Sony NEX-F3 review at IR: While experienced photographers may find the Sony NEX-F3 rather too simplified, and the performance in some areas-especially for raw shooting-to be a bit limiting, it's a great choice for an entry-level mirrorless camera.

Sony NEX-F3 review at IR: While experienced photographers may find the Sony NEX-F3 rather too simplified, and the performance in some areas-especially for raw shooting-to be a bit limiting, it's a great choice for an entry-level mirrorless camera.
The Sony NEX-F3 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power
Outdoors, the Sony NEX-F3 performed very well

Dave takes a look at the bottom end offerings in the mirrorless price scale-before it gets occupied by 'Polaroids' and 'Kodaks'. As usual in a Imaging Resource camera review, there's an excellent accompanying print quality section.

"In late 2011, Sony's NEX-C3 compact system camera brought the versatility of interchangeable-lens shooting and the size advantage of a NEX-series mirrorless design into the hands of more photographers. The Sony NEX-F3 follows in the footsteps of that model, and while its new stair-stepped grip design makes it look quite different, it retains much of what we appreciated about its predecessor, while bringing some worthwhile improvements.

Key among these for consumer photographers is its new articulation mechanism for the rear-panel LCD, which now lets it

flip forward for viewing from in front of the camera, as well. With the NEX-C3, self-portrait shooting was something of a lottery unless you had the camera tripod-mounted, as you couldn't be sure of your framing from in front of the camera. If you shoot a lot of self-portraits, you'll appreciate the fact that with the NEX-F3 you can frame yourself properly the first time, every time. The fact that the popup flash and accessory connector will both obscure the LCD is of little importance, as you'll largely be using the LCD for arm's-length portraits where flash would be unappealing anyway. For more distant portraits, you can prep your framing on a tripod before you raise the flash or add an accessory strobe.

The built-in, popup flash is also a great addition. With the NEX-C3, it was too easy to leave your external flash at home, then lose an unexpected shot that couldn't be achieved without a strobe. The Sony NEX-F3's built-in flash, albeit rather weak and uneven, is always there when you need it, and you can still add an external strobe if you need a more powerful flash.

These changes did come at a cost, as the NEX-F3 has grown a bit both in size and weight since its predecessor -- but not unduly so. It's still relatively compact, and much easier to carry around than a typical, bulky consumer SLR. Yet thanks to the fact it uses the same sensor size found in most DSLRs, you'll be able to achieve similarly good image quality. In fact, the limiting factor here is the NEX-F3's kit lens, which really isn't up to matching the capabilities of the camera body. If you want to get the most from the Sony F3 we'd recommend picking up a better lens, but unfortunately in the US market the camera itself isn't sold body-only, so you'll still have to buy the kit lens, regardless.

Paired with a better-performing lens, though, the Sony NEX-F3 represents a good choice for the consumer photographer. Images are pleasing, the body quite compact and lightweight, and the feature set provides a reasonable scope to learn and grow -- and not just for still image shooting, as you can also control exposure manually for videos, too. While experienced photographers may find the Sony NEX-F3 rather too simplified, and the performance in some areas -- especially for raw shooting -- to be a bit limiting, it's a great choice for an entry-level mirrorless camera, and a clear Dave's Pick.

Pro:   

Very affordable pricing with kit lens included
Tilting LCD now allows portrait framing
Flash is now built in (but see Con about flash performance) 
Generally very good image quality 
Excellent high ISO performance for its class 
Very good dynamic range 
Generally accurate exposure
Good burst mode speed 
DRO and HDR modes help with tricky lighting 
Automatically corrects lens defects (distortion, CA, vignetting) 
Excellent battery life for a CSC 
Combines multiple exposures in-camera for reduced noise / blur, or to create panoramas
Full HD videos at up to 60i, with stereo sound 
Very versatile video mode
External mic support via optional accessory
Fast downloads 
In-camera USB battery charging can save you carrying proprietary chargers    

Cons

Low shutter button position makes grip feel cramped
Menu layout seems arbitrary and takes a while to learn
Division between stills and video in playback mode isn't intuitive
Limited downward tilt for LCD
AF performance lags SLRs and the best CSCs
Mediocre kit lens 
Little control over noise reduction 
Occasional banding in moderate to high ISO images
Very warm Auto White Balance indoors 
Weak built-in flash; external flash connectivity is proprietary
Uneven flash coverage 
Flash and accessory terminal both obscure LCD from in front of camera
Burst depth with raw files is rather limited
Sluggish raw performance once buffer fills
Occasional orientation sensor issues"

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