Preview: Sony Alpha NEX-C3
The NEX-C3's menu system is the same as the one found on the NEX-3 and NEX-5. Instead of a physical dial, choosing Shoot Mode will bring up a virtual shooting mode dial. The latest addition is a Picture Effect mode. There are a total of 11 effects: Posterization (Color), Posterization (B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (Red), Partial Color (Green), Partial Color (Blue), Partial Color (Yellow), High Key, High Contrast Monochrome, and Toy Camera. There's also a soft skin effect which strangely resides in the Camera menu instead of in the Picture Effect menu. Perhaps Sony doesn't consider it to be an artistic effect?
When iAuto is used, pressing the center button now calls up the new Photo Creativity interface. This is where most of the fun lies. The picture effects detailed above can be found here, along with the soft skin effect (surprise!); and other shooting and image parameters such as self-timer/continuous advance, color vividness, color tone, brightness, and background defocus. The cool part is that you're able to combine these parameters to come up with all sorts of interesting effects.
You can't combine two picture effects; choosing a new one would replace the existing one. To undo the last addition, press soft key B. To reset everything and start from scratch, press soft key A. Once you're happy with the instant preview shown on the screen, press the shutter release button to take a picture. Take note though, once you exit from the Photo Creativity interface, the "stack" will be lost. It'd be nice if we could save a combination or two for later recall, since it can be quite tedious to add the same items every time you turn the camera back on.
Another piece of good news is that the combined settings can also be used during video recording. We almost overlooked it, because by calling it 'Photo Creativity', we thought the effects only apply to still photos. Sony should have called it Picture Creativity, instead of Photo Creativity.