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Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Nikon D1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, 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 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.


Headline Specifications
Sony A6000   Nikon D1
Sony A6000 Nikon D1
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Sony E mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-25600 (100-51200) ISO 200-1600 (200-6400)
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 922k dots 2.0" LCD, 120k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
11 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
120 x 67 x 45 mm, 344 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g

Body comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6000 and the Nikon D1 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. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A6000 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony A6000 and Nikon D1
Compare A6000 versus D1 top
Compare A6000 or D1 rear

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 compare the optics available 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.

As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the A6000, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A6000» 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Nikon D1« 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-6« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 12.2 oz 360 n Sep 2012 999- i Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.1 oz 470 n May 2012 599- i Sony NEX-F3
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-3« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 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

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Sony A6000 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1. 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 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.

The A6000 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

The Sony Alpha A6000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400..

A6000 versus D1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony A6000» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Nikon D1« APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-6« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473Sony NEX-F3
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-3« » APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« » APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669Sony NEX-5

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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 range 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A6000 and Nikon D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony A6000»1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Nikon D1«optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 1.5 n n Nikon D1
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X
Sony A6300« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6300
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 4000 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-6« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.5 Y n Sony NEX-F3
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-5

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A6000 has one, while the D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the A6000 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The A6000 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the D1 uses Compact Flash cards.

Connectivity comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

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 A6000 and Nikon D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Sony A6000»Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
Nikon D1«Y-----FW---Nikon D1
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X
Sony A6300« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6300
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-F3
Sony NEX-7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-5

It is notable that the A6000 offers wifi support, while the D1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A6000 or the Nikon D1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages 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.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • 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.
  • 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 (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 14 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • 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 (16 : 6 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 16:06 D1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, 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.

Expert reviews: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A6000»Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Nikon D1«-HiRec--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D300« »HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-6« »HiRec78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« »-74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599- i Sony NEX-F3
Sony NEX-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-3« »-70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »HiRec71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D1

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A6000 Nikon D1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2014 June 1999
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 5499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5 1.5
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-51200 ISO 200-6400 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots n/a
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s 1/16000s
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards CF cards
    Connectivity Specs
    USB Connector USB 2.0 Firewire
    HDMI Port micro HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack EN-4 power pack
    Body Dimensions 120 x 67 x 45 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 344 g (12.1 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)

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