Sony A3000 First Impressions Review
Sony's taking a different approach to the consumer interchangeable lens market with the A3000, essentially a 20.1MP APS-C mirrorless camera that uses the same E-mount as the Sony NEX line, yet which has the look and feel of a traditional SLR. Though not the first manufacturer to take this approach, Sony is the first to achieve the low starting price point of $399 for both lens and body. However, to achieve that price point the company had to choose lower quality components for the LCD and electronic viewfinder (EVF).
While small mirrorless cameras have caught on in much of the world, adoption is quite low in the US, with most consumers preferring more substantial-looking cameras like Rebel-class and mid-range SLRs. If they're going to spend several hundred dollars, the reasoning seems to be that most want something that looks like a professional camera. Superficially, the Sony A3000 is rather like the now-discontinued Panasonic G10, a low-priced mirrorless with an EVF and an LCD on the back, designed to ape, if not directly challenge Canon's Rebel and Nikon's D3000-series SLRs.
Sony A3000 key features
- 20.1MP Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor
- Compatible with Sony E-mount lenses and A-mount with optional adaptor
- 1080 60i video
- Built-in stereo microphones
- Optical Steady Shot stabilization
- 25-point Contrast-detect AF
- 3-inch, 230K LCD
- ISO 100-16,000 for stills, 100-3200 for video
- 1/4000 to 30 second shutter speeds, bulb
- Sweep panorama
- Shooting tips, Intelligent Auto, other novice modes
- HDMI out
From the front, the A3000 sells itself well, with handsome design and black spatter paint. The standard 18-55mm kit lens seems just a little small though, on the comparitively fulsome body. The grip is ample, and one could almost imagine a pentamirror fitting behind that Sony logo (though of course there isn't one).
However, the illusion falls apart when you pick up the A3000. While the feel of the grip is indeed substantial, the rest of the camera looks and feels hollow from the back. Its appearance also screams low-budget, with few controls. The LCD is more coarse than we're used to seeing these days, with disappointingly low 230,400-dot resolution; its 3-inch size amplifies the effect. The small EVF is also disappointing, and what appears to be a rubber pad around the outside is actually hard plastic, a hazard to glasses-wearers. Those who liked the menus of the NEX system cameras will feel right at home with the A3000's menu; those who did not will carry on hating.
Perhaps the most glaring miscue is that there's no infrared proximity sensor to switch between the LCD and EVF. Instead you have to press a button on the top of the A3000, one that's difficult to reach over the Mode dial with your hand on the grip. A small thing, but for a camera that is designed to appeal to customers on the showroom floor of Best Buy and Costco, it'll likely fail the first test everyone will naturally put to the camera when they pick it up and look through the viewfinder - expecting it to perform like an SLR, they'll wonder why the finder is black.
Our concern is that while it was designed to appeal to those who want the perception of professional quality offered by the SLRs of other manufacturers (Sony openly admitted as much to us), despite its appearance the A3000 fails in two key ways: it neither feels like an SLR nor does it function entirely like an SLR either. And as potential buyers move down the counter trying the various other cameras on display, we think they'll notice the difference.
Of course, this is the enthusiast perspective. Naturally, a lot of people will look no further than the pricetag. This is a $400 interchangeable lens camera. It has a 20.1MP sensor. It captures 1080 60i movies with built-in stereo mics. Those specs are hard to argue with. And the A3000 has so many of the features that make Sony NEX cameras appealing, but packaged in an SLR-like body. For those willing to live with the low-res EVF and LCD, the Sony A3000 is undoubtedly a bargain. It enters a price range appropriate for older kids wanting a better camera, a smartphone upgrader, as well as simple impulse buys, gifts and anyone wanting a decent sensor and interchangeable lenses without spending a fortune.
Kit options and pricing
Expected to retail for $400, the Sony A3000 and 18-55mm kit lens will ship in early September 2013.
I own it
I want it
I had it
Sony's new 12-24mm F2.8 GM is the widest fast aperture zoom for full frame. Based on our tests it's a worthy recipient of Sony's 'GM' moniker.
Chris and Jordan took the new Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM to Calgary's eclectic Ingelwood neighborhood. From record stores to spice shops, find out what got their attention when it was time to go wide.
The six prize-winning photographs and four honorable mentions were narrowed down from more than 6,000 entries captured across North America.
Though Thunderbolt 4 remains at 40Gb/s, its minimum requirements include dual 4K monitor support, faster external drive speeds and more.
You can now use compatible Fujifilm cameras with video conferencing software on macOS hardware without the need of a dedicated capture card.
The Epson V600 remains one of the most popular flatbed film scanners on the market. Revisit our review of this affordable and (mostly) easy-to-use option and see how its output compares to local lab scans.
Canon's mirrorless EOS R5 comes with a ton of features and capability stemming from its design inside and out. Come along with us on a guided tour of Canon's new high-end, high-megapixel camera and check it out for yourself.
Announced alongside the EOS R5, the R6 offers a lot of the same technology but in a more affordable, slightly more enthusiast-focused model. Take a closer look.
Alongside the EOS R5 and R6, Canon has announced a brace of lenses, all in the short to long telephoto range. Filling out the 'long' end are one L-series zoom, and two innovative primes.
Alongside a trio of telephoto lenses, Canon also announced a new 85mm this week. The RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is a compact, affordable alternative to the pro-oriented 85mm F1.2L.
The EOS R5 has been a long time coming – we knew it had 8K and we knew it had an AF joystick. But now that's it's here, what is it really like to use? Find out in our initial review based on hands-on time with the camera.
The R6 doesn't promise quite such headline-grabbing specs as its big brother, but it still packs a punch, whether you shoot stills, video or both.
Think you've read everything there is to know about the new Canon cameras? Chris and Jordan share eight important things you may have missed from today's Canon EOS R5 and R6 announcements.
We've been shooting around with the new Canon EOS R6. Initial impressions of image quality are positive, and out-of-camera JPEGs appear similar to that of the gold award-winning Canon EOS-1D X III. Have a look for yourself.
Canon has officially released the long-awaited EOS R5, the company's top-end full-frame mirrorless camera. Featuring a new 45MP CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel AF II system, 8K video capture and 20 fps bursts, this is the RF-mount camera we've been waiting for.
Although the Canon EOS R6 doesn't have the 45MP sensor and 8K video capture of the higher-end R5, it's still an incredibly capable camera with specs that outshine similarly priced peers.
The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM is the company's first super-zoom lens for RF-mount. Despite a relatively slow aperture range, it's very versatile, offering five stops of stabilization, weather-sealing and compatibility with Canon's new teleconverters.
Canon's RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is an inexpensive telephoto prime lens with a minimum focus distance of just 0.35m (14") and a 0.5x magnification. When attached to the new R5 and R6, it offers a whopping eight stops of shake reduction.
Canon has announced a pair of super-telephoto fixed-aperture primes. The 600mm and 800mm use diffractive optics to keep their size and weight down. They'll also be compatible with new 1.4x and 2x RF teleconverters.
Canon has announced a new small-footprint inkjet photo printer, the imageProGraf Pro-300. it will produce prints up to 13 x 19" and it goes on sale later this month for $900. A new textured photo paper will also arrive in July.
The new compression standard is set to reduce video file sizes by half to save space and speed-up transmission, paving the way for more portable 8K footage.
Sony recently confirmed plans to launch a successor to the video-centric a7S II. We don't even know the name of the camera, but Jordan already has a feature wish list for the new 'a7S III' – and it doesn't include 8K.
The Profot B10 is the first studio flash system that can be used when shooting with an iPhone camera.
The Pixii camera is an interesting little rangefinder camera that features a 12MP APS-C sensor and lacks a rear LCD display, opting instead to pair with your mobile device, which can be used to view and transfer images.
Sirui is launching an Indiegogo campaign for a wide-angle answer to its existing 50mm F1.8 anamorphic lens. The 35mm APS-C lens will come in a Micro Four Thirds mount with adapters for other systems.
Sony has added a 12-24mm F2.8 to its top-shelf 'G Master' series of lenses. It's the widest constant F2.8 zoom currently offered for full-frame, with a hefty price tag to match: it will sell for $3000 when it ships in mid-August.
Take a look at the view from Sony's new ultra-wide F2.8 zoom – we paired it with the a7R IV for some initial shooting.
Canon's EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the best DSLRs ever made. With fast burst speeds, great video quality and impressive autofocus, the 1D X III is equal parts cinema rig and sports shooter. Find out how it fares against steep competition in our full review.
Nikon Rumors is reporting that Nikon will announce successors to its Z6 and Z7 camera systems by the end of the calendar year.
Canon says the event, set to take place at 14:00 CEST in two days on July 9, will be its 'biggest product launch yet.'