16.1 MP Exmor™ APS HD CMOS Sensor
180º Flip LCD Screen
AVCHD Full HD video recording
11 Picture Effect modes
Auto Portrait Framing
If the Compact System Camera category is largely designed to entice compact camera users to upgrade, Sony has created a masterpiece. At just $699 for a single-lens kit, the NEX-F3 combines state of the art photography technology into an affordable and impressive package.
With a control panel that emphasises simplicity, the Sony may not win over the experienced photographer, with access to most settings being buried in the menu system. But for a novice looking to get more out of their camera, the F3 shines.
While switching between settings may be a bit more convoluted than a DSLR with a dedicated mode dial, understanding the effects of adjusting aperture or shutter speed is simplified by intuitive images describing the effect, rather than just a stream of confusing numbers. For example, rotating the dial in aperture priority mode will show that the background will be wide at a low aperture, but crisp and clear at a high aperture.
It’s simple things like this that make the Sony an impressive camera for less savvy photographers.
Image quality is solid, although Auto mode has a real tendency to overexpose images. The Smart Auto function – which chooses the type of shot to take based on the conditions – can be a little disconcerting, especially as it can take HDR photos without warning by shooting off three images and combining them.
The pop up flash and rotating LCD screen are amazing inclusions in a camera body of this size, although taking a self portrait with a chunky lens is still a challenge.
Overall, it’s an impressive camera that is perfect for compact users stepping up, especially given the price. Pro photographers looking for a companion camera would be better served by the Olympus OM-D though.