Sony A5000 vs NEX-3N
The Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2014 and February 2013. Both the A5000 and the NEX-3N are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The A5000 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the NEX-3N provides 16 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A5000||Sony NEX-3N|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor||16 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-16,000||ISO 200-16,000|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 461k dots||3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.5 shutter flaps per second||4 shutter flaps per second|
|420 shots per battery charge||480 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 63 x 36 mm, 269 g||110 x 62 x 35 mm, 269 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A5000 and the Sony NEX-3N is provided 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 NEX-3N is available in two color-versions (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-3N is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Sony A5000. In terms of weight, the two cameras are very close. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A5000 nor the NEX-3N 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 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. 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 A5000||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony NEX-3N||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|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 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-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 NEX-F3||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.1 oz||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Sony NEX-3||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||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.
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 A5000 was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the NEX-3N at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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-3N 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 A5000 offers a higher resolution of 19.8 megapixels, compared with 16 MP of the Sony NEX-3N. 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 4.78μm for the NEX-3N). However, it should be noted that the A5000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the NEX-3N, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5000 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-3N are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 x 27.6 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 NEX-3N are ISO 200 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 A5000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NEX-3N (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 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 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|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A5000 and the NEX-3N are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the NEX-3N can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A5000 and Sony NEX-3N along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|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|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A5000 and the NEX-3N write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A5000 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the NEX-3N 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 Sony Alpha A5000 and Sony Alpha NEX-3N and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|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 NEX-3N does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the A5000 and the NEX-3N have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-3N was replaced by the Sony A5000, 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony A5000 better than the Sony NEX-3N or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5000:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.8 vs 16MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 10 months after the NEX-3N).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-3N:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (480 versus 420) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2013).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5000 emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 NEX-3N 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A5000 and the NEX-3N 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 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.
|Sony A5000||+||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|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 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-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 NEX-F3||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Sony NEX-3||..||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D C vs Sony NEX-3N
- Canon G12 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Canon RP vs Sony A5000
- Canon XSi vs Sony A5000
- Epson R-D1 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Fujifilm X-A2 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Sony A5000
- Nikon B600 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-600 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Panasonic ZS200 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Sony A5000 vs Sony A7 III
Specifications: Sony A5000 vs Sony NEX-3N
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 NEX-3N|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2014||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-3N|
|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||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5456 x 3632 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.25 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.55 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 16,000 ISO||200 - 16,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.0||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1089||1067|
|Screen Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-3N|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-3N|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||4 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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-3N|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-3N|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||420 shots per charge||480 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)
110 x 62 x 35 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.