Eye-start auto-focussing speeds up your shooting-- when you put your eye up to the viewfinder the camera attempts to pre-focus, minimising focus time when you press the shutter halfway.
Dynamic Range Optimizer: Normal DRO improves detail using standard gamma curves for fast shot-to-shot response time. Sony's implementation of live view places a second, low-resolution, dedicated image sensor to be used by the LCD viewfinder. The A350 will be released on March 21, 2008 and will retail for around $800 for the camera body only.
August 4, 2015 by Ben Steward Check out our video review of the strange new device that is taking the web by storm. Whether you are looking for iPhone app reviews, iPad app reviews, Android app reviews, Android Tablet app reviews, Windows Phone app reviews or Mac app reviews, we have you covered.
You will find our best app reviews and app demos in the Featured App Banner Section above and the Featured App Section below. As the fourth major manufacturer to enter the market for small, mirrorless digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, Sony had to make a big impression. The promise of mirrorless digital cameras has been high image quality without all the bulk, and the photographic versatility of interchangeable lenses. There are so many interesting innovations in the Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3, that it's difficult to know where to start. A 14-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor is responsible for the high quality we found in the images from both cameras, and a new Bionz processor is also hard at work in the two cameras.
Several hot features were brought over from recent Alphas and Cyber-shot digital cameras, including Sweep Panorama, Auto High-Dynamic Range shooting, Handheld Twilight, and Anti-motion-blur modes, each of which strategically combine and align several images into one seamless one. Though by name the new cameras are Alphas, they no longer use the Alpha mount; instead Sony has christened a new E-mount, for which two lenses will ship right away, both as kit lenses. An adapter is available for mounting Alpha lenses, but autofocus will be disabled with the NEX cameras.
The NEX-5A will ship in July with the 16mm lens for US$650, while the NEX-5K with the 18-55mm lens will sell for US$700. Much like sportscars show their command of the road by contrasting their low profile bodies with large, fully exposed wheels, the Sony NEX-3 design shows its command of light by contrasting its small digital camera body with a large, burnished gunmetal lens (the 18-55mm is shown here). From the top you see the stereo microphones, rather obviously marked L and R, and the three holes for the speaker. Here also is the first evidence of the tilting LCD screen, just left of the Movie Record button. Sony developed an all-new lens system for the new NEX line (shown here on an NEX-5, with a shorter flange distance (back-focus distance) to yield more compact lenses, and lenses with faster, more precise focus drive to meet the demands of live contrast-detect autofocus during video recording. Sony says the new E-Mount lenses have silent focus and silent, continuous aperture control. Size is a big advantage to SLDs, and the Sony NEX-3, while not as small as the NEX-5, is still smaller than most. With the silver against the black, it's hard to tell how much smaller the NEX-5 is than the NEX-3. This view gives a little better idea of the size difference, as lens pops up above the body more on the NEX-5. Up against the Olympus E-P1, the Sony NEX-3 is certainly shorter, and a little less wide than the E-P1. The NEX-5's tilting, widescreen LCD is an obvious advantage over the E-P1, but the E-P1's menu has an easier menu design and more control buttons. The E-P1 doesn't gain much advantage over the NEX-3 with its collapsible lens, especially considering its loose front optic. The Sony NEX-3 is noticeably smaller than one of the smallest SLRs on the market, the Pentax Kx. The tilting LCD makes the NEX-3 more versatile in certain situations, while the extra controls on the K-x reduce menu diving.
I had to be fairly stealthy when out shooting the new cameras, but they're small enough that I was able to conceal most of the camera with one hand.
While they don't power-up quickly, the Sony NEX cameras do focus and fire quickly, especially in good light. Generally, if I'm out shooting, I have the camera on, so its power-up time hasn't been an issue. Although I'm a fan of many larger SLRs, and the Micro Four Thirds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, I have to say, shooting with such a small camera feels very natural. A rather large 18-200mm is also planned for relatively early release, but an adapter that works with other Alpha-mount lenses will also be shipping. With the 18-55mm, I like the way it feels to have just lens, grip, and LCD to frame my images: the bare necessities. Still, if you're looking for a wide-angle view, the 16mm is wide and flat, and you can make it even wider with the two accessory lenses that will also be available. Similar to HHT is Anti-motion blur mode, which biases exposure toward a fast shutter speed and also fires off several images that it combines into one to eliminate motion from camera movement, which is amplified by use of telephoto lenses. It does not work as well as Sony's Intelligent Panorama mode, which analyzes the scene to find moving objects and put only one image of said objects into the final panorama. The Pentax K-7 has this feature as well, but Sony's implementation automatically aligns all three images, even when handheld, while most of the K-7's shots need to be made on a tripod to avoid image misalignment. Rather than using the truly simple menu from the other Alphas, which are among the best in the business, Sony opted for a more complicated scheme that uses buttons to get to icons to get to menus, some of which are pretty long -- and when you get to the bottom of some very long lists, the menus don't wrap back up to the top.
Another peculiarity is that you can't review both images and videos in Playback mode at the same time. Add an option to the Setup menu that would let you configure the camera's default menu behavior to drop you back to the last-used menu position, rather than always at the top level.
Likewise, as noted above, an option for the camera to leave you in the menu system after making an adjustment, rather than popping you out to shooting mode again would be a real convenience.
Make the system less modal; let the user change more things regardless of the mode the camera is in. Add a setup menu item that would let you configure the lower-right button as a custom function button, rather than defaulting to Shooting Tips. Add a Quick Menu, optionally activated by the lower soft button, to give quick access to a number of common settings. As we said, it may be too late to make any of these changes before release, but they'd be great to add to the firmware update slated to bring 3D Sweep Panorama sometime in July. Though we're not done with the NEX-3's review, check out Dave's very thorough writeup of on the Sony NEX-5's video capability on the NEX-5's Video tab. No camera is without its issues, and the Sony NEX-3 has a few, brought out by some of our laboratory shots. See the crops and commentary below for more, and be sure to see our Optics and Image Quality pages for a more thorough analysis of image quality. Mom Luck: Oklahoma Mom Blogger Mom Luck is an Oklahoma Mom Blogger, Brand Ambassador and Vlogger who specializes in family lifestyle content, travel, cars, parenting and reviews.
July 13, 2015 by Mellisa Swigart Leave a Comment I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. The LG G4 has a lot of amazing features but since my favorite is the camera so I wanted to share with you guys what just why I love it so much. This phone is the first smartphone from Sprint that has a total of 24 megapixels. DoSomething.org, one of the largest organizations for young people and social change, and Sprint are taking a unique approach to prevent young people from texting and driving through a campaign called Thumb Wars. All Links that appear on this site may be affiliate links and should be considered as such. The rationale behind Live View is to improve the response time of the digital viewfinder, so that it mimics the behavior of an optical viewfinder. The Sony NEX-5 delivers that better than any model so far, and does it with style and a sturdy build. Easily the biggest news, though, is that the Sony NEX series is the first interchangeable lens digital camera system designed to tackle continuous autofocus and exposure adjustment while recording video, where all the components, bodies and lenses, support the feature. The surprise is that the super-slim LCD tilts up 80 degrees and down 45 degrees for easy viewing. Two converters will also ship for use with the 16mm lens: an Ultra Wide Converter with a 12mm equivalent view, and a Fisheye Converter. NEX-3A cameras with the 16mm lens will sell for US$550, while the NEX-3K cameras with the 18-55mm will sell for US$650. Both new Sony cameras evoke the memory of the Sony F505 through the F717, unusual looking cameras produced from 2000 to 2002, with a small grip and large, protruding lenses. Unlike the rest of the SLD (single-lens, direct-view) digital cameras, the Sony NEX-3 doesn't try at all to look like an SLR or rangefinder.
Lower left of the lens in this shot is the lens release button, and upper left is the AF-assist and self-timer lamp. Between these two mics is the accessory flap, which you lift up and back, pivoting on its rubber hinge, to access the small accessory port. While the Sony NEX-3's lens mount makes the Sony 16mm lens look thicker, it's really about the same thickness as the Olympus 17mm M.Zuiko. The Sony NEX cameras are designed to hang with the lens pointing down, just like their spiritual predecessors (the F505-F717 mentioned earlier). The 3-inch LCD tilts up 90 degrees and down about 45 degrees, and has a 921,000-dot resolution.


Wrap your fingers around the Sony NEX-3's grip and bring your thumb around and up to the strap, and your thumb easily reaches the power switch. The NEX-3 uses an all-new Sony Exmor CMOS sensor that combines the large, low-noise pixels of APS-C format chips with advanced high-speed features previously found only in Sony's Exmor-R digicam sensors.
The Sony NEX cameras have a dust abatement and removal system, where they've included a charge-protection coating on the low-pass filter, and they also vibrate the low pass filter to shake dust free. Sony doesn't say much about the new Bionz processor beyond that it's the third generation of the chip. Sony's new lenses are designed to respond more quickly than conventional SLR lenses can, with the express purpose of enabling autofocus while shooting video.
The lens irises are also driven by stepper motors to provide continuous aperture adjustment to prevent sudden jumps in brightness as the aperture is adjusted while video is being recorded.
See our Optics tab for a more thorough writeup of Sony's new approach, as well as our completed test results for both kit lenses. Sony's introducing a whole new menu system on the NEX series cameras, one that looks and sounds quite snappy as you navigate, but our pre-release cameras had a few problems that served as the only real negative points in our experience with the NEX-5 and NEX-3.
The Sony NEX-3 comes with quite a few special features borrowed from the Cyber-shot line, the most interesting of those being the Sweep panorama feature.
The result can be a panorama up to 12,416 pixels wide, covering a horizontal angle of 149 - 226 degrees. The Sony NEX-3 is compatible with two memory card standards, each with various permutations. In the hand it's more noticeable than it seems here, but they are indeed close, meaning that the NEX-3 is still pretty small. The mounting flange also protrudes more on the NEX5, keeping the focal length the same despite the thinner body of the NEX5. I just wrapped my thumb and index finger around the lens barrel and extended my palm over the grip: all you see is the front of the lens. I think there are plenty who won't like the large lens on the small camera body, but I can't think of anything more appropriate in the digital age. The VCL-ECU1 is an Ultra Wide Converter that makes the 16mm into a 12mm lens thanks to its 0.75x magnification. I like that they included the flash with the Sony NEX cameras, rather than made it an aftermarket purchase, as Olympus did with its first two Pens. It's not going to perform miracles, but it does get you indoor shots that you'd never get otherwise. A cool Scene mode called Handheld twilight (HHT) does a trick that some of Sony's backlit-sensor cameras introduced last year.
The Sony NEX-3's Sweep Panorama is intended more for shots like this, I think, than for busy street scenes.
For example, a car traveling through the scene might appear more than once as the camera sweeps across a scene, but intelligent Panorama would delete the multiple images from the scene when possible, leaving only one image of the car. When you know the camera's going to have a hard time capturing a scene like this, Sony's Auto HDR can help. I found a perfect opportunity to demonstrate HDR's benefit: a beauty salon built into the old Woodstock Jailhouse with its door open. Focus is active at all times, far as I could tell, whether I had continuous focus on or off. Put simply, bokeh is the quality of the out-of-focus areas in an image, and Sony boasted that their larger APS-C sensor (which allows a narrower depth-of-field) combined with their optics give better bokeh than Micro Four Thirds cameras can.
Worse, once you've found and adjusted a menu item, you're dropped into Record mode, rather than back to the Menu, where you could make further adjustments. Sony has since released firmware update version 03, which addresses some of these UI issues and adds new features as well. Even one more button in the lower right corner of the rear panel, or to the left of the Movie button on the angled top panel could have really helped with some of the user interface complexity. Some would be more involved than others, but some of the simplest (default menu behavior options, for instance) should be trivial to add, and would make a huge difference to UI usability.
I didn't get a strong impression of the Optical SteadyShot's effectiveness with the 18-55mm, probably because I was so busy playing with all the other low-light features. Certainly the hot feature among SLRs these days is video capture with interchangeable-lens digital cameras. Most impressive is that it focuses fast enough to track a subject running full speed at the camera. Whether I’m running errands around town, going to the park with my kids, or just chatting with my husband on the back porch. Did you know that 40% of American teens report that they still text and drive.  This is such a scary number! Now in its fifth year, Thumb Wars encourages young people to use the power of their thumbs in a fun and engaging way to prevent their friends from texting and driving. Both the 350 and 300 two distinct new features: 1) Live View mode for the LCD viewfinder, and 2) an articulating LCD screen.
The low-resolution sensor introduces less lag between the actual image and the image rendered to the LCD by requiring less processing time by the camera's internal circuitry. As if that weren't enough, Sony's also announcing an upcoming upgrade (even before the cameras ship!) that will enable a special 3D Sweep Panorama mode that will work with several as-yet unannounced Bravia TV sets coming in July 2010. With TruBlack technology borrowed from Sony's picture frames, shooting in or out of doors is a pretty good experience. Unlike the competition in this space, there's next to no camera body left of the lens, with all the body appearing either directly behind or to the right of the grip (as viewed from behind).
So far, the port accepts the included accessory flash and the optional accessory microphone; for now we haven't heard of any plans for an accessory EVF, though Sony plans to release an optical viewfinder accessory with a 16mm field of view. It's easily the least comfortable aspect of the Sony NEX-3, because it's too wide, and the grip angle is too shallow, giving the fingers less to grip, while the Sony NEX-5's grip is much thicker front to back, with a deeper angle. The 16mm lens will also accept the Ultra Wide Converter lens (VCL-ECU1) and the Fisheye Converter (VCL-ECF1), which mount on the bayonet located on the inset plastic barrel that holds the actual lens elements. This has several advantages, one being that the screen is less likely to be scratched by shirt buttons, and the small camera body won't pitch forward at different angles depending on what lens you have mounted. The display also uses Sony's Clear Photo LCD Plus and Tru Black technology from Sony's line of digital picture frames.
The photo above shows the sensor from the NEX-3 next to an Exmor-R sensor of the sort used in Sony's X-series digicams.
It is an APS-C sized HD-CMOS sensor that Sony says is 60% larger than a Four Thirds sensor, and 13 times larger than a typical video camera sensor, so they expect performance gains in both areas.
Looking at the images, it could be a big part of what's improved their image quality so much. Most SLRs either disable autofocus while capturing video, or else they essentially ruin the bit of the video where you're focusing because of the lens motor noise and the excessive focus and exposure changes required. That was lost with many of the Alphas, with the exception of the high-end of their body and lens lineup. Powering the camera on, though, is a little like watching yourself wake-up after a very deep sleep.
The opposite is true with the Micro Four Thirds camera, where the 17mm is pretty much all I use for the shooting I do. The only drawback is that even these Alpha lenses must be focused manually, as they're not designed to work well enough with the NEX's contrast-detect autofocus system, according to Sony representatives.
The Fisheye Converter will give a very wide view with all the distortion you expect from a fisheye lens. No, this sensor is not backlit, but it will fire off six shots at a hand-holdable shutter speed and combine them into one usable image that you'd never get without using a higher ISO. The Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 have to fire much larger shutters than their Cyber-shot counterparts, then combine the images into one shot. Note the car without a middle just right of center, and one truck with an extra grill and one without a tailgate just left of center. As I swept across a street scene, all the buildings were fine, but cars moving with the pan had an extra tail and nose added to their length, while cars moving counter my motion were shrunk to just a noise and tail, with no middle. Note the cosmetics on the shelf in the doorway in the bottom image and the shadow area under the tree. Dynamic Range Optimization does a little electronic processing to enhance shadows and maintain highlights, but when that's not doing the trick, you can (after some fumbling in the menus) activate Auto-HDR.
Part of its front is lit by bright sunlight, part is in shadow, and the open door is even darker. I usually choose the Center point AF option regardless what camera I use, but the Sony NEX-3 has a strange habit of just giving up and selecting the entire image as the center, especially in low light. Startup to first shot is about 1.0 second, but in reality it's about 2 seconds before the screen comes fully alive.
It seems to be true of the two kit lenses, with background elements appearing a little softer and smoother from the Sony.
The Sony NEX-3 is a blend of more traditional digital camera design with an SLR sensor and interchangeable lenses, but the best of both worlds were not always chosen. The Face Detection option for example, is grayed out by default, and the only way to activate it is to first turn on Multipoint AF and Multi-area exposure. We unfortunately can't go back and update reviews each time new firmware comes out, but you can view the list of improvements according to Sony in our NEX firmware update news article.


That is, if you've been shooting stills and movies, and the last thing you shot was a still, when you press the Playback button you'll only see still images. But most of my shots were good, and as I hold the camera still, analyzing the image on the LCD, the system seems to absorb my heartbeats pretty well while I hold the camera as steady as possible. Their reasonably inexpensive optics open up budding videographers to new levels of creativity. There are some issues as to what type of subject is more likely to get its attention, but as I've already mentioned, the Sony NEX-3 seems to be checking focus all the time it's on, whether you're shooting stills or video. That’s is 16MP Rear-Facing camera and an 8MP Front-Facing camera perfect for taking selfies.
There is a mirror inside the pentamirror arrangement that reflects the image to the secondary live view sensor.
Bordering on the absurd, the NEX-3 manages to pull off this seeming overemphasis on optics if only because of the lens's shiny aluminum barrel, whose efficient shape speaks of precision. The Playback button is also on top, which is a bit of a nuisance, since it's one of the things you want to quickly find and activate while you're looking at the LCD.
Sony knows that the lenses will usually tip the camera forward, especially on a camera whose body is so light, so why not just hang the lens downward in the first place? The Control wheel is very well designed, with a high edge around the perimeter with fairly sharp cuts for a good grip.
No, an LCD isn't always the ideal viewfinder, but for the target market it's the right choice, and allows Sony to make the camera very small.
Since the 17mm is equivalent to a 34mm lens, it's natural I'd prefer that over the 24mm equivalent found in the 16mm. It's absolutely tiny, rests right above the lens, and jacks in via a special connector concealed beneath a plastic door. As if it weren't enough to have a camera that does Sony's cool Handheld Twilight mode, Sony made some strides that improve its high-ISO performance noticeably. But don't think that you're going to sneak into your kids' bedroom to get a cute shot of them sleeping, because the relatively loud -- if cool-sounding -- shutter has to fire six times, a salvo that's sure to wake most people. Not the best, but since most folks shoot panoramas of relatively static scenes, it'll work well enough in most common situations, where objects are distant and not moving rapidly. Again, this handy mode fires off three hand-holdable images that expose for the highlights, the mids, and the shadows and combine them into one image that has usable detail in all of these areas.
The key, though, is that I can see into the open door with my eyes, and I can also see detail in bright and shadow areas. In this case, Sony says they completely redesigned the interface to make it easier to control with only a few buttons, but it really brings to mind the inconvenience of some of Sony's recent Cyber-shot menu systems.
While the camera has 80 photography tips, none of them address such a fundamental issue as this. The large sensor in APS-C-sized digital cameras allow better low light performance and let shooters use selective focus as a storytelling device, quickly switching attention from one subject to another using only the focus ring. Sprint Drive First is a FREE app available on the phones like the Sprint LG G4 which sends calls to voicemail and silences email and text alerts when a vehicle reaches 10mph. The A350 offers further penetration by Sony into the DSLR market, since the introduction of its first DSLR camera in the Alpha line, the Alpha DSLR-A100 release in the summer of 2006. After several years of relative sameness among digital camera designs, it's refreshing to see something bold. What I discovered when I attached the strap was that several of the camera's design elements that seem awkward at first suddenly make perfect sense.
Rather than fill the small space with expensive buttons, Sony has designed a new interface that's context-sensitive. You can also choose full Autofocus, DMF, which allows you to adjust focus after the autofocus operation, and Manual Focus. Expected Battery life is shortened somewhat because while the camera is on and in Record mode, the Sony NEX-3 will continue to seek focus whether you're in continuous or single focus mode. Though physically they are very different, functionally they are nearly identical, so I'll talk mostly about my experiences that are familiar with both.
Though I used to love my 24mm on my old film cameras, the way the lens distorts faces at the edges makes for unappealing family photos.
It's no Nikon D3x, but it still does better than a good share of the market in our low light tests. Note, too, that all of the Sweep Panorama images I made with our pre-release camera were somewhat soft, with a touch of motion blur.
I want to know that it's going to focus where I tell it, so I switched to Flexible Spot, which has the added benefit of moving to just about anywhere onscreen, corner-to-corner, just missing the edges. If you set the camera to Continuous AF, though, focus will tend to wobble very rapidly as the contrast-detect AF system rapidly checks and rechecks focus many times a second.
My first impression of the NEX-3's menu system was quite positive, because it was snappy and beautiful.
Just press the Shoot Mode button, the virtual Mode dial comes onscreen, you rotate the dial, press the center button, and you're in.
There's always the manual, yes, but some of this stuff should just be automatic (turn on face detection and it automatically changes to Multipoint AF and Multi-area exposure).
But I take my phone with me because you never know when the perfect photogenic moment is going to happen. This helps to keep you or your teen from getting distracted and tempted to pick up their phone. Least inspired of the colors among the Sony NEX-3 line is the silver body we received, which makes it harder to get as excited about this camera's particularly understated finish, so I've used Sony's black body images for the first two shots. The menu's responsiveness is very quick, with snappy clicks to accompany wheel motion and onscreen action.
Then after another half-second, the view begins to fade in, from blackness to a dim vision, to full brightness.
The good news is that the Sony NEX-3 also saves a copy of the middle exposure before building the HDR image, giving it the next number in the series. It can be quite strange to see an entire building pulsate as you try to hold the camera steady, but rest assured the camera is doing what you told it to. The most attractive item is the Scene menu, in fact, which includes high resolution photos to illustrate the purpose of each. We think this might be because scrolling through movies takes a long time -- like two or three seconds per item -- while stills are easy to flick through. Having items mysteriously greyed-out only makes the camera more confusing for users of any level. With Sprint Lease, the device is $18 per month for 24 months and with a Sprint Family Share Pack plan, a family of 4 can share 20GB of data and get unlimited talk and text for only $100 per month. The bad news is that you have to step forward quite a bit more than you thought you would to fill the frame with your subject, and the result is often distorted, unnatural people pictures.
Later, when we reshot the tree scene, the shutter speed was slower, but we just let the Sony NEX-5 keep firing, and we got a much sharper result. While I've often been pleased with the HDR image onscreen, I was occasionally glad I had the regular exposure as well, since HDR can too often just look surreal.
Yes, there are hints of the items seen in the room, but the HDR image manages to assemble a better sample of what my eye made out: cosmetics on a rack, stacked on a table. It's how hard it is to turn back off, because I seldom want to shoot in Auto HDR for more than a few images, and then I forget I have it set for the next shot, and right when I don't want it to, the Sony NEX-3 will rattle off another three shots. Rather than please consumers, though, idiosyncrasies like this are going to make users think they've lost images or videos. I have to have a phone that will take crisp, professional looking photos and that’s exactly what I have gotten with the Sprint LG G4. It takes long enough that I've more than once had to check to make sure the lens cap wasn't on.
I think the bright part of the wall is a little too washed out, but it's about right for what my eye saw, so I can't complain.
For the first time, too, the sound that accompanies menu selections -- a sharp click -- is actually quite nice. We did notice that using the Control wheel to make frequent adjustments can wear on your thumb after only a short time, so beware. Overall, in this scenario, HDR did exactly what I think it's supposed to do: give you more of what your eye sees, in one image. Unfortunately, my initially positive reaction to the NEX-3's menus didn't survive my actually trying to use them. Our eyes and mind are compensating as we look around a high-contrast scene like this, adjusting sensitivity as we go, but a digital camera really can't do this without the help of HDR; at least not yet. What's worse is if you need to change a setting on the Setup menu, which contains 35 items.



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