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Sony Alpha NEX-3 - Test shots: ISO performance

By Gavin Stocker


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Review Price £359.99

The Sony NEX-3 offers a broad ISO range, starting out at ISO200 and extending up to a DSLR-like ISO12800. The following were all shot as maximum quality JPEGs under available natural light, with default camera settings applied to ensure a level playing field between this and rival models.



With ISO set to Auto, the camera has correctly ascertained ISO200 as being up to the task, which is also the lowest manually selectable setting on the NEX-3. No noise to report here.


An identically clear and bright image is achieved at ISO400, with no discernible difference between this and performance at the lower ISO200 setting.


ISO800 and we're getting a slight sandy appearance and edge softening when cropping into the frame, but hardly at a noticeable level.


Marginally more grain at ISO1600, but we'd certainly be happy continuing to shoot at this setting and aiming for usable results.


Noise is more obviously visible across the entire frame at the higher ISO3200 option, but the performance here is still comparable with what lesser compacts manage at ISO800.


More obviously grainy again at ISO6400, with the image taking on a felt-like texture, but still a result that one would wish to keep, so overall a commendable showing from the NEX-3 which is comparable to the recent Olympus E-PL2 in that respect.


The NEX-3 doesn't let things lie there however and ups the ante with a DSLR-baiting ISO12800 option for shooting in the near dark. Unsurprisingly further detail has been lost and noise is noticeable across the entire image without any need to crop in. We're getting a more impressionistic, painterly look.


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May 16, 2011, 3:23 am

At £400 this deserved the 8 but at £400 for both lens (which is what comet where doing last week) the camera bit is essentially free with the lens and is a cracking bit of kit for that money. Having said that im looking forward to using this to mount some old minolta glass i have lying around but its nice to have 2 auto focus lenses (even if the 16 is a little suspect) to play with.

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