Sony NEX-F3: New entry-level mirrorless previewed (with samples)


posted Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 12:01 AM EDT

Sony's Alpha NEX-F3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for our Sony NEX-F3 preview!Sony's NEX-series of compact system cameras today gains an affordable new model, with the debut of the Sony Alpha NEX-F3, and we've just posted our preview.

The Sony NEX-F3 sits between the entry-level NEX-C3 and the NEX-5N in terms of specification. At the heart is a 16 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS image sensor, with the same dimensions and pixel count as that in the NEX-5N and SLT-A57, although it's not clear if it's actually identical to those cameras' sensor. We do know, however, that it's identical to that featured in the simultaneously-announced Alpha SLT-A37.

Compared to the C3, the NEX-F3 also features a newly-designed tilt mechanism for the LCD which allows viewing from in front of the camera, and adds a built-in popup flash similar to that of the NEX-7, plus Full HD video capture (albeit not matching the frame rate of the NEX-7 and 5N in progressive scan mode). The F3 also offers a higher ISO sensitivity range of 200 to 16,000 equivalents, increases burst depth, and adds a variety of functions seen recently on the SLT-A57: these include the Clear-Image Zoom and Auto Portrait Framing functions, both based around Sony's By Pixel Super Resolution technology. There's also a new twist: the portrait-mode self timer countdown can be started simply by raising the LCD display. Simple and rather elegant!

Pricing for the Sony NEX-F3 is set at around US$600 with an 18-55mm kit lens. Availability in three colors--silver, black, and white--is slated for June 2012. More details and sample images can be found in our hands-on Sony NEX-F3 preview.

Alongside the Sony F3, the company has also launched a new SEL18200LE zoom lens. This ships from July, priced at US$850.

Sony Alpha NEX-F3
Sony's Alpha NEX-F3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type Compact System Camera
Manufacturer North America: NEX-F3
Dimensions 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6 in.
(117 x 67 x 41 mm)
Weight 9.0 oz (255 g)
Planned Price $600
Planned Availability June 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS
APS-C (approx. 1.11 in. diagonal)
16.70 megapixels (total)
16.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 1.50
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 4912 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 Speed Continuous: 5.5 frames per second
Image Quality 2 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal921,600 dots (307,200 px)
Playback Zoom 13.0
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 18.0 - 55.0mm (actual)
27 - 83mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 - 22 (W), f/5.6 - 34 (T)
Focusing System Contrast Detect: 25-area, Center, Flexible Spot (11x17 areas); with Face Detection
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 10" - 4,081" (25 cm - 9,999 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 16000
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 1200-zone Multi Segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Color Temp./Filter, Custom
Internal Flash Guide Number: 6
Modes: Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync., Slow sync., Red-eye reduction
Range: Lens dependent
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Scene Modes Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Scene Selection (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight(6 shot layering)), Picture Effect (Posterization (Color/B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera (Normal/Cool), Soft High-key, Soft Focus (Hi/Mid/Lo), HDR Painting (Hi/Mid/Lo), Miniature (7 Settings))
Digital Zoom Up to 2x Clear Image or Precision Digital Zoom
Self Timer Yes, 2, 10, Self-portrait, 3 or 5 shots after 10 seconds
Movie Format AVCHD 1.0 / MP4; Audio: Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC with audio
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
Other Mini HDMI (Type C), Smart Accessory Terminal 2
Battery Type Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary InfoLithium NP-FW50
Product Bundle
Software PMB (Picture Motion Browser) , Image Data Converter S, Image Data Lightbox SR
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary NP-FW50 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
Notes Auto Portrait Framing, Self-portrait self-timer, Clear Image Zoom, Superior Auto, USB charging. Available in silver, black or white.
More Photos
Sony's Alpha NEX-F3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha NEX-F3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha NEX-F3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha NEX-F3 compact system camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!


Press Release

Sony’s New α NEX-F3 Camera Packs DSLR-Size Sensor and Advanced Feature Set into Small, Stylish Body

 Lightweight Model Features 16.1 Megapixel APS-C Sensor, 180° Tiltable LCD, Built-in Flash, Auto Portrait Framing and more

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2012 – Sony’s α NEX-F3 digital camera delivers professional quality photos with a compact, pocket-sized body, allowing consumers to explore the creative world of high-quality, interchangeable lens photography in a refreshingly fun and entertaining way.

The new NEX-F3 camera features the same space-saving mirrorless design as other models in Sony’s E-mount family as well as an advanced, 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor, identical in size to sensors found in traditional DSLR cameras.   The large sensor takes in more light during image capture, resulting in flawless, low-noise photographs and crisply detailed Full HD videos (60i/24p).  Photographers can also easily create images with beautiful defocus effects, where the subject is focused sharply against a smoothly blurred background.

“Sony continues to redefine digital photography with our E-mount series, packing a large APS-C size sensor into a small, lightweight camera body to produce professional-quality images with ease,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha business at Sony.  “Featuring a diverse set of imaging technologies and offered at a great price, the new NEX-F3 model reinforces our commitment to this rapidly growing compact system camera market."

The NEX-F3 camera adds a whole new perspective to self-portraits with a 180° Tiltable LCD screen, a first for Sony’s E-mount camera line.  By simply holding the camera at arm’s length and flipping the LCD screen vertically, users can adjust the on-screen preview image and properly frame photos.

Additionally, the new model features a useful built-in flash to broaden shooting options indoors or in low light situations.  Already introduced on Sony’s acclaimed NEX-7 camera, this pop-up flash handily brightens portraits and other shots without the need to carry an additional flash accessory.

The new NEX-F3 camera also includes the new Auto Portrait Framing feature for creating top-quality portraits quickly and easily.   This innovative feature identifies a subject’s position in a composed image, and follows the “rule of thirds” to trim the scene appropriately around the subject’s face, creating a beautifully composed portrait.  The cropped portrait is then boosted to full resolution using Sony’s unique By Pixel Super Resolution technology, which uses pattern matching to maintain superb image detail, tones and textures in the photo.   Both the original and cropped image files are saved for review.

By Pixel Super Resolution Technology is also used for the “Clear Image Zoom” feature, which digitally doubles the effective magnification of any lens attached to the camera.  Ideal for travel and everyday shooting, it’s a great way to boost maximum focal length without carrying extra hardware.

Other convenient essentials added to the new NEX-F3 camera include the Superior Auto mode,  which intelligently recognizes a wide range of scenes and subjects and adjusts settings automatically. Battery stamina has been boosted to an industry-leading 470 shots (approx.) on a single charge – an approximate 18% improvement over its predecessor, the NEX-C3 model.

The camera is compatible with the FDA-EV1S viewfinder accessory (sold separately), which offers a high-contrast, high-resolution OLED viewfinder display and a wide viewing angle.  The NEX-F3 model also features a high-quality, premium-feel grip for more comfortable handling and can be charged via either USB or a standard AC outlet.

New Lightweight 18-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens for Sony α NEX
An ideal travel partner for the NEX-F3 camera, the new SEL18200LE E18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS LE telezoom lens offers a powerful 11x zoom range and superb resolution in an easy-to-carry package.  Smaller and 12% lighter than the SEL18200 lens, the new E-mount model features Optical SteadyShot to compensate for the effects of hand-shake.  It also features Direct Manual Focus to give users precise control over focus settings, resulting in crisp, beautiful images.

Pricing and Availability
The new NEX-F3 compact digital camera will be available this June in silver, black and white with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens (model SEL1855) for about $600.  The new SEL18200LE telezoom lens will be available this July in black for about $850.

The camera kit, new lens and a variety of compatible accessories including the LCS-EJC3 carrying case, STP-XSG1 shoulder strap and STP-WS2 wrist strap will be available at Sony retail stores and other authorized dealers nationwide.


***For a full video preview of the new NEX-F3 camera and SEL18200LE lens, please visit
***Sony will be hosting an exclusive demo of the new Alpha line at the Sony Store in New York (550 Madison Avenue, NY, NY) on Monday, May 21st and Tuesday, May 22nd from 11 AM – 4 PM.  Product experts will be on hand to showcase new models.