Japanese electronics giant Sony today took the wraps off its new NEX-3 and NEX-5 ultra-compact digital cameras.

The cameras are a first for Sony, offering interchangeable lenses and mark a new category under its Alpha brand.

Both the NEX-3 and NEx-5 feature 14.2-megapixel CMOS image sensors. The main difference between the two models is that the NEX-5 will capture full 1080i (1440×1080-pixel) video in AVCHD or MPEG-4 mode while the NEX-3 only captures up to 1280×720-pixel (720p) video.

Sony has also added a new 3D panoramic image function that will allow users to view these images on a Sony Bravia 3D TV.

“Designed for every consumer, be it novice photo enthusiasts or seasoned professionals, the new NEX-3 and NEX-5 cameras offer a glimpse into the future of digital imaging. With their unique, compact design and innovative features, these cameras have now made it simpler to capture DSLR quality images, stunning Full High Definition footage and 3D panoramic photos,” said Maurice Satya, Product Manager for cameras at Sony Australia.

The two cameras work with Sony’s E-mount lenses but with an optional mount adapter can be made to work with Sony’s A-mount range of lenses.

Both cameras have Sony’s optical image stabilisation and ISO sensitivity ranges of between 200 and 12800.

Images and videos can be stored on either MemoryStick or SD/SDHC cards. According to Sony’s release, the cameras will also support up-coming SDXC cards as well.

Prices start at $849 for an NEX-3 single-lens kit and rise up to $1699 for the NEX-5 with a travel zoom lens kit.

Models will start arriving in late June with the NEX-5 travel kit version not available until late August.

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