Sony Alpha 3000 review

Mix the build of a DSLT and the NEX E-Mount and you get the Alpha 3000

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Although the Sony Alpha 3000 undeniably produces high quality images, we can't help but be a little confused by the camera. It's basically a hybrid of the Alpha and NEX systems, and while both are good in different ways, we're not entirely convinced of the merits of combining the two.

That said, for those that are enticed by mirrorless technology, but want to keep the form factor of a classic DSLR, this is an intriguing prospect. It also represents excellent value for money at the price point, leaving many of its competitors in the shade.

If image quality is the most important thing here, you'll be very pleased with the a3000 as that's it's biggest selling point. It doesn't have too many exciting optional extras, such as a touchscreen or inbuilt Wi-Fi, but those things inevitably come at a price.

At the time of launch, it seemed very confusing that Sony had decided to omit the NEX name from this line of camera, since it shares the E-mount that the NEX uses. However, since then, Sony has decided to drop the NEX brand altogether, so it's not quite so surprising now. In the future, all Sony cameras will be Sony Alpha and will be differentiated by their mounts – E or A. Whether this will prove to be confusing to consumers remains to be seen, but it represents a streamlining of the range and a desire for all the company's cameras to be treated equally, regardless of mount.

We liked

This is a no-frills camera, but the images it produces are excellent with fine detail, excellent colours and lots of scope for post production editing if you're into that kind of thing. It would be a great camera to learn on for somebody who's just getting into photography.

We disliked

The screen is the major let down on this camera, displaying a low resolution and lots of noise, especially when shooting in lower light conditions. We suspect that this screen was chosen in a bid to keep the price as low as it could possibly be, though. It's also a little bit disjointing having to press a button to activate the EVF rather than it automatically switching when you lift it to your eye.

Final verdict

Sony has produced another good camera in the shape of the a3000. It's not hugely exciting, but nor is it meant to be. It produces excellent image quality and is available at a low enough price point to be accessible to a wide range of photographers.

There may be some confusion regarding the lack of the NEX name and the choice of lens mount, but there's a good possibility that someone who buys this will stick with the standard kit lens. That said, there's now an excellent range of lenses available for the Sony E mount that gives this camera good scope for those wanting to learn and expand as they go along.

On the whole, this is a good option for those who want something with traditional stylings but are tempted by the low weight and low overall size of mirrorless systems. If you don't mind the more compact style of camera though, take a look at the also excellent Sony NEX 3N, which features many similar specs to the a3000 but in a differently shaped body. The viewfinder is a nice to have feature, but it's a little disappointing compared to some of the excellent devices out there on the market, so you may find you don't use it as often as you think you might.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenNo
Effective Camera Resolution20.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
HDMIYes
PictBridgeYes
Product Familyalpha
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Memory Stick PRO-HG HX Duo
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Live View, External Flash Shoe, Face Recognition, Face Detection, Smile Detection, Noise Reduction
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4, MPEG-4 AVC, H.264
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)353 g
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution5456 x 3632
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height90.9 mm
Width128 mm
Depth84.5 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product Modelα3000
Product Nameα3000 Camera with 18-55mm Lens
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberILCE3000KB
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Magazine-style photos made easy.

Take professional-looking 20-megapixel photos effortlessly with the α3000 compact interchangeable lens camera. Unlock your artsy side the easy way and shoot stunning, frame-worthy images and HD video with small-camera simplicity. Best of all, can't-miss moments and fast-action shots are captured with DSLR quality and speed-all in a lightweight camera you'll want to take everywhere.