.2 in 3.9 in 17.6 oz 280 n Jan 2019 349 iNikon B600
 
Nikon B700« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 4.2 in 19.9 oz 350 n Feb 2016 499 iNikon B700
 
Nikon B500« » 4.5 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 19.1 oz 600 n Jan 2016 299iNikon B500
 
Nikon P900« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 5.4 in 31.7 oz 360 n Mar 2015 599iNikon P900
 
Sony HX80« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 390 n Mar 2016 349 iSony HX80
 
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 iSony A5100
 
Sony H400« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.8 in 22.2 oz 300 n Feb 2014 319 iSony H400
 
Sony NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499iSony NEX-3N
 
Sony H200« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 3.4 in 18.7 oz 240 n Jan 2013 249 iSony H200
 
Sony NEX-5N« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699iSony NEX-5N
 
Sony NEX-3« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599iSony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699iSony NEX-5
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The L840 was launched at a lower price than the NEX-F3, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon L840 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony NEX-F3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-F3 is 1204 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the L840 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-F3 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Nikon L840 and Sony NEX-F3 sensor measures

With 16MP, the NEX-F3 offers a higher resolution than the L840 (15.9MP), but the NEX-F3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 1.33μm for the L840) due to its larger sensor. However, the L840 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 8 months) than the NEX-F3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the L840 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon Coolpix L840 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

L840 versus NEX-F3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........Nikon L840
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473Sony NEX-F3
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........Canon SX530
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........Canon SX520
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........Nikon B600
 
Nikon B700 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........Nikon B700
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........Nikon B500
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........Nikon P900
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........Sony HX80
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........Sony H400
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........Sony H200
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977Sony NEX-5N
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669Sony NEX-5

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The L840 and the NEX-F3 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the NEX-F3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1S. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon L840 and Sony NEX-F3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon L840
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n Sony NEX-F3
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y Canon SX530
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y Canon SX520
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon B600
 
Nikon B700921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y Nikon B700
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon B500
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon P900
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony HX80
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y Sony H400
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H200
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5N
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n Sony NEX-5
The NEX-F3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the L840 does not have a selfie-screen.

The L840 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-F3 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Coolpix L840 and Sony Alpha NEX-F3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon L840
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-F3
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX530
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX520
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon B600
 
Nikon B700-stereomono--micro2.0YYYNikon B700
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYYNikon B500
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon P900
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX80
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--Sony H400
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony H200-monomono--none2.0---Sony H200
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-5N
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-5

It is notable that the L840 offers wifi support, while the NEX-F3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the L840 and the NEX-F3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The L840 was replaced by the Nikon B500, while the NEX-F3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon L840 or the Sony NEX-F3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix L840:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-F3 requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (590 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the NEX-F3 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha NEX-F3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 113x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-F3 emerges as the winner of the match-up (11 : 9 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

L840 09:11 NEX-F3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon L840 and the Sony NEX-F3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the L840 or the NEX-F3. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon L840+ +..3.5/5..4/5 Feb 2015 299iNikon L840
 
Sony NEX-F3..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599iSony NEX-F3
 
Canon SX530+ +..4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 429iCanon SX530
 
Canon SX520+..3.5/5..3.5/5 Jul 2014 399iCanon SX520
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549iCanon SX60
 
Nikon B600+..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 349 iNikon B600
 
Nikon B700+..4/5..4/5 Feb 2016 499 iNikon B700
 
Nikon B500+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2016 299iNikon B500
 
Nikon P900..77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599iNikon P900
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 iSony HX80
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 iSony A5100
 
Sony H400o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2014 319 iSony H400
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499iSony NEX-3N
 
Sony H200....3.5/5..3.5/5 Jan 2013 249 iSony H200
 
Sony NEX-5N+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699iSony NEX-5N
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599iSony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5+ +71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699iSony NEX-5
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon L840:
Check Ebay offers
Sony NEX-F3:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon L840 vs Sony NEX-F3

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 22.5-855mm f/3-6.5 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 100-16000 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1114
    Screen Specs Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 7.4 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Nikon L840 Sony NEX-F3
    Battery Type 4xAA NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)590 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 113 x 78 x 96 mm
    (4.4 x 3.1 x 3.8 in)
    117 x 67 x 42 mm
    (4.6 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 538 g (19.0 oz) 314 g (11.1 oz)

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