Sony NEX-C3

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 front

Sony NEX-C3 overview

Sony NEX-C3 is Sony's Entry-Level Mirrorless camera first released on August of 2011. The camera has got a 16MP, CMOS APS-C sized sensor and has a maximum resolution of 4912 x 3264.

Sony released this camera in an effort to improve the previous Sony NEX-3 (Read Full Comparison) & afterwards released the newer Sony NEX-F3 (Read Full Comparison) as a way to improve this model.

The NEX-C3 stands at #75 out of 117 in Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras & all round #353 out of 1465 for cameras in our database. Remember to try our Smart camera search to get camera rankings based on your custom requirements.

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Here is a graph of specific criteria used in the scoring system.

Sony NEX-C3 family

The Sony NEX-C3 has a history of related cameras. Underneath, you can see all past and current models alongside key specifications.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Sony-Alpha-a5100 front thumbnailSony a5100
NEX-C3 vs a5100
24MPAPS-C6.0 fps2014
Sony-Alpha-a5000 front thumbnailSony a5000
NEX-C3 vs a5000
20MPAPS-C4.0 fps2014
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Sony-Alpha-NEX-5T front thumbnailSony NEX-5T
NEX-C3 vs NEX-5T
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2013
Sony-Alpha-NEX-6 front thumbnailSony NEX-6
NEX-C3 vs NEX-6
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2013
Sony-Alpha-NEX-3N front thumbnailSony NEX-3N
NEX-C3 vs NEX-3N
16MPAPS-C4.0 fps2013
Sony-Alpha-NEX-5R front thumbnailSony NEX-5R
NEX-C3 vs NEX-5R
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2012
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Sony-Alpha-NEX-F3 front thumbnailSony NEX-F3
NEX-C3 vs NEX-F3
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2012
Sony-Alpha-NEX-7 front thumbnailSony NEX-7
NEX-C3 vs NEX-7
24MPAPS-C10.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-NEX-5N front thumbnailSony NEX-5N
NEX-C3 vs NEX-5N
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-NEX-C3 front thumbnailSony NEX-C316MPAPS-C6.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-NEX-3 front thumbnailSony NEX-3
NEX-C3 vs NEX-3
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010
Samsung Releases Faster Versions of EVO MicroSD Cards
Sony-Alpha-NEX-5 front thumbnailSony NEX-5
NEX-C3 vs NEX-5
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010

Sony NEX-C3 Pros and Cons

Below is a collection of good and bad points of the Sony NEX-C3 based on features which are often viewed as important in a camera.

good battery (400 CIPA)
good megapixels (16MP)
great min ISO (100)
has a tilting screen
has HDMI out
high resolution screen (920 thousand dots)
lighter than average in class (225g)
saves RAW files
screen size is good (3 inch)
sensor size is nice (APS-C)
switch lenses (Sony E mount)
you can focus manually
display isn't selfie friendly
does not have external mic support
does not have headphone support
does not have Time Lapse mode
lack of image stabilization
lacks phase detect AF
low quality video (1280 x 720 resolution)
slow continuous shooting (6.0 fps)
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Sony NEX-C3 Sensor specifications

The Sony NEX-C3 features the Bionz chip. The specification of the sensor in the Sony NEX-C3 is 23.4mm x 15.6mm (APS-C). The 365 mm² sensor has the capability to resolve 4912 x 3264 pixels at aspect ratios of 3:2 and 16:9.

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The CMOS sensor has 16MP and provides a native ISO range of 100 - 12800. RAW files are supported which means that you have wider room to maneuver in post.

The picture underneath shows the NEX-C3's sensor dimensions when compared to other common sizes. The NEX-C3 sensor has a crop factor of 1.5 and is shown in green.

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To get a sense of specific aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Sony NEX-C3 dimensions

Sony NEX-C3 weighs about 0.50 lb (225 gr / 7.94 oz) & has exterior dimensions of 110mm x 60mm x 33mm (4.3" x 2.4" x 1.3"). The weight of normal Entry-Level Mirrorless camera is 329 gr so the Sony NEX-C3 is lighter compared with its competitors.

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Here is a shot of the Sony NEX-C3 with a softdrink so you're able to get a feel for its scale.

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 dimensions scale

The top view under will show you the button arrangement on the NEX-C3.

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 topview buttons dials

Sony NEX-C3 Lens specifications

The NEX-C3 uses the Sony E mount and has 170 lenses on sale. Below is some of the lenses we have in our database which will work with the NEX-C3.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Samyang-85mm-F1.4-Aspherical-IF-Sony-E-NEX lensSamyang 85mm F1.4 Aspherical IF85mmf/1.4 539g
Sony-FE-35mm-F2.8-ZA-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T lensSony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T35mmf/2.8 120g
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Sony-Vario-Tessar-T-FE-16-35mm-F4-ZA-OSS lensSony Vario-Tessar T FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS16-35mmf/4.0 518g
Tokina-atx-m-56mm-F1.4-E-Mount lensTokina atx-m 56mm F1.4 E56mmf/1.4 315g
Sigma-24mm-F2-DG-DN-C-FE-Mount lensSigma 24mm F2 DG DN C24mmf/2 365g
Samyang-AF-24mm-F2.8-FE-Sony-FE lensSamyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE24mmf/2.893g
Photography Glossary
Samyang-21mm-F1.4-ED-AS-UMC-CS--Rokinon-21mm-F1.4-ED-AS-UMC-CS-Sony-E lensSamyang 21mm F1.4 ED AS UMC CS21mmf/1.4275g
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Sony NEX-C3 Connectivity

The NEX-C3 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Cameras that come with NFC and / or Bluetooth compatibility can easily be controlled wirelessly through smartphones. You can easily copy photos and oftentimes change camera settings without the hassle of connecting straight to the camera.

Several applications even enable a Liveview and click the shutter in case you aren't close to the camera. If the camera boasts a HDMI port, it could be attached to an external monitor. Nearly all cameras enable you to charge the battery with the USB socket.

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Sony NEX-C3 Video specifications

The maximum video quality in the Sony NEX-C3 is 1280 x 720 and you can capture in MPEG-4 format. 720p is low for today's standards. You should really go for a minimum 1080p quality for decent video. The camera doesn't feature a microphone and / or headphone jack which means you have got no control over the audio. It is probably best to have a look at a different model should you want decent audio for your video clips.

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Sony NEX-C3 Weather Sealing

Sony NEX-C3 doesn't include weather proofing so rainy conditions can easily affect the camera.

Sony NEX-C3 Display and Viewfinder

The Sony NEX-C3 has got a 3 inch tilting display screen boasting a resolution of 920 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the display screen is not a touch screen.

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 screen and viewfinder Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing

The ViewFinder specifications for Sony NEX-C3 are below:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders are really useful during sunny outdoor conditions which will make the camera display washed out and hard to see.

Sony NEX-C3 Shutter specifications

Sony NEX-C3 has the capability to shoot continuously at 6.0 fps. The highest shutter speed is 1/4000 sec.

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Sony NEX-C3 Flash and Hot shoe specifications

Sony NEX-C3 comes with external flash ability but is without in-built flash. The highest flash sync is 1/160 sec.

Sony NEX-C3 Autofocusing specifications

Sony NEX-C3 comes with just Contrast Detect Auto Focus & does not have Phase Detect Auto Focus. Phase Detection autofocusing is more quicker & exact compared with Contrast Detect autofocusing.

The AF system has got 25 focus points to choose from. Sony NEX-C3 has got manual focus in case it is required during low light conditions or you need more exact focus control.

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Sony NEX-C3 Battery life

The battery (NPFW50) on the Sony NEX-C3 is designed to last for 400 shutters according to the CIPA standards making it higher than the usual for its class. The general Entry-Level Mirrorless camera battery life is 343. Fujifilm X-S20 has the highest possible (750) battery life within this kind of cameras.

Here is a number of Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras which have the best battery life:

Sony NEX-C3 for varying categories of photography

The following diagram presents a overview of the Sony NEX-C3 for varying categories of photography. To read more, visit the specific paragraph underneath.

Portrait photography with Sony NEX-C3

The Sony NEX-C3 receives a points tally of 74 which is above average, and means the camera is a fine pick for portrait images. Taking portrait images favors greatly towards sensor resolution, support for RAW files together with the flexibility to work with external lighting.

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has manual focus
megapixel count decent (16MP)
sensor size is good (APS-C)
delivers RAW formats

Sony NEX-C3 Street photography features

Getting a great score of 80, the Sony NEX-C3 is a wonderful option to buy for street photography. A very good street photography camera features a fine balance of image quality and portability.

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screen tilts up and down
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
saves RAW files
lighter than competition (225 grams)
does not have image stabilization

Sony NEX-C3 Sports photography highlights

A average sports photography points total of 53 indicates the Sony NEX-C3 is somewhat acceptable for shooting sports. A camera needs excellent autofocus plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

Photography Glossary
good megapixels (16 megapixels)
sensor size is good (APS-C)
good battery power (400 per charge)
continuous shooting slow (6.0 frames/s)
lack of image stabilization
no phase detect AF

Sony NEX-C3 Travel photography factors

Weight is pretty important when selecting a camera for travel. On the whole, the Sony NEX-C3 gets a nice 71 as a travel camera which is a fine option to purchase for your trips.

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good battery power (400 per charge)
lighter than others in class (225 grams)
megapixel count good (16MP)
no Time Lapse mode
display is not selfie friendly

Sony NEX-C3 Landscape photography details

For anyone looking to purchase a camera for landscape photos, the most significant aspect is going to be image quality. The Sony NEX-C3 with it's very good rating of 70 as a landscape camera is a fine option in the current market.

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you can focus manually
interchangeable lenses (Sony E mount)
pretty good screen size (3 inch)
good megapixels (16MP)
good sensor size (APS-C)
supports RAW files
better than average battery pack (400 shots)
no image stabilization
does not have Time Lapse mode

Sony NEX-C3 Vlogging details

A vlogging camera preferably should posses a articulating display, microphone input and preferably image stabilization. Considering all the details, the Sony NEX-C3 is just not suitable for vlogging as it delivers a terrible score of 27.

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lighter than competition (225g)
does not offer selfie friendly display
lack of image stabilization
video quality not great (1280 x 720 pxls)
doesn't have external microphone support

Sony NEX-C3 Alternatives

If you are in the market for alternatives to the NEX-C3, below is a number of the top placed cameras that fall within the category of Entry-Level Mirrorless.

The graph here offers you a summary of the NEX-C3 compared to it's top scored competitors suggested above.

Following are additional cameras you may take into account as alternative options. To read through a thorough comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Sony Alpha NEX-C3
Entry-Level Mirrorless
Physical type
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Powered by
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
23.4 x 15.6mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
16 megapixel
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
3:2 and 16:9
Highest resolution
4912 x 3264
RAW support
Highest native ISO
Lowest native ISO
Focus manually
Autofocus touch
Continuous autofocus
Single autofocus
Autofocus tracking
Selective autofocus
Autofocus center weighted
Autofocus multi area
Autofocus live view
Face detect autofocus
Contract detect autofocus
Phase detect autofocus
Number of focus points
Lens mount
Sony E
Number of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Type of display
Display diagonal
3 inch
Resolution of display
920 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch function
Display technology
TFT Xtra Fine LCD
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
DXO scores
DXO All around score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Slowest shutter speed
30 seconds
Maximum shutter speed
1/4000 seconds
Continuous shooting rate
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Change white balance
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
no built-in flash
Flash settings
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
White balance bracketing
Maximum flash synchronize
1/160 seconds
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video file format
Mic support
Headphone support
Eye-Fi Connected
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
225 grams (0.50 pounds)
110 x 60 x 33mm (4.3" x 2.4" x 1.3")
Battery life
400 photos
Battery style
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec, 10 sec 3 or 5 images)
Time lapse shooting
Storage type
SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Card slots
Retail cost