Nikon B500 vs Sony A3000
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Sony Alpha A3000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and August 2013. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the A3000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and an APS-C (A3000) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 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.
|Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|22.5-900mm f/3-6.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 80-6,400||ISO 100-16,000|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 230k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|7.4 shutter flaps per second||2.5 shutter flaps per second|
|600 shots per battery charge||470 shots per battery charge|
|114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g||128 x 91 x 85 mm, 411 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Sony Alpha A3000? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Sony A3000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the A3000 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 A3000 is notably larger (31 percent) than the Nikon B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the A3000 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the A3000 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A3000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
The power pack in the A3000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon B500||4.5 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||19.1 oz||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Sony A3000||5.0 in||3.6 in||3.3 in||14.5 oz||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|Nikon B600||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|Nikon A1000||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.6 in||11.6 oz||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|Nikon P1000||5.7 in||4.7 in||7.1 in||49.9 oz||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|Nikon W300||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|Nikon B700||4.9 in||3.3 in||4.2 in||19.9 oz||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|Nikon P900||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|Nikon L840||4.4 in||3.1 in||3.8 in||19.0 oz||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|Panasonic FZ80||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Sony A6400||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.0 in||14.2 oz||410||n||Jan 2019||899|
|Sony HX80||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony A6000||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony RX1R||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony H200||4.8 in||3.3 in||3.4 in||18.7 oz||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|Sony NEX-6||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||12.2 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony NEX-7||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||14.1 oz||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The B500 was launched at a lower price than the A3000, despite having a lens built in. 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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A3000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A3000 is 1175 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the B500 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A3000 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 19.8MP, the A3000 offers a higher resolution than the B500 (15.9MP), but the A3000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.25μm versus 1.33μm for the B500) due to its larger sensor. However, the B500 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the A3000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the B500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A3000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A3000 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 Nikon B500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A3000 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon B500, the Sony A3000, and comparable cameras.
The B500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A3000 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 and Sony Alpha A3000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the B500 offers wifi support, while the A3000 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the B500 and the A3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The B500 was replaced by the Nikon B600, while the A3000 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon B500 and the Sony A3000? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A3000 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (114x78mm vs 128x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the A3000 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A3000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the B500 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 10 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Nikon B500 and the Sony A3000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the B500 or the A3000. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Nikon B500||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Sony A3000||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|Nikon B600||+||..||3.5/5||..||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|Nikon A1000||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|Nikon P1000||+||73/100||3.5/5||4.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|Nikon W300||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||May 2017||389|
|Nikon B700||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|Nikon P900||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|Nikon L840||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|Panasonic FZ80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Sony A6400||+||85/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony RX1R||..||..||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony H200||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Sony NEX-6||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony NEX-7||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon B500 vs Sony A3000
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||Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3-6.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 329|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||4.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||5.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1068|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon B500||Sony A3000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
128 x 91 x 85 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||411 g (14.5 oz)|
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