Canon 30D vs Sony A5000
The Canon EOS 30D and the Sony Alpha A5000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2006 and January 2014. The 30D is a DSLR, while the A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Sony Alpha A5000? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Sony A5000 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the 30D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5000 is considerably smaller (55 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the A5000 is substantially lighter (66 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the A5000 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (30D) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A5000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A5000, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
Concerning battery life, the 30D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the A5000 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|2.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|3.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|4.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|7.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|8.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|9.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|11.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|12.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|13.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|15.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A5000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 68 percent) than the 30D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5000 is 6 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (30D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 19.8MP, the A5000 offers a higher resolution than the 30D (8.2MP), but the A5000 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.25μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). Yet, the A5000 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 10 months) than the 30D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 30D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A5000 offers substantially better image quality than the 30D (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.3 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A5000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 30D does not. The highest resolution format that the A5000 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 30D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5000 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 30D, the Sony A5000, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 400D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the 30D, but is missing on the A5000 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The A5000 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 30D does not have a selfie-screen.
The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the A5000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 30D and Sony Alpha A5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 400D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 30D has a hotshoe, while the A5000 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the A5000) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 30D and the A5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the A5000 was followed by the Sony A5100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 30D better than the Sony A5000 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 30D:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 420) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2006).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A5000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 56%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 516g or 66 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (68 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 30D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5000 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Sony A5000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 30D or the A5000 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|2.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|3.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|4.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|7.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|8.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|9.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|11.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|12.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|13.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|15.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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- Canon 1D X vs Canon 30D
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- Canon 30D vs Sony H200
- Canon 30D vs Sony RX10 II
- Olympus E-P5 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Sony A5000
- Sony A5000 vs Sony HX80
- Sony A5000 vs Sony HX99
- Sony A5000 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Canon 30D vs Sony A5000
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 30D||Sony A5000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2006||January 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 1,399||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 30D||Sony A5000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||4.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||5.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 2||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||59||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||736||1089|
|Screen Specs||Canon 30D||Sony A5000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 30D||Sony A5000|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 30D||Sony A5000|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 30D||Sony A5000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
144 x 106 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||785 g (27.7 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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