Sony NEX-C3 interchangeable lens camera official: 16.3MP and 720p HD

Sony has officially announced the NEX-C3, its new interchangeable lens camera first sighted back in April. The new Alpha has a 16.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and can shoot 720p 30fps HD video as well; there's a 3-inch adjustable preview display on the back, and a snap-on flash included in the box.

The whole thing weighs 225, which Sony reckons is a roughly 6-percent reduction on the NEX-3, while the battery life is extended by 20-percent to around 400 shots on a full charge. The E-mount system gets a new lens, too, in the shape of the 30mm F3.5 SEL30M35 macro, with a 1:1 magnifying ratio and minimum working distance of 2.4cm. Obviously you can also use existing lenses from previous NEX-series cameras.

Sony has tried to lower the expertise bar to entry, with a new Photo Creativity mode that uses more readily understood terms like "background defocus", "brightness" and "color" to adjust settings. There's also a Picture Effect system for creating in-camera effects on stills and video; NEX-3/NEX-5 owners will be able to download a firmware update from June 20 to add the same abilities to their existing camera.

The Sony Alpha NEX-C3 will go on sale in August, with either a 16mm lens for $599 or an 18-55mm lens for $649. The new macro lens will be $249 in October 2011.

Press Release:

Sony introduces world's smallest, lightest* interchangeable lens camera with APS-C sized sensor

Easy-to-use α NEX-C3 with 16.2 effective megapixels, HD video and friendly new interface

DSLR-quality images with 16.2 effective megapixel Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor

Intuitive new 'Photo Creativity' interface for jargon-free adjustment of picture settings

In-camera 'Picture Effect' with real-time preview

Multi-frame imaging techniques including 3D Sweep Panorama, Auto HDR and Handheld Twilight mode

Optional accessories including compactHVL-F20S travel flash and 30mm F3.5 E-mount macro lens

* Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras with APS-C size image sensor, as of 8th June 2011

The new α NEX-C3 by Sony is the world's smallest, lightest interchangeable lens digital camera in its class.

Offered in a choice of stylish colours, 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 main circuitry shrinks camera body weight to just 225g – that's almost 6% less than the NEX-3.

Image quality, functions and usability of the NEX-C3 also surpasses that of the NEX-3.

Resolution of the large Exmor™ 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 you produce pro-quality 'bokeh' background defocus effects, whether you're shooting HD video or stills.

Even if you're not familiar with specialist photo jargon, the NEX-C3 puts sophisticated picture controls within easy reach, whether you're shooting stills or HD video. The intuitive new Photo Creativity interface replaces technical terms like 'aperture', 'exposure value' and 'white balance' with the friendlier and more intuitive 'background defocus', 'brightness' and 'colour'.

There's no need to dig into confusing menu options or guess their effect on your composition. Just turn the camera's rear-mounted control wheel and instantly see the effect of your settings previewed on screen. If you wish, 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 Colour, Retro Photo, Pop Colour, High Contrast Monochrome, Posterisation, 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 7.5cm Xtra Fine LCD features TruBlack screen technology for high-contrast images with rich, deep blacks. It's a great way to compose shots and judge the effect of adjusting picture settings, even when you're viewing outdoors in bright sunlight.

Advanced multi-frame imaging technologies by Sony broaden the possibilities of the NEX-C3 further still.3D Sweep Panorama captures extra-wide images in 3D to enjoy on your 3D TV. 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 you're shooting in available light.

The NEX-C3 works even harder to capture more amazing images and HD video between battery charges. Improved energy efficiency boosts battery stamina to a generous 400 still shots per charge – over 20% more than the NEX-3/NEX-5.

New E-mount 30mm macro lens ("E 30mm F3.5 Macro") and accessories

The versatility of the α E-mount compact camera system grows with new style-matched accessories to expand your shooting possibilities even further.

Joining the range of E-mount interchangeable lenses, the SEL30M35 is currently the world's lightest1 life-size macro lens (138g) for interchangeable-lens cameras. This high-quality 30mm F3.5 macro lens features a 1:1 magnification ratio and minimum working distance of just 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 minimised aberration and very high edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast. It also offers smooth, quiet autofocus operation whether you're shooting stills or HD video. The macro lens is supplied with a matching lens hood.

HVL-F20S Flash

Also available as an option, the new HVL-F20S is a style-matching flash that clips onto the camera's Smart Accessory Terminal. Powered directly by the camera, the flash requires no batteries, achieving an ultra-compact size and light weight when you're 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 co-ordinating accessories features a new body case/lens jacket, soft carrying case, straps and value accessory kits.

Version 04 firmware update for NEX-5, NEX-3

Available from June 20th, a firmware upgrade for existing NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras adds the new 'Picture Effect' function as introduced on the new NEX‑C3. It also adds a Peaking function to assist with more precise manual focusing. Available free to registered users, latest Version 04 firmware update for NEX-5/NEX-3 can be downloaded from:







Memory Stick™ PRO-HG Duo HX

Available from May in capacities up to 32GB, the range-topping Memory Stick™ PRO-HG Duo HX now boasts blazing data transfer speeds of up to 50MB/second. The fastest-ever Memory Stick is optimised for sustained burst shooting with today's A-mount and E-mount cameras from Sony.

The new NEX-C3 ultra-compact digital camera with interchangeable lenses by Sony is available from August 2011. The new HVL-F20S flash will be available during summer 2011.

1 As of 8th June 2011