Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
The Sony Alpha NEX-5N and the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2011 and May 2012. Both the NEX-5N and the NEX-F3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 16 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|16 MP, APS-C Sensor||16 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-25600||ISO 100-16000|
|Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5.5 shutter flaps per second|
|460 shots per battery charge||470 shots per battery charge|
|111 x 59 x 38 mm, 269 g||117 x 67 x 42 mm, 314 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha NEX-5N 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: Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony NEX-5N 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 consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The NEX-5N can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the NEX-F3 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).
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 larger (20 percent) than the Sony NEX-5N. Moreover, the NEX-F3 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the NEX-5N. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the NEX-5N nor the NEX-F3 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Sony NEX-5N»||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.5 oz||460||n||Aug 2011||699||-||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-F3«||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.1 oz||470||n||May 2012||599||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Canon M« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Sony A5100« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||97.9 oz||330||n||Aug 2013||699||-||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.7 oz||330||n||Aug 2012||749||-||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||12.2 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||999||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX100« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||330||n||Jun 2012||649||-||Sony RX100|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||7.9 oz||400||n||Jun 2011||599||-||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||330||n||May 2010||699||-||Sony NEX-5|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The NEX-F3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the NEX-5N, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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: Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 16 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the NEX-5N and the NEX-F3 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the NEX-F3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the NEX-5N, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Sony Alpha NEX-5N has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the NEX-5N has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NEX-F3 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony NEX-5N»||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.6||12.7||1079||77||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-F3«||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.7||12.3||1114||73||Sony NEX-F3|
|Canon M« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Sony A5100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60p||23.6||13.0||1015||78||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||910||78||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX100« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66||Sony RX100|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||720/30p||22.7||12.2||1083||73||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||1080/60i||22.2||12.2||796||69||Sony NEX-5|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Feature comparison: Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The NEX-5N 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. However, optional viewfinders – the FDA-EV1S for the NEX-5N and the FDA-EV1S for the NEX-F3 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony NEX-5N and Sony NEX-F3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony NEX-5N»||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-F3«||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n||Sony NEX-F3|
|Canon M« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Sony A5100« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6« »||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX100« »||-||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The NEX-5N has a touchscreen, while the NEX-F3 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the NEX-5N and the NEX-F3 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
Connectivity comparison: Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
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-5N and Sony Alpha NEX-F3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony NEX-5N»||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-F3«||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Canon M« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Sony A5100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX100|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5|
Both the NEX-5N and the NEX-F3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-5N was replaced by the Sony NEX-5R, 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 Sony website.
Review summary: Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony NEX-5N and the Sony NEX-F3? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-5N:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 117x67mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 45g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha NEX-F3:
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-5N emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony NEX-5N and the Sony NEX-F3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the NEX-5N or the NEX-F3 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
Expert reviews: Sony NEX-5N vs NEX-F3
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
|Sony NEX-5N»||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699||-||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-F3«||-||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Canon M« »||+||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Sony A5100« »||+||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699||-||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749||-||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6« »||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX100« »||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649||-||Sony RX100|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||-||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||+ +||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699||-||Sony NEX-5|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 200D vs Sony NEX-F3
- Canon M vs Sony NEX-5N
- Canon M100 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Fujifilm X-A10 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Nikon D5000 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Ricoh GR II vs Sony NEX-5N
- Sony A6300 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Sony A7 III vs Sony NEX-5N
- Sony A900 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Sony HX99 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Sony NEX-5N vs Sony RX100
- Sony NEX-5N vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Sony NEX-5N 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 Model||Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2011||May 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.4 x 15.6 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||365.04 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.1 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4912 x 3264 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.78 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.39 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-16000 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||77||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.6||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1079||1114|
|Screen Specs||Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Sony NEX-5N||Sony NEX-F3|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack||NP-FW50 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||460 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
111 x 59 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
117 x 67 x 42 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||314 g (11.1 oz)|
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