Sony NEX-F3 preview: entry-level APS-C shooter adds pop-up flash, comfy grip, and 1080p video for $599.99


Last month, we heard that Sony had a redesigned entry-level NEX camera on the way, and the leak was spot-on: today, the company’s introducing the NEX-F3. It’s a $599.99 interchangable lens shooter with a 16.1 megapixel APS-C sensor, the pop-up flash previously only available on the pricy NEX-7, a brand-new 180-degree tilting LCD screen for self-portraits, 1080p24 video recording, and plenty of internal upgrades. In other words, it’s a feature-packed replacement for the NEX-C3, which Sony is phasing out immediately.

We spent an afternoon shooting with the camera, and we discovered it’s actually far more akin to the excellent NEX-5N than its forebear, right down to the vertical power switch and sizable new grip. It doesn’t come with an external charger for the battery, though you can buy one if you want: rather, it charges over Micro USB, which Sony says will take perhaps about five hours with a 1.5 amp charger. In fact, except for the build and a few features which stay exclusive to the higher-end 5N, it’s not very inferior camera as far as the specs go. While there’s no touchscreen, it can’t record 1080p video at 60 frames per second like the 5N, and it shoots a bit slower in general, it’s much the same everywhere else, including the 3-inch, 921k LCD screen, 1/4000 shutter speed, 16,000 max ISO, and accessory hotshoe.You can attach the same external EVF as other NEX models.

Sony NEX F3 Hands On Pics

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We took a whole bunch of pictures with a production model, and here they are, including shots with three different lenses and some ISO samples. Noise seems to be controlled well through ISO 1600, but ramps up significantly after ISO 3200. Not bad for the price, not bad at all.

While there’s no touchscreen on the NEX-F3, the 180-degree tilt lets it perform a pretty neat trick: when you flip it up all the way, it engages “Mirror Mode,” which lets you frame a self-portrait that’s reversed just as if you were in front of a mirror. Once you take the image, though, the image flips the other way, so the text on your clothing should be as legible as it is in reality. You can take a look at the feature at the end of our video below. Speaking of video, 1080p24 footage looked pretty crisp and clear. We filmed the first half of this video of Sony’s new Alpha SLT-A37 with the NEX-F3, and the second half using the SLT-A37 to show off the NEX-F3 itself.

Though the menu-driven software of the NEX series is mostly unintuitive as ever if you want to tweak settings, some of the biggest innovations are actually in software this time around: like Sony’s latest Alpha translucent mirror cameras, the NEX-F3 has a host of 15 filters and 11 modes, including some pretty nifty-sounding ones: auto portrait framing uses the Rule of Thirds to frame your subject with a theoretically pleasing crop, and the company’s proprietary By Pixel Super Resolution will then interpolate the picture data to generate a full, 16-megapixel resolution crop by “filling in” the missing pixels according to an internal database. We weren’t able to try that one, but Sony uses the same interpolation technique to provide a 2x digital zoom that appears far clearer than most others (called Clear Image Zoom) and it worked fairly well in conjunction with our lens zoom.

Sony NEX F3 Press Pics:

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Speaking of lenses, Sony’s introducing a new superzoom: the SEL18200LE is a 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 lens with optical stabilization, priced at a hefty $849.99. We gave it a try, and for the amount of range it provides, it looks and feels quite good. It’s well-built, zooms smoothly (though with a bit of effort) and images seemed a good bit sharper than with the 18-55mm kit lens in our very brief experience, though we didn’t get to test it methodically. Sony already had a 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 OSS lens, mind you, but this one’s a bit lighter, smaller, and painted black.

After a couple of hours shooting with the NEX-F3, half in full auto to experience the ease of use and half tweaking settings to see how good pictures could be, it definitely seems like a great way to move up from point-and-shoot photography. That 18-200mm lens is a bit out of reach, but the 18-55mm kit lens is a nice start. The biggest question is whether the NEX-5N, priced only $50 higher at the moment, is a better option. At that kind of minimal price difference, we expect the 5N will also get replaced before long. The NEX-F3 should ship in silver, white, and black this June, with the 18-200mm lens arriving in July.

-(via Sean Hollister,Verge)

Paper Camera, a camera app with neo styles :

When it comes to camera apps, it has been a while since I’ve really been wowed by anything I’ve seen. Most offer the same features – saturation, color effects, maybe some sort of Polaroid replica… you get the idea. I guess the development team at JFDP Labs felt the same way, because they have put together the most impressive camera app that I’ve ever seen, simply called Paper Camera.

(I had to throw this in, because I really like that tiny, #paper camera.)

Paper Camera offers some very cool effects like cartoon, sketch, comic book, old printer, neon, bleaching, half-tone, noir, old newspaper, and more. Not only are the effects top-notch, but it all happens in real-time. No post-processing going on here — what you see on the screen is exactly what you get.

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It’s worth noting that this app isn’t currently compatible with Honeycomb, but the development team are aware of the issue and are actively working to get it fixed.

Paper Camera will set you back $2.42 (£1.50) from the Android Market, and you can hit the install button below to grab it.

by JFDP Labs LTD
100 downloads, 4 ratings (4.2 avg)
Cost : $1.60 

Panasonic Officially Announces G3 Micro Four Thirds Camera With Touch Control

It kind of leaked yesterday, but now Panasonic made the Lumix DMC-G3 official. The micro four-thirds camera is the  successor to the DMC-G2, and apart from improving just about every technical feature, the new model is more compact and now boasts a touch-based UI.

The G3 features an all-new 16MP Live MOS sensor, full HD video recording, stereo sound in AVCHD, 66% less noise thanks to higher ISOs, and burst shooting at 4FPS in full resolution. Sized at 115.2 x 83.6 x 46.7 mm and weighing 336g (body only), the G3 is Panasonic’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera to date (it’s 25% smaller than the G2).

The biggest selling point should be the 3-inch LCD touchscreen. It allows users to not only browse through menus and adjust settings (exposure, white balance etc.) by touch but also to focus on the subject by touching it on the display.

Make sure to head over to Ephotozine for a first (and very detailed) hands-on with the camera (they like it, especially the touchscreen).

Panasonic plans to start selling the G3 next month for $700, 14-42mm zoom lens included (in white, black, red, and brown).