Sony A3000 vs A900
The Sony Alpha A3000 and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2013 and September 2008. The A3000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A900 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A3000) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The A3000 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the A900 provides 24.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor||24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-16000||ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|470 shots per battery charge||880 shots per battery charge|
|128 x 91 x 85 mm, 411 g||156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A3000 and the Sony Alpha A900? 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 Sony A3000 and the Sony A900 are illustrated 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A900 is considerably larger (57 percent) than the Sony A3000. Moreover, the A900 is substantially heavier (118 percent) than the A3000. It is noteworthy in this context that the A900 is splash and dust-proof, while the A3000 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the A3000 gets 470 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the A900 can take 880 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack. The power pack in the A3000 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along 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.
|Sony A3000»||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony A900«||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999||Sony A900|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Nikon D3300« »||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic S1« »||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499||Panasonic S1|
|Sony A6400« »||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899||Sony A6400|
|Sony A99 II« »||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A5000« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000« »||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7« »||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R« »||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A99« »||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Sony NEX-6« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1« »||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony RX1|
|Sony NEX-7« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony A850« »||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999||Sony A850|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 A3000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the A900, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A3000 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A900 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A900 is 141 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the A3000 (19.8MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.25μm for the A3000) due to its larger sensor. However, the A3000 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 11 months) than the A900, 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 A900 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A900 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inch or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inch or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inch or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A3000 are 27.3 x 18.2 inch or 69.3 x 46.1 cm for good quality, 21.8 x 14.5 inch or 55.4 x 36.9 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.1 inch or 46.2 x 30.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Alpha A3000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 16000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79||Sony A900|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95||Panasonic S1|
|Sony A6400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24||13.6||1431||83||Sony A6400|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|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 A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony NEX-6||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93||Sony RX1|
|Sony NEX-7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79||Sony A850|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A3000 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the A3000 can use is 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), while the A900 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A900 has a higher magnification than the one of the A3000 (0.74x vs 0.47x), 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 Sony A3000 and Sony A900 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A900|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic S1||5760||Y||3.2||2100||full-flex||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||Y||Panasonic S1|
|Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6400|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|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 A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1|
|Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||Y||Sony A850|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A3000 has one, while the A900 does not. While the built-in flash of the A3000 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The A3000 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A900 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A3000 only has one slot.
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 Sony Alpha A3000 and Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony A900||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A900|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic S1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic S1|
|Sony A6400||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6400|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A5000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1|
|Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-7|
|Sony A850||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A850|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (unlike the A3000) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the A3000 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, 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 Sony website.
So how do things add up? Is the Sony A3000 better than the Sony A900 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A3000:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More compact: Is smaller (128x91mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 484g or 54 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A900:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 19.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.47x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A900 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 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 Sony A3000 and the Sony A900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A3000 or the A900. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Sony A3000 vs Sony A900
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||Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 329||USD 2999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.2 x 15.4 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||357.28 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.8 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5456 x 3632 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.25 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.55 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-16000 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-6400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.8||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1068||1431|
|Screen Specs||Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Sony A3000||Sony A900|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||470 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
128 x 91 x 85 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 3.3 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||411 g (14.5 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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