After I posted a review of the cheapest available NEX, the recently released 3N, mostly I received very positive feedbacks on both the review, and the camera itself. People actually owning it are enjoying how good, fun, and capable it is, especially at such an unpretentious price point, and place in the NEX line up (lowest bottom rung).
However, I also got a couple of rather nasty comment about how 1) the review was boring because it featured pictures of kids and pets. 2) The 3N is a deeply flawed and uncapable camera, not suited to advanced user (that snobbish self righteousness again, lol). While everybody is totally free of not liking kid and pet images (personally street and flower photography, two very popular genres, bore me to tears, while HDR, another in vogue trend, makes me want to spit my guts) this is what this blog is made of. Tough shit, hey 😉
Criticizing the camera though, is unfair. This frame was made in the worst lighting conditions (short of a dark bar or club) that a NEX can face. Dim indoor arena, with crazy amounts of pure white sunlight pouring in from windows at random angles. In such conditions a fast lens greatly helps. Except here I was using, for convenience and versatility’s sake, the old black 18-55 kit zoom from the NEX 7 (weirdly enough I found it a tad better than the silver samples I had of the same model). And that’s a fairly slow lens (even if the aperture slows down much less quickly than it does on the hateful 16-50 powerzoom bundled with the 3N). So, dim light, slow lens, meaning as high ISO as the camera will go (3200). AND, if it weren’t tricky enough. Moving subjects. Not at top speed, not erratically, but moving nonetheless.
Well, first of all it does acquire focus in most cases. It does take its time and is *nowhere* near the fast performance of a recent m4/3 camera in this regard, but I missed very few shots. Then, we get freaking awesome DR and excellent color accuracy. And, last but not least, we get very acceptable noise levels with well preserved detail and sharpness. Not too pretty at 100% on a computer screen, but perfectly good enough for normal size prints or web display. And I didn’t do anything fancy. Auto ISO, Auto WB, A mode. Things might have been even better if I’d made the effort to use an adapted fast zoom (any good ol’ 28-70/2.8 would have helped greatly) and zone focused. But even using the 3N like any unknowing P&S upgrader would have, the results were still pretty sweet.
Actually I’ve pondered getting a Canon mount 28-70/2.8 (the L version being absolutely wonderful) zoom and adapting it to NEX, but though it’s been discontinued and will not be supported by Canon if in need of repair, it still sells for hefty amounts of money. Which I’d rather invest in a Sony G fast zoom, if Sony ever gets to releasing one !!!
And it you’re prissy about any high ISO noise, just deploy the built-in flash and bounce it off the ceiling (Manual mode here, I haven’t checked out TTL works, but I’d think it goes for 1/60th, which is too slow for freezing motion).
So some sad and ill spirited folks bitched about (defying any logic) the 3N is not for advanced users, and argued at the same time that ony a minority of people shot mostly Manual. Well obviously, this Manual shooting minority IS recruited among the most experienced users, not using the crutch of semi-auto modes. With the benefit of full time exposure preview, it’s not rocket science to put the camera on Manual, chose an ISO value, and just alter shutter speed by nudging the rear wheel until the LCD (with the histogram displayed if needed) shows proper exposure ? Any gripe about the UI is unfair, since the camera gives you instant access to Shooting Modes via the center button, whatever feature you judge the most vital tru the bottom soft key (WB in my case), and a generous array of SIX frequently used features by pressing the right handside of the thumbwheel. Indeed, this key, labelled “ISO”, might *not* impact ISO if you chose to assign it that ever useful quick menu function. OMG, what a tragedy 😉
Don’t let sad and insecure people put you off this excellent little camera. For a Fuji X or EM-5 shooter, the 3N must feel like almot an insult to the previous choice of how they chose to spend their hard earned money on MUCH more expensive bodies that don’t achieve must more (and in the case of m4/3, actually *less* in terms of IQ). Ouch, that hurts…