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4.3 out of 5 stars33
4.3 out of 5 stars
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2013
Some reviews complain that you need to manually switch between LCD screen & viewfinder, others bemoan the lower screen & viewfinder resolution.
Some say it's too light or made of plastic.

I've used pro-spec SLR & DSLR's for over 30 years. This camera isn't perfect (none are) but the viewfinder & screen are perfectly useable, the body well built & ergonomics are very good.

It has all the essential modes & functions. Exposure is excellent, focus is excellent. Sensor resolution is excellent. Kit lens is pretty darn good too.
Honestly if a beginner can't use this to take first rate pictures they perhaps shouldn't be taking pictures. With a little experience this £250 camera / lens will outperform just about every 35mm or digital Crop frame (and most full frame) DSLR's produced in the past.

It's a huge bargain with huge advantages - unless of course you're too lazy to manually switch between viewfinder & LCD or thing 2Kg of camera makes you a better photographer.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2014
I was looking to upgrade my Canon DSLRs with a new body, but I saw this Sony camera at a much lower price. After checking professional reviews and the comments on Amazon I wasn't sure at first due to some comments about handling and the LCD screen.

After handling one and taking a few test shots locally I bought one immediately from Amazon where the price was much lower.

The image quality, which is the most important criteria for me, is absolutely superb.

I've always shot Raw images but the JPEG's from this camera are so good I can just keep the raw files as a back-up.

The supplied lens does a great job and seems very high quality for a kit lens. It also has internal focusing so you can use square filters without them rotating.

Handling is very good in my opinion, with all functions easy to find and use on the cameras menu.

The LCD screen, which some have commented upon is excellent in my opinion, when switched to the sunny setting.

Switching to the viewfinder by using a button does not bother me personally, I have other cameras with an auto function for that, but don't miss it when it isn't there.

One thing I did not like was the battery charger which charges the battery inside the camera. Very slow and inconvenient if you have spare batteries. I overcame that by buying a low cost plug-in charger from Amazon.

I would highly reccommend this camera to anyone who wants to produce very high quality photos and even just using the auto settings will produce superb results.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 November 2013
I borrowed an A3000 from a friend to shoot with for a few days. I'm currently using a 70d and A57, but have used quite a lot of DSLR's at all price levels, and a few of Sony's NEX cameras too.

It's important to point out that this is an "E" mount camera the same as the NEX models 3/5/6/7 etc. It WILL NOT take Sony Alpha mount lenses or Minolta AF lenses unless you purchase an adaptor. This greatly limits the choice of lenses you have (native mount lenses). You can however see what lenses will mount based on the Sony product code. A mount lenses are SAL, E mount lenses are designated SEL.

I think it is very confusing to potential buyers to re-name the more recent NEX models "Alpha" as buyers might assume Sony Alpha lenses will fit this, which they won't.
First off I will say it's disheartening to have to review such a camera and award such a low mark, there are a few areas where the A3000 has some potential. Sadly there are some very serious issues with the camera which make it a slightly embarassing product to have to review.

+ The 20mp sensor is really quite decent, with good noise and dynamic range performance. Not much to complain about here
+ 18-55mm kit lens isn't bad at all really, for a kit lens quite respectable optics wise (nothing amazing but reasonable)
+ It has a hot shoe
+ Jpegs are quite punchy and appealing out of the camera
+ It has a metal mount (well partial metal, plastic lugs with a metal front plate)
+ Battery life is ok at 400 shots roughly in real world use, ok for a compact system camera but below a DSLR one
+ You can buy adaptors to fit many lens mounts, such as manual focus lenses

- There is no "eye sensor" so when you put the camera to your eye to focus you are greated with complete darkness! You are forced to press the button on the top plate to switch between the rear LCD and EVF. A pretty huge oversight from Sony
- Low build quality body. Cheap lightweight plastics, feels poor with creaks and flexing. Even the buttons feel low grade. A tacky hard plastic door covers the SD slot and USB port (also used for remotes) On/off switch sticks half way frequently
- The EVF is astonishingly bad, it is both very small, and very low resolution 201,600 dots. This compares very poorly with Sony's SLT models and it more in line with a cheaper bridge camera than anything else, optics are low quality with smearing in the corners. Pretty much unusable in my view.
- Hard plastic eye cup, I don't wear glasses but it could annoy those who do. Not at all comfortable
- Poor, fixed position, low resolution rear LCD with viewing angle issues, a 230k LCD might have been fine 6-7 years ago, in 2013 it just looks very out of touch. Contrast is low and not that easy to use in brighter light
- No front control dial, NEX type controls are not suited to a body like this
- AF was ok accuracy wise, but it's contrast AF only and not up to the speeds of phase detect (even super budget) entry DSLR's; quite slow AF with the kit lens
- Poor cont' shooting at a mere 2.5fps, or 3.5fps in shooting priority. Small buffer too
- Weedy GN 4 (at ISO 100) built in flash. Fine for a compact camera but seriously underpowered for a DSLR type body
- Poor, smeared jpegs at higher ISO levels, over zealous noise reduction (and it can't be turned down)
- Usual NEX menus (which you either love or hate I can't say I care for them) You also have the usual NEX bits like focus peaking and sweep pano etc which is ok.
- Battery charges in camera (via supplied mains to USB charger) This means you can't charge batteries outside the camera.

So basically we have a NEX body, shoved into a DSLR "type" shell (and a poor quality shell at that)
If you are a NEX user and want another body or a 20mp sensor, I strongly suggest you try one of these in a shop before you purchase to see if you can live with the many annoyances and many design oversights.

If you are in the market for a DSLR type body, forget this entirely you'll spend more time crying behind the camera than you will smiling. There are many DSLR's around. All of which are much better thought out than this.
If you are an A Mount user don't forget this does NOT have in body stabilisation (none of the E Mount NEX bodies do) I think you will be far better served with an A Mount body many around and plenty of second hand choices.

The decent 20mp APS-C sensor can't make up for what is basically a very poorly made, badly designed camera that you likely will not want to use (yes it's that bad) I didn't expect much, I can live with the keep it simple approach and cut down in a few areas. I wasn't that blown away with the Sony A58, but it's a much nicer camera than this offering.

One of the reasons I'm left scratching my head is the concept of a "compact system camera" or ILC/Mirror less is small size. Yet the body here is almost as big as the A58 model. I'm not sure I understand the thinking of the design team who made this product (if they were thinking that is) I just can't see how this appeals in any way to a "potential DSLR/DSLR type" buyer. The NEX "appeal" is more about small size compact bodies, and this is far from that
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2014
First and foremost the picture quality of this new Compact System Camera is excellent. The high-resolution 20MP sensor is a full APS-C size and so suffers from very little of the "noise" inherent in smaller designs.

This camera is essentially a NEX model in a DSLR-style body. It's much smaller than regular DSLRs because of the lack of a mirror and pentaprism. So you pay your money and make your choice - compact flat slab with tilting LCD screen or more curvaceous, SLR-style button placement and handgrip. Either uses the same E-mount lenses.

If you haven't stumbled across this camera before and are thinking of buying it then do some research online and check reviews. It's hard to fault except from a semi-pro point of view or ergonomically. You either like it or not. For those that don't but still want a Sony get a Nex-3 or 5.

Being a new camera to the market you will need to check your software capability for editing the .ARW RAW files produced. (JPG is obviously not a problem). I discovered quite a few titles were not able to open the RAW format yet, despite it being from a major player. However Lightroom 5 and Aperture 3.5 do open the files without problems. I won't list programs that don't support it but just because the manufacturer says it supports Sony RAW doesn't mean it will recognise the latest format, unless, like Adobe and Apple, they keep their software right up to date. Do some research.

The mostly high-quality plastic camera comes ready-assembled, with the metal-bodied lens in place. Just pop in a memory card and battery and you're good to go. Charging of the cell is done in camera via the USB cable and remarkably small mains adaptor. You can buy an external charger but it's not cheap. There's also a strap and printed manual in the box but this book is in many languages and in small format on cheap paper. Download the online PDFs instead, they're easier on the eyes if not so convenient. There's also some free software to download - a picture manager and a RAW file converter/editor - for both PC and Mac.

Anything I didn't like? Yes. The EVF eyepiece view. This isn't as crisp and clear as an optical viewfinder. So that missing mirror does have a negative side after all. It works though and cuts out extraneous light when you are concentrating on a shot. The pixel density is just too coarse for comfort and the icons too small on it. Bear in mind that this is still an upgrade to the cheaper NEX models which only have the main LCD for composition and no EVF at all except as an expensive accessory. Given the many other advantages I can put up with this niggle quite happily.

Anything else missing? Yes, there's no option for a remote control. Although rumour has it a £90 wired remote from other Sony models *might* work, I'm not willing to risk an expensive failure. Certainly there is no Infra-Red option nor details on Sony's web-site.

Finally it really is worth considering this camera given the large pixel count of the main sensor. Yes you can buy true DSLR cameras now at only 40-50 pounds more but they are probably 10-12MP models and even at that price point usually come without stabilised lenses. The Sony is a great step up from point-and-shoot cameras and offers superb quality results but is not a true DSLR.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2014
I recently bought this camera around the new year, after my old olympus digital camera finally gave up. I'd been playing around with old Minolta film SLR cameras for the past year and had been seriously thinking about buying myself a DSLR or even a compact system camera- but had never been able to even consider it with the ridiculous prices!
This camera is a bargain - OK, so it's technically not an SLR, but a compact system in the body of an SLR. I bought an cheap adapter to mount my Minolta lenses and have been taking photos with it every day.
I didn't ever expect it to be a top of the range camera and have been pleasantly surprised with it's performance. It is capable of taking some fantastic images - I'm still trying to get my head round all of the features.
The battery life is good as well, even though it does need to be plugged in to charge. it's also light and really easy to hold.

Obviously, if you're wanting a DLSR, then this probably isn't the camera for you. Personally, I have no complaints about this camera - I did my research and knew what to expect from it. It seems to be a shame that there are people who are naive enough to buy a camera without looking into it first.
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on 23 July 2015
A little background first.

I am a media and marketing person working with next to no budget, but I rely needed and budget friendly manual focus camera with the ability to do reasonably good macro shots.

After looking around and taking advantage of the particular deal they had at the time I found this Sonly Alpha A300 with a 18 to 55mm kit lens.

My first impressions where quite good.
Even with little skill you could take some pictures that looked rather professional, Smooth and warm is the best way of putting it.
Macro shots came out clear and sharp and it was a clear 100% improvement in quality and resolution and the ability to shoot RAW rely gives you an advantage over the rest.

After get used to the quality of DSLR cameras and the functionality I decided to splash out on my own. a Nikon D3200.

Right so this is when I start to notice and differences.
The Screen on the back on the Sony is quite possibly the worst looking and least functional screen i have seen on a device, Think about the old Nokia colour screen in terms of pixels. The only way can tell you have something in focus is when you see little green boxes on the screen telling you the item is in focus, but honestly you are just replying on the software to get the job done. (It does do a good job finding the right focus but still sony FIX THE SCREEN)

I know now if you want to rely see what you are taking a picture off you are better off getting a camera with a DSLR with a Mirror. You will be able to see allot better of you are rely in focus or not.

As I was saying before the images quality is good, sharp and warm. But I understand now warm is not good, the Camera was not fully calibrated and the white balance was way off.

E-mount lens - I feel the Sony lens and the way it does focus is much more superior to Nikos's when recoding video the auto focus is just so quiet. Something I forgot to pay attention to when buying my Nikon, Optics and great and weight and feel and also good. If i could use the Emount lense on my Nikon with out loosing functionality I rely would!

Videos look great, but warning there is no audio input for a external mic, so you you will need to use an external audio recorder and mic if you are wanting some good sound out this device, which is a shame considering the noise from the lens is almost nothing.

Navigation and Menus are enough enough to get your head around, there are a ton of extra software you can use on the camera if you don't mind shooting in JPGE, great if you want a cheap arty frill.

If you are looking at doing some more advanced stuff i would move to Nikon or Cannon as you are given allot more freedom what you can and cannot do with your setting.

Sony I feel could of done a bit more when it comes to button placement in this case i would of made the screen smaller and added some more buttons rather then just relying on the on screen navigation that can be sluggish.

My conclusion - If you want a now frill DSLR ish camera dont buy the A3000 but the A5000, its smaller lighter faster had has more features and uses the same CMOS seances and still support the super cool E-mount lens.

Or if you rely want a DSLR - Buy a Nikon or Cannon and you will get cheaper lenses and add-ons and more street cred.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2013
Had this about two weeks. Don't know whether or not to return.

It has a sub par EFV and an LCD which is only adequate. However on the plus side it produces incredibly good images from its 20.1mp sensor combined with any e mount Sony lens (I have a several). It is lightweight and has the heft for stability and for my hands is the most comfortable camera I have ever used (over 55years of owning cameras). I have the 5n and 3n and the white balance seems to be more accurate on the A3000. Its low light performance is excellent and I think it better than my old Canon 450D with various lenses.

The on/off switch is stiff but that may be due to my arthritic fingers. The side mounted SD slot is convenient and it takes an FW50 battery which seems to be the Sony Nex standard up to now (good on Sony) - can use it on my other cameras. No charger - just USB plug in to mains.

I recommend the camera to any "newbie" or experienced photographer wanting another toy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2015
Good camera. I decided I wanted to update my camera as I had a bridge model and wanted to get a dslr.
Bit having a great deal of money to spend I opted for the Sony A3000. It is a good camera for a learner like me as it's easy to use and has a tutorial mode. The picture quality is excellent and I look forward to many happy days out taking photos.
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on 4 September 2015
A superb camera at a low price. Use the online instruction manual for fullest detail, but "auto" will get you going easily. As usual with digital cameras, problems arise in bright sunny weather near to the sea - the digital viewfinder image is nearly invisible and so is the main screen - so turn up the brightness to maximum and make yourself a little plastic shade to blue tack above the screen. Then the image is just ok. At the moment there do not seem to be any fitments to overcome this problem specifically for the Sony a3000, but I might be wrong. The enlarged picture definition is quite excellent. The right-hand thumb-finger position holds the camera secure and no sign of camera shake at 1/10th with steadyshot on. Plenty of different picture effects available, with individual volume-like controls for each setting, and manual controls for crinkleys like me to fiddle with. Well worth thinking about at this price.
PS In a bright weather emergency, if you raise the flash unit, you can sight through the crescent-shaped aperture under the flash as a finder, and it's surprisingly accurate!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
First, here's what I've learned since acquiring this camera: even though it can accommodate interchangeable lenses and has an apparently conventional viewfinder, it is NOT a DSLR. Technically, it belongs to a category of cameras known as "ILCE" ( "interchangeable lens digital camera").

Unlike a DSLR (or SLR) there is no mirror system to provide true TTL image viewing. Instead you can select between two viewers: the electronic viewfinder or the 7.5mm LCD panel on the rear of the camera.

SLR/DSLR veterans will immediately recognize most of the basic functions provided by an infinity rotating mechanical mode dial on the top of the camera. This offers two fully automatic modes ("intelligent Auto" and "Superior Auto", two traditional priority modes (aperture and shutter), a scene selection mode, a panoramic shooting mode and a full manual mode. For both the priority modes, the additional adjustments are then made via a control wheel on the rear of the camera body.

Video is captured by pressing a prominent "Movie" button adjacent to the viewfinder. Yes, you will be taking some inadvertent videos as you get used to this camera. HD video is captured in the .mts HD format.

This camera accepts both standard SD cards or Sony's proprietary Memory Stick form factors.

Ergonomically, this camera is comfortable to hold; the right side of the body has a protruding grip area with a textured rubber coating that aids handling (especially in cold weather). Like most cameras large enough to accept interchangeable lenses, it is obviously designed with right-handed users in mind. With the included lens installed it weighs just over 16 ounces.

It is hard to find any faults with the overall layout of the camera. While I wish there was an manual button on the lens mount to switch from manual to auto focus modes, the electronic, menu-driven option for this (along with the flash mode) is available in the top-most level of menu options.

The quality of both still images and video is excellent. Shooting in a variety of lighting conditions and distances, I found a very neutral rendering of most colors. Video quality is also very good. The integrated microphone provides surprisingly good audio.

This is a camera that is generally intuitive to use (and what is not intuitive is *excellently* described in an included user guide (and a supplemental creative handbook).

One minor quibble: even though the model of this camera is "A3000", if you want to find information about it on Sony's support site, you should now that is known there by the model number "ILCE-3000').

This has become my go-to for quick pictures, even though I have some more capable cameras available.
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