Best Compact Interchangeable-Lens Cameras

Sections: Cameras for Beginners, Digital SLR

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Sony_NEX-3N-ReviewSony Alpha NEX-3N

Sony’s NEX-3N compact system camera is built to deliver pro-quality photos and Full HD video with an ultracompact body that weighs less than 7.5 ounces. In fact, Sony claims it is “the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens camera with an APS-C size sensor.”

The NEX-3N is offered as a kit with the compact SELP1650 (16–50mm) motorized zoom lens. The camera itself features a newly added zoom lever on top to provide one-handed operation and smooth fingertip control of lens focal length—even when shooting self-portraits!

The camera’s 16.1-megapixel APS HD CMOS sensor is identical in size to those found in traditional DSLRs. Its large surface area takes in more light during image capture to produce gorgeous low-noise photographs with artistically blurred backgrounds and rich Full HD videos (60i/24p). The large sensor works with the camera’s Bionz processor, which utilizes the same technology as Sony’s full-frame A-99 DSLR, to assure incredibly detailed handheld shots in all types of lighting situations.

“The new NEX-3N is the ideal camera to introduce consumers to the creative world of interchangeable-lens photography, offering new levels of performance and convenience never before realized in a mirrorless model,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha business at Sony. “By pairing the camera with our retractable SELP1650 lens, loading it up with a host of our newest, most advanced technologies, and offering it at a great price point, we’ve created a palm-sized powerhouse that promises outstanding value for our customers.”

A 180° tiltable LCD makes self-portraits or shots from interesting angles foolproof, and Auto Object Framing technology lets you create framed photos with each composition. The technology identifies the main object of the framed scene—whether it’s one person, two people, or macro and moving subjects—and automatically trims the scene around the object to create a professionally styled composition.

For the videographer in you, the NEX-3N shoots Full HD 1,920×1,080-resolution video in either 60i or 24p frames per second. You can choose the AVCHD codec for Blu-ray picture quality or record in the PC-friendly MP4 format, which lets you compress files for easy upload to Facebook and YouTube. Plus creative styles (standard, vivid, portrait, landscape, sunset, or black & white) can be selected to tailor the look of both your photos and videos.

Other NEX-3N features include: an easy-to-hold textured grip; ISOs as high as 16,000 and a powerful pop-up flash for low-light shooting; anti-motion blur mode; handheld twilight mode; face detection and smile shutter, which automatically takes a shot when smiles are their brightest; and superior auto mode where the camera chooses the best settings. This is also the first Sony E-mount interchangeable-lens camera to support TriLuminos Color, a technology developed to enable you to experience an expanded palette of ultrarealistic colors when your videos and photos are played back on a Bravia TV.

Sony’s NEX-3N compact system camera comes in a choice of black or white in a kit with the motorized 16–50mm zoom lens for $499.99.


Samsung NX300Samsung-NX300-Review

Designed with the look of a vintage camera but packed with state-of-the-art innovation, Samsung’s NX300 compact interchangeable-lens model impresses with elegant, flowing lines and an upscale textured feel. One of Samsung’s Smart cameras, the NX300 offers high performance and portability for on-the-go photography.

Its advanced hybrid autofocus system (with contrast AF to fine-tune focus plus fast, accurate phase-detection AF) and 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor deliver high-quality images and lifelike colors that will make you look like a pro. Its large sensor collects the most light so you can create detailed images without noise, even in low light. And thanks to its 1/6,000 shutter speed and ultrafast 8.6-frames-per-sec shooting, you’ll easily keep up with the action.

The NX300 gives you multiple options for navigating its menu: the 3.31-inch LCD screen with an intuitive hybrid touch interface combines a five-way button with a touch screen so you can quickly select options to apply artistic effects, share images, and input text. Whether you’re tapping the screen or moving the cursor around, everything you do is made easier and faster. And to capture interesting angles, the AMOLED display flips up 90º and down 45º, so you can comfortably capture low-angle images or shoot over a crowd.

With the NX300 you can shoot up to ISO 25,600, making the camera twice as sensitive to light as the previous model, to snap high-speed photos with minimal noise and blurring. And just tap smart mode to access settings that automatically help you get the perfect shot; capture a high-speed scene with sports capture or let rich tone create surrealistic photos with colors that pop.

Plus, when using creative shot, the NX300 will automatically analyze the scene and set the effects, so for instance, the sunset glows with a touch more orange. For more artistry, the camera has a range of smart filters, like cartoon, which makes a photo look like an animated film scene, or cross filter to make light sources appear as starlike bursts. Picture effects also include vignetting, miniature, colored pencil, watercolor, wash drawing, oil sketch, ink sketch, acryl, negative, and selective color.

And whether shooting photos or Full HD 1080/60P video, you can make your creations pop off the screen when you use Samsung’s True 3D Creator and new 45mm 2D/3D lens. When you’re ready for showtime, an HDMI interface lets you transmit your projects straight to a big-screen HDTV.

To further share your photos and video, dual-band Wi-Fi, a direct link hot key, and Samsung’s Smart Camera app let you quickly, wirelessly send from the camera to a mobile phone, tablet, PC, or Smart HDTV. And after setting up the camera’s autoshare function, it automatically saves every photo to your smartphone via Wi-Fi. It also uses you phone’s GPS to tag photos, and you can use the phone as a remote viewfinder to control the camera. You can also wirelessly save images to a cloud and then view them anytime on your smartphone/tablet, or download them to your PC. Plus, you can instantly e-mail them or post them to a social network from the camera whenever you have a Wi-Fi connection. All and all, the NX300 makes sharing easy!

Samsung’s NX300 compact system camera, which is available in black, white, or brown, comes in a kit with the 20–50mm f/3.5–5.6 ED II lens for $749.99.

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