Sony A5000 vs A900
The Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2014 and September 2008. The A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A900 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A5000) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The A5000 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A5000 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 A5000 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the A900 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 A900 is considerably larger (163 percent) than the Sony A5000. Moreover, the A900 is substantially heavier (233 percent) than the A5000. It is noteworthy in this context that the A900 is splash and dust-proof, while the A5000 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 A5000 gets 420 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 A5000 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 A5000||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A900||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Canon M10||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.6 oz||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|Nikon D3300||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Sony A9||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A99 II||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony RX100 IV||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A5100||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony RX100 III||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Sony A3000||5.0 in||3.6 in||3.3 in||14.5 oz||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony NEX-3N||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-5T||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.7 oz||330||n||Aug 2013||699|
|Sony RX100 II||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Sony A99||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Sony A850||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
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 A5000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the A900, 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 A5000 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 A5000 (19.8MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.25μm for the A5000) due to its larger sensor. However, the A5000 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 3 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 inches or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A5000 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 A5000 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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). 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 A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A5000 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the A5000 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A900 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5000 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A5000, the Sony A900, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A5000 has one, while the A900 does not. While the built-in flash of the A5000 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The A5000 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A900 does not have a selfie-screen.
The A5000 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 A5000 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 A5000 and Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A5000 offers wifi support, while the A900 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (unlike the A5000) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the A5000 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, while the A5000 was followed by the Sony A5100. 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 is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A5000 and the Sony A900? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5000:
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 626g or 70 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.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 3 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.
Arguments in favor of 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).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 461k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 420) 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 lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A900 comes out slightly ahead of the A5000 (14 : 13 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 A5000 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A5000 and the A900 in practical situations. 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 A5000||+||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A900||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Canon M10||..||..||..||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Sony A9||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|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 RX100 III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Sony A3000||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-5T||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699|
|Sony RX100 II||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Sony A99||..||84/100||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Sony A850||..||75/100||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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- Leica M Typ 262 vs Sony A900
- Nikon D3S vs Sony A900
- Nikon P900 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-3 vs Sony A5000
- Panasonic FZ300 vs Sony A5000
- Sony A5000 vs Sony A7S
Specifications: Sony A5000 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 A5000||Sony A900|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2014||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A5000||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 - 16,000 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.0||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1089||1431|
|Screen Specs||Sony A5000||Sony A900|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A5000||Sony A900|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 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 A5000||Sony A900|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|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|
|Body Specs||Sony A5000||Sony A900|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||420 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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