Sony has redefined its most junior NEX proposition with the NEX-3N, the smallest compact system camera to offer an APS-C sensor. Matt Golowczynski puts it to the test
Sony NEX-3N review – Noise, resolution and sensitivity
These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution at the specified sensitivity setting.
The NEX-3N resolves around 24 lines per mm at its base sensitivity of ISO 200 – this is on a par with similarly priced enthusiast compact cameras, although the benefits of the larger sensor are realised at higher sensitivities where the camera only drops to around 20lpmm. Obviously, noise is far more prevalent here, but in terms of detail retention the camera is impressively consistent.
Some coloured patterning can be observed in shadow areas even as low as ISO 200, although this is true of many similar cameras. The in-camera noise reduction option doesn’t affect too many finer details when used at the lower end of the ISO range, but once the four-figure ISO values are reached, processing raw images manually yields better results.
Distortion at the 16mm end of the 16-50mm kit lens is severe, to the extent that raw images containing linear details appear as though they were captured using a fisheye lens. Fortunately, the camera’s distortion correction option corrected this sufficiently in JPEGs. Some pincushion distortion can also be witnessed at the lens’s other extreme, although it’s nowhere near as problematic.