Sony NEX Mirrorless Cameras

Looking for tons of tech in a portable camera body? A Sony NEX mirrorless camera may be just what you need.

sony nex-5r mirrorless camera
Sony NEX-5R

Sony announced their line of mirrorless system cameras during the 2010 PMA Conference (an annual trade show for photographers).

At that time, the prototypes of the NEX cameras were under glass, but they soon became a reality and the first ones became available in June of 2010.

Since then, Sony has continued to innovate and expand their mirrorless camera line, offering cameras with an increasing array of features aimed to please photographers of all types.

Sensor Size

Like Samsung, Sony likes large sensors.

The sensors inside the Sony NEX mirrorless cameras are the same size as digital SLR sensors (also called APS-C) and measure 23.4 x 15.6mm (as compared to the smaller 17.3 x 13mm sensor in Panasonic and Olympus mirrorless cameras).

A larger sensor provides two distinct advantages over a smaller one:

  1. Better Noise Control — as you increase the ISO setting on a camera, it absorbs light faster which is a necessity for low-light photography. However, high ISOs also result in reduced image quality due to visible image speckling (also called "grain" or "image noise"). Larger sensors produce less image noise even at very high ISO settings.
  2. Reduced Depth — want your photos to have a sharp foreground and a smooth, out-of-focus background? This effect is easier to achieve with larger sensors and is important for anyone who wants to use a mirrorless camera for portraits.

Released in 2012

Release Date: November 2012

NEX-6

The NEX-6 borrows its built-in WiFi from the NEX-5R and its exceptional OLED viewfinder from the NEX-7. It also includes a swift hybrid autofocus system more often found in Sony DSLRs.

Megapixels16.1
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode1080p AVCHD
StabilizationLens only
ViewfinderXGA OLED
Built-in FlashYes
ISO Range100-25600
sony nex 6
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $1,000 USD
Release Date: October 2012

NEX-5R

The NEX-5R is Sony's first mirrorless camera with built-in WiFi. You can upload images to the web straight from the camera and download "extension" apps to add more functionality.

Megapixels16.1
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode1080p AVCHD
StabilizationLens only
ViewfinderNo
Built-in FlashNo
ISO Range100-25600
sony nex 5r
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $750 USD
Release Date: June 2012

NEX-F3

Sony's "entry-level" mirrorless camera does not have a built-in viewfinder, but it does have a built-in flash. The NEX-F3 also has an LCD that can be flipped all the way up to be visible from the front of the camera.

Megapixels16.1
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode1080p AVCHD
StabilizationLens only
ViewfinderNo
Built-in FlashYes
ISO Range200-16000
sony nex f3
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $500 USD
Release Date: March 2012

NEX-7

The NEX-7 is not really a camera for beginners, but is aimed more at advanced photographers looking for a camera with capability in a very small package. Simply put, the NEX-7 shares many features with cameras that are significantly larger and heavier.

Megapixels24.3
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode1080p AVCHD
StabilizationLens only
ViewfinderOLED EVF
Built-in FlashYes
ISO Range100-16000
sony nex 7
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $1,350 USD

Released in 2011

Release Date: November 2011

NEX-5N

If you'd like your mirrorless camera to have a touch screen, then this is the Sony for you. As of late 2011, this is the only Sony mirrorless camera to include a 3 inch touch screen, providing you with quick access to the camera's menus and settings.

Megapixels16.1
LCD3in. touch
Movie Mode1080p AVCHD
StabilizationLens only
ViewfinderNone (optional)
Built-in FlashYes
ISO Range100-25600
sony nex 5n
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $700 USD
Release Date: August 2011

NEX-C3

The Sony NEX-C3 is for those who want DSLR-like image quality without having to tote around the weight of an SLR. The sensor inside is the exact same one that's included in the much larger and bulkier Sony SLT-A35.

Megapixels16.2
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode720p MP4
StabilizationLens only
ViewfinderNone
Built-in FlashNo
ISO Range100-12800
sony nex-c3
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $650 USD

Released in 2010

Release Date: June 2010

NEX-3

The NEX-3 is an exceptionally compact camera that sacrifices a few features - like a viewfinder and built-in flash - to trim off excess size and weight. Camera control is as simple as it gets with virtually no buttons cluttering the back.

Megapixels14.2
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode720p MP4
StabilizationIn Lens
ViewfinderNone, Optional
Built-in FlashNo
ISO Range100-12800
sony nex-3
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $600 USD
Release Date: June 2010

NEX-5

The NEX-5 shares almost all of its features with the NEX-3 with one exception: the video quality. With the NEX-5 you can capture Full HD 1080i video clips as compared to the 720p video on the NEX-3.

Megapixels14.2
LCD3in. flexible
Movie Mode1080i AVCHD
StabilizationIn Lens
ViewfinderNone, Optional
Built-in FlashNo
ISO Range100-12800
sony nex-5
Available at:  Amazon  •  Adorama  •  B&H Photo Video
List Price: $700 USD
Page current as of: August 2012