Sony NEX-C3 vs NEX-F3
The Sony Alpha NEX-C3 and the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2011 and May 2012. Both the NEX-C3 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-C3||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|
|720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-12,800||ISO 100-16,000|
|Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 920k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.5 shutter flaps per second||5.5 shutter flaps per second|
|400 shots per battery charge||470 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 60 x 33 mm, 225 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-C3 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.
The physical size and weight of the Sony NEX-C3 and the Sony NEX-F3 are illustrated 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 NEX-C3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, pink), while the NEX-F3 is also available in three color-versions, but different ones (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 (19 percent) than the Sony NEX-C3. Moreover, the NEX-F3 is substantially heavier (40 percent) than the NEX-C3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the NEX-C3 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 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.
|Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699|
|Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.
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. 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-C3 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 11 months) than the NEX-C3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Sony Alpha NEX-C3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. 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 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the NEX-F3 provides a better video resolution than the NEX-C3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the NEX-C3 is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The NEX-C3 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-SV1 for the NEX-C3 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-C3 and Sony NEX-F3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The NEX-F3 has one, while the NEX-C3 does not. While the built-in flash of the NEX-F3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.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-C3 and the NEX-F3 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
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 Sony Alpha NEX-F3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Both the NEX-C3 and the NEX-F3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Sony. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony NEX-C3 and the Sony NEX-F3? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha NEX-C3:
- More compact: Is smaller (110x60mm vs 117x67mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 89g or 28 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-F3:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-F3 comes out slightly ahead of the NEX-C3 (4 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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-C3 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the NEX-C3 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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-C3||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Sony NEX-F3||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-5T||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699|
|Sony NEX-5R||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|Sony NEX-6||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony RX100||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Sony NEX-5N||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-3||..||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||+ +||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|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. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon M5 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon SX610 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Sony NEX-C3
- Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Nikon D300S vs Sony NEX-C3
- Nikon D7500 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Nikon Z50 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Olympus E-400 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Panasonic GF7 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Panasonic GH4 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Sony NEX-F3 vs Sony RX0
Specifications: Sony NEX-C3 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-C3||Sony NEX-F3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2011||May 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Sony NEX-C3||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||720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||73||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.2||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1083||1114|
|Screen Specs||Sony NEX-C3||Sony NEX-F3|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony NEX-C3||Sony NEX-F3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.5 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-C3||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-C3||Sony NEX-F3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
110 x 60 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
117 x 67 x 42 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||225 g (7.9 oz)||314 g (11.1 oz)|
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