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Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony Electronics Inc. Sony NEX-C3: Compact system camera gets even smaller (previewed)
(Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 00:02 EDT)

Sony Electronics Inc. has today announced its latest NEX-series compact system camera, the Sony NEX-C3, and we've just published our hands-on preview with a nearly complete set of test shots.

The Sony Alpha NEX-C3 is, says the company, the world's smallest and lightest APS-C interchangeable lens camera, besting the company's aggressively-styled NEX-5. The NEX-C3 is said to be around six percent lighter than its predecessor, and is visibly smaller, in large part due to a shallower, more gently rounded hand grip.

The Sony C3 sports a newly developed Exmor APS HD image sensor shared with the simultaneously-announced Alpha A35, which offers up an effective resolution of 16.2 megapixels. The new chip is said to improve on that used in the previous A55 model in terms of low-light sensitivity, power consumption, and thermal characteristics, and is coupled with a new Bionz-branded image processor said to improve detail and color gradation.

The changes don't stop there, though. Sony has also updated its user interface with reprogrammable controls, added a selection of picture effects such as Toy Camera and Retro, and implemented a "peaking" function that makes it easier to determine the precise point of focus on the camera's LCD display.

Simultaneously, Sony has announced its new HVL-F20S flash with adjustable bounce head, a new 30mm Macro Lens, and a pending firmware update for the NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras that will add the peaking function and picture effects to those models, too.

For more details, read our hands-on Sony NEX-C3 preview!

Sony Alpha NEX-C3
Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony Electronics Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera TypeCompact System Camera
Model NumberNorth America: NEX-C3
Dimensions4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.
(110 x 60 x 33 mm)
Weight7.9 oz (225 g)
Planned Price$650
Planned AvailabilityAugust 2011
Image Capture
Sensor TypeSony CMOS
APS-C (approx. 1.12 in. diagonal)
16.50 megapixels (total)
16.20 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier1.50
Aspect Ratio3:2, 16:9
Image Dimensions4912 x 3264 (16.0 megapixels)
4912 x 2760 (13.6 megapixels)
3568 x 2368 (8.4 megapixels)
3568 x 2000 (7.1 megapixels)
2448 x 1624 (4.0 megapixels)
2448 x 1376 (3.4 megapixels)
12416 x 1856 (23.0 megapixels)
8192 x 1856 (15.2 megapixels)
2160 x 5536 (12.0 megapixels)
2160 x 3872 (8.4 megapixels)
7152 x 1080 (7.7 megapixels)
4912 x 1080 (5.3 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
Capture SpeedContinuous: 5.5 frames per second
Image Quality2 levels
Image Preview / Review
LCD3.0 in. diagonal
921,600 dots (307,200 pixels)
Playback Zoom11.8x max
Lens TypeSony SEL1855 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
3x optical zoom
49mm lens thread
Lens MountSony E-mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length18.0 - 55.0mm (actual)
27 - 83mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Rangef/3.5 - 22 (W), f/5.6 - 34 (T)
Focusing SystemContrast D tect: 25-area, Center, Flexible Spot (11x17 areas); with Face Detection
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing RangeNormal: 10" - 4,081" (25 cm - 9,999 cm)
ISO SensitivityAuto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800.
Shutter Speed30 - 1/4000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes49-zone Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom, Color Temp./ Filter (2500 -- 9900K with 19-step Magenta/Green compensation)
Internal FlashGuide Number: 7
Modes: Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync., Slow sync., Red-eye reduction
Range: Lens dependent
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Scene ModesPortrait, Landscape, Macro,Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Hand-held Twilight (6 shot layering), 2D/3D Sweep Panorama
Self TimerYes, 2, 10; 3 or 5 after 10 seconds
Movie FormatMP4 with audio
Recording MediumMemory Stick PRO Duo, SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatRAW (ARW 2.2), RAW+JPEG, JPEG
VideoHigh definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: No
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherMini HDMI (Type C), Mic via Smart Accessory Terminal
Battery TypeLithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary NP-FW50
Product Bundle
SoftwareSoftware CD-ROM (includes Picture Motion Browser, Image Data Converter SR, Image Data Lightbox SR)
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary NP-FW50 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes
Remote ControlNo
Notes720p HD Video, Picture Effects, Photo Creativity, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur, Auto HDR, D-Range Optimizer, 2D/3D Sweep Panorama, Smile Shutter, 5.5fps Full-res Burst Mode. Available in Silver, Black or Pink.
More Photos
Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony Electronics Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony Electronics Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony Electronics Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony Electronics Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:

Sony Introduces World’s Smallest, Lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera with APS-C Sized Sensor

Easy-to-use a NEX-C3 Features 16.2 Megapixels, HD Video and Friendly New Interface

SAN DIEGO, June 8, 2011 -- Sony’s new α NEX-C3 is the world’s smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C sized sensor.

Offered in a range of stylish colors, the NEX-C3 brings the promise of DSLR-quality photography to the millions of consumers looking to take professional-looking photos without the size and bulk of traditional DSLR cameras.

The NEX-C3 features an attractive new body design that combines a satisfyingly solid metal top casing with an easy-to-use streamlined grip shape. Reducing the size of its internal circuitry visibly shrinks the camera’s size and achieves a body weight of just 225g (approximately 8 ounces) -- nearly six percent lighter than its predecessor, the NEX-3 camera. Image quality, functionality and usability of the NEX-C3 camera also surpass that of the NEX-3 model.

The resolution of the camera’s large Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor is boosted to 16.2 effective megapixels, capturing stills and 720p HD video with breath-taking clarity. The large, DSLR-sized sensor also lets users produce pro-quality background defocus effects, whether shooting HD video or stills.

“Building on the success of last year’s α NEX launch, the new NEX-C3 model takes the idea of ‘small camera body, SLR-quality photos’ to a whole new level,” said Kristen Elder, director of the alpha digital imaging business at Sony. “This camera’s brand new, large CMOS sensor and user-friendly interface will allow all photographers, regardless of experience level, to produce unique, custom-styled photographs. The NEX-C3 is a perfect combination of design, performance and creativity that fits a wide range of activities and shooting styles.”

Photo Creativity
The intuitive new Photo Creativity interface on the NEX-C3 camera puts sophisticated controls within easy reach, whether users are shooting stills or HD Video. Technical terms like ‘aperture’, ‘exposure value’ and ‘white balance’ are replaced with the friendlier and more intuitive ‘background defocus’, ‘brightness’ and ‘color’, allowing users to easily create custom-styled photographs. A traditional interface with Aperture/Shutter Priority, Manual and custom functions is always available for experienced users, along with highly customizable soft-keys for programming direct access to important controls.

With the NEX-C3 camera, users don’t need to dig into confusing menu options or guess their effect on a composition. They just need to turn the camera’s rear-mounted control wheel and instantly see the effect of their settings previewed on screen. Also, two or more different settings can be combined to create more sophisticated creative effects.

A new in-camera ‘Picture Effect’ setting lets users add extra impact to stills or HD video during shooting, without the worry of editing images afterwards. ‘Picture Effect’ options include Partial Color, Retro Photo, Pop Color, High Contrast Monochrome, Posterization, High-key and Toy Camera. There’s also a ‘Soft Skin’ effect that removes wrinkles and blemishes from portrait subjects.

Tilting for comfortable viewing at any angle, the high contrast 3-inch (measured diagonally) Xtra Fine LCD features TruBlack screen technology for high-contrast images with rich, deep blacks. This is an ideal way to compose shots and judge the effect of adjusting picture settings, even when viewing outdoors in bright sunlight.

Long-Lasting Battery
The NEX-C3 works even harder to capture amazing images and HD video between battery charges. Improved energy efficiency boosts battery life to a generous 400 still shots per charge -- a more than 20 percent increase from the both the NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras.

Multi-Shot Imaging Technologies
Sony’s Advanced multi-shot technologies further broaden the possibilities of the NEX-C3 camera. 3D Sweep Panorama™ mode captures extra-wide images that can be viewed in 3D on a 3D television with compatible 3D glasses. Auto HDR “stacks” a high-speed burst of three successive exposures to capture extreme shadow and highlight details in a single frame. Similarly, Handheld Twilight and Anti-Motion Blur modes automatically combine six exposures to capture smooth, low-noise images. This avoids hand-blur and subject-blur when shooting in available light.

New E-mount 30mm Macro Lens and Other Compatible Accessories
The versatility of the α E-mount compact camera system grows with new style-matched accessories to expand shooting possibilities even further.

Joining the range of E-mount interchangeable lenses, the SEL30M35 is currently the world’s lightest life-size macro lens (approx 4.9 ounces) for interchangeable-lens cameras. This high-quality 30mm F3.5 macro lens features a 1:1 magnification ratio and minimum working distance of just 0.95 inches (2.4 cm), making it ideal for capturing detail-packed close-ups of small subjects like flowers and insects. Despite its extremely compact size, the SEL30M35 employs one ED glass and three aspherical lens elements for excellent optical performance, with minimized aberration and very high edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast. It also offers smooth, quiet autofocus operation whether shooting stills or HD video. The macro lens is supplied with a matching lens hood.

Also available as an option, the new HVL-F20S is a style-matching flash that clips onto the Smart Accessory Terminal of NEX-C3 and other E-mount cameras. Powered directly by the camera, the flash requires no batteries, making it ultra-compact and light weight for travelling. With a generous GN20 (50mm, at ISO 100, m) flash power rating and adjustable head, it’s ideal for creating natural fill-in and bounce flash effects with portraits and everyday shooting subjects.

The expanded range of coordinating accessories features a new body case/lens jacket and a soft carrying case.

The new camera is also compatible with Sony’s full line of SD memory cards, including the newest Class 10 versions, as well as the Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX series. Available in capacities up to 32 GB, both media enable higher read speeds for more stable and optimal performance by Sony hardware features such as high-speed burst shooting or HD movie shooting.

Firmware update for NEX-5, NEX-3
A firmware upgrade (Version 4) adds the new ‘Picture Effect’ function to existing NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras. It also adds a Peaking function to assist with more precise manual focusing. This upgrade will be available June 20thand can be downloaded from: (www.esupport.sony.com).

Pricing and Availability
The new NEX-C3 ultra-compact digital camera will be available this August in silver, black and pink with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens (model SEL1855) and will cost about $650. It will also be offered in black only with a 16mm lens (model SEL16F28) for about $600.

The new SEL30M35 E-mount Macro lens will be available this October for about $250 and the HVL-F20S flash will be available this August for about $150.

The camera kits, macro lens and new flash will all be sold at Sony retail stores and other authorized dealers nationwide.


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