Summary: Though Sony has addressed some of the interface issues that led to our cold reception of the first NEX bodies, the C3 still feels like it’s a step behind the competition. The body remains among the smallest you can find in an ILC (at least until Pentax’s tiny Q model hits the market this fall), but the big lenses negate much of this benefit.
Excerpt: The Sony NEX-C3 rounds out the bottom end of the NEX line; however, it’s still quite the full-featured camera. I’ve already raved about the Sony NEX-5n (aside from a now-fixed problem with the audio capture in movie mode). The NEX-C3 is just as impressive of a camera to me.
Conclusion: The Sony Alpha NEX-C3 builds on the already-excellent NEX-3, but manages to be lighter and more compact. Not only does the NEX-C3 produce stunning images, even at high ISO settings, it easily earns our Editors' Choice for compact interchangeable lens cameras.
Pros: Smaller and lighter than its predecessor. Large APS-C sensor. High-resolution, tilting 3-inch LCD. Includes removable flash. Customizable control buttons. Outstanding low-light performance.
Cons: No eye-level EVF. Limited E-mount lens selection. Only supports 720p MP4 video. Ergonomics can be a bit tricky depending on lens selection.
Summary: The Alpha NEX-C3 is the first of Sony's second generation mirrorless ILC, or 'compact system cameras'. Appearing a little more than a year after the first NEX models, the NEX-C3 is smaller than both the NEX-3 and NEX-5 that preceded it and the pixel count is increased by 2 Megapixels to 16.2.
Pros: APS-C sensor with superb noise performance., Aperture priority movie exposure mode., Results-based Photo Creativity modes., Improved Custom menu layout.
Cons: Custom button replaces shooting mode., Lacks 1080 AVCHD video., No hotshoe - fiddly flash connector., 1600 ISO limit in iAuto mode.
Conclusion: The image quality alone will make this camera worthy of consideration, and so long as you are aware of potential weaknesses, it could prove to be a compelling choice among current compact system cameras.
Summary: The NEX-C3, like its predecessors the NEX-3/5, is a well built, easy to use interchangeable lens camera. The NEX-C3 is capable of image quality that rivals the best of its APS-C DSLR competition while being significantly smaller and lighter. As well as effective handling and excellent image quality the C3's user-friendly iAuto mode as well as full featured PASM modes should satisfy most photographers.
Pros: Improved interface with increased customization options compared to NEX-3/5, High resolution sensor with excellent High ISO performance, Very good JPEG output quality, Very good build quality, Versatile, high-resolution LCD screen, Easy to use but versatile iAuto mode, Interesting and effective extra features such as in-camera HDR and sweep panorama, Good, clear live view magnification (particularly useful for using non E-mount lenses), Useful built-in user guide (Sho...
Cons: iAuto mode does not take full advantage of the large sensor's low-light capability. (ISO is capped at 1600), Optional flash is underpowered (and adds bulk), Auto HDR is only available while shooting in JPEG only modes, Operation is very different in photo creativity modes compared to PASM modes - may be confusing for ambitious novices., No hotshoe, No EVF option, 'Bkground Defocus' feature can encourage the use of the wrong settings
Summary: The Sony NEX-C3 takes an already successful Compact System Camera concept (NEX-3 and NEX-5) and improves upon it yet further. The C3's new sensor is a success, images look great and the camera's smaller design looks the part too. The price is held at a very reasonable sub-£450 point and there's very little not to like bar some control issues.
Excerpt: The Sony NEX-C3 is an absurdly small camera considering what’s packed inside. It’s hard to appreciate how tiny it is if you’re using it with the protruding zoom kit lens, which makes this slender camera look like a metallic toucan. It’s front heavy and a bit awkward, almost like it hasn’t fully grown out of puberty. Call it the Lea Michele of digital cameras. You’ve got to hand it to Sony’s hardware designers, though.
Summary: Although Sony clearly had the consumer market in mind when it created the NEX-C3, enthusiast photographers shouldn't dismiss the camera.
The fully customisable buttons help improve the handling over the first-generation NEX models, although another couple would be an even better improvement. However, it is the quality of the images from this little camera that steals the show.