Sony's next generation of compact DSLR cameras, the NEX-5 and NEX-3 let users select the right lens for the job - bringing the flexibility and quality of a high-priced digital SLR camera to users that don't want to lug around a big, heavy camera on their next photographic outing.

The NEX-5 is the world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital camera. Its ease of use and diminutive dimensions make it a great upgrade for mainstream point-and-shoot users.

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 compete with the new trend of micro four thirds cameras - devices that sport a reduced size and thickness but utilize the same image sensor found in traditional DSLRs, thus retaining the high picture quality of a professional interchangeable lens camera.

Both the NEX-5 and NEX-3 are equipped with an Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with a resolution of 14.2 effective megapixels; a powerful BIONZ processor for quick, precise autofocus and minimal shutter lag; an ISO range of 200 - 12800; a clip-on flash for low-light shooting; a 7.5cm (3 inch) adjustable LCD display; HDMI out; USB 2.0 Hi-Speed; and both cameras are fully compatible with E-mount camera system lenses.

Additional features include Sony's Sweep Panorama mode - where users ‘swing' the camera to capture photos that are stitched together to create a 23-megapixel panoramic image; face detection; smile shutter; anti-motion blur mode; and the ability to capture fast-moving action shots at up to 7fps.

There are also on-screen shooting tips that will provide direction for new users and a built-in help menu if they ever get stuck, said Sony on May 11.

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 have full support for HD video recording with a dedicated Movie REC button. The NEX-5 records with a resolution of 1920 x 1080i while the NEX-3 has a video resolution of 1280 x 720p.

Camera manufacturers are confident that the compact DSLR trend is one that is set to drive DSLR sales in the coming years.

Olympus and Panasonic have been pioneering the micro four thirds format with the release of the Olympus PEN series and Panasonic DMC-G series. Samsung recently joined them with the release of its NX10 camera.

On May 11 Sony announced it was developing a new type of high definition camcorder which will harness the technology found on the NEX-5 and NEX-3. The camcorder will utilize the same Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and will be compatible with the E Mount interchangeable lens system. The camcorder is expected to be launched in fall 2010.

The Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 will be available from July 2010. Pricing will start from around $550 for the NEX-3 and at approximately $650 for the NEX-5.

For a hands-on review of the Sony NEX cameras and a side-by-side comparison with the Samsung NX10, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2, Olympus E-P1 and Olympus E-P2 visit http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20004552-1.html
or http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5/NEX5A.HTM

For more information about the Micro Four Thirds System head to: http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/index.html.

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