Sony Alpha NEX-3 Preview

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sony_nex-3_600.jpgDuring PMA 2010, Sony unveiled several new concept models under glass, including some EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) units that looked like direct competitors to the popular Olympus/Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

Today, Sony announced two of those models, the NEX-3 and NEX-5. The NEX label stands for Next Generation in their Alpha line of powerful interchangeable lens cameras, and these models boasts dSLR performance, HD video options, and a whole lot more in their compact frames. Both models share almost identical specifications, with only the body design and video options differing. 

The NEX-3 key features include:
  • Three body color options: Red, Silver and Black
  • 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS-C HD CMOS image sensor
  • Sony's New E-mount lens system
  • BIONZ image processor
  • Focal plane shutter mechanism
  • Sweep Panorama functions
  • 720p HD MPEG-4 video recording with stereo sound
  • JPEG and RAW image capture (RAW+JPEG too)
  • High-speed 25-point contrast AF system
  • Auto HDR mode (3 frame)
  • Face detection and Smile Shutter options with Child and Adult priority modes
  • iAuto, Program , Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure options
  • Anti Motion Blur and Handheld Twilight multi-frame modes (use 6 images to produce a single photo)
  • 2.3fps burst in normal mode, 7fps using Speed Priority mode
  • 49 segment metering system
  • New user friendly GUI
  • 3.0-inch tilting LCD with 921k dots and Sony's TruBlack technology
  • Clip-on external flash unit
  • Li-ion battery pack
  • MS Duo Pro, SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory card compatibility
The NEX-3 will be available in early July, and comes in two configurations:
  • NEX-3 + E 16mm F/2.8 (SEL16F28) lens for $550US
  • NEX-3 + E 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL1855) lens for $600US
  • The E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS (SEL18200) will be available this fall for $800US
Please stay tuned as we wait to get our evaluation unit in for testing. Below you can find the official Sony press release.

07/01/2010: Sony Posts NEX firmware update (Version 2)

Sony has just released a new firmware update for their NEX camera models. Below are the details of Version 2.

Firmware Version 2 for NEX incorporates the the following improvements:
  1. Adds their new 3D Sweep Panorama function
  2. Improves the Sweep Panorama function by enhancing the accuracy of the stitching in cases where sky or sea occupy a large part of the scene
  3. Reduces power consumption when the camera is off
  4. Reduces start-up time under low-light conditions
Click Here to download Version 2 for your NEX-3 camera


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SONY INTRODUCES WORLD'S SMALLEST AND LIGHTEST INTERCHANGEABLE LENS DIGITAL CAMERAS


Models Provide DSLR Performance, Full HD Video, Sweep Panorama, APS-C sensor and Low-Light Capability in an Unprecedented Compact Design

SAN DIEGO, May 10, 2010 - Sony today introduced two innovative a (alpha) compact interchangeable lens digital cameras (models NEX-5 and NEX-3) that provide the quality of a digital SLR in a compact body that is easy to slip into a small purse or jacket pocket for ultimate portability.

"Consumers want better picture quality in a smaller form factor. Sony has made that a reality with these cameras. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras truly embody Sony's make.believe spirit," said Kristen Elder, director of Sony's alpha digital imaging business. "These new cameras are the game-changers everyone has been waiting for and will revolutionize the consumer experience by offering outstanding picture quality with a totally pocketable size."

With breakthrough video performance, these models are the world's first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording video. The NEX-5 camera offers Full HD movie capture (1080i AVCHD and 720p MP4) with Full HD 60i recording.

These cameras are perfect for point-and-shoot users looking to advance from snapshots to creative photography as well as existing DSLR users searching for a no-compromise compact alternative.

Innovative Design

Unlike conventional DSLR models, the "mirrorless" construction of the new models reduces the thickness of both camera bodies to just about an inch at their slimmest point (excluding grip and mount portions). The NEX-5, constructed from magnesium alloy, and the NEX-3, with a polycarbonate casing, offer a newly developed 14.2 megapixel Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor. About 60 percent larger than the sensor in micro four-thirds cameras, this sensor is key to the exceptional image quality, extremely low image noise and creative defocus background effects that are familiar to DSLR users.

HD Movie Recording and Fast, Silent Autofocus

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first a cameras to offer the extra convenience of high definition video recording. In addition to 720p HD recording, the NEX-5 also captures
Full HD (1920 x 1080i) video in high-quality AVCHD files that can be easily enjoyed on a compatible HD television via the cameras built-in HDMI™ terminal (cable not included). The NEX-3 shoots 720p HD video as compact MP4 files.  Both Sony cameras include built-in stereo microphones for high-quality audio recording.

Still and video image quality is further refined by Sony's powerful BIONZ® processor that ensures quick DSLR-style shooting response with fast, precise autofocus and minimal shutter lag. Both cameras can also capture fast-moving action with a high-speed burst of full-resolution images at up to 7fps (AF/AE fixed from first frame).

Sweep Panorama

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first a cameras featuring Sweep Panorama. Capturing large group shots is as easy as press-and-sweep. Sweep Panorama mode lets consumers capture breathtaking shots up to 226-degree horizontal or 151-degree vertical shots.
 
Both models will be ready for 3D Sweep Panorama this July (with firmware update). With 3D Sweep Panorama mode, these cameras can shoot 3D panoramic still images with a single lens. The high-speed burst of frames is stitched together using innovative processing techniques to automatically create detail-packed 3D panoramas. These files can be enjoyed in stunning 3D on compatible 3D televisions (other accessories may be required).
   
These cameras provide the advantages of multi-frame capture featured in Cyber-shot® cameras, including Hand-Held Twilight and Anti-motion Blur modes, which offer extraordinary low-light performance.

Simple To Use

Overcoming the complexity and intimidation that often come along with DSLR use, the NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras have a new easy-to-use interface. It makes their performance advantages and features--including the techniques of creative photography--simple to master for consumers stepping up from compact digital still cameras and simultaneously offers easy access to the important camera controls that DSLR users demand.
 
Images and camera settings are displayed on the 3-inch (diagonal) wide-type Xtra Fine LCD™ display with TruBlack™ technology and 921k dot high resolution LCD that tilts up or down for comfortable viewing in any shooting position. The screen features an auto-brightness control function for excellent visibility, even outdoors. TruBlack screen technology enables an even more vivid, high-contrast view of images and camera settings.

E-Mount Lenses

Three new E-mount lenses are being introduced, including a 16mm F2.8 wide angle prime lens (model number SEL16F28), an 18mm-55mm F3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens (model number SEL1855) and an 18mm-200mm F3.5-6.3 (model number SEL18200) high magnification zoom lens.
 
The E-mount lenses provide the cameras with extreme compactness as well as the performance required for quiet continuous auto focus and auto exposure during HD video capture.  These all new lenses are of premium construction, with brushed aluminum barrels and steel mounts.  An optional LA-EA1 Mount Adaptor extends compatibility to the a family of 30 lenses, plus a huge range of other legacy A-mount lenses (Manual Focus only).

Ideal for everyday shooting, the low-profile E 16mm F2.8 lens minimizes bulk, allowing the camera to easily be carried in a coat, pants pocket, or purse. This lens' creative possibilities can be expanded even further by the VCL-ECU1 Ultra Wide Converter which provides a 12mm view, and VCL-ECF1 Fisheye Converter that delivers impressive curvi-linear distortion.

Featuring in-lens Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization for clearer handheld images, the E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom is a perfect travel partner. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are available in kit form with either the 16mm prime or the 18mm-55mm lens.  The E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS zoom lens offers a powerful 11x magnification range plus Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active mode that is used in the most advanced Handycam® camcorders.

Accessories

Both cameras are supplied with a super-compact clip-on flash that attaches via the smart accessory terminal when needed. Other optional accessories include the FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder plus stylish cases and shoulder straps.

As an option, the accessory shoe on both cameras accepts a compact ECM-SST1 Stereo Microphone that captures even more high-quality sound for HD video recordings than the cameras' built-in stereo recording.

The new cameras accept both Memory Stick PRO Duo™ (including Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™) and SD (including both SDHC and SDXC formats) media (all sold separately). Sony's new Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX offers 30MB per second transfer rates that save you time when downloading images.

Pricing and Availability

The NEX-5A and NEX-3A cameras, which are supplied with SEL16F28 lens, will cost about $650 and $550 respectively. NEX-5K and NEX-3K cameras, supplied with SEL1855 lens will cost about $700 and $600 respectively. The NEX-3 will be available in silver, black and red, and the NEX-5 in silver and black.

The SEL16F28 and SEL1855 lenses will be available for about $250 and $300. (The SEL18200 zoom lens will be available this fall for about $800.)
The cameras, lenses and a range of accessories will be available in July at Sony Style® retail stores (www.Sonystyle.com/retail) and at authorized dealers nationwide.

*The NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras are the world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital cameras as of the announcement date and based on Sony's research.

Additional product photos

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