Sony NEX-C3: World’s smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera


I don’t know about you but I feel more like a proper ‘photographer’ when in possession of a big, bulky, large-lensed camera. Can you imagine the likes of Annie Leibovitz and Ansel Adams capturing their photographic masterpieces on something not much bigger than a pencil sharpener? Despite my aversions to midget-sized cameras, the world of modern photography, like almost every technology niche, has become progressively ‘smaller’. Leading the way in the ‘small revolution’ is Sony and the arrival of the NEX-C3, the world’s smallest, lightest interchangeable lens digital camera in its class.

NEX-C3 features a stylish exterior that combines solid metal casing with an easy-to-use streamlined grip shape. Surpassing the NEX-3, in weight at least, the C3’s main circuitry has been significantly shrunk to just 225g, a 6% reduction compared to the NEX-3. Although Sony insist that the image quality, functions and usability of the NEX-C3 also surpasses its predecessor. These superior qualities include a large Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor that has been boosted to 16.2 effective megapixels, meaning both stills and 720p HD video is of ‘breath-taking clarity’.

It has to be acknowledged that cameras consisting of confusing menu options seem to be an inherent annoyance of the digital camera era. Aiming to eradicate this exasperation, Sony have traded a menu option feature with a more simple rear-mounted control wheel, which enables users to instantly see the effect of any given setting previewed on the screen. Not only this, but two or more different settings can be combined to create more complex and sophisticated creative effects.

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Forget anti-aging creams, as taking ten years off your subject’s age by the click of a switch is another favourable asset of the NEX-C3, as a built-in ‘Soft Skin’ effect miraculously removes blemishes and wrinkles from portrait subjects. Post-shoot editing is also made redundant with the NEX-C3, as a new ‘Picture-Effect’ setting allows users to add extra impact, such as colour, contrast and Posterisation, to both stills and video during shooting, so there is no need to edit images and videos afterwards.

This dainty camera’s versatility continues into its accessories, and joining the range of E-mount interchangeable lenses, is the SEL30M35, the world’s lightest life-size macro lens, weighing at an unbelievably nimble 138g. Despite its minute weight and size, the SEL30M35 features a 1:1 magnification ratio and a minimum working distance of just 2.4cm, making it the perfect accessory for capturing close-ups brimming with detail and clarity.

There is no uncertainty that Sony’s NEX-C3, in typical Sony fashion, surpasses its predecessors and competitors in quality, functions and usability, my only criticism is its size and weight are so light, it almost seems ‘unnatural’ for a camera. Oh, and Sony has yet to have informed us of the price of the NEX-C3.