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Sony A3000 vs RX1

The Sony Alpha A3000 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and September 2012. The A3000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A3000) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. The A3000 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the RX1 provides 24 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony A3000 versus Sony RX1
Sony A3000 Sony RX1
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Sony E mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-16,000 ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
470 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
128 x 91 x 85 mm, 411 g 113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A3000 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Sony A3000 and the Sony RX1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A3000 vs Sony RX1
Compare A3000 versus RX1 top
Comparison A3000 or RX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Sony A3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A3000 nor the RX1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1 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.

Concerning battery life, the A3000 gets 470 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the RX1 can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329 i
2.
 
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799 i
3.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799 i
4.
 
Sony A6400 120 mm 67 mm 50 mm 403 g 410 Y Jan 2019 899 i
5.
 
Sony RX1R II 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
6.
 
Sony A5000 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449 i
7.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
8.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599 i
9.
 
Sony A58 129 mm 95 mm 78 mm 492 g 690 n Feb 2013 599 i
10.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499 i
11.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799 i
12.
 
Sony NEX-6 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 345 g 360 n Sep 2012 999 i
13.
 
Sony NEX-7 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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 RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 139 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.

Technology-wise, the RX1 uses a more advanced image processing engine (BIONZ X) than the A3000 (BIONZ), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Sony A3000 and Sony RX1 sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the A3000 (19.8MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 4.25μm for the A3000) due to its larger sensor. However, the A3000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the RX1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A3000 are 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm for good quality, 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.1 inches 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

A3000 versus RX1 MP

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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1 offers substantially better image quality than the A3000 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.81068 78
2.
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.32534 93
3.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.91338 83
4.
 
Sony A6400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p2413.61431 83
5.
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.93204 97
6.
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.01089 79
7.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.71347 80
8.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.11347 82
9.
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.5753 74
10.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.51067 74
11.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.62537 91
12.
 
Sony NEX-6 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.11018 78
13.
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.41016 81

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX1 provides a faster frame rate than the A3000. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the A3000 is limited to 1080/60i.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range 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 RX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A3000, the Sony RX1, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
2.
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Sony A64002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
5.
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
7.
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
8.
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
9.
 
Sony A581440 n 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
10.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
11.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Sony NEX-62359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
13.
 
Sony NEX-72359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A3000 and the RX1 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Sony A6400YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Sony A58YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Sony NEX-6Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
13.
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the RX1 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The A3000 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the A3000 and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX1 was replaced by the Sony RX1R, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A3000 and the Sony RX1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A3000:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (470 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the RX1).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 19.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (BIONZ X vs BIONZ).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A3000 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 128x91mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX1 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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.

A3000 04:13 RX1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A3000 and the Sony RX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A3000 or the RX1. 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.

Expert reviews

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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A30003/5+..4/54/5 Aug 2013 329 i
2.
 
Sony RX15/5..79/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799 i
3.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799 i
4.
 
Sony A64004/5+85/1004.5/54/5 Jan 2019 899 i
5.
 
Sony RX1R II5/5..82/100..4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
6.
 
Sony A50003/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 449 i
7.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+..4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
8.
 
Sony A60005/5+80/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599 i
9.
 
Sony A583/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599 i
10.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499 i
11.
 
Sony RX1R5/5....4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799 i
12.
 
Sony NEX-65/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999 i
13.
 
Sony NEX-75/5+ +81/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.

Sony A3000:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Sony A3000 vs Sony RX1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A3000 Sony RX1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date August 2013 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 329 USD 2,799
    Sensor Specs Sony A3000 Sony RX1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.2 x 15.4 mm 35.8 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 357.28 mm2 852.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.8 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 19.8 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5456 x 3632 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.25 μm 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 5.55 MP/cm2 2.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 16,000 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50 - 102,400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.8 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1068 2534
    Screen Specs Sony A3000 Sony RX1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Sony A3000 Sony RX1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in 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 RX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Sony A3000 Sony RX1
    Battery Type NP-FW50 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 128 x 91 x 85 mm
    (5.0 x 3.6 x 3.3 in)
    113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 411 g (14.5 oz) 482 g (17.0 oz)

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