The NEX 3 and 5 cameras perform wonderfully right out of the box. Exposures levels are dead-on, the colors are rich, but not too punchy, and the high ISO noise reduction looks very good to 3200. I used program mode for almost all my shots. Program mode allows you to set exposure compensation if needed, (my use; usually when indoors or low-light saturations), but will
automatically control the aperture and shutter speed, so you don’t have to worry about that. iAuto mode works fine too, but you’re not able to access exposure compensation. The screen is very bright and sharp, and easy to see outdoors.
People looking for a small camera that takes great pictures, and aren’t interested in fussing with manual controls will love the NEX 3 and 5. Based on my use, there’s no reason to mess with any manual controls except for some occasional positive exposure compensation, so feel free to leave the camera in “iAuto” or more preferably, “Program” mode. I also think the street sweeper panorama feature works very well, and does a great job of stitching the images together.
A couple of problem areas are; when in manual or priority mode like “A” or “S” it’s real easy to bump the control wheel by simple sliding the camera in a pouch or pocket, and that will throw off the settings, so you may find yourself shooting images using an aperture of F/32! I found that focusing in multi-area mode results in a completely blown focus, at a rate of about 10 percent, that’s pretty high, so you’ll need to check your shots on a regular basis, which is easy to do with the sharp screen. Additionally, the menu system is quirky to say the least, and probably could use an update immediately, but we’ll more than likely have to wait for the second generation of NEX cameras to see any changes.
Even though the cameras suffer from a few minor flaws, It should be clear by now that I really like the NEX cameras as a whole. I appreciate the fact that you can just point and shoot and get excellent image quality, without worrying about aperture, shutter speed and all that baloney that confuses people and makes photography a chore, when it should be fun. However, the NEX system will not replace a good DSLR, (mostly because of focusing differences and physical size for dedicated buttons; WB, ISO, eV etc.), although some photography snobs—and reviewers, including on-line experts, expect it to. Unfortunately, those folks seem to lose site of the NEX intended purpose; small enough to stick in your pocket, with pictures as good as a DSLR!
Click the image for the quick NEX review page. There was an odd color shift between the lens and camera in the original image of the one below, so I converted it to black and white, and it seems to look better. Weird.