Stepping up to the Sony Alpha NEX-3N

Published: October 18, 2013 (Paperback and Kindle)
Length: 50 Pages (including photos)
Publisher: RCV
Genre: Instruction Manual

- About the Book -
From the Introduction

All I knew is that my camera sucked. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure where to start. I just wanted to take good pictures. Is that so hard?

Actually yes, because I not only wanted to take good pictures, but have the ability to capture fast moving objects in bad lighting crammed into a small form factor. The more I dug into it the more variables I found, until I had information running out of my ears. Finally after much searching I stepped up from my point and shoot to the Sony Alpha NEX-3N.

I’m not a camera expert. However, in my search for this camera and in learning to use it, I have learned more than I ever thought I would about camera technology. In that time I have accumulated pages of notes, thousands of photos, and movie after movie where individual variables were changed in an effort to determine what effect each had on the final product.

During this period I learned what is truly important to a beginner, and it is only as a novice myself that I realized how important these questions are to answer right from the beginning. This book is aimed at the individual stepping up from their camera phone or a regular point and shoot to this machine. Someone who might not know what an f-stop is or how it relates to the ISO settings or the aperture. Or what impact the lens has on any of this. Phase detect vs contrast detect auto-focus? Does it really matter? These are trial-by-fire questions you might not get an answer to until you spend the money on this unit and find out what impact they have in real world scenarios.

Since purchasing this camera I have read web pages, blogs, manuals, and quick guides all about the NEX system. Though well written I never felt part of the target audience. Answers to the questions I had seemed too simple for them to cover, or the answers buried too deeply. So I created the book that I wanted from the beginning to save me from the pitfalls I experienced by rushing out the door unprepared. Mistakes that cost me shots I will never have again.

Buy from Amazon

Are you the type of person that likes to dive into something head-first? Getting out there and actually taking pictures is the best way to master photography. But how many failed photos will you take along the way? Covering only the essentials, and how they are applied to the NEX, this crash course will get you out there shooting quality photos without bogging you down in unnecessary details.

The NEX-3N is Sony's effort to court the point and shoot crowd. A large sensor coaxed into a small body was the basis for the NEX line, but the 3N takes it to a new level by incorporating the new collapsible zoom lens as well as a dedicated zoom lever. Finally with these two features the 3N is closer to a point and shoot camera in body and design but approaching a professional DSLR in picture quality.

If you're a beginner moving up from a point and shoot or even a cell phone and taking a step out of your comfort zone, then this book can be the safety net you need to ensure you get the shots and not the flops.

This book is available as both hard-copy and kindle editions with additional electronic editions to come in the future.

- Bonus Goodies -
The large majority of the photos in the text have been cropped or resized during the editing process.  The purpose of this section though is to give a higher quality image than the one offered in the book for a more thorough inspection.  With the exception of the one full size image meant to show the detail captured by the NEX, all of the images have been resized to be less than one megabyte for the purpose of bandwidth conservation.

Note:  Images actually depicting the NEX-3N were taken with a Canon Powershot SD1000 Digital Elph.

Image Name
Back Controls
Detail of the controls on the back of the NEX.  Taken on a nice sunny day at the beach with the camera on a tripod.  Exposure Time - 1/125 sec,Aperture f/8.0, ISO 80
Overhead View
Top-down view of the NEX sitting on a table in my reading room.  Exposure Time - 1/8 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 200
Side View
Showing off the memory card slot and the connection ports.  Exposure Time - 1/8 sec, Aperture f/4.9, ISO 200
Front Angled View
Notice the IR lamp for helping with the contrast based focus.  Also note the push button to unscrew the lens.  Exposure Time - 1/10 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 200
Camera Display
Reference numbers are in the text.  Shot of the display of the camera pointing at a solid red object.  Exposure Time - 1/3, Aperture f4.5, ISO 100
Focus Examples
Focus on the foreground object and the background object.  Composite shot.
Aperture Examples
To highlight the differences between a wide open (low f-stop) aperture setting and a high f-stop setting.  Composite shot.
Shutter Speed Comaprison
Example of a shot with a long shutter speed and a different shot with a short shutter speed.  The short speed was taken with a flash.  The longer shot of the fireworks was taken using the BULB setting until I felt the moment was captured just right.  Composite shot.
Same light metering, different shots
These three shots were taken with identical 0.0 light metering however with widely different settings.  Composite shot.  Top Left Exposure Time 1/320, Aperture f/3.5, ISO 6400: Top Right Exposure Time 1/40, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 800, Bottom Exposure Time 1/3, Aperture f/7.1, ISO 200
Standard Exposure

HDR Exposure

One shot with a standard exposure (Exposure Time 1/640, Aperture Unknown, ISO 800) and that same shot as part of a HDR image.
Panorama shot from bottom to top of a tree.  Stitched together in camera.
Full Detail Garage
Image processed by camera only, full size as processed by camera.  Honestly the image is not super sharp showing the focus was slightly off.  Exposure Time 1/160 sec, ISO 500
White Balance Issues
Upper left and lower right had white balances selected by me.  Lower left and upper right were the white balances as automatically selected by the camera.  The white balance the camera selected was influenced by all the blue water.  Composite image.
The multi-point light metering that the camera defaults to will fail in a number of circumstances.  In cases where the subject is lit from behind this is the general result.  Exposure Time 1/250 sec, ISO 200
Color Accent Mode
There are a number of in-camera processing effects.  This is one of the accent modes.  There are several modes covering different colors.  Exposure Time 1/80 sec, ISO 200
Fan at 1/60 sec

Fan at 0.4 sec
When shooting a video in manual mode your shutter speed becomes your frame rate.  If you shoot with too long of a shutter speed your video will turn out completely different (usually for the worse) although this does not affect the audio.  Each image represents a frame from a video shots with that frame rate.
Subject with Vintage Yashinon Lens 43
Subject shot with a vintage lens on the camera.  The lens had an aperture of f/1.7 and was shot wide open leading to the very out of focus background.  Exposure Time 1/1250 sec, ISO 1250

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All content copyright Robert Vincent, All rights reserved (2015) except for the Amazon click button which is not mine at all, the CreateSpace logo (again note mine), and all terms relating to the Sony Alpha NEX system, those remain property of Sony of America.   Thank you for looking!