Sony Alpha NEX-3N Review: Compact Camera with Powerful Features

If you're looking for a compact camera that doesn't compromise on performance, the Sony Alpha NEX-3N is the perfect choice. With its 16.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, advanced autofocus system, and 180-degree tilting LCD screen, this camera offers exceptional image quality and flexibility for photographers of all levels. In this review, we'll take a closer look at the NEX-3N's features and performance to help you decide if it's the right camera for you.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Sony Alpha NEX-3N article cover photo

Key Features

Feb 25 2013


16 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

Other similar cameras

Overview of the Alpha NEX-3N

Are you in the market for a compact camera that packs a punch? Look no further than the Sony Alpha NEX-3N. This little camera may be small, but it delivers big on features and performance. With a 16.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, advanced autofocus system, and 180-degree tilting LCD screen, the NEX-3N is a versatile camera that's perfect for everyday use or travel. In this review, we'll explore the NEX-3N's capabilities in more detail, and help you decide if it's the right camera for your needs. So whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, let's dive into what makes the Sony Alpha NEX-3N an impressive camera in its class.

Sony Alpha NEX-3N Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Sony Alpha NEX-3N camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Impressive image quality
Compact and lightweight design
Fast autofocus
Interchangeable lenses
Tilt-able LCD screen
Good low light performance
Easy to use interface
Affordable price point
Built-in flash
Wi-Fi connectivity
1080p HD video recording


Limited range of lenses
No viewfinder
Not as robust as some higher-end cameras
Slow continuous shooting speed
No touchscreen
Battery life is sub-par
No image stabilization
Not weather-sealed
Plastic build feels cheap
Limited video recording time

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Sony Alpha NEX-3N

Weather sealed
Dimensions110 x 62 x 35mm

Weather Sealing

The Sony Alpha NEX-3N is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderNone
Screen TypeTilting
Screen Resolution460k dots
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a tilting 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 460k dots. This makes the Sony Alpha NEX-3N not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


Sony Alpha NEX-3N does not include a viewfinder. The lack of a viewfinder on the Alpha NEX-3N camera may make it less suitable for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Sony Alpha NEX-3N has a 16MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 16 pixels. Sony Alpha NEX-3N has a native ISO range of 200 - 16000 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Feb 25 2013


200 - 16000

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4912 x 3264 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


74 / 102

Color Depth

22.8 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

12.5 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

1067 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Sony Alpha NEX-3N camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also above average, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the Alpha NEX-3N is average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageSD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Battery Life480 shots
Battery ModelNPFW50
Wireless Connectivity


The Sony Alpha NEX-3N supports SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Sony Alpha NEX-3N uses the NPFW50 model of battery pack. This is rated for 480 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Sony Alpha NEX-3N has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. However it lacks an external flash shoe, which limits you to using the built-in flash.


The Sony Alpha NEX-3N boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Sony Alpha NEX-3N includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with 25 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Sony Alpha NEX-3N?

The Sony Alpha NEX-3N features a CMOS sensor

Is the Sony Alpha NEX-3N weather sealed?

No the Alpha NEX-3N does not have weather sealing.

When was the Sony Alpha NEX-3N announced?

The Sony Alpha NEX-3N was announced on Feb 25 2013

Does the Sony Alpha NEX-3N have in-body image stabilization?

No the Alpha NEX-3N does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Sony Alpha NEX-3N?

The Alpha NEX-3N has a native ISO range of 200-16000, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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