Sony A5000 vs NEX-C3
The Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2014 and June 2011. Both the A5000 and the NEX-C3 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-C3 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-C3|
|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||720/30p Video|
|ISO 100-16,000||ISO 100-12,800|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 461k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.5 shutter flaps per second||5.5 shutter flaps per second|
|420 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 63 x 36 mm, 269 g||110 x 60 x 33 mm, 225 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A5000 and the Sony NEX-C3. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the NEX-C3 is also available in three color-versions, but different ones (black, silver, pink).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-C3 is somewhat smaller (5 percent) than the Sony A5000. Moreover, the NEX-C3 is markedly lighter (16 percent) than the A5000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A5000 nor the NEX-C3 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|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 RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||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.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A5000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the NEX-C3, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-C3 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-C3. 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-C3). However, it should be noted that the A5000 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the NEX-C3, 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 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-C3 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-C3 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the A5000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NEX-C3 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.8 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.
|Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A5000 provides a higher video resolution than the NEX-C3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the NEX-C3 is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The A5000 and the NEX-C3 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-C3 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-C3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|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 NEX-C3 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.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A5000 and the NEX-C3 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-C3 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-C3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||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 NEX-C3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the A5000 and the NEX-C3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A5000 was replaced by the Sony A5100, while the NEX-C3 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? Is the Sony A5000 better than the Sony NEX-C3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
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 (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- 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.
- 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the NEX-C3 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-C3:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 44g or 16 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A5000 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 6 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 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-C3 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A5000 and the NEX-C3 in practical situations. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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-C3||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Canon M10||..||..||..||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|Nikon 1 J5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony HX90V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|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 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-5N||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|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.|
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 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.
- Canon 10D vs Sony A5000
- Canon 400D vs Sony A5000
- Canon 800D vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon T2i vs Sony A5000
- Canon T7 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Fujifilm X30 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Leica T vs Sony NEX-C3
- Nikon D300 vs Sony A5000
- Nikon D70s vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A5000
- Panasonic FZ300 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Panasonic GH1 vs Sony NEX-C3
Specifications: Sony A5000 vs Sony NEX-C3
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-C3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2014||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-C3|
|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||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 16,000 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.0||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1089||1083|
|Screen Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-C3|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-C3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||5.5 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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A5000||Sony NEX-C3|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|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 NEX-C3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||420 shots per charge||400 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 60 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||225 g (7.9 oz)|
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