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Sony Alpha A3000 Gordon Laing, August 2013

Sony A3000 preview

The Sony Alpha A3000 is an entry-level camera styled like a DSLR or one of its SLT models, but instead it's actually based on the NEX mirrorless system. Announced in August 2013 it's positioned alongside the NEX 3 series, rather than replacing it.

Sony's market research has revealed many photographers still prefer the classic DSLR shape and style, so it's decided to introduce one for the mirrorless E-mount, employed by the NEX series. So to reiterate, despite its looks this is not a member of the SLT series or a native A-mount camera - it's simply a NEX in a different outfit.

As such you'd expect it to house a 16 Megapixel sensor, but instead Sony has equipped the Alpha A3000 with a 20 Megapixel sensor. As noted above, it features an E-mount for native compatibility with NEX lenses, although there's no hybrid AF system, only contrast-based AF. Despite the size and SLT styling there's no built-in stabilisation either, although the A3000 does feature Sony's multi interface shoe and multi terminal to support the latest accessories. In addition to a fixed 3in / 230k screen, there's a basic LCD electronic viewfinder with QVGA resolution.

I had the chance the handle the A3000 at a press briefing and it felt large but light, giving it an air of emptiness. The viewfinder image was coarse but reasonably sized. Removing the lens reveals the sensor to be much closer to the surface than a normal DSLR or SLT, as you'd expect for a native E-mount system. I can't help but feel confused by the A3000 though as shouldn’t this model name and shape from Sony dictate an SLT? But then the lack of mirror, phase detect AF and built-in IS undoubtedly makes it simpler and able to hit a lower price point, while most of its target market won't necessarily know about Sony's previous range - I just think it should have been called a NEX 3000. It's also launched alongside three new lenses, a 16-70mm f4 OSS Zeiss zoom (the first Zeiss zoom for the E-mount), a PZ 18-105mm f4G OSS (the first G series for the E-mount), and a new version of the existing 50mm f1.8 OSS now clad in black. Which now only leaves me to say the A3000 be out in September at a price of $399 USD or 370 GBP with a basic 18-55mm kit lens.

Sony A3000 review

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A great-looking and highly informative eBook for anyone interested in long exposure photography. Whether you're into painting with light, capturing star-trails or creating timelapse video, author Jim M Goldstein has the answers. One of my favourite eBooks to date and one you'll want in your collection even if it's just to browse the great images.

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