Sony Alpha A5000 Ken McMahon, May 2014

Sony A5000 vs Nikon D3300 JPEG Quality

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Sony A5000 and the Nikon D3300 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

For this test the 16-50mm kit lens on the Sony A5000 was zoomed in a little to match the 18mm wide angle on the Nikon D3300's 18-55mm kit lens

I'd previously determined that the best quality on the A5000 was produced when the aperture was set to f5.6, so both models were set to f5.6 in Aperture Priority mode.

For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. RAW results follow on the next page.

  Sony Alpha A5000 results
1 Sony A5000 Quality JPEG
2 Sony A5000 Quality RAW
3 Sony A5000 Noise JPEG
4 Sony A5000 Noise RAW
5 Sony A5000 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Sony A5000. The camera was set to Aperture Priority mode and at f5.6 metered an exposure of 1/800 with the sensitivity set to 100 ISO. The Nikon D3300, also set to f5.6 metered the same exposure - 1/800 at 100 ISO.

Before we get to the crops, just a couple of things to note about the respective sensors in the A5000 and D3300. The A5000's 20.1 Megapixel sensor produces crops with a larger area and smaller detail than those of the 24.2 Megapixel D3300. The second thing worthy of note is that the D3300 has no optical low pass filter. So with a higher pixel count and no OLPF you might expect the Nikon D3300 to deliver more detail. Lets see if that's the case.

In the first crop, from close to the left edge of the frame the crop from the D3300 certainly looks a little sharper, but I wouldn't say there's more detail there. Despite selecting the same exposure the D3300 crops look a little darker and there's less shadow detail. So, though the detail in the top half of this crop is sharper on the D3300, the bottom is inconclusive.

In the second crop from closer to the middle of the frame I think the D3300 does better than the A5000 with not only sharper edges but more fine detail. Compare the front face of the church tower and the roofs of the buildings in the foreground. Interestingly, though, in the next crop the situation is reversed and here the Sony A5000 delivers sharper edges with more detail visible in the lightouse and its rocky island. The same is true of the fourth crop, with softer detail from the Nikon D3300 and the A5000 looking a lot sharper in comparison.

It seems likely that what were seeing here is more to do with the limitations of the respective kit lenses on these two models than their sensors. If you take the second crop in isolation, the D3300 has a little bit of an edge, but there's not a lot in it. It suggests that both sensors are probably capable of delivering more detail with a better lens. Of course with entry levels models like these it's likely that the kit lens is going to be the main and possibly the only option for many people.

I shot this in RAW+JPEG and you can find out how the former looks in my Sony A5000 RAW quality results. Alternatively, to see how they compare at higher sensitivities check out my Sony A5000 Noise results.

Sony A5000 JPEG
Nikon D3300 JPEG
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Sony Alpha A5000 results : Quality / Noise

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