Testing

May 29, 2013

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photos w/ 100% Crops, and First Impressions

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

I’ve had a few days now to play with the Sony Nex-3n mirrorless camera using the E-mount 16-50mm power zoom kit lens. A really compact combo with an incredible small form factor with the zoom lens off. It really is a pancake zoom lens as advertised, although I personally prefer the manual zoom 18-55mm kit lens. Call me old school I guess, but the power zoom on the selp1650 drives me nutz. I’ve been pressing it by accident constantly, and it’s also harder to stop exactly where you want it focal length wise. Killer for video though I must admit ;)

In any event I’ve been shooting in jpeg mode only so far using the various auto modes and having a lot of fun. It’s nice to just point and shoot in the Superior Auto Mode and just let the Nex-3n do it’s thing. The Sony Nex-3n in that mode can utilize auto AUTO HDR and many other features that will help you get the best shot possible. I personally love how easy it is to use, especially when it comes to portraits. When the camera sees a face it immediately tries to focus and exposure for that by default. It does a really good job with this task as you will see below.

I also used the Auto HDR feature in one scene as the dynamic range was pretty intense and I wanted to see how the Nex-3n handled it.

 

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photos

The first thing I notice when using the Superior Auto mode is the Nex-3n tends to protect the highlights and under expose the image a bit. That in combination with a lot of contrast added by the default image settings. You will see what I mean below as these are strait off the camera re-sized in lightroom 4 for the web. I was using Jpeg Fine for the image quality.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

Check out the 100% Crop

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode – 100% Crop

 

Snapshot of some safety barriers on a gray day.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

An old library in direct late morning sun.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

 

From the car shooting diagonal from the sun which is to the upper left of camera view.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

100% Crops

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

 

Check out some real world family snapshots using the Nex-3n in Superior Auto mode. The Nex-3n prioritized for Layla’s face in the next image.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

100% Crop

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

 

Dynamic range is pretty good, but the jpeg adds so much contrast that pulling shadow detail out in post processing is not very easy. Shooting raw will make this easier, but requires a bit of work. For full auto it’s going a pretty good job. I’m pretty much just pointing and shooting if you haven’t noticed ;)

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

100% Crop

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode – 100% Crop

Zoomed in to 50mm and the exposure adjusts for a the portrait as apposed to the wide angle landscape style frame it was looking at above.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

Zoomed out a bit.

Sony Nex-3n - Sample Photo - Superior Auto Mode

Sony Nex-3n – Sample Photo – Superior Auto Mode

 

Closing remarks

Overall the Sony Nex-3n is doing a good job in Superior Auto mode, but I’m sure I could get better quality if I were shooting Raw and developing a bit in Lightroom. Nevertheless, image quality is very good using the 16-50mm kit lens in jpeg mode. I have not tried the 55-210mm lens yet, but I’m thinking that will also make some great photos. The LCD screen on the back of the Nex-3n is very hard to see in the sunlight, and the grip is a bit awkward for my hands are the only issues I’m having so far. I really miss the viewfinder on my Nex-6 for the bright sun situations. The Nex-3n plastic housing is much more rigid than the previous Nex-F3 model, and this is a really good improvement. The flex in the screen on the Nex-f3 was pretty poor I thought and actually rated the camera lower do to it. Sony clearly addressed this issue and brought the build quality up to par and beyond considering the price point of $448 w/ 16-50mm kit lens!

That is it for now, but stay tuned for more sample photos using various E-Mount lenses, and perhaps some old school Minolta lenses via a RainbowImagining lens adapter?? I also want to make some tutorial type videos on the user interface and explain the settings ect.. Much more to come with the ultra compact Sony Nex-3n Mirrorless ILC!

Thanks for checking in, and be sure to comment below, ask questions, or make requests while I still have the Sony Nex-3n in hand ;)

Jay


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Thanks,
Jay

 

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!




4 Comments


  1. Gerard Kuzawa

    Good review. When all is said and done, a camera is really all about capturing and interpreting the light it sees in comparison to what humans can see. Yes, I use I+ mode at times also as well as autofocus, but long ago gave up on letting the camera do the conversion to jpeg (yes, even after most every Sony pundit stating the worse of it, I still had to try and see for Myself). But I do see in other photos of mine that in lower light days (skies being nothing but gray) that raw still cannot be given enough info to pull something out in Photoshop. I’ve done so using HDR, but that is only good for really still landscapes, not running-and-gunning. That is where the three-shot that happens in I+ mode comes in so handy; I wish I could force the camera to do that. Better at being still (now), when I see the message in the viewfinder telling Me the camera is going to do the three successive shots, I’m actually happy about it. For being saved (only as) a raw file, many a pic was worked out to be wonderfuller than if shot in some other mode since the shot would have required hdr (and I am still speaking most of run-and-gun shooting).

    Other than that, I understand that plastic has a bad name in the realm of cameras, but I do not have an issue with it. I’d be plenty happy with an A99 sized camera with a good plastic body. The right plastic seems to stable enough for lenses it seems.


    • Jay

      Thanks Gerard,

      I know what you mean about forcing the camera to shoot in the three-shot auto modes. That would be a cool feature, but if you know haw to use the camera it’s usually just one of the scene modes, or Auto HDR as you stated. Easy enough to just switch to one of those modes, or set the camera manually like a Pro ;) The Auto modes are really powerful these days, not to mention the addition of Apps which opens a whole new world of possibilities and growth.

      I do miss the Nex-6 Hybrid AF when using the Nex-3n I must say. It does the job well, but noticeable slower at focusing to the point of missing lots of shots I would have gotten with the Nex-6 in my opinion. Totally understandable though considering the Nex-3n doesn’t have the hybrid AF.

      Good plastic can be just as good, if not better than metal in the real world. Even the ballistic style plastic the slt-a57 is made out of is really good.

      Jay


      • Gerard Kuzawa

        TY for Your response and insights.

        In part what came to mind as I read Your response is that I did not make clear that in the “pro modes” I can indeed emulated a true HDR/bracketed mode. However, even if I was super fast at changing the exposure compensation, it still would take wayyyyy longer than what the processor could and can do automatically. When the subject is there and I have but a portion of a second, My finger cannot turn the wheel and click the shutter fast enough. Yes, in still life, I and You and most others can, however, there are times when movement is or movement will be inevitable… to those means and extremes I will never be as fast as electronics. Until the sensors are capable of no less than 24 bits of dynamic range, HDR techniques will be a part–a much needed part–of photography.


      • Jay

        I agree Gerard that HDR Photography is critical to capturing all the dynamic range in certain scenes. As you said, until a much higher dynamic range sense is available we will need to utilize HDR. I do have the DRO/ Auto HDR set to the functions button of my Nex-6, so it’s only to clicks away. Your point is well taken though and I do agree that would be a cool feature ;)

        Thanks again,
        Jay



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