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Sony A6000 versus Nikon D1

The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Nikon D1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2014 and June 1999. The A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D1 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

The physical size and weight of the Sony A6000 and the Nikon D1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the A6000 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1
A6000 versus D1 top view
A6000 and D1 rear side
Body view (A6000 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1 is considerably larger (199 percent) than the Sony A6000. Moreover, the D1 is substantially heavier (220 percent) than the A6000. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1 is splash and dust-proof, while the A6000 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony A6000, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 no 2014 599discont. check
Nikon D1 (⇒ lft) 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. YES 1999 5,499discont. check
Nikon D4 (⇒ lft | rgt) 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 YES 2012 5,999discont. check
Nikon D2Xs (⇒ lft | rgt) 157.5 mm 149.5 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 YES 2006 4,699discont. check
Nikon D2X (⇒ lft | rgt) 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 YES 2004 4,999discont. check
Nikon D1H (⇒ lft | rgt) 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 YES 2001 4,499discont. check
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 YES 2001 5,999discont. check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 YES 2016 999discont. check
Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 no 2014 549 latest check
Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 no 2014 449discont. check
Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 no 2013 329discont. check
Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt) 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 no 2013 499discont. check
Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 2776 g 330 no 2013 699discont. check
Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 345 g 360 no 2012 999discont. check
Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 no 2012 599discont. check
Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 no 2011 1,349discont. check
Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 no 2010 599discont. check

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 A6000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the D1, 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.


Sensor comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

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 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D1 is 1 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.

Sony A6000 and Nikon D1 sensor measures
Sensor size

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Sony A6000 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the A6000 is much more recent (by 14 years and 8 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

A6000 versus D1 MP
Sensor resolution

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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 13.1 1347 82
Nikon D1 (⇒ lft) APS-C 2.6 2000 1312 no - - - -
Nikon D4 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280 1080/30p 24.7 13.1 2965 89
Nikon D2Xs (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 12.2 4288 2848 no 22.2 10.9 489 59
Nikon D2X (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 12.2 4288 2848 no 22.1 10.9 476 59
Nikon D1H (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 2.6 2000 1312 no - - - -
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 5.9 3008 1960 no - - - -
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p 24.4 13.7 1437 85
Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.8 12.7 1347 80
Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 19.8 5456 3632 1080/60i 23.8 13.0 1089 79
Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 19.8 5456 3632 1080/60i 23.7 12.8 1068 78
Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4912 3264 1080/60i 22.8 12.5 1067 74
Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4912 3264 1080/60p 23.6 13.0 1015 78
Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4912 3264 1080/60i 23.7 13.1 1018 78
Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4912 3264 1080/60i 22.7 12.3 1114 73
Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60i 24.1 13.4 1016 81
Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 14.0 4592 3056 720/30p 22.1 12.0 830 68

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A6000 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A6000 can use is 1080/60p.

Feature comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D1 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6000, the Nikon D1, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) 1440 no 3.0 922 tilting no 4000 11.0 6 no
Nikon D1 (⇒ lft) optical YES 2.0 120 fixed no 16000 1.5 no no
Nikon D4 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 8000 11.0 no no
Nikon D2Xs (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.5 230 fixed no 8000 5.0 no no
Nikon D2X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.5 235 fixed no 8000 5.0 no no
Nikon D1H (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.0 120 fixed no 16000 5.0 no no
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.0 120 fixed no 16000 3.0 no no
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2300 no 3.0 922 tilting no 4000 11.0 6 no
Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 922 tilting YES 4000 6.0 4 no
Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 461 tilting no 4000 3.5 4 no
Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 230 fixed no 4000 2.5 6 no
Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 tilting no 4000 4.0 4 no
Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 922 tilting YES 4000 10.0 no no
Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 tilting no 4000 10.0 6 no
Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 5.5 6 no
Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 tilting no 4000 10.0 6 no
Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 7.0 no no

Both the A6000 and the D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the A6000 was followed by the Sony A6300.

Review summary: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A6000 or the Nikon D1 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 2.6MP) with a 201% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 756g or 69 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • 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.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 14 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 1999).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6000 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 5 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.

A6000 13:05 D1

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A6000 or the D1 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) Rec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2014 599discont. check
Nikon D1 (⇒ lft) - HiRec - - - 1999 5,499discont. check
Nikon D4 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2012 5,999discont. check
Nikon D2Xs (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - reviewed - 2006 4,699discont. check
Nikon D2X (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2004 4,999discont. check
Nikon D1H (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2001 4,499discont. check
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2001 5,999discont. check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 85/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 999discont. check
Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 549 latest check
Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2014 449discont. check
Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2013 329discont. check
Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2013 499discont. check
Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 699discont. check
Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 999discont. check
Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 74/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. check
Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2011 1,349discont. check
Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 70/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4/5 2010 599discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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