Nikon D3000 vs Sony A6000
The Nikon D3000 and the Sony Alpha A6000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2009 and February 2014. The D3000 is a DSLR, while the A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D3000||Sony A6000|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|10 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)||ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|500 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g||120 x 67 x 45 mm, 344 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3000 and the Sony Alpha A6000? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3000 and the Sony A6000. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A6000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the D3000 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 A6000 is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Nikon D3000. Moreover, the A6000 is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the D3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3000 nor the A6000 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 Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A6000, 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 D3000 gets 500 shots out of its EN-EL9a battery, while the A6000 can take 360 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A6000 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. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon D3000»||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599||Nikon D3000|
|Sony A6000«||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Fujifilm X100« »||5.0 in||3.0 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199||Fujifilm X100|
|Nikon D3200« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D3100« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000« »||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D90« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40X« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Olympus E-450« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||Olympus E-420|
|Sony A6300« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||5.0 in||3.6 in||3.3 in||14.5 oz||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599||Sony NEX-3|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A6000 is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A6000 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the D3000. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 6.11μm for the D3000). However, it should be noted that the A6000 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 months) than the D3000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A6000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A6000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3000 are 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inch or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inch or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A6000 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon D3000 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 A6000 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6000 offers substantially better image quality than the D3000 (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon D3000||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.1||563||62||Nikon D3000|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Fujifilm X100||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/30p||22.9||12.4||1001||73||Fujifilm X100|
|Nikon D3200||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D3100||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.5||11.4||562||65||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D90||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40X||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.4||11.4||516||63||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56||Olympus E-420|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68||Sony NEX-3|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A6000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D3000 does not. The highest resolution format that the A6000 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D3000 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the A6000 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D3000 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the A6000 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3000 and Sony A6000 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3000|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X100|
|Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7||230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-420|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000||none||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-3|
The D3000 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A6000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A6000 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D3000 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 D3000 and Sony Alpha A6000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D3000||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3000|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X100|
|Nikon D3200||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D3100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D90||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Olympus E-450||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-420||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-420|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A5000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
It is notable that the A6000 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3000 does not offer wifi capability.
Both the D3000 and the A6000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3000 was replaced by the Nikon D3100, while the A6000 was followed by the Sony A6300. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3000 or the Sony A6000 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon D3000:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2009).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 55%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 126x97mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 192g or 36 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D3000 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 3 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 D3000 and the Sony A6000 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D3000 and the A6000 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D3000
- Nikon D3000 vs Panasonic S1R
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony A7 II
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony HX90V
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony RX100 V
- Nikon L840 vs Sony A6000
- Olympus E-420 vs Sony A6000
- Olympus E-450 vs Sony A6000
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony A6000
- Sony A6000 vs Sony A6600
- Sony A6000 vs Sony A77 II
- Sony A6000 vs Sony HX99
Specifications: Nikon D3000 vs Sony A6000
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 D3000||Sony A6000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2009||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3000||Sony A6000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.8 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||372.88 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3872 x 2592 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.11 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.69 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||100-51200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||563||1347|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3000||Sony A6000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3000||Sony A6000|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3000||Sony A6000|
|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||Nikon D3000||Sony A6000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
126 x 97 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
120 x 67 x 45 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||536 g (18.9 oz)||344 g (12.1 oz)|
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