How to use your new digital camera
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.
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.
What camera should I buy? your options explained
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.
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.