Sony NEX-3

Sony Alpha NEX-3 front

Sony NEX-3 summary

Sony NEX-3 is Sony's Entry-Level Mirrorless camera originally revealed on June of 2010. It features a 14 MegaPixel, CMOS APS-C size sensor with a max resolution of 4592 x 3056.

Sony released the updated Sony NEX-C3 (Read Full Comparison) to update this camera.

The NEX-3 is scored #85 out of 117 in Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras and overall #383 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our database. You should try out our Smart camera finder to get camera rankings based on your custom requirements.

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Here is a diagram of various factors used in the rating system.

Sony NEX-3 family

The Sony NEX-3 comes with a history of related digital cameras. Down below, you can look at all earlier and most recent models alongside important specifications.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Sony-Alpha-a5100 front thumbnailSony a5100
NEX-3 vs a5100
24MPAPS-C6.0 fps2014
Sony-Alpha-a5000 front thumbnailSony a5000
NEX-3 vs a5000
20MPAPS-C4.0 fps2014
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Sony-Alpha-NEX-5T front thumbnailSony NEX-5T
NEX-3 vs NEX-5T
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2013
Sony-Alpha-NEX-6 front thumbnailSony NEX-6
NEX-3 vs NEX-6
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2013
Sony-Alpha-NEX-3N front thumbnailSony NEX-3N
NEX-3 vs NEX-3N
16MPAPS-C4.0 fps2013
Sony-Alpha-NEX-5R front thumbnailSony NEX-5R
NEX-3 vs NEX-5R
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2012
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Sony-Alpha-NEX-F3 front thumbnailSony NEX-F3
NEX-3 vs NEX-F3
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2012
Sony-Alpha-NEX-7 front thumbnailSony NEX-7
NEX-3 vs NEX-7
24MPAPS-C10.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-NEX-5N front thumbnailSony NEX-5N
NEX-3 vs NEX-5N
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-NEX-C3 front thumbnailSony NEX-C3
NEX-3 vs NEX-C3
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-NEX-5 front thumbnailSony NEX-5
NEX-3 vs NEX-5
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010
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Sony-Alpha-NEX-3 front thumbnailSony NEX-314MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010

Sony NEX-3 Pros and Cons

Here is a shortlist of pluses and minuses of the Sony NEX-3 based on things which are usually considered necessary in a camera.

comes with face detection focusing
comes with HDMI port
decent sensor size (APS-C)
high resolution screen (920 thousand dot)
manual focus
resolution is good (14MP)
screen is a good size (3 inch)
screen tilts
supports RAW files
switch lenses (Sony E mount)
doesn't have phase detect AF
does not have external microphone port
does not have headphone port
does not have selfie friendly display
does not have Timelapse mode
lack of image stabilization
video resolution low (1280 x 720 pxls)
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Sony NEX-3 Sensor information

The Sony NEX-3 is run by the Bionz processor chip. The sensor measurement on the Sony NEX-3 is 23.4mm x 15.6mm (APS-C). The 365 mm² sensor is able to capture 4592 x 3056 pixels using aspect ratios of 3:2 and 16:9.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 14MP and includes a native ISO range of 200 to 12800. RAW files are supported therefore you have more margin for error.

The graphic underneath shows the NEX-3's sensor size in comparison to other common sizes. The NEX-3 sensor comes with a crop factor of 1.5 and is outlined in green.

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To get a sense of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Sony NEX-3 dimensions

Sony NEX-3 weighs around 0.65 lb (297 gr / 10.48 oz) and the dimensions of the camera is 117mm x 62mm x 33mm (4.6" x 2.4" x 1.3"). The weight of typical Entry-Level Mirrorless camera is 329 gr and the Sony NEX-3 is very much the same when compared with various competitors.

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Here is a picture of the Sony NEX-3 with a softdrink so you can have a feel for its size.

Sony Alpha NEX-3 dimensions scale

The top view under will provide the button layout on the NEX-3.

Sony Alpha NEX-3 topview buttons dials

Sony NEX-3 Lens information

The NEX-3 fits the Sony E mount and has 170 lenses available for purchase. Here is some of the lenses we have in our database that will work with the NEX-3.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Sony-E-30mm-F3.5-Macro lensSony E 30mm F3.5 Macro30mmf/3.5 138g
Sony-12-24mm-F2.8-GM lensSony 12-24mm F2.8 GM12-24mmf/2.8 847g
G100D by Panasonic Features USB-C and Stunning OLED EVF
Sony-FE-70-200mm-F2.8-GM-OSS lensSony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS70-200mmf/2.8 1480g
Sony-FE-24-70mm-F4-ZA-OSS-Carl-Zeiss-Vario-Tessar-T lensSony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T24-70mmf/4.0 426g
Sony-E-50mm-F1.8-OSS lensSony E 50mm F1.8 OSS50mmf/1.8 202g
Samyang-100mm-F2.8-Macro-E-Mount lensSamyang 100mm F2.8 Macro100mmf/2.8720g
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Sony-E-PZ-18-200mm-F3.5-6.3-OSS lensSony E PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS18-200mmf/3.5-6.3 649g
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Sony NEX-3 Connectivity

The NEX-3 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras that contain NFC or Bluetooth compatibility are able to be used wirelessly via smartphones. You are able to transfer photos and oftentimes alter camera settings without connecting straight with the camera.

A few apps also give a Liveview and hit the shutter if you are not close to the camera. If the camera includes a HDMI out, it can easily be connected to an external screen. Virtually all cameras enable you to charge the battery pack with the USB socket.

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Sony NEX-3 Video information

The max video resolution on the Sony NEX-3 is 1280 x 720 and it can record in MPEG-4 format. 720p is low by today's standards. You really should shoot for a minimum 1080p resolution for video recording. The body does not have a mic or headphone socket which means that you have absolutely no control over your audio. It is probably a better idea to take a look at a different model should you need good audio in your video clips.

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Sony NEX-3 Weather Sealing

There is no environment proofing in the Sony NEX-3 so you have to be careful in wet and dusty situations.

Sony NEX-3 Display and Viewfinder

The Sony NEX-3 features a 3 inch tilting display screen having a resolution of 920 thousand dots.

Sadly the display screen is not a touch screen.

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The View Finder specifications regarding Sony NEX-3 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders are pretty useful for sunny outdoor situations which might make the camera display washed out and very difficult to view.

Sony NEX-3 Shutter information

Sony NEX-3 is able to shoot continuously at 7.0 frames per second. The max shutter speed is 1/4000 sec.

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Sony NEX-3 Flash and Hot shoe information

Sony NEX-3 boasts external flash support but is lacking integrated flash. The highest flash sync is 1/160 sec.

Sony NEX-3 Autofocusing information

Sony NEX-3 boasts only Contrast Detect AF and is missing Phase Detect AF. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot more quicker & accurate as compared to Contrast Detect autofocusing. The camera features Face detect which makes it helpful for portrait photography.

The Sensor features 25 focus points to choose from. Sony NEX-3 supports manual focus in case it is required for low light or you need more precise control on focus.

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Sony NEX-3 Battery life

The battery pack (NPFW50) in the Sony NEX-3 is designed to last for 330 photographs according to the CIPA standards making it on par with its competitors. The usual Entry-Level Mirrorless camera battery life is 343. Fujifilm X-S20 features the maximum (750) battery life for this group of cameras.

Following is a list of Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras which have the strongest battery life:

Sony NEX-3 for various forms of photography

The following illustration presents a outline of the Sony NEX-3 for various forms of photography. To understand more, visit the specific paragraph underneath.

Sony NEX-3 as a Portrait photography camera

The Sony NEX-3 receives a points tally of 72 which is nice, and means the camera is a very decent option to use for portraits. Taking portraits leans greatly towards sensor size, RAW support and option to utilize external lighting.

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you can focus manually
good megapixels (14 megapixels)
good sensor size (APS-C)
offers face detect autofocus
supports RAW formats

Sony NEX-3 as a Street photography camera

Coming in at a brilliant rating of 76, the Sony NEX-3 is a terrific choice to use in street photography. A good street photography camera provides a good balance of picture quality and portability.

G100D by Panasonic Features USB-C and Stunning OLED EVF
has a tilting screen
nice sensor size (APS-C)
supports RAW formats
lack of image stabilization

Sony NEX-3 as a Sports photography camera

A average sports photography score of 52 indicates the Sony NEX-3 is fairly suitable for photographing sports. A camera must have fantastic autofocus and fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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MP count good (14MP)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
no image stabilization
doesn't have phase detect auto focus

Sony NEX-3 Travel photography features

Portability is super critical in buying a travel camera. All things considered, the Sony NEX-3 gets a modest 59 for a travelling camera which makes it somewhat adequate for your vacations.

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good resolution (14 megapixels)
lack of Timelapse mode
display isn't selfie friendly

Landscape photography with Sony NEX-3

If you're planning to buy a camera for landscape photos, the most important aspect is going to be image quality. The Sony NEX-3 at it's nice score of 68 for a landscape camera is a fine option in the current market.

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manual focus
interchangeable lenses (Sony E mount)
nice screen size (3")
good MP (14MP)
sensor size is good (APS-C)
exports RAW files
no image stabilization
doesn't have Timelapse mode

Sony NEX-3 Vlogging information

A vlogging camera should really posses a moving display screen, mic input and ideally IBIS. Taking everything in to account, the Sony NEX-3 is not really acceptable as a vlog camera as it delivers a low rating of 27.

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offers face detect autofocus
does not have a selfie friendly screen
lack of image stabilization
low video resolution (1280 x 720 pxls)
no mic support

Sony NEX-3 Alternatives

If you are looking for replacements to the NEX-3, below is a number of the top scored cameras which fall within the family of Entry-Level Mirrorless.

The graph just below gives you an overview of the NEX-3 compared to it's highest rated competitors listed previously.

Following are several cameras you might look into as alternatives. To read a complete comparison, simply click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Sony Alpha NEX-3
Entry-Level Mirrorless
Body design
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
23.4 x 15.6mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
3:2 and 16:9
Peak resolution
4592 x 3056
RAW photos
Highest native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
AF touch
AF continuous
AF single
AF tracking
AF selectice
Center weighted AF
Multi area AF
Live view AF
Face detect focusing
Contract detect focusing
Phase detect focusing
Number of focus points
Lens mounting type
Sony E
Amount of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Display sizing
3 inch
Display resolution
920 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Touch operation
Display tech
TFT Xtra Fine LCD
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
DXO scores
DXO Overall score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Min shutter speed
30 seconds
Max shutter speed
1/4000 seconds
Continuous shutter speed
7.0 frames per sec
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation
Change WB
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
12.00 m
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in
Hot shoe
WB bracketing
Max flash sync
1/160 seconds
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video format
Microphone jack
Headphone jack
Eye-Fi Connected
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental seal
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
297 grams (0.65 pounds)
Physical dimensions
117 x 62 x 33mm (4.6" x 2.4" x 1.3")
Battery life
330 photographs
Battery form
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec, 10sec (3 images))
Time lapse recording
Storage media
SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Storage slots
Price at release