What's new in the Sony NEX-F3...

- A new external design that now seems to have more in common with the NEX-6 then the 5N.

- It has a different and newer sensor from the C3 and 5N despite still rated as 16 megapixels, its also dropped from 16.2 to 16.1 in count despite still being capable of 16.2.

- It now has a built in pop up flash like the NEX-6.

- It has a newer processor than the C3 and 5N under the hood from what I hear but I've yet to confirm that.

Other more notable differences include:

* Despite having the same effective resolution, the two cameras use different CMOS sensors

Independent firmware hacking project status of the C3 and F3… (…still not much progress at current)

There's no doubt that some of the limitations of the NEX-C3 and NEX-F3 have been artificially imposed by firmware. As far as firmware hacking status goes there hasn't actually been much progress on the C3 front the whole time its been available other than language option tweaks for the menu system, which could be a big deal to some but I'm guessing for many others not so much. However juicy stuff like shooting mode burst rates, buffer control and ISO threshold still remains uncracked for the C3 via some kind of unofficial firmware mod. This is also pretty much the case for the F3 too, which is understandable I guess with it still being relatively new. But from what I hear there are some out there still working on discarded out of warranty NEX-C3's as their test subjects in an attempt to try and deliver you some kind of juicy hacks at the potential risk of bricking them. 

Despite the NEX-F3 getting closer to NEX-5N specs they've stopped short of giving the F3 a touch screen as well as still limiting the burst rate to a 5 per second peak (JPEG@16.1MP) before the buffer is said to get full rather then going the whole 10 per second of the NEX-5N, this is also despite the F3 having newer hardware then the 5N under its shell. Each shot taken is also displayed in a relatively rapid and synced timed manner on the LCD screen without blanking out. The ISO threshold has also been uprated from a maximum of 12800 (of the C3) to 16000 on the F3, so its not quite the 25600 of the 5N but still quite a large increase in maximum assigned potential threshold all the same. Again I can't help but think that this might actually be an artificial ceiling imposed by the implemented firmware, especially because of the newer sensor and hardware being used in the F3.

Most notable uprate is the move from 720p to full 1920x1080 60(i)fps movie shooting capability (which is a vastly higher frame rate than DVD) as being to film in full 1080 24p too. Nice. 

The NEX-F3 still lacks a built in view finder, however it is now possible to use the view finder attachment which costs two thirds, half, to a third of the actual camera itself depending on how much you paid for your camera in the first place and where you buy the viewfinder attachment from. Oh, and I personally reckon it looks ridiculous as well as  ruining the external aesthetic appearance of the camera when its attached. It’s a shame they couldn't have included a built in viewfinder in the way they had done for the NEX-6 and NEX-7.  

But does it take good pictures?

Well yeah, probably, since at the end of the day all the above gubbins and money spent will mean squat if it takes pictures like a my first Fischer price toy, and technically I still won't be able to tell you as of yet due to the fact that I'll be using an old canon lens from an old film roll SLR in conjunction with a Sony F3 body due to budget limitations. 

For the moment I'll be trying to shoot in total manual mode with the F3 with no auto focus, no assisted image stabilization (and without all the other assisted digital image controls) using some vintage Canon EOS EF 35 - 135mm SLR glass. Notice "trying to" and not necessarily succeeding. At least after I manage to get hold of a manual EOS EF to E-mount lens adapter, but hopefully I'll be able to pull out some interesting results all the same.