Quick-ish Sony a3000 first impressions/review of features.

Started Apr 5, 2014 | User reviews thread
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prodesma Senior Member • Posts: 1,727
Quick-ish Sony a3000 first impressions/review of features.

So, I took my a3000 out for about an hour of shooting. I won't make this a full-fledged review, just a few major points and one major issue. I just got mine delivered yesterday, so haven't spent much time getting to know each other. (yet).

First, I've not ever used a translucent mirror camera before. So, having no optical viewfinder is driving me crazy on a harsh/overcast day. Tough to compose (can't see anything except glare off the rear LCD), will take lots of getting used to. I don't feel this way with the many P&S pocket cams, so I think the rear LCD screen is just terrible. Oh well. IMO, the EVF is pretty near nonfunctional.

My Sony FW50 battery drains faster than a swimming pool in a sink hole. Even when turned off it drains about 3% per hour. Just over an hour of shooting 100 images and it drained about 40%.

The kit lens is pretty dang stellar. I had no expectation of anything even CLOSE to this. I mean, sure I read all the positive reviews... B&H, Amazon, review sites... And I thought, (I dare say maybe "snobbishly"?) ... Most of these reviewers probably have not used high quality primes, and are just comparing to their previous P&S camera IQ. NOPE. The black 18-55 OSS is a solid performer IMO.

There are a ton of image processing actions in the camera. Quick testing, I find the higher DRO settings make scenes look 'fake' without normal shading. But the HDR is more towards interesting, and I actually like the Toy setting. I also downloaded the free Sony PlayMemories image software. For some reason some of these "creative image" settings aren't listed when shot in that specific mode.

I have so wanted sweep pano on my previous (Nikon) dSLR cameras. Well, it's official. It only "kinda" works. It has lots of issues. Not successful at near-foreground-to-background type of compositions. But can be fantastic at scenic or cityscapes.

I used this Sony PM software to only resize these in-camera JPEGs to more reasonable sizes for viewing here. No edits or post. Please feel free to share similar experiences or other thoughts. And sample images w/ descriptions? I am interested in learning from all the a3000 users here.

First image outside w/ my a3000. Nearly impossible to view LCD in bright daylight for composing.

Level 4 DRO is pretty drastic, some will like it others won't.

So above, I tested the Dynamic Range Optimizer at "off," "Level 1," and "Level 4." I didn't set up the test HDR very well. I have to say I shot with a circular polarizer on, I think you can tell from the cloud formation above.

"Toy" in Creative Mode replicates a tilt-shift lens effect.

I actually think this Toy Mode can work well. Especially for those without access to powerful image editing software and/or those who want to be able to share images very quickly after shooting. Fans of Poladroid or Lomography could have fun with this.

ISO 100, 1/5 sec @ f/25, -3.0 EV, DRO Lv2, WB on cloudy, saturation at +1 from STND color setting.

Pocket cameras can't shoot this street scene above without f/25 and -3.0 EV, basically full manual settings. Not that it's special in terms of image. It just CAN. And that's awesome for a $250 kit.


Now. Here comes the issue. I want to love Sweep Panorama and have craved it for years. Overall, looks pretty solid. Wow, the processing involved in-camera to stitch all those seams together! Overall... It is impressive.

Sweep Pano shot with lens in portrait (taller format).

But waitasec.

Did you notice that foreground? The railings at the lower left edge? Ruh-roh, stitching is problematic in foreground objects. Especially ones not "on plane" with the camera travel for the pano. Meaning, this is diagonally aligned to the frame.

The same bridge I was standing on, I tried to shoot... From one side, down to my feet, to the other side of the bridge up to the skyline. Apparently the gyroscope in-camera won't work on that. Bummer. So, next test...

Sweep Pano fail. I'm coining a term for this: "Lemon Peel" for how it fractures the handrailing.

So, this is a very oblong curved handrail and space. I thought I'd play with sweep pano and see if I could simulate a fisheye with the curve in the middle. I guess I out-tricked it. It looks like somebody turned the long yellow handrail into a lemon peel that could be chopped into twists for martinis or G&T's. I tried about 25 of these panos; some a bit smoother, some MUCH more fractured and disrupted. The above sample of "Lemon Peeling" is the middle ground of my test.

I tried about 30 of these panos, none turned out.

I think the image processor had issues with handling a linear element in perspective in this sweep pano composition. But the curves would be so cool in a pano! One lemon peel at the lower right corner. (See it?) But honestly, very close to being a keeper.

Sony a3000 + 18-55 kit lens shot in black & white JPEG. A bit 'flat' in tonal range.

Actually the B&W engine reminds me of a couple film developers, maybe Dektol? Lots of mid-tones, no clipping, but very little in the ranges of quarter-tones and three-quarter tones IMO. Blacks aren't deep. So, next I decided to under expose by about 2/3 of a stop.

Sony a3000 b&w in-camera JPEG, looks pretty good. Maybe even REALLY good.

After adjusting to a little underexposed, the b&w in-camera processor seemed like all of a sudden it knew EXACTLY what to do with the instructions it was given. Still no highlight clipping, but tones got deeper, a bit more feathering between tones, and sharp contrast.

I'm new to this Sony forum. So please help chime in if you would. Your experiences with the a3000? Do you find this helpful? Or a waste of dpr's server/cloud space? I have a ton to learn about my new camera/system. Any specific tips or suggestions? I hope others can help share some further insights. Thanks to those who already have in my previous thread/post.

Again, I only spent about an hour shooting so far. More tests soon. I'll spend the time to post further if people find it helpful & interesting. AND a dialogue is created here. If not, please feel free to tell me and I won't impose upon you good folks any further.

Thanks for viewing. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the a3000. And images.


 prodesma's gear list:prodesma's gear list
A3000 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 20mm F2.8 +3 more
Sony Alpha a3000
20 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Aug 27, 2013
prodesma's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
A3000 Sony Alpha DSLR-A300
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