Review

Sample Photos of the Dogs

I also was able to take some pics of the dogs which is never easy if you have ever tried!! They never stop moving, so the focus is often missed when using any camera, but again a LCD screen in the daylight makes it really tuff. So, I used the Sony FDA-EV1S – XGA OLED Tru-Finder Electronic Viewfinder again and it made the job incredible easy. I must tell you after using the OLED Viewfinder I did not want to go back to the screen for outdoor shooting. It almost became a must have once I started using it. Funny thing is, I was able to manage before with just the LCD screen, yet the successful hit rate was considerably less in sunny situations.

I missed the focus on this Photo of Sandy, and I wanted to show you just how shallow the depth of filed is, even at f/8!! The focus is on her nose in this shot below and when you see the 100% crop I think you will be impressed with the separation that can be achieved.  Big sensors Rule

Be sure to Click on the photos for the large 1200px gallery style version!!

Sandy - Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 160mm, f/6.3, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

Sandy – Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 160mm, f/6.3, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

Sandy - Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1000sec, ISO 200

Sandy – Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1000sec, ISO 200

Sandy - Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1000sec, ISO 200

100% Crop – Sandy – Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1000sec, ISO 200

The Nex-F3 and Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens nailed the focus on the second try. The dogs constantly move and these slight misses are very common even with a Phase Detection AF, like on the A57 I recently reviewed over Here >>

Sandy - Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

Sandy – Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

Sandy - Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

100% Crop – Sandy – Nex-F3 w/ 18-200mm OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/8, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

 

Real World HD Video Sample Footage

I played around with some video on the Nex-F3 and it works really well for family fun and even more serious work. I only used it for testing purposes, but the face recognition technology works great in tandem with the AF system to help keep your subjects sharp in the frame. This worked particularly good for Layla as she was playing with her M’s :)

The Nex-F3 is capable of taking HD video in a variety of formats including 1080/60i or 24p AVCHD format, or in PC-friendly 1080/30p MP4 format. If you want upload directly to YouTube, the .mp4 format is the way to go!! AVCHD is the better quality, but you will need to convert it in order to share with your friends on the web easily. This format is great for DVD’s and Blue-ray Disks though.

Be sure to select the 1080P HD option in the player settings!!

 

Here’s more Nex-F3 sample HD  footage in some really bright sun!!

Be sure to select the 1080P HD option in the player settings!!

 

Menu System

The Sony Nex-F3 is a introductory model and is really designed for the beginner photographer looking for much better image quality and flexibility. With that in mind, the menu system makes sense, as it’s picture based and simplified. Sony set it up so you really don’t have to know much about photography to get a really great image. If you scroll through the camera shooting modes for example, the screen will change giving you a sample image and short explanation of that particular mode or effect. It’s great for newbies and people that love picture based menus. There is also a Tips Pop-up screen that will help you along. That feature I turned off immediately though, as I did not need it.

Pro’s however will not like this menu system in my opinion. It takes to long to find key settings like HDR, Focus Modes, and things like that. The Nex-7 has Pro oriented menus as does the RX100!! These are clearly more pro oriented cameras as far as price points and build quality.

Other Powerful Nex-F3 Features

The Nex-F3 has a ton of scene modes and photo effects. Here’s a few of my favorites:

AutoPano Mode

Autopano mode is always fun to use and delivers a pretty good result. I do find the shutter speed is often not fast enough for the sweeping speed the camera wants to use. This results in slightly soft results at times. To combat this I try to raise the ISO to make sure the shutter speed is fast enough!!

The stitching work done in camera is also pretty good, but not flawless by any means. Wires and complex geometric will often slightly miss-align when viewed at 100%. Mind you the 100% crop of the Autopano is gigantic, and the small imperfections would be hard to see on any reasonable sized print. So, there is some advantages to using the old fashioned method of Photoshop as it does allow for more flexibility in it’s blending methods etc.. However, for an in camera feature it works fantastic in my opinion, because the result is very good and the effort/ time invested is almost next to nothing. Why not make some effortless Panos!!

Be sure to Click on the photos for the large 1200px gallery style version!!

Nex-F3 - AutoPano Mode using the kit lens

Nex-F3 – AutoPano Mode using the kit lens

100% Crop - AutoPano Mode

100% Crop – AutoPano Mode

100% Crop - AutoPano Mode

100% Crop – AutoPano Mode

100% Crop - AutoPano Mode

100% Crop – AutoPano Mode

 

Clear Image Zoom

Clear image zoom is a new feature to the Nex Series cameras and basically doubles the effective zoom range of whatever lens your using. In the sample image below I was using the 18-200mm lens and was at the maximum focal length of 200mm. I took a photo of an old historic sign that offers some nice detail and the background was far enough away that it separated a bit as well. So, to be clear this first image below is with No clear image zoom applied!!

Be sure to Click on the photos for the large 1200px gallery style version!!

Sony Nex-F3 w/ New 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony Nex-F3 w/ New 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Here’s a 100% Crop so you can see how crisp the original photo is with No Clear Image Zoom

Sony Nex-F3 w/ New 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens using Clear Image Zoom

100% Crop – Sony Nex-F3 w/ New 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens @ 200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Now here is the Clear Image Zoom feature set to maximum which effectively doubles the zoom to 400mm!!

200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine - Clear Image Zoom at Max = 400mm

200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine – Clear Image Zoom at Max = 400mm

Here’s a 100% Crop so you can see how well the details were retained even though the image is 2x digital zoomed!!

200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine - Clear Image Zoom at Max = 400mm

100% Crop – 200mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine – Clear Image Zoom at Max = 400mm

As you can see the the results are very impressive and I was hand holding the camera and lens just to let you know. This feature really does work, and Sony basically has a mini Photoshop type algorithm running on the camera that allows this to work on the fly for photos. Basically it uses smarts to up-sample the image and enlarge it by actually adding pixels!! This is called re-interpolating the image. Now, you don’t get something for nothing, so you will loose slight detail for sure, but it still works really well in my opinion and can certainly expand your focal range capabilities with usable results!!

 

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!