Sony NEX-3N Comparison Review
The Sony Alpha NEX-3N is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in February 2013 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16 megapixel.
Is the Sony NEX-3N a good camera? The NEX-3N has a Camera Elo of 1703. This rating puts the NEX-3N below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the NEX-3N also ranks below average. – Well, the Sony NEX-3N is more than 8 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2013.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses|
|16 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 200 - 16 000|
|3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)|
|4 shutter flaps per second|
|480 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 62 x 35 mm, 269 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Sony NEX-3N vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony NEX-3N alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|2.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|3.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|4.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|5.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|6.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699|
|7.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony NEX-3N was launched in the US market at a price of $499. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
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.
The Sony NEX-3N features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony NEX-3N among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The NEX-3N indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the NEX-3N can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Sony NEX-3N along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|2.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n|
|3.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|4.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|5.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|6.||Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|7.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
The LCD screen on the Sony Alpha NEX-3N is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD can be tilted vertically to facilitate odd-angle shots in landscape orientation. This tilting design is often preferred, for example, by street photographers to a fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment, as it is more unobtrusive during shooting than a screen that flips out to the side.
One convenient feature of the NEX-3N is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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 Sony Alpha NEX-3N and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the NEX-3N handle or perform in practice. 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|2.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|3.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|4.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|5.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|6.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699|
|7.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||3/5||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Sony NEX-3N FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the NEX-3N.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the NEX-3N?
The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Sony equipped the NEX-3N with the BIONZ image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the NEX-3N?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 16000.
Can the camera be equipped with an optional viewfinder?
Yes, Sony provides the FDA-SV1 as an accessory (here on amazon) that can be mounted on the hotshoe.
Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?
Yes, the LCD-screen of the NEX-3N is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha NEX-3N?
Sony does not publish a shutter rating for the NEX-3N. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my NEX-3N?
Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your NEX-3N has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony NEX-3N?
The NEX-3N offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Sony NEX-3N feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The NEX-3N's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.
Which battery does the NEX-3N use?
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, 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.
- Canon 20D vs Sony NEX-3N
- Canon Rebel vs Sony NEX-3N
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Leica TL vs Sony NEX-3N
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Nikon P7800 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Nikon W300 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Olympus E-M1 II vs Sony NEX-3N
- Sony A77 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Sony NEX-3N vs Sony RX100 IV
|Camera Model||Sony NEX-3N|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 912 x 3 264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 16 000 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1067|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||Front-flip possible|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||480 shots per charge|
110 x 62 x 35 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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