Sony NEX-F3: Your flexible friend

By Naomi Mackay,

Sony’s new compact snapper, the NEX-F3 has a lot of live up to. Its predecessor is the NEX-C3, which received some rave reviews from those in the know.

So can the NEX-F3 offer anything more? Well, first and most obvious is its flexible screen, which tilts through 180 degrees – ideal if you like taking self-portraits. There is also an interesting mode called Smile Shutter, which takes a shot as your subject smiles – again quite handy for self-portraits.

Sony Nex3

At first glance the camera looks very similar to the NEX-C3, and indeed it has the same pixel count at 16.2 million – but it has a newly designed sensor, which works with the Bionz processor, enabling the ISO to reach a very decent 16,000 and to allow for continuous shots at 5.5fps if you use the camera’s Priority mode.

Despite these fancy credentials, this camera is definitely aimed at the novice photographer, as Sony seems determined to enable them to take great shots, however little experience they have.

Auto Portrait Framing, for instance, locates the subject and crops the scene to offer a nicely composed portrait, and Superior Auto mode intelligently recognises a number of scenes and subjects, adjusting settings for you, without you having to put in any brainwork whatsoever.

An improved handgrip makes the snapper easy to handle, and battery power has been increased to offer 470 shots from a single charge – that’s around 18% better than the NEX-C3 – and it’s easily charged via USB.

Finally, although you should be able to get close-up thanks to the Clear Image Zoom, which doubles the effective magnification of the lens, there is a telephoto lens available for the NEX-F3 as well. The SEL18200LE E18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS LE offers a powerful 11x zoom range and features Optical SteadyShot to alleviate handshake.

The new NEX-F3 compact system camera from Sony is available now for around £530.