Sony Alpha NEX-3 vs. Nikon 1 J1

Comparison

Alpha NEX-3 image
vs.
1 J1 image

Comparison

Sony Alpha NEX-3 Nikon 1 J1
Megapixels
14.20 10.10
Max. resolution
4592 x 3056 3872 x 2592
Price
Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama

Sensor

Sensor type
CMOS CMOS
Sensor size
23.4 x 15.6 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
Sensor resolution
4616 x 3077  3893 x 2595 
Diagonal
28.12 mm  15.86 mm 
Surface area
365.04 mm²  116.16 mm² 
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective, because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »
Actual sensor sizes:
Sony Alpha NEX-3
vs.
Nikon 1 J1
 
Surface area:
Sony Alpha NEX-3
Nikon 1 J1
Difference: 248.88 mm² (214%)
Sony Alpha NEX-3 has approx. 214% more surface area than Nikon 1 J1.
Pixel pitch
5.07 µm  3.39 µm 
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Pixel pitch
Sony Alpha NEX-3
Nikon 1 J1
Difference: 1.68 µm (50%)
Pixel pitch of Sony Alpha NEX-3 is approx. 50% higher than pixel pitch of Nikon 1 J1.
Pixel area
25.7 µm²  11.49 µm² 
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
Sony Alpha NEX-3
vs.
Nikon 1 J1
Pixel area difference: 14.21 µm² (124%)
A pixel on Sony Alpha NEX-3 sensor is approx. 124% bigger than a pixel on Nikon 1 J1.
Pixel density
3.89 MP/cm²  8.7 MP/cm² 
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Pixel density
Sony Alpha NEX-3
Nikon 1 J1
Difference: 4.81 MP/cm² (124%)
Nikon 1 J1 has approx. 124% higher pixel density than Sony Alpha NEX-3.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.

Other specifications

Crop factor
1.54  2.73 
Total megapixels
14.60 12.00
Effective megapixels
14.20 10.10
Optical zoom
n/a n/a
Digital zoom
No No
Iso
Auto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 100 - 3200, 6400
Auto focus
Yes Yes
Manual focus
Yes Yes
Normal focus range
n/a n/a
Macro focus range
n/a n/a
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
n/a n/a
Aperture priority
Yes Yes
Aperture
n/a n/a
Aperture (35mm equiv.)
n/a  n/a 
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot Centre weighted, Matrix, Spot
Exposure compensation
±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps) ±3 EV in increments of 1/3EV
Shutter priority
Yes Yes
Min. shutter speed
30 sec 30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/4000 sec 1/16000 sec
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain
Built-in flash
No Yes
External flash
Yes No
Viewfinder
None None
White balance presets
6 6
LCD display
Yes Yes
LCD size
3" 3"
LCD resolution
920,000 460,000
Min. image resolution
2288 x 1280 1936 x 1296
Selftimer
Yes Yes
Storage types
SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo SDHC, SDXC, Secure Digital
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Batteries
Lithium-Ion NP-FW50 rechargeable battery & charger Lithium-Ion EN-EL20 rechargeable battery & charger
Weight
297g 234 g
Dimensions
117x62x33 mm 106 x 61 x 29.8 mm
Year
2010 2011



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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Sony Alpha NEX-3 diagonal

w = 23.40 mm
h = 15.60 mm
Diagonal =  23.40² + 15.60²   = 28.12 mm

Nikon 1 J1 diagonal

w = 13.20 mm
h = 8.80 mm
Diagonal =  13.20² + 8.80²   = 15.86 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

Sony Alpha NEX-3 surface area

Width = 23.40 mm
Height = 15.60 mm

Surface area = 23.40 × 15.60 = 365.04 mm²

Nikon 1 J1 surface area

Width = 13.20 mm
Height = 8.80 mm

Surface area = 13.20 × 8.80 = 116.16 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

Sony Alpha NEX-3 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 23.40 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4616 pixels
Pixel pitch =   23.40  × 1000  = 5.07 µm
4616

Nikon 1 J1 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 13.20 mm
Sensor resolution width = 3893 pixels
Pixel pitch =   13.20  × 1000  = 3.39 µm
3893


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

Sony Alpha NEX-3 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 5.07 µm

Pixel area = 5.07² = 25.7 µm²

Nikon 1 J1 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 3.39 µm

Pixel area = 3.39² = 11.49 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

You could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

Sony Alpha NEX-3 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4616 pixels
Sensor width = 2.34 cm

Pixel density = (4616 / 2.34)² / 1000000 = 3.89 MP/cm²

Nikon 1 J1 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 3893 pixels
Sensor width = 1.32 cm

Pixel density = (3893 / 1.32)² / 1000000 = 8.7 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always. 22.8 × 15.5 sensor for example has a ratio of 1.47.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

Sony Alpha NEX-3 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 23.40 mm
Sensor height = 15.60 mm
Effective megapixels = 14.20
r = 23.40/15.60 = 1.5
X =  14.20 × 1000000  = 3077
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3077 × 1.5 = 4616
Resolution vertical: X = 3077

Sensor resolution = 4616 x 3077

Nikon 1 J1 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 13.20 mm
Sensor height = 8.80 mm
Effective megapixels = 10.10
r = 13.20/8.80 = 1.5
X =  10.10 × 1000000  = 2595
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 2595 × 1.5 = 3893
Resolution vertical: X = 2595

Sensor resolution = 3893 x 2595


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


Sony Alpha NEX-3 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 28.12 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.54
28.12

Nikon 1 J1 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 15.86 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 2.73
15.86

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

Sony Alpha NEX-3 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Sony Alpha NEX-3, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Sony Alpha NEX-3 is 1.54

Nikon 1 J1 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Nikon 1 J1, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Nikon 1 J1 is 2.73


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