Traditionally known as DSLRs, interchangeable lens cameras (ILC) have always promised excellent image quality, speed, and versatility. But their enormous size and weight, lofty price tags, and intimidating design have forced casual photographers to focus on compact and superzoom point-and-shoot cameras instead, often leaving those bulky, confusing monstrosities to the pros. Enter mirrorless models, which scrap an optical viewfinder in favor of shrinking both body size and price tag, have provided the rest of us with a welcome mat to the world of powerful sensors, high-speed shooting, and swappable lenses — with relatively little sacrifice along the way.
The 16-megapixel Alpha NEX-C3 builds upon the successes of its predecessor — the NEX-3 — sporting a slimmer body and redesigned APS-C sensor. It also adds a reported 20-percent boost in battery life, improved low light performance, and a slimmer, more attractive design. We spent well over a month using the NEX-C3 as our primary camera for product shoots, trade shows, hands-on videos, and vacations, and were blown away by its performance as both a versatile still snapper and a powerful video camera. It’s important to note that while the C3 does capture 720p video, it can’t shoot in 1080p, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if you need full HD. Like all mirrorless cameras, there’s also no optical viewfinder, nor is there a traditional hot shoe. Instead, Sony included the same propriety connector found on the NEX-3 and NEX-5, enabling connectivity with a dedicated external microphone and a limited variety of external flashes, including the compact strobe that ships in the box. While some photographers may find the NEX-C3 inadequate for their needs, we absolutely loved shooting with it, and we think you will too. Jump past the break to see why.
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Sony Alpha NEX-C3 review originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 20 Jul 2011 08:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.