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Sony NEX-C3 Comparison Review

The Sony Alpha NEX-C3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was announced in June 2011 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16 megapixel.

camera

Is the Sony NEX-C3 a good camera? The NEX-C3 has a Camera Elo of 1577. This rating puts the NEX-C3 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the NEX-C3 also ranks below average. – Well, the Sony NEX-C3 is more than 10 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2011.

Headline Specifications
Sony NEX-C3
Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses
16 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/30p Video
ISO 100 - 12 800
Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
5.5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge
110 x 60 x 33 mm, 225 g


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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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Sony NEX-C3 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Sony NEX-C3 vs credit card front
NEX-C3 versus credit card top view
NEX-C3 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony NEX-C3 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony NEX-C3 110 mm 60 mm 33 mm 225 g 400 n Jun 2011 599i
2.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599i
3.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
4.
 
Sony NEX-5T 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2013 699i
5.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749i
6.
 
Sony NEX-6 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 345 g 360 n Sep 2012 999i
7.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599i
8.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
9.
 
Sony NEX-5N 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 269 g 460 n Aug 2011 699i
10.
 
Sony NEX-3 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 n May 2010 599i
11.
 
Sony NEX-5 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 287 g 330 n May 2010 699i
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-C3 was launched in the US market at a price of $599. 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.

Sony NEX-C3:
Check Ebay offers

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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Sony NEX-C3 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-C3 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Sony NEX-C3 sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Sony NEX-C3 APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373
2.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
3.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
4.
 
Sony NEX-5T APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60p23.613.0101578
5.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
6.
 
Sony NEX-6 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878
7.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
8.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
9.
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
10.
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
11.
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The NEX-C3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the NEX-C3 can use is 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony NEX-C3 and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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
1.
 
Sony NEX-C3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
2.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
3.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
4.
 
Sony NEX-5Toptional n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
5.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
6.
 
Sony NEX-62359 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
7.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
8.
 
Sony RX100none n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
9.
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
10.
 
Sony NEX-3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
11.
 
Sony NEX-5optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n

The LCD screen on the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 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.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the NEX-C3

Connection 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 Sony Alpha NEX-C3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Sony NEX-C3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
4.
 
Sony NEX-5TYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Sony NEX-6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Sony RX100-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

Expert reviews

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the NEX-C3. 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]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony NEX-C33/5+ +..74/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
2.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
3.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
4.
 
Sony NEX-5T........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 699i
5.
 
Sony NEX-5R........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749i
6.
 
Sony NEX-65/5+ +..78/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999i
7.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
8.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +..78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
9.
 
Sony NEX-5N3/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699i
10.
 
Sony NEX-3......70/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 599i
11.
 
Sony NEX-53/5+ +..71/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Sony NEX-C3 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the NEX-C3.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the NEX-C3?

The camera is build around 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-C3 with the BIONZ image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the NEX-C3?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800.

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-C3 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-C3?

Sony does not publish a shutter rating for the NEX-C3. 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-C3?

Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your NEX-C3 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.

Does the Sony NEX-C3 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-C3's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.

Which battery does the NEX-C3 use?

The camera gets its power from the NP-FW50 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Sony NEX-C3
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2011
    Launch Price USD 599
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 365 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    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 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12 800 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1083
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    V-logging Friendliness Front-flip possible
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 110 x 60 x 33 mm
    (4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 225 g (7.9 oz)

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