Sony has received overwhelming response in the field of electronics; the wide range of offerings under Sony’s huge umbrella provides users a practically unlimited scope to confidently trust in the brand name. The company has provided the best world class television sets, the best smart phones and the best types of cameras in the point and shoot as well as the DSLR range. A customer, who has been loyal to Sony’s products, wouldn’t mind waiting a few days to get the desired product of his/her choice. With a long list of competitors keeping their lens like eyes sharply on the lookout for a sudden move by the rivals brings about various launches and competitive offerings that become tough to keep up with. But, Sony’s impeccable quality and amusing technology keeps us all in good spirits and leads us into aspiring for more. The latest offering from Sony’s technical garage is the A 3000 camera with a lot of promise, a lot of technology and the looks to dazzle you. The following review might help you decide if this is the right camera for you.
Introducing Sony’s NEX range of CSC (Compact System Cameras) that provides a compact solution for those who prefer compact design and style with a classy DSLR like feel. Sony has hence devised the A 3000 that features a body that is akin to the traditional DSLR with a subtle touch with innards and focus on the mounting as used in Sony’s NEX camera’s. There was a time when Sony’s SLT-A58 was famous and it did pretty well for itself, and now the A 3000 reminisces the previous model with the same sensor that was passed on from the previous DSLR. This camera has a 20.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor.
As found on the previous NEX series of Sony cameras, the A3000 has the Sony E mount and hence it is compatible with a host of CSC lenses, but it requires an adapter to use Alpha lenses. This makes the naming a tad confusing – anyone who has bought previous A-series cameras might reasonably expect their lenses to work on this camera without an adapter. The camera also features a hot-shoe that looks quite traditional and shares Sony’s Multi Interface shoe and helps users attach microphones as well as a few third party microphones.
The A 3000 has the NEX menu system that sounds pretty cool but, in reality it is a complicated system that has various tough to find categories deceptively hidden from the seekers eye. Admittedly, Sony has made a few tough choices and a few compromises while designing this camera so as to keep elegance and features in perspective and maintaining the key focus on lowering the cost of the camera as possible.
Design Display and Handling:
The first part of this camera is a tad awkward, this camera lacks a mirror. But, despite that strange fact, this camera feels like a whole new breed of mirror less DSLR’s. The camera is also quite light for a DSLR look alike. The grip on this camera is quite deep and feels very comfortable to hold with a good thumb rest and the light weight of this camera makes it very easy for users to operate it with a single hand. This camera measures 128 x 90.9 x 84.5 mm and weighs 353 grams (without lens). It's a bit unsettling how light this camera is, but that definitely has its advantages. With the combination of the deep grip and light weight, the A3000 absolutely will not tax your wrists or forearms (unless you have an enormous telephoto lens connected there). However, the A3000 definitely feels more like you're holding a toy camera rather than a serious piece of equipment, which is not necessarily bad.
There is a large stereo microphone space and a provision for placing the memory card on the left side of the camera. The Hot-shoe is placed on the top of the device that helps users toggle between the viewfinder and the LCD. There is also a mode dial (just like the DSLR) that has the usual manual, automatic and semi-manual modes. There is also a big Electronic View Finder (EVF) on this device that is placed quite well along with a movie record button.
Although the camera feels quite good, you should practice precaution because the plastic body on this device feels like a very hollow shell or a toy that is vulnerable to damage. The buttons on this camera are small and produce an awkward ping sound when pressed. What’s good is the fact that the substantial handgrip gives a good hold over the camera and the controls on the rear of the camera which is quite intuitive. These include a decent size rotary bezel and d-pad, which let you access most of the controls with minimal fuss.
The camera homes a 3 inch LCD screen with 230k dots that produces fine pictures with a manageable contrast and sharpness. One benefit of this DSLR type design is the advantage of the EVF that possesses Sony's Xtra Fine field-sequential technology to aid image sharpness. Overall, this camera is a great functional toy like device that produces good quality images and videos.
The company claims that the battery on this camera lasts for 470 shots when fully charged (Sony/CIPA).
Performance and Modes:
The operational speed as well as the shooting speed on this device isn’t the best. The devices takes time (around 3 seconds) to power up and this makes it slower than most rival cameras. The device’s ISO ranges from 100 and goes all the way up to 16000 that produce good color saturated images with higher noise levels according to the ISO settings. The camera features a few modes such as Panoramic sweep mode that activates on pressing the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other allowing the user to shoot a beautiful image. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) and DRO (Dynamic Range Optimization) modes allow shooting high quality Jpeg images. The camera shoots Full HD 1080p videos at 25 fps with optical image stabilization and records stereo sound too.
This camera has a light body that comes along with the Intelligent control layout familiar to the NEX system but, the AF system on this camera is slow, so are the poor specifications on the device. Although it might be a good thing to see a light bodied camera, but it somehow tends to make you more cautious while using. Apart from a few niggles, this is a great compact camera and it provides a great substitute for a DSLR.
Sony Alpha 3000 Rivals:
Canon EOS 600D
Canon EOS 1100D