To call 2011 a "bad year" for Sony is truly an understatement. Once the bastion of all-thing entertainment, where you would play a movie from Sony Pictures or music from Sony Music on either a BRAVIA LCD television or Walkman, the electronic giant seen its market share dwindled in most of its sectors, largely due to larger competition from Korea or nimbler ones like Apple. That was before the massive earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan back in March, which incapacitated a number of plants operated by Sony and its suppliers. Even things weren't complicated enough, Sony announced a massive security breach in late April where 25 million subscriber accounts on its Sony PlayStation network were compromised.
In much need of some good news, Sony revealed its NEX-C3 digital camera this morning. While an early leak gave some hints to the new camera's specifications, NEX-C3 looks to be the exact gear many pro-sumers are looking for. Over taking the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 announced last month as the "World's Smallest, Lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera", the NEX-C3 features a near compact form factor weighing in at only 225 grams or 8 ounces. Housed inside is Sony's Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with 16.2 effective megapixels, which equate to DSLR quality images without the bulk. Borrowed from its display researches, the NEX-C3 include a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD display with TruBlack Technology and a 3D Sweep Panorama mode, an effective way to create a 3D panoramic image. Comes with a number of interchangeable E-Mount micro lens for full creative control. But for those who just want to capture the moment the best way the can, the camera also offers Photo Creativity setting that simplified the adjustments of aperture, exposure, and white balance.
To come in silver, black and pink, with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens at a cost about $650. There will also be a 16mm lens kit offered to the black version only at about $600. The Sony NEX-C3 will be available starting this August.
16.2 Megapixels Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS with E-Mount Lens
3-inch Xtra Fine LCD features TruBlack screen technology
720P Full-HD High Quality Video Recording
Compatible with the full line of E-Mount lenses
3D Sweep Panorama mode captures extra-wide images that can be viewed in 3D on a 3D television
Photo Creativity user friendly controls
Sony Introduces World's Smallest, Lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera with APS-C Sized Sensor
Easy-to-use a NEX-C3 Features 16.2 Megapixels, HD Video and Friendly New Interface
SAN DIEGO, June 8, 2011 Sony's new Î± NEX-C3 is the world's smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C sized sensor.
Offered in a range of stylish colors, the NEX-C3 brings the promise of DSLR-quality photography to the millions of consumers looking to take professional-looking photos without the size and bulk of traditional DSLR cameras.
The NEX-C3 features an attractive new body design that combines a satisfyingly solid metal top casing with an easy-to-use streamlined grip shape. Reducing the size of its internal circuitry visibly shrinks the camera's size and achieves a body weight of just 225g (approximately 8 ounces) nearly six percent lighter than its predecessor, the NEX-3 camera. Image quality, functionality and usability of the NEX-C3 camera also surpass that of the NEX-3 model.
The resolution of the camera's large Exmorâ„¢ APS HD CMOS sensor is boosted to 16.2 effective megapixels, capturing stills and 720p HD video with breath-taking clarity. The large, DSLR-sized sensor also lets users produce pro-quality background defocus effects, whether shooting HD video or stills.
"Building on the success of last year's Î± NEX launch, the new NEX-C3 model takes the idea of 'small camera body, SLR-quality photos' to a whole new level," said Kristen Elder, director of the alpha digital imaging business at Sony. "This camera's brand new, large CMOS sensor and user-friendly interface will allow all photographers, regardless of experience level, to produce unique, custom-styled photographs. The NEX-C3 is a perfect combination of design, performance and creativity that fits a wide range of activities and shooting styles."
The intuitive new Photo Creativity interface on the NEX-C3 camera puts sophisticated controls within easy reach, whether users are shooting stills or HD Video. Technical terms like 'aperture', 'exposure value' and 'white balance' are replaced with the friendlier and more intuitive 'background defocus', 'brightness' and 'color', allowing users to easily create custom-styled photographs. A traditional interface with Aperture/Shutter Priority, Manual and custom functions is always available for experienced users, along with highly customizable soft-keys for programming direct access to important controls.
With the NEX-C3 camera, users don't need to dig into confusing menu options or guess their effect on a composition. They just need to turn the camera's rear-mounted control wheel and instantly see the effect of their settings previewed on screen. Also, two or more different settings can be combined to create more sophisticated creative effects.
A new in-camera 'Picture Effect' setting lets users add extra impact to stills or HD video during shooting, without the worry of editing images afterwards. 'Picture Effect' options include Partial Color, Retro Photo, Pop Color, High Contrast Monochrome, Posterization, High-key and Toy Camera. There's also a 'Soft Skin' effect that removes wrinkles and blemishes from portrait subjects.
Tilting for comfortable viewing at any angle, the high contrast 3-inch (measured diagonally) Xtra Fine LCD features TruBlack screen technology for high-contrast images with rich, deep blacks. This is an ideal way to compose shots and judge the effect of adjusting picture settings, even when viewing outdoors in bright sunlight.
The NEX-C3 works even harder to capture amazing images and HD video between battery charges. Improved energy efficiency boosts battery life to a generous 400 still shots per charge a more than 20 percent increase from the both the NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras.
Multi-Shot Imaging Technologies
Sony's Advanced multi-shot technologies further broaden the possibilities of the NEX-C3 camera. 3D Sweep Panoramaâ„¢ mode captures extra-wide images that can be viewed in 3D on a 3D television with compatible 3D glasses. Auto HDR "stacks" a high-speed burst of three successive exposures to capture extreme shadow and highlight details in a single frame. Similarly, Handheld Twilight and Anti-Motion Blur modes automatically combine six exposures to capture smooth, low-noise images. This avoids hand-blur and subject-blur when shooting in available light.
New E-mount 30mm Macro Lens and Other Compatible Accessories
The versatility of the Î± E-mount compact camera system grows with new style-matched accessories to expand shooting possibilities even further.
Joining the range of E-mount interchangeable lenses, the SEL30M35 is currently the world's lightest life-size macro lens (approx 4.9 ounces) for interchangeable-lens cameras. This high-quality 30mm F3.5 macro lens features a 1:1 magnification ratio and minimum working distance of just 0.95 inches (2.4 cm), making it ideal for capturing detail-packed close-ups of small subjects like flowers and insects. Despite its extremely compact size, the SEL30M35 employs one ED glass and three aspherical lens elements for excellent optical performance, with minimized aberration and very high edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast. It also offers smooth, quiet autofocus operation whether shooting stills or HD video. The macro lens is supplied with a matching lens hood.
Also available as an option, the new HVL-F20S is a style-matching flash that clips onto the Smart Accessory Terminal of NEX-C3 and other E-mount cameras. Powered directly by the camera, the flash requires no batteries, making it ultra-compact and light weight for travelling. With a generous GN20 (50mm, at ISO 100, m) flash power rating and adjustable head, it's ideal for creating natural fill-in and bounce flash effects with portraits and everyday shooting subjects.
The expanded range of coordinating accessories features a new body case/lens jacket and a soft carrying case.
The new camera is also compatible with Sony's full line of SD memory cards, including the newest Class 10 versions, as well as the Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX series. Available in capacities up to 32 GB, both media enable higher read speeds for more stable and optimal performance by Sony hardware features such as high-speed burst shooting or HD movie shooting.
Firmware update for NEX-5, NEX-3
A firmware upgrade (Version 4) adds the new 'Picture Effect' function to existing NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras. It also adds a Peaking function to assist with more precise manual focusing. This upgrade will be available June 20thand can be downloaded from: (www.esupport.sony.com).
Pricing and Availability
The new NEX-C3 ultra-compact digital camera will be available this August in silver, black and pink with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens (model SEL1855) and will cost about $650. It will also be offered in black only with a 16mm lens (model SEL16F28) for about $600.
The new SEL30M35 E-mount Macro lens will be available this October for about $250 and the HVL-F20S flash will be available this August for about $150.
The camera kits, macro lens and new flash will all be sold at Sony retail stores (www.sonystyle.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.