Sony NEX-F3 Review (Part 3)

10/29/2012 9:37:58 AM

NEX-F3 is very funny because it provides us with a lot of interesting and versatile capture modes. Beside manual mode, such as M, S, A, P, there are:

3D Sweep Panorama and Sweep Panorama

I often use this feature because it can save time doing complicated adjustment and process for a satisfying panorama photo. You just need to select Sweep Panorama then start casting your camera to capture panoramic scenes. 3D mode is, specifically, seen on 3D TVs and its effects can’t be displayed on NEX-F3’s LCD screen. In some tests, I realized that this mode was more sensitive than NEX-5’s one. With such fast capturing speed, for NEX-5 I was able to finish my photo though for NEX-F3, I did cast my camera too fast that I had to start all over.

Description: 3D Sweep Panorama and Sweep Panorama

3D Sweep Panorama and Sweep Panorama

Anti-Motion Blur

This feature reduces shake and blur in low-lighting or telephotographing. This mode first captures 6 images instantly then processes them all to create the best one.

Scene Selection

You have many capture modes: night scene, portrait, sunrise, quick-motion, macro… The most impressive among them is Hand-held Twilight which comes effective in capturing night scene. This feature is not new and it has already appeared in previous models of Sony. Like Anti-Motion Blur, it captures many photos at the same time but appears more effective in low-lighting.

Description: Scene Selection

Scene Selection

Intelligent Auto

This mode will automatically detect your scene and adjust appropriate parameters. If you are a newbie, it’s recommended to use iAuto to watch and learn how the camera measures brightness, aperture, speed, ISO and EV.

Superior Auto

A new feature has appeared in NEX-3 series (NEX-F3 has this one while NEX-C3 doesn’t). With this mode, you can adjust more parameters than iAuto. Particularly, we will use the wheel to blur the background behind our object (Defocus), adjust Brightness, Color, and Vividness and apply Picture Effects. These effects are completely similar to those of previous NEX models. You can view some effected photos in below Galleria. Besides, Superior Auto helps us to activate Auto HDR and autofocus without manual adjustment.

Auto Portrait Framing

In fact, this is not a capture mode but a technology which can be turned on/off in the camera’s menu. If you capture an image in which the camera detect a face, it will try to crop that image in golden ratio (1/3) to produce the best-quality image right at the time the eye looks directly into the camera. Cropped image will be processed by Sony’s Super Resolution to enhance resolution.

Clear Image Zoom

This is not a separate mode but a digital zooming feature of NEX-F3. I hardly use this type of zoom as it gives low visual quality plus noise. For NEX-F3, it’s a completely different experience. When Clear Image Zoom is activated, image would be enlarged without noise and loss of sharpness. Sony provides us with various zooming levels, in which the largest one is 4X. Clear Image Zoom’s zoom range is from 1X to 1.8X. To adjust zooming level, we can use the wheel.

Clear Image Zoom is good at recording videos. You can easily enlarge the frame regardless of shaking the camera because you don’t have to revolve the lens. This feature, during recording, can reach 2.5X zoom. Beyond this level, image quality begins to decrease. Below are some image processed by Clear Image Zoom.

Image quality

NEX-F3 uses a brand-new 16MP sensor which delivers accurate colors and sharpness. In standard lighting, captured image is very good and able to preserves details when enlarged. Colors are vivid and eye-catching. However, in some cases, LCD’s display is nice but PC’s display is a little faded.

NEX-F3’s capturing in low-lighting is as good as that of DSLR and mirror-less compact in the same price range. At ISO 800, you can feel free shooting photos without worry for noise. At 1600, noise starts appearing thinly, not too much, not too little yet acceptable. At ISO 3200, more noise shows up, object’s lines begin being faded, which only can be seen when you enlarge your image. At 6400 and 12800, noise is clearly seeable in dark areas but we seldom use this ISO level. In case you are mostly interested in shooting for sharing photos online with your friends, NEX-F3 low-lighting capture best suits.

Test images were captured in low-lighting condition plus 1600-16000 ISO, at 1/50 second speed and without +/- EV. RAW images were converted into JPEG formats by Sony Image Date Converter (plus no adjustment).


NEX-F3 can record videos at maximal Full-HD 1920x1080 resolution at 60i frame rate. This proves to be a power of NEX-3 models when compared with NEX-C3 as these predecessors could only capture videos at HD 720p resolution. Now, NEX-F3 (though its bit rate – 60i/24Mbps – is lower than NEX-5N’s one – 60i/29Mbps) rivals NEX-5N.

User can select between MP4 and AVCHD format like they often do with other Alpha models. While recording, you can adjust speed, aperture, EV, ISO, focus point and even digital zooming. It’s really impressive that we would flexibly configure aperture’s speed, improving our creativity. Some cameras don’t allow us to configure these parameters, yet they automatically set them up and impose considerable restrictions on advanced photographers.

With reference to movie’s quality, colors are accurately reproduced with no dilution as well as saturation. If the movie is recorded outdoor, its quality will be higher. Additionally, sound is clear and loud. For common and half-professional users, NEX-F3’s recording surely satisfies them.


According to Sony, the camera can capture 400 shots per charging but in practical test, the figure was lower. After 100% fully recharged and 170 shots, 10% of which used flash while the rest were normally captured with continuously lit LCD screen. There was 68% battery left. To use up battery’s capacity per one recharging, I did shoot 370 photos at the above setting. This was quite considerable result because NEX-F3 didn’t have viewfinder so I had to do everything manually.


NEX-F3 is good with innovative technologies thus it can give you nice images easily. For those who desire high-quality in a compact camera, NEX-F3 is the best choice. Though, it is bigger and heavier than previous NEX models yet it feels sturdy and comfortable. Custom setting is quite complicated and slow but during long use, user will get accustomed to it. Overall, NEX-F3 is very flexible and sure to satisfy many people for its 600-dollar price and 18-55m kit lens.


Big and comfortable stock

Built-in flash

Swivel display

Micro-USB assisting charging

Full-HD recording

Good low-lighting capture

Nice and clear image captured

Superior Auto and Focus Peaking modes

A bunch of auto shooting features

Fast and accurate Object Tracking


Inaccurate focus in low lighting

Complicated control

Pricey lens with few options

Low downward swiveling angle

Unsmooth swiveling joint

Hard to press capture button


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