Quick 1st Look Video: The Sony NEX-F3 and New 18-200 E Mount Black lens

Quick 1st Look Video: The Sony NEX-F3 and New 18-200 E Mount Black lens

Hello to all! Just received these two Sony products in the mail today – the new Sony NEX-F3 and the new Sony 18-200 E mount lens, the new black re-design version. The F3 is the replacement for the previous C3 (which I did not even review) and it is quite a bit bigger and it seems Sony copied the body design from the NEX-7. YES, the F-3 looks like a NEX-7 without the try-navi controls and built-in EVF.

The F3 brings the new design, a built-in pop up flash (like the 7), external EVF capability, iso 16,000 and a new sensor though the megapixel count stays the same at 16. They did make the charger a bit irritating though as you now have to plug-in the camera via USB to a wall wart to charge the battery. I much prefer the external chargers but at $600 for the APS-C body and lens I guess we can’t complain too much.

The F3 is more like a refresh than a new camera so those who have a NEX-5n or 7 will not want the F3 but to those who have yet to make a decision on a camera, this is another one to consider.

The new 18-200 came about because Sony tells me that the old one was really designed for the VG-20 camcorder and not really so much for the NEX camera bodies. The new lens is slimmer, feels solid, and is all black which IMO, looks much better. I took a few quick snaps in the year to test for AF speed and it seems to operate like the old 18-200 beast. I will be reviewing the NEX-F3 along with the 18-200 over the next week or two so stay tuned! Until then, take a look at the 1st look video below. Enjoy!

You can order the Sony NEX-F3 at B&H Photo using the links below:

Black NEX-F3
Silver NEX-F3
Sony 18-200 Black


  1. I’m also dying for the lens review, as I’m leaving for a trip soon, and still wondering whether the new 18-200LE is a good investment or not…

    • The 18-200 is just as capable as the older version. It is not a super sharp or contrasty lens but it is a very good lens. Slow aperture so you would need decent light to use it. In use it is MUCH nicer than the old version as it is slim and feels great unlike the big old fat previous version.

      • Hi Steve,
        Really enjoying reading your reviews. I’m just thinking of upgrading from my Canon EOS to the Nex 7 in readiness for my Kilimanjaro climb for charity in October. I am wondering when the new 18-200 lense will be out. I can’t see it available for retail in the UK yet. I have an 18-200 Tamron on my Canon, which I assume would fit with the adaptor, but assume the new Nex one would be better.
        I’m a novice photographer who enjoys taking good pictures when I can, so like to cart a camera around with me pretty much everywhere!
        By the way, how does it cope at + and – 20 degrees. I’ll be experiencing both up Kili!

        • Hey Carol! That 18-200 should ship any day now from what I understand. As for temp ranges, I have no idea but I did use it in 113 degree days in Phx without issues.

  2. Steve, how do the NEX-F3 images compare to the 5N? The F3 has the lens correction feature of the 5N, wondering if it’s JPEG’s pop in the same way as on the 5N.

    If so, it seems like they just migrated the 5N down to the 3 line, which means they hopefully have something good up their sleeve for the F5…

  3. Can we expect the review soon? I’m hoping to see it soon as I have a great timed deal on the original 18-200.

  4. HI Steve
    I was wondering how the flash works with it using a NEX 7 and the new 18-200 lens?
    The older lens gave pretty bad shadows using the old lens.

    Thanks in advance

  5. Well, I haven’t used one ..but… just looking at it I can see it’s a Sony. Something from an audio visual company rather than a camera company. I liked Minolta. But they are gone so…
    I’ll be getting an OMD. EM5. That’s what I call a camera!

    • Considering this competes more with the Olympus EPM1 I hardly see your point here so… you are going to buy a camera from a medical imaging company instead?

      Buying a CAMERA from an audio VISUAL company doesn’t seem so silly to me.

    • Richard Sexton from Luminous Landscape thinks quite differently:

      “A camera is free to be something completely different, if it needs to be. Others in the mirrorless camera segment (…) seem to be preoccupied with the retro look and as popular as that might be in satisfying our nostalgic desires for cameras to be more like they were in the film era, a retro fetish is not the best idea for fostering improved camera design.”

      And he gives the example of the EVF position, comparing the Sony left corner position with the Olympus EM5:

      “Beyond that, because Olympus has chosen to give the camera shape a pseudo-pentaprism configuration, that’s where the EVF is obligated to go, rather than the more ergonomic corner position.”

      Retro is fine, as long as it doesn’t keep you from moving forward, don’t you think?

      (source http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/camera_design.shtml)

      • The OM-D EVF position in no way keeps you from moving forward, nor does retro design. VF’s have been in the middle for years. Left side, middle..doesn’t matter. Both work equally as well.

        • On a camera you can shoot one-handed, having the VF on the left side is much more confortable to me. On a large and heavy DSLR I can do with a center VF to allow a two-handed good grip, but my nose is always smashed against the LCD – or my head tilted…

          Now I haven’t tried the OM-D yet, so I don’t have anything to complain about it personally, but Richard Sexton arguments seems quite sensible to me.

          Don’t forget my initial point was Sony’s design is nothing shocking, it’s screaming “I’m new” when the OM-D is screaming “I’m retro”, and both approaches are equally great to me. The OM itself, before being retro, was an innovative and “new” design, wasn’t it?

  6. The big imrprovement over the C3 is the grip and shutter release location. It now feels more like the 5n. The old grip was so puny it was hard to hang onto with a heavy lens hanging on the front. I like the thin NEX bodies as long as they have substantial grips and see no reason they should be any thicker than they are. The F3 is comfortable and secure to hold, unlike most of the inxpensive competition, and a lot of pricier cameras. Even the E-M5 standard grip feels inadequate to me, and the accessory grip is hideous, if very useful. I admire Sony for coming up with designs appropriate for the technology. Too bad about the lenses, though I suspect we’ll see more good third party lenses if the cameras keep selling well. Just not soon enough. I also like the LCD. Sure, it isn’t an important feature, but self portraits are common and it was cheap and simple for Sony to give us this. I can see using it for group shots I want to be in.

  7. Does anyone know where I can purchase a camera strap like
    the brown leather one pictured above on the NEX7?

  8. Why did you not mention that this 18-200 “Sony” lens is actually the same as the existing Tamron 18-200 for the Nex? Thats just rebranded, same technical data, weight, design everything. The body is the same, just the colour and prints seem to be a little different. As the Tamron is quite a bit cheaper, I would not go for the Sony as long as I don’t care about their logo. Btw I have the Tamron since february and I am very satisfied with it. The picture quality is really good for a zoom and the stabilisation is just awesome.

      • Shame on me, I missed that part of the video :/
        As already mentioned, I am quite sure. Doesn’t have any disadvantages though, as the Tamron is a really good lens. Now I am still waiting for a better Standard Zoom and a very fast 50mm equivalent, maybe 35mm 1.4 from Zeiss.

  9. Steve I wear eyeglasses and find the eye cup on the my NEX 7 too hard.
    Is the eye cup on the F3’s optional viewfinder any softer?
    Keep up the good work, enjoy your site very much.

  10. I watched the video hoping you might mention something about the RX100 and was so glad I did… I presume that is what you were talking about with ‘cool new stuff in the next week or so’?

    Also the F3 is interesting in what it means for a future 5 series, considering a lot of the features that separate the C3 and 5N are now included in the F3, such as the EVF ability as an add-on and full HD video rather than 720p.

    Anyway, really really looking forward to you thoughts on the RX100 Steve!

  11. is the new black sony 18-200mm does not equal the tamron 18-200mm which should be quality not so good?

  12. I know these NEX cameras have great image quality….but I dunno, they just don’t do it for me. These big lenses tacked onto these skinny little bodies….just not my thing. I’m all for small cameras with big sensors but I just don’t like the form factor on the Sony.

    • Yes, I agree 100%. Seeing those ugly bodies with these DSLR size lenses illustrates how Sony fails on the concept of a compact system camera. I do not understand why people by Nex bodies, the can have the same clunky lenses in DSLR systems without actually having a bigger system.

      And why does Sony release those irrelevant zoom lenses that Steve calls shotgun? Nex exists for years now and Sony hasn’t managed to produce a single lens that makes the system compact and useful!

      Panasonic and Olympus get it. They are doing it right. Look at the Micro Four Thirds lens lineup!

    • I totally agree with you Clint. The Nex-7 is ok, I like the design and construction of that camera, but the rest of the line-up just feels too “digital” and “gadget-like”. Guess that´s why so many of us love the X100 design. It really looks and feels like a camera.

    • Same with me… I used a NEX with some older lenses that were smaller, like Contax G, Pen F or Leica M mount lenses. Worked mostly, and like everyone else had fun with the sweep panorama and the likes, but in the long run I could not stand the NEX interface, the lack of viewfinder (back then) and the lack of quality and compact E lenses (Samsung seems to be able to produce decent quality and compact primes covering APS-C).

      I gave up and went for a Leica M8 with a few lenses which has been immensely more pleasing. Hoping for a used M9 (or a M10???) in the not too distant future.

      I more recently added a m43 body with a few compact primes. Sensor IQ is definitely well below NEX, but at least the system makes sense as a whole.

  13. And now Sony is making another black painted lens, which are a dime a dozen. yawn. Not only does Sony enjoy making lenses no one wants, they are starting to make their lens line look as boring as everyone elses. double yawn.

  14. Another boring slow overpriced zoom lens, thanks Sony for giving E mount the LAST thing it’s users wanted.

    • My sentiments exactly. Sony, are you listening? Please introduce a fast (normal) prime just like EVERY OTHER manufacturer already has. How about that long anticipated G Series wide zoom?

      So another 18 to whatever…. And now Sony tops it off by skimping on an external charger.

    • I beg to differ. I’m actually quite looking forward to the new 18-200. It is quite a versatile lens to be honest…one of the best travel lenses in my opinion. Recently went on a trip to Nice and I cannot begin to tell you how much easier an 18-200 would have made my life. Sure…they need some good primes. They also need a more compact version of that brilliant 16-50mm F2.8 Sony lens. My favourite at the moment is still the 24mm CZ and it pretty much stays on my camera most of the time.

  15. I’m particularly interested in knowing whether the new smaller black 18-200mm lens has the same or comparable image stabilization as the older silver version.
    The older model has exceptional stabilization, and if that was sacrificed for size, it’s probably worth sticking with the old lens if you shoot in the long end of the focal range.

  16. Correction, my bad. I bought the huge silver 18-200mm. This is a welcome relief. I just wish it was around before. Wa wa wa.. Enough wining I’m out lol.

    • Sony said themselves that the OSS is a more basic implementation in the new black one over the bigger silver model. The silver one was very much designed as a video lens, this one less so. I don’t know if there will be much of a difference for stills however.

  17. It would have been nice if Sony wouldn’t have advertised a lens for the Nex that was meant for something else. I bought this lens a month ago when I bought the Nex-7 because there was nothing else available at that time for the Nex unless I bought the kit. I surely hope Sony does something about the lack of availability out there for Nex lenses as so far for me the Nex experience has been akin to watching a Nascar race where the drivers showed up and the cars didn’t.

    • “I bought this lens a month ago when I bought the Nex-7 because there was nothing else available at that time for the Nex unless I bought the kit.” Nothing else available a month ago? Are you serious? There is now a good number of e-mount lenses available and in stock at various retailers, as well as Amazon, eBay, etc. I own the 16, the 18~55 kit lens, the 55~210, and 50 1.8 (spectacular lens!). Also currently available are the 30 3.5 macro, the humongous 18~200 you bought, and the overpriced Zeiss 24. There are a number of non-Sony e-mount lenses (including an 18~200 by Tamron), plus with adapters you can use pretty much any manual lens ever created. I have an m42 adapter, with which I have a number of Pentax Super Takumar lenses (great quality, very cheap). If the only thing you thought was available a month ago was the 18~200, then you didn’t shop around much – or maybe your salesman took you for a ride.

      • Hi, actually i’m quite a fans of Sony Nex, but the price for Nex-7 is really …. seriously for that price i can get a DSLR, Not to offense, i wonder how the comparison for F3 and -7 ? =/

  18. Jeez steve I got dizzy watching that. Easy on the jiggling around mate. Also I would never leave my sensors exposed like that! Don’t you worry about dust etc? The Sony Nex cameras always look so unbalanced with the slim bodies and large (ish) lenses.

  19. For around $850, I would have liked the 18-200 to have fixed aperture capability.

    The NEX-F3 seems like a very good deal considering it has an APS-C size sensor.

    • May be not 18-200, but defiantly Sony should work on getting at least 18-135mm with fixed aperture
      f 2.8. That is everybody’s Dream lens.It will fit into any situation, any where any light. Its a difficult challenge- heavy- big etc. If Sony found a way to shrink a big DSLR to size of NEX with dslr image quality. Sony please take up the challenge to shrink the lenses and give us some zooms with fixed, fast aperture with excellent image quality.

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