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Sony's new entry level NEX F3 Interchangeable Lens Camera now features a larger size, a built-in pop up flash and a sweet new tilting-LCD design that's ideal for self portraits. With a 16.1 megapixel sensor, 1080p HD recording and a 5.5 frame per second burst performance.
Features from Sony's flagship NEX-7 camera are just starting to go down the line. The NEX F3. which replaces the NEX C3 as the entry level of the APS-C interchangeable lens camera now has the NEX 7's built-in flash which can be used during times where the screw-in flash is not available.
Sony's early focus with these NEX cameras was to create the most compact bodies but we're seeing sizes get a bit bigger to accommodate features that users will appreciate.
In the case of the NEX F3, we see a larger and more comfortable grip which really makes a difference when using the larger, heavier kit lenses.
The grip isn't the only aspect of the NEX F3 that has grown, the entire camera is visibly larger and slightly heavier and it is thicker so as a result it seems quite different from all the other cameras in the NEX line save for the NEX 7 which is the largest of the bunch.
The biggest change and the only feature unique to the NEX F3 is the new tilting screen which can go up 180 degrees which is a big deal for people who like to take photos of themselves or even frame images properly while the camera is on timer mode.
As far as controls and features, the NEX F3 is very similar to the older models. A visual menu can be accessed and offers various options. The menu can only be controlled from the rear buttons as the NEX F3 does not have touchscreen controls.
Performance and quality is similar to other NEX models. I took a portrait of photographer Tim Van Horn (below) using the NEX F3 and I was impressed at the texture, colour range and great detail. With a growing selection of lenses, I am really finding the NEX line very compelling. The APS-C sensors used in these small cameras are the same one that Sony uses in their Alpha DSLRs which are much larger. Yet, the quality is certainly comparable.
The NEX F3 is also suited to lower light conditions with an ISO sensitivity of 16000, this helps in shooting stills as well as video.
Another aspect of the NEX F3 that impressed me was its video recording performance. Video was excellent as one could expect but the sound was very clear. An example of this is my preview video of the Samsung Galaxy S3 which was shot on the NEX F3 handheld and only using the onboard stereo microphone. One issue I found with the camera's autofocus is that it had a tendency to 'hunt' and had some difficulty locking focus automatically.
The NEX F3's larger size and improved grip is also better for handheld video, although serious videographers should really use a tripod to minimize shaking and vibration while filming.
Sony's NEX F3 is made of plastic which helps keep it light and portable but it also feels less premium than the more expensive metal enclosures of the NEX-7 and NEX-5N but this in no way affects handling or performance.
Ideal for users who want the ease of use of a point-and-shoot, the large sensor size of an APS-C DSLR and the ability to use various lenses as well as accessories for recording sound and video, the NEX F3 is a great starting point.
Unlike many cameras that require a separate charging cradle for the batteries, the NEX F3's miniUSB port can be used to charge the battery, this is a convenient feature for travelling photgraphers.
Available with an 18-55mm lens and an SRT of $600, the Sony NEX F3 is a capable and versatile Interchangeable Lens Camera that's a joy to use.
The Sony NEX-F3 gives you professional-grade photography in a design that's about half the size and weight of your standard DSLR gear. This pocket-sized powerhouse features a 16.1MP Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with the ability to take Full HD 1080/60i or 24p video, and the interchangeable lens system lets you swap out lenses as needed.