Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good image quality but weak in other areas
on 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