First Impression: Sony A35 and NEX-C3

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.

2 thoughts on “First Impression: Sony A35 and NEX-C3”

  1. Greetings one and all!
    I trust all who read this are well. (lovely weather we’re having…)

    I have a Sony Nex-5 and I must say I absolutely love it! It approximates a wonderful user experience due to its size (or lack thereof) and is a solid camera for daily use. It seems to provide all the features of a traditional DSLR without the bulk of such technology and has certainly set a benchmark in an altogether new market segment. More advanced and feature-packed cameras of the same shape and same size are, according to Sony SA, on the way (Nex-5n and the flagship model Nex-7)… Watch this space.

    I would advise potential owners to take note of the following:

    For those whom do not know, the Nex range uses very good quality components and in the case of the lenses available to this range, you will find these composed from metal alloy as opposed to the long-standing tradition of plastic and composite housings. This however, brings up the pricing of the lenses to ridiculous levels (the exclusive E-mount 18-200mm lens will set you back a cool R10000.00 right now!)

    Although the (E-mount) lens mounting system cannot directly fit your old Minolta/Alpha cameras, one does have the ability to utilize the old (Minolta/A-mount) lenses you have been carefully investing in over the years (I use Minolta lenses dating back to the 70’s & 80’s).
    This can be done using a Sony LA-EA1 lens adapter, which retails in the region of R2000.00. RELIEF! – although you will lose the Autofocus ability unless you have the SSM or SAM Sony lenses. (not ayoba!)
    If like me, you shoot most of your work in manual focus, negate the question of ayoba-ness and continue on!

    The very last comment I should say about the camera is really not about the camera itself; but rather about Sony SA. Nex users are literally chomping at the bit to receive the promised range of lenses and camera accessories like the HVL-f20s flash you’ve mentioned. It seems Sony is not playing ball with its distribution issues and we are suffering because of it. we should not need to resort to Ebay for all the answers. I’m even prepared to purchase the flash featured in the above picture here (hopefully its not a dummy or mock-version)!!! – such is my desperation. [seriously, I’m not joking here – I know where Mr Quintas works!!! 🙂 ]

    Please give us the ‘low-down’ as to when Sony releases the floodgates and showers us with the much needed accessories.

    Thank you for the pleasant read and DO continue to share your wealth of knowledge with us.



    • Hi Christopher. Thanks for your feedback. I have also passed your comments on to Sony representatives. There are some issue regarding distribution some relate back to the earthquake still, others higher than expected demand globally. You may want to join this group on Facebook also check out our sister site Alpha Tutorials

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