While its feature set is very similar to that of the NEX-3, the NEX-C3 does have a few significant new attributes. The most obvious, of course, is the 16.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor. Once again, images are processed using a Sony Bionz image processor, which is capable of capturing and saving both raw and JPEG images.
The new camera also retains the program, manual, shutter and aperture priority exposure modes of the older model, as well as a variety of scene modes. Both 3D and regular Sweep Panorama are featured, along with an on-screen shooting guide to help beginners.
Also aimed at those photographers stepping up from a compact, or even a mobile phone camera, are the new picture effects. There are seven of these, including retro, high-contrast mono, pop colour and toy camera, all of which can be applied to JPEG images.
Although interesting to play around with, they are clearly aimed at the ‘consumer’ market rather than at serious photographers. That said, if you’re not interested in them don’t let them put you off the camera – just ignore them.
The new auto+ mode takes the standard automatic scene mode selection a step further, allowing various multi-frame shooting modes to be used when appropriate. For example, the auto+ mode is able to detect when you are shooting in dark conditions and set the camera to twilight capture mode.
It will then take a series of six images, which are combined to help avoid camera shake and reduce image noise. The camera can also automatically use multi-shot to apply an HDR effect.
Enthusiast photographers will be pleased to hear that the battery life has been improved from the original NEX-3 by 20%, allowing the new camera to take up to 400 images. Another useful new feature is focus ‘peaking’. When activated in the menu, this aids manual focusing by highlighting the areas of the image that are in focus. However, it seems a little redundant considering that manual focus mode also has the ability to show a magnified section of a scene to aid precise focusing.
Image: The tilting rear screen is really great for low-angle images
Overall, the feature set of the Sony NEX-C3 is impressive, with a range of functions that’s almost identical to that of the full-blown Sony Alpha range.