Sony A3000 vs NEX-3
The Sony Alpha A3000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2013 and May 2010. Both the A3000 and the NEX-3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The A3000 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the NEX-3 provides 14 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A3000||Sony NEX-3|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor||14 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 100-16,000||ISO 200-12,800|
|Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||7 shutter flaps per second|
|470 shots per battery charge||330 shots per battery charge|
|128 x 91 x 85 mm, 411 g||117 x 62 x 33 mm, 297 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A3000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-3? 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 NEX-3 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The NEX-3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, 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 NEX-3 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Sony A3000. Moreover, the NEX-3 is markedly lighter (28 percent) than the A3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A3000 nor the NEX-3 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
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. 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.
|Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899|
|Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
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 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 45 percent) than the NEX-3, which puts it into a different 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 NEX-3 is 2 percent bigger. 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 Sony A3000 offers a higher resolution of 19.8 megapixels, compared with 14 MP of the Sony NEX-3. 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 4.25μm versus 5.11μm for the NEX-3). However, it should be noted that the A3000 is much more recent (by 3 years and 3 months) than the NEX-3, 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 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 Sony NEX-3 are 23 x 15.3 inches or 58.3 x 38.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 12.2 inches or 46.7 x 31 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 10.2 inches or 38.9 x 25.9 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 NEX-3 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the A3000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NEX-3 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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.
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A3000 provides a higher video resolution than the NEX-3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the NEX-3 is limited to 720/30p.
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 NEX-3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A3000 and Sony NEX-3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A3000 has one, while the NEX-3 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 NEX-3 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 A3000 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A3000 and the NEX-3 write their files to 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 Sony Alpha A3000 and Sony Alpha NEX-3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Both the A3000 and the NEX-3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-3 was replaced by the Sony NEX-3N, 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A3000 or the Sony NEX-3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A3000:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.8 vs 14MP) with a 19% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (470 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the NEX-3 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-3:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x62mm vs 128x91mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 114g or 28 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2010).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A3000 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Sony A3000 and the Sony NEX-3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A3000 or the NEX-3 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.
|Sony A3000||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony NEX-3||..||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Sony A6400||+||85/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|Sony A5000||+||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A5100||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony RX1R||..||..||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony NEX-6||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony NEX-F3||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Sony RX1||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Sony NEX-5N||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-7||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Sony NEX-C3||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Sony NEX-5||+ +||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1300D vs Sony NEX-3
- Canon 200D vs Sony NEX-3
- Canon 20D vs Sony A3000
- Canon 77D vs Sony A3000
- Fujifilm X-A10 vs Sony NEX-3
- Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Sony A3000
- Fujifilm X100F vs Sony A3000
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Sony A3000
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Sony NEX-3
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony A3000
- Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony A3000
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony A3000
Specifications: Sony A3000 vs Sony NEX-3
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 NEX-3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||May 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 329||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A3000||Sony NEX-3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.2 x 15.4 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||357.28 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.8 Megapixels||14 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5456 x 3632 pixels||4592 x 3056 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.25 μm||5.11 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.55 MP/cm2||3.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 16,000 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||68|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.8||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1068||830|
|Screen Specs||Sony A3000||Sony NEX-3|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A3000||Sony NEX-3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A3000||Sony NEX-3|
|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 NEX-3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||470 shots per charge||330 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)
117 x 62 x 33 mm
(4.6 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||411 g (14.5 oz)||297 g (10.5 oz)|
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