I got the chance to play with Sony's upcoming Alpha NEX-C3 camera at Sony Electronic's holiday preview last night, when the PR rep informed me that it should be in stores in about two weeks, which will bring us to August.
The Alpha NEX-C3 was first introduced at CES 2011so consumers are no doubt eager to get their hands on Sony's light-weight interchangeable lens camera with DSLR quality images. It's hard to classify the Nex-C3 as it not quite a Micro Four Thirds with its APS-C sized sensor, which is the same 16.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor as in the Alpha A55 digital SLR, but also not a DSLR with its compact body. It can shoot HD video at 720p with a quiet auto focus, as well as capture panoramic images in 3D that you enjoy on a 3D HDTV. Sony is claiming that its battery will be good for 400 shots per charge, per press materials.
It comes preloaded with 11 "Picture Effect" that can be applied to both stills and videos to both mimic DSLR image quality and minimize Photoshopping work. The UI of the tiltable, 3" touchscreen Xtra Fine LCD makes photography settings easier to understand for photography newbies with more descriptive language like "brightness" rather than "exposure value." More advanced users may appreciate that the NEX-C3 does not have a built-in flash, as its large sensor makes it possible to capture quality images even in low-light.
Weighing just 225g (close to eight ounces) and with a body approximately the size of a thicker smartphone, the Alpha NEX-C3 is light to tote around, though its lens does make it a bit unbalanced to hang on your neck. It will be available in black, silver and even pink with the 18-55 mm kit lens for $650, or $599 for the 16mm lens in black only.