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Sony Alpha A3000 Ken McMahon, June 2014

Sony A3000 review-in-progress

NEW: Sony A3000 sample images!

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. Ahead of my full review, check out a bunch of Sony A3000 sample images!

Sony A3000 review

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