A3000 grossly underrated, A6000 less of an option now...

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
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123Mike
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A3000 grossly underrated, A6000 less of an option now...
8 months ago

I recently acquired an A3000 with the 18-55 kit lens, and I expected it to not be very good, based on the reviews, and my own assumptions.

It turned out that was all wrong.

What I was after is a bit of a strange path. I have an  A57 and A300 (backup, wife camera) and I was looking to move into the next better step, with better IQ and better video. I thought to get this A3000 kit, so that I could sell the A300 and A57, and get an A6000 for our main camera, with the A3000 becoming that backup camera that the  wife uses mostly.

I expected:

1) 30 fps video in 60i container, no better than A57
WRONG ! It's 60 fps true interlaced, and playing that back properly yields a temporal resolution of 60 fps, aka, smooth. Plus, it does 1/30s which means twice as bright. It's also sharper and renders the colors much nicer in lower light than the A57 does. Digital zooming retains resolution longer until you run out of cropping power. A57 gets blockier quicker it seems.

2) crappy slow AF with hunting and being imprecise. I'm not 100% sure about imprecision yet,  but so far it seems pretty decent. It's not a sports shooter, but it does a good enough job for my use. It's possible that this summer with some kids running around that it might fall a little short for AF speed, we'll see. But, that hunting and seeking back and forth, it does not at all do that. I thought that was impossible with CDAF but I was wrong. It homes in beautifully and it appears precise. I have seen it not focus where I exactly want, but the DMF is very helpful.

3) crappy EVF. Ok, that one just stinks. It's absurdly lousy.

4) crappy LCD. It *seems* alright! It doesn't pull out, and I *really* don't like it being fixed. I'm trying to live with it. Reason is I never use VF at all, ever, and I like to hold the camera low at the kids' level, and "mingle" so to say. Not flipping out makes that a lot harder.

5) crappy kit lens. The 18-55 lens it came with, appears to be very good. I haven't done proper comparisons yet. I want to compare it to the A57 kit lens (18-55), Tamron 17-50 f2.8, and Minolta 24-85 RS at least (those are my walk around lenses).

If only the E lenses gave me the flexibility that the A-mount lenses did on the A57, I'd be all set. Unload that A57 and A300, and hello E-mount. But then the spoiler, the fly in the ointment. The utterly horrible lens situation! What *IS* it with restricted and slower and insanely priced lenses for E-mount??? On the A57, my favorite lens is the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. It's an SLT, thus about 30% lower ISO ratings. But there is that bright lens to make up for this. The E-mount 18-55 lens is pretty darn sharp (good copy?), and the A3000 resolves more resolution. The OSS appears much more effective than the IBIS of the A57. So all that means I can go to higher ISO, and slower exposure, and perhaps equate what I can get from the 17-50 on the A57, using the 18-55 kit on the A3000. I'm not sure about this yet, but it's starting to look like it.

But then I'd like to get beyond the kit lens. For tele options, the 18-200, both the Sony and Tamron, is out, because they don't look so good on the long end. The 55-210 looks optically far superior. I'm ok with the 18-55 + 55-210. That part, so far, looks happy to me. But then, I want to ensure that I can take indoor pictures without flash, which is what I'm used to with the A57+2.8 lens. I'm not sure the 18-55 kit lens provides this. I'm thinking no, it won't, based on some casual shooting around the house so far.

So, what are the options. I'm seeing the Sigma 30 f2.8 prime. No stabilization, and the price isn't $100 what people had me believe. It's at least $150. That, plus shipping and duties (I'm in Canada). 
On  A-mount I have the Sony 35 f1.8. The E-mount equivalent, which might be better, is around $400 at best. That's not cheap for just a prime. It comes with OSS though.
But, not bright zooms. What''s up with that? I'm seeing a 16-70 f4 and 18-105 f4, but that's only 1 stop brighter than 5.6. My $100 Minolta 24-85 RS runs from f3.5 to f4.5, and it's sharp. What with the $800 and $600 price tags?

I'm having an LA-EA2 adapter coming in the mail. The A3000 handles like a lighter A33 SLT, and an adapter + AF lens might feel doable. But I had my mind set on an A6000. I won't get that super duper focusing with the adapter, because overrides and provides its own SLT pdaf focusing system. So, if E lenses don't cut it because they're not out-competing A-mount lenses, then what's the point or advantage of an A6000 over the A3000? The  screen flips out and that's great. And video *might* be better but I don't know that yet. Lens wise, not using the adapter +  AF lenses, makes the E lenses look like a step back to me.

So, as much as I'd like to get an A6000, I'm not so sure anymore. On one hand I wish I knew this and didn't even try the A3000. I could have bought a used A77 for like $650 and then continue to be in A-mount heaven. But, the video on it sucks, and the low light performance isn't as good. But the again, the glass is so much brighter for it, that it makes up for it. But... a mirrorless + 1.8 prime would let me make really nice pictures indoor without flash!

So for now, my path has changed from A57 -> A3000 stepping stone -> A6000, to A57 -> A3000 + LA-EA2 + AF lenses........

I'm also getting a turbo lens focal reducer (Roxsen one), and I'm planning on using M42 MF lenses on it, and also the Minolta MC 50 1.4 PG lens which appears to be the best cheap prime lens that money can buy, and then modifying the mount from MD to A, and using that on the focal reducer. I thought that might be fun to try. I'd be able to really take nice shots inside of the kids, without flash of course. I can do that on an A3000 or A6000. But would there be a big advantage of the A6000 over the A3000, for pure IQ? It's only 20% better resolution, which ends up being a small rim of extra pixels. IQ might not be better at all. You get this super duper focusing engine, but, given that E-lenses are (excuse my french) a disgusting ripoff (IMO) (compared to what A-mount buys you), I'd be using that LA-EA2 adapter. Now suddenly the A6000 isn't looking so hot for me anymore...

I'd also like to consider to say, screw it *ALL*, shove all this A-mount/E-mount/and Sony-head-games aside and try another brand. Canon... on mirrorless 3 lenses available, not liking any of it. Panasonig GH series - absurdly expensive.

I've said it before. I've been royally spoiled by the A-mount lineup! Things used to be cheap and good. Now it seems to be more snobbish and elite. Where's the logical step? A77? A77 + camcorder (given SLT video isn't good enough)? A3000 *AS* a camcorder and backup/wife camera + A57+all the stuff I have now?

Anyway, I'm not so keen on jumping on a A6000 anymore, given the lens restrictions.

 123Mike's gear list:123Mike's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS A3000 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM +4 more
Sony a6000 Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 Sony SLT-A33 Sony SLT-A57 Sony SLT-A77
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