Big Image Quality in a Small Package
November 2011

Similar to its predecessor, the Sony NEX C3 is one of the smallest compact-mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, but it delivers excellent DSLR level image quality. The C3 can be purchased as a kit with a 18-55mm zoom or 16mm wide angle lens. With the 16mm lens, the camera looks and feels like a compact and is great for candid street photography. We took the Taipei pictures with the 16mm kit.


The 16.2 megapixels C3 is simple and easy to use like a point and shoot, but it also has many advanced shooting features. Manual focus is excellent for a live view camera. Like the NEX 5, the C3's beautiful high resolution LCD can be pulled out, making photography on tripod from a low angle very convenient. Also, like other Sony compact cameras, the C3 is packed with great features such as sweep panorama, hand-held twilight and anti motion blur modes. Video capability is very good, albeit at 720p HD. A small, serviceable external flash is included with the camera, but it is connected using a custom connection, not a standard hot shoe. The camera's excellent high ISO image quality makes the need for flash almost obsolete.


The one thing that has continued to annoy us, and that we have always complained with Sony cameras, is the lack of the 1:1 square image format. With all the digital bells and whistles, it's surprising this great format is omitted.


Overall, this is a great and versatile camera that can easily be a point and shoot and DSLR replacement. For those who need the square image format, Olympus and Panasonic have a few excellent cameras with similar size, feature set and price range. However, the Sonys still lead in absolute image quality.


>> taipei photo gallery

  • compact, easy to use, great handling
  • quick and responsive
  • great built quality
  • very high image quality (DSLR quality)
  • very good lens
  • easy manual focus
  • very good 720p HD video
  • excellent and useful tiltable LCD
  • sweep panorama mode
  • anti motion blur mode
  • HDR mode
  • RAW mode
  • external flash is provided
  • HDMI output


  • no standard hot shoe
  • no 1:1 square image format
  • no port for remote cable release

  • DSLR quality with point and shoot convenience and ease of use
  • compact interchangeable-lens camera
  • price with lens when tested: $549
  • 11. 2011 street price: $549
  • colors: silver, black, pink
  • 16mm lens (24mm equiv. in 35mm)
  • multi-format: 3:2, 16:9
  • Tiltable 3" LCD (921Kpixels)
  • 720p HD video
  • SD & Memory Stick memory cards
  • rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • 16.2 megapixels
  • dimension: 4-3/8 × 2-3/8 × 1-5/16 in.
  • weight: 10 oz
  • NEX C3 info @