Sony says its brand-new NEX-C3 camera is the smallest and lightest APS-C interchangeable lens digicam in the world. It weighs just 225g – significantly less than some of supposedly compact cameras we’ve reviewed. The 16.2Mp camera will go onsale in the UK from August. Pricing has not yet been revealed. 

With the launch of the NEX-C3 camera Sony is introducing a new Picture Effect function. Sony is offering this feature as a free update for all NEX camera owners via a firmware upgrade. 

The Sony NEX-C3 is broadly similar to the NEX-3 camera that came out a few months ago, but the use of an Exmor HD APS-C lens has allowed Sony to shave off a few millimetres and make the claim that the NEX-C3 is 6 percent smaller. The camera can take 720p HD video as well as 16Mp photos. A 7.5cm tiltable LCD is used for composition. The camera has no built-in flash, but Sony offers one as an accessory. The HVL-F20S flash, along with a range of E-mount lenses, will go onsale this summer. 

Sony has decided that there’s too much technical jargon relating to cameras and has replaced established terms such as aperture, white balance and exposure control with a ‘photo creativity interface’ in which the user is encouraged to select ‘background defocus’, brightness and colour options. 

A multi-frame feature allows the user to take several photos at once and have the camera create a panoramic sweep from them. This, says Sony, means shots taken using this setting on the NEX-C3 will appear 3D and will be especially effective when viewed on a 3D TV. Other useful effects include a high dynamic range (auto HDR), handheld twilight and an anti-motion blur setting.

In common with Olympus cameras, in particular, Sony has added a range of artistic ‘in picture’ effects that can be applied at the point of shooting. These include retro, pop colour, high contrast monochrome, posterisation and toy effects. Perhaps more usefully, there’s a soft skin effect that thoughtfully ignores wrinkles and blemishes when taking a portrait shot. 

Sony is offering its Photo Creativity interface via a firmware update to existing NEX camera owners. Registered owners can download the firmware upgrades from the site. 

Windows users with a Sony NEX-3 camera can get the upgrade from here

Mac users with a Sony NEX-3 camera can get the upgrade from here

Windows users with a Sony NEX-5 camera need to click here

Mac users with a Sony NEX-5 camera will find an upgrade link here