Sony NEX-3N Overview and Impressions

Sony NEX-3N

Sony NEX-3N

The Sony NEX-3N was unveiled on February 20, 2013 and is the latest camera in its line of 'threes' (3->C3->F3-> 3N). Later the Sony NEX-3N was replaced by a camera Sony a5000.

The Sony NEX-3N is an amateur tiny mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with an APS-C sensor for the Sony E mount. At first, it's hard to believe that such a tiny camera houses a large enough APS-C sensor. Actually, this sensor allows the camera to create high quality images.

Main features of Sony NEX-3N:

  1. Popular 16MP sensor (4912 X 3264) with By the age of 14 bit color depth. This kind of sensor / sensor was very common at one time and was put into a huge number of cameras. Most likely, the following models use the same or slightly modified sensor as the Sony NEX-3N. SONY NEX: NEX-F3, NEX-C3, NEX-5T, NEX-5Women, NEX-5R, NEX-6. SONY SLT: a35, a37, a55, a57. SONY SLR: a580, camcorders SONY: NEX-VG20ENEX-VG30ENEX-EA50. NIKON: D7000, D5100. PENTAX: K-5, K-5 II, K-30, K-50, K-500, K-01... Sensor modifications primarily concern the addition of phase focus sensors, there may be other fundamental differences in its versions. Important: I cannot say for sure that the same sensor is used in these cameras, but they are all very similar, and it is also reliably known that Nikon and Pentax often use Sony sensors. Most likely, one of the important reasons for the popularity of this sensor is that it became one of the first mass solutions that allow you to shoot FULL HD video, and also had good characteristics in terms of dynamic range and work at high ISO.
  2. The ISO range is 200-16.000. Automatic ISO control only works in the range 200-3.200. Unfortunately Sony NEX-3N cannot use ISO below 200. Together with the shortest shutter speed 1/4000 s shutter this can create slight difficulties when using high-aperture optics with F / 2.0 and below. But the native similar aperture optics for Sony E cat cried, only 50mm f / 1.8 OSS35mm f / 1.8 OSS и 24mm f / 1.8 ZEISS ZA.
  3. The camera shutter is only mechanical, with minimal shutter speed 1/4000 second. The maximum burst speed is 4 fps without Live View and 3 fps with the output of the scene to the screen. This is the slowest burst speed of the entire Sony NEX mirrorless series. Nevertheless, this is quite enough for amateur purposes. The buffer is small and comprises about 7 RAW images.
  4. Camera focus only in contrast, which makes it practically useless when shooting fast-moving objects. For static objects with focus, there is no problem. Whale lenses 18-55mm f / 3.5-5.6 OSS и 16-50mm f / 3.5-5.6 PZ OSS, which you can often find with Sony NEX-3N on sale, behave on camera well.
  5. The Sony NEX-3N has a folding screen that rotates 180 degrees. In the fully raised position, the picture on the display flips over, making it easy to take a selfie or video. 3-inch display with 460.000 dots. This is the lowest display resolution among all Sony NEX mirrorless (if you do not take into account Sony Alpha, such as, Sony a5000 и a3000/a3500).
  6. The camera uses SD / SDHC / SDXC (without high-speed UHS bus) or Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro-HG Duo. A 32 GB card holds about 2000 RAW files.
  7. Of the connectors, there is only USB 2.0 and micro HDMI.
  8. A great feature is Full HD 1920 X 1080 24p MPEG-4 or 60i AVCHD video recording. There is a built-in stereo microphone.
  9. The camera can be charged via USB. Sony NEX-3N's battery is tiny, but you can easily get more than 500 frames without using the built-in flash.
  10. Despite its small size, the camera has a built-in flash, which can only work in automatic TTL mode. Separately, it is worth noting that the Sony NEX-3N does not have an integrated image stabilizer (appeared in a6500), wi-fi, bluetoth, GPS, touch control, removable EVIheadphone or microphone jack and many other modern features.


The camera exists in 3 body colors: black, white and pink:

Sample Photos

Examples for different lenses:

Many more sample photos, as well as the original RAW and JPEG files from the Sony NEX-3N camera can be found in the following reviews:

  1. 7Artisans 12mm F2.8 WIDE-LENS
  2. Sony E 3.5-5.6 / 18-55 OSS (Optical Steady Shot, E-mount)
  3. MC Jupiter-9 2/85
  4. VEGA 2/20
  5. Carl Zeiss Jena II F = 28mm 1: 2.8 MC MACRO
  6. KAMERO AUTO 200mm 1: 3.3
  7. CANON LENS FL 50mm 1: 1.8
  8. MINOLTA MD ROKKOR 50mm 1: 1.2
  9. MC HELIOS-44M-4 58mm 1: 2
  10. Yongnuo YN60mm F2NE MF MACRO
  11. HELIOS-44K-4 58mm 1: 2 ZENIT
  12. Yongnuo YN 85mm F1.8N

My experience

I am always surprised that with such a tiny and unremarkable camera you can squeeze out so much.

The controls on the camera are not designed for advanced amateur use, but are made with an emphasis on the “point and shoot” style of shooting. However, the camera has access to a large number of settings that are buried deep in the menu. If desired, the Sony NEX-3N gives you a huge share of the functionality found in the latest Sony APS-C cameras.

Sony NEX-3N is one of Sony's slowest mirrorless cameras with a cropped sensor. But for simple amateur tasks 3 fps is enough with the head.

Against the background of the new Sony NEX, Sony Alpha cameras with 20-24 MP sensors, the old Sony NEX-3N looks very poor, but her price on the secondary market is very low, which allows amateurs to get a high-quality APS-C sensor for various kinds of photo tasks. For example, I purchased the NEX-3N to create a manual lens review. 7Artisans 12 / 2.8, after which she remained with me.

All Sony E-mount cameras with APS-C sensor

All Sony E lenses for APS-C

Fix Lenses:

  1. Sony 11 mm f/1.8 (announcement) [2022, black, AliExpress price]
  2. Sony 15 mm f / 1.4 G (announcement) [2022, black, AliExpress price]
  3. Sony 16 mm f/2.8 (overview) [2010, silver, AliExpress price]
  4. Sony 20 mm f/2.8 (announcement) [2013, silver, AliExpress price]
  5. Sony 24 mm f / 1.8 ZEISS ZA (overview) [2011, black]
  6. Sony 30 mm f / 3.5 MACRO (overview) [2011, silver, AliExpress price]
  7. Sony 35 mm f / 1.8 OSS (announcement) [2012, black, AliExpress price]
  8. Sony 50 mm f / 1.8 OSS (announcement) [2011, black/silver, AliExpress price]

Zoom Lenses:

  1. Sony 10-18 mm f / 4 OSS (announcement) [2012, black, AliExpress price]
  2. Sony 10-20 mm f / 4 G PZ (announcement) [2022, black, AliExpress price]
  3. Sony 16-50 mm f / 3.5-5.6 PZ OSS (overview) [2012, black/silver, AliExpress price]
  4. Sony 16-55 mm f / 2.8 G (overview) [2019, black, AliExpress price]
  5. Sony 16-70 mm f / 4 OSS ZEISS ZA (overview) [2013, black, AliExpress price]
  6. Sony 18-50 mm f/4-5.6 (overview) [2014, black]
  7. Sony 18-55 mm f / 3.5-5.6 OSS (overview) [2010, black/silver]
  8. Sony 18-105 mm f / 4 G PZ OSS (announcement) [2013, black, AliExpress price]
  9. Sony 18-110 mm f / 4 G PZ OSS (announcement) [2016, black]
  10. Sony 18-135 mm f / 3.5-5.6 OSS (overview) [2018, black, AliExpress price]
  11. Sony 18-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS (overview) [2010, silver, AliExpress price]
  12. Sony 18-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS LE (overview) [2012, black, AliExpress price]
  13. Sony 18-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 PZ OSS (announcement) [2012, black]
  14. Sony 55-210 mm f / 4.5-6.3 OSS (announcement) [2011, black/silver, AliExpress price]
  15. Sony 70-350 mm f/4.5–6.3 G OSS (announcement) [2019, black, AliExpress price]

Third-party autofocus lenses for Sony E APS-C:

Many interesting manual solutions are provided by Chinese manufacturers and brands. 7Artisans, TTartisan, Meike, Neewer, PerGear, Kamlan, Brightin star, Mitakon Zhongyi, Venus laowaFujian, ARTRALABAstrHori other. Autofocus Speed ​​Boosters are also interesting Viltrox Canon EF -> Sony E 0.71X и Metabones Canon EF -> Sony E 0.71X... List of full-frame cameras and lenses Sony FE (Full Frame E) here

Materials on the topic

  1. Full frame mirrorless systems... Discussion, choice, recommendations.
  2. Cropped mirrorless systems... Discussion, choice, recommendations.
  3. Cropped mirrorless systems that have stopped or are no longer developing
  4. Digital SLR systems that have stopped or are no longer developing
  5. JVI or EVI (an important article that answers the question 'DSLR or mirrorless')
  6. About mirrorless batteries
  7. Simple and clear medium format
  8. High-speed solutions from Chinese brands
  9. All fastest autofocus zoom lenses
  10. All fastest AF prime lenses
  11. Mirrored full frame on mirrorless medium format
  12. Autofocus Speed ​​Boosters
  13. One lens to rule the world
  14. The impact of smartphones on the photography market
  15. What's next (smartphone supremacy)?
  16. All announcements and novelties of lenses and cameras

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 47, on the topic: Overview and impressions of Sony NEX-3N

  • Jury

    Thanks for the review, it was interesting to know the opinion of Arkady about this camera. At one time, I looked at Sony's mirrorless mirrors, but the soap-dish design discouraged any desire to contact them. Although the camera is definitely not bad.

    PS The word “functional” used in the text is a term from the field of mathematics. What you mean by functionality is called functionality.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      By the way, Sony a3000 and a3500 mirrorless cameras have a mirror design

      • Jury

        I agree, the design is like a DSLR, but the set of buttons is still soapy. After the non-initial Nikon DSLR cameras, where there are no separate switches or buttons for selecting focus and metering modes, they already seem inconvenient.

  • Seladir

    There is a contradiction between the mention of phase sensors on the matrix and contrast focusing as the only available.

    • Arkady Shapoval


      • Michael

        Opus in clause 1 "Features", only the meaning is different)

  • Oleg

    I want to add that although the flash is built-in, it can be tilted up (to the ceiling)

  • zengarden

    The camera was very successful. It is still in demand on the secondary.
    Photos are good :)

    • zengarden

      The red-haired girl won me over 😍 in general, Jupiter-9 is very good for a female portrait

  • Michael

    Sad grayness.

  • Anton

    Other things being equal, what would be better for a photo of this 3N or C3?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      They have an image that looks like two drops of water, the same sensor. The 3n ISO was slightly raised (16.000 against 12.800), but in reality it gives practically nothing.

      • Georgy

        Plus a twofold difference in display resolution.

  • koba

    Dear Arkady! I would like to ask you - in 99% of cases, mirrorless lenses do not have a distance scale, and what if you need to set exactly, say, 2 meters on the lens? Does this camera have an electronic distance scale, that is, when you turn the focusing ring, can you see through the menu at what distance the focus is?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The camera does not show the value in meters or feet, only approximately in what position is the focus ring between the MDF and infinity.

      • koba

        I also looked at different cameras, and it turned out that all Fujifilm showed and show this, they also do new cameras from Sony (full-frame), so I bought myself an old Fujifilm X-E2s + 15-45. By the way, if we discard this and some other parameters (interval shooting, for example), now the Sony 5N or 3-series will give the owner a lot of opportunities for next to nothing. Fujifilm cameras for some reason do not lose their price so quickly ...

        • Arkady Shapoval

          x-trans and design :)

  • Ruslan

    I have such a camera together with Industrial 69, it turns out well street photo, I also use 16-50 with a whale for traveling. I have been using it actively for 3 years, I haven’t let it down, not in the rain, not in frosts.

  • Artem

    Good camera, I recently bought a used kit with a mileage of less than 4 thousand shots for 3500 UAH. Helios hooked on it taken from his grandfather, I am satisfied with the picture quality).
    It’s just that the case and the display are scratched easily, I put a film on the display, but I’ve caught a few scratches on the case below, although I use it carefully

  • Stanislas

    Arkady, tell me please. Is it relevant to buy this camera model now? I don't have many requirements: subject shooting and a child. He was the owner of a Nikon D3300 with a kit lens 18-55, everything was fine except for the size. Will I lose quality with 16-50 and Nex 3 / Nex 5 lenses?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      lose a little, nex-3n removes + - like d5100

  • Sergei

    Arkady, good evening! I would like to ask your advice as a connoisseur and expert, tk. I myself am very bad at iron. There is a Sony Nex 3n with a whale 1650. We urgently need to choose a zoom lens (telephoto) for it, but one that does not have to change glasses several times a day, and when most of the shots are supposed to be in tele-mode. And the most important thing is that the lens should be mounted without any adapters and controlled from the camera buttons in automatic mode. so that the controls are exactly the same as the whale 1650.

    Based on these requirements, I was advised Sony E 18200 OSS, the first silver version without LE in the name (i.e. not black). How correct is this choice?
    Are there any cheaper options like Tamron that both mount and operate in the same way as the whale Sony and are not much inferior in quality to the Sony 18200?

    Also, I did not quite understand how the Lock button on the Sony 18200 works. Every time you carry the camera with the lens down, do not forget to set it to Lock so that the lens does not go down, and before each next shot, remove it from the lock?

    In general, please help me with a choice! Thanks in advance for your advice and clarification.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The Lock button often does not need to be used, you can forget about it altogether and not bother.
      Take your own inexpensive 55-210mm f / 4.5-6.3 OSS telephoto lens, it will be the best option. If you need a station wagon, then the choice is scarce:

      18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS (or looking, you might be lucky to find an inexpensive 18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS LE or 18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 PZ OSS)

      Successful Tamron 18-200 / 3.5-6.3 VC is not much worse than the original 18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS

      There are no other solutions without adapters and for little money.

      • Sergei

        Arkady, of course, I was thinking about 55210 (it is much cheaper than 18200), but it does not cover a wide angle and if there is not enough time to change it to the whale 1650, it will not be possible to take close shots, right?

        By the way, what do the letters PZ in the title mean? I thought there were only two lens options - early silver and late black with the letters LE. It is the early silver one that is advised, it seems to be better in optics, although it is heavier. So there is also a variant with the letters PZ?

        Sony 18200 OSS (silver) I found for 11000, it is very inexpensive for it. But the seller confused me with this very Lock. I did not understand how to forget about it, because without it the lens will extend if you hold it in the downward direction, and the focal length will constantly go astray. If I understood correctly…

        The seller also said that there is such a property of this lens that it does not focus at a wide angle (focal 18); to focus, you first need to shift the zoom slightly and then it will start focusing. He declined to answer whether this is a property of the lens or its defect.
        Arkady, help out, clarify on these points, please, so as not to make the wrong purchase.

        And finally, does Tamron also have stabilization? And will it absolutely be similar in use and control to a kit lens?

        I would be very grateful!

        • Michael

          PZ - Power Zoom - focal electric drive, as on the soap dishes
          If 18 does not focus at all, then the defect

          • Sergei

            Michael, i.e. is there a silver lens with and without the letters PZ? Then I don’t really understand ... If all these lenses have the letter E (E mount), doesn’t it already mean that there is an electric drive?

            • Victor

              The letter e stands for Sony e mount compatibility.

              Power zoom is usually denoted pz (power zoom)

              • Sergei

                So there is a Sony E 1820 lens with and without the letters PZ? If these letters are not there, then nothing can be done from the camera buttons ?? Help me figure it out, please, I originally asked about a lens similar in control to the whale 1650! Arkady advised several, and only one of them with the letters PZ. Tamron without these letters, or how to understand it?
                The further into the forest, the more and more incomprehensible ...

              • Michael

                Tamron in general with its own letters.
                Here 16-50 with the letters PZ
                Arkady above wrote three DIFFERENT models of lenses 18-200 from Sony. So what can be with letters, maybe without, or maybe with LE))
                The main thing is that the bayonet is E

            • Michael

              The electric drive is not focusing, but the focal length - ZOOM

              • Sergei

                Mount E must be by definition. But the main thing for me is that the lens is controlled in the same way as the kit lens 1650, no more and no less. And I am still confused and do not understand what and with what letters I need to look for the 18200 lens. I focus by half-pressing the shutter button. And the zoom is controlled by the flag on the ring around the shutter button. I want the new lens to have the same control. Therefore, the question is still unclear to me - does Sonya have TWO versions of silver lenses (not black LE) - with the letters PZ and without the letters PZ? With PZ zoomed in with the same flag? Without PZ, is it zoomed by rotating the ring on the lens? There is no more difference between them? Am I or am I again fundamentally wrong?
                Does Tamron have an 18200 lens with electric zoom? If not, then I have one single and optionless choice - Sony PZ 18200?
                Sorry for the stupid questions, but I want to figure it out ...

              • Michael

                PZ is zoomed with a flag. Without PZ, the ring on the lens rotates. There is no more difference in management between them. Apparently, you have 16-50 PZ as from the review above.

        • B. R. P.

          The letters VC on Tamron denote a stabilizer.

      • Sergei

        Arkady, I'm still waiting and waiting for your answers ...
        I have already read a few things myself. The function of the Lock button is still unclear. You say forget about it, others say that the lens goes out ...

        Well, in the end, you will probably have to choose between:
        Sony 18-200 / 3.5-6.3 OSS
        Tamron 18-200mm F / 3.5-6.3 Di III VC

        For an amateur like me, which is preferable to them, given the convenience and ease of control, the quality of the images, etc.?

  • Novel

    Arkady tell me, I'm shooting a sony nex3c, only a photo, optics manual samyang, what would be more appropriate to improve the photo and price quality for replacement, sony 5000/5100/6000?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      5100/6000 on the same sensor, overall 6000 is best

      • Novel

        Thank you.

    • B. R. P.

      In the 6000th Zvi there is, this is a big one +.

      • Novel

        I have never used it, it costs an overpayment of 6-10 thousand.?

        • Andrii

          Do not be.

        • Victor

          Such as in the a6000 is unlikely.

  • Oleg

    Please tell me, does the Sony NEX camera have a built-in image stabilization option or is this function implemented in lenses for such cameras? And further. How do Nikon F mount lenses fit with such mirrorless cameras, are there adapters that provide autofocus or does lens control become completely manual? Thanks!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The stub on the sensor is only for the latest cameras of the Sony a6000 series (and even then not at all). Adapters are available, but they are expensive.

      • Oleg

        Thank you Arkady!

  • the material moisture meter shows you the

    Arkady, good hour. As for the sensor in the NEX-3N, or rather in the regular version of the NEX-3... is it the same as in this one or will it be worse?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      no, it's at 14mp

    • Viktre

      At 14mp, with a lower working ISO and weaker dynamic range.

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