The last couple of weeks have been terrible since we got samples of both the NEX-C3 and Alpha A35 but were sworn to secrecy as – at the time – there was no official release date for either camera. Now the news is official and we can share our first thoughts and begin our reviews a little more publicly.
Sony Alpha SLT-A35
I am not sure where to begin here. In essence the A35 is a shaved down A55. It has a 16MP Exmor CMOS sensor like the A55 does but then it lacks the 10fps, GPS and worse of all the screen is fixed, no rotating or swivelling. Everything else is the same at the A33. There is a neat twist, the inclusion of creative filters like Toy Camera, Partial colours in Red, Green, Blue and Yellow to name a few. One would hope that we see these in a firmware update for the A33 and A55 sometime soon.
I think the best way to describe this camera is a cost cutter to target the likes of Nikon’s D3100 though I have not confirmed the price point with Sony South Africa yet. Here is what I would like to see happen following the release of this camera: Sony are on the path way to eliminating their past of having 2-3 near identical cameras with no clear jumps in range. The announcement of this A35 leaves a good gap between it and the bigger A55 or whatever may replace it before the end of the year. Then with any luck the A77 or whatever the A700 replacement will be called (can you believe that its heading to 3 years since Sony discontinued that wonderful machine) will come out also before year end and there will be 3 clear models of SLT (Single Lens Translucent [mirror]) cameras. I can hope cant I?
Sony Alpha NEX-C3
So let me come out with it. I have a bit of a soft spot for the NEX cameras. I was just wrapping up my time at Sony when these cameras were being prepared for launch and now, the NEX-C3 is the first in the range to be released since I left. At the time that I was working at Sony South Africa and played with the NEX-3, I thought it was the better styled camera than the NEX-5. As time went on and I used both extensively I realized that in the case if the NEX-5 (personally speaking) first impressions were not to be lingered on as the camera got better to handle the more I used it.
With that all said the C3 is, based on first impression, much nicer than the NEX-3 was. Sony have not just changed the cosmetics however. The firmware has also been improved and I cannot wait to get the update onto my NEX-5 too. With the new firmware Sony have introduced a stack of new creative filters like those mentioned above in the A35. In addition to this fun fix, Sony have taken the soft keys that were introduced in the last NEX firmware update, to a new level. You may recall that the softkeys are those which can be customized to a chosen function . On the current firmware you could only customise 2 buttons to perform 4 different operations. On the NEX-C3 firmware you can customise the left and right buttons and the centre custom button can switch between 5 different function instead of 3. It takes a moment longer to set up and I found myself duplicating one or two functions on different buttons at first but it looks to make using the NEX that much faster.
New NEX 30mm Macro lens and Flash
Sadly the 30mm Macro lens announced today for the NEX system is not available yet in South Africa but I have got the new HVL-F20S flash as a sample… honestly, I cannot say I have missed a more powerful flash and it looks a little ridiculous but we will see when we get to testing it if its worth the eye-sore.