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Sony A6000 versus Nikon D3300

The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Nikon D3300 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2014 and January 2014. The A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3300 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. 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 D3300

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6000 and the Nikon D3300 is provided 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 – the A6000 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A6000 vs Nikon D3300
Compare A6000 versus D3300 top
Compare A6000 and D3300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3300 is considerably larger (51 percent) than the Sony A6000. Moreover, the D3300 is markedly heavier (25 percent) than the A6000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A6000 nor the D3300 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. 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 (D3300). 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.

Concerning battery life, the A6000 gets 360 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the D3300 can take 700 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

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
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)
Sony A6000» 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599- i
Nikon D3300« 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Canon M3« » 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D5300« » 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D3200« » 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Sony A6300« » 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A5100« » 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« » 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449- i
Sony A3000« » 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329- i
Sony NEX-3N« » 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499- i
Sony NEX-5T« » 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 2776 g 330 n Aug 2013 699- i
Sony NEX-6« » 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 345 g 360 n Sep 2012 999- i
Sony NEX-F3« » 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599- i
Sony NEX-7« » 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i
Sony NEX-3« » 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 n May 2010 599- i

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 D3300 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the A6000, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D3300

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A6000 and Nikon D3300 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the A6000 and the D3300 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

A6000 versus D3300 MP

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 image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A6000» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
Nikon D3300« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
Sony NEX-5T« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60p23.613.0101578
Sony NEX-6« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878
Sony NEX-F3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681
Sony NEX-3« » APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068

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 (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D3300

Beyond 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 D3300 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 D3300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera 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))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A6000»1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Nikon D3300«optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 4000 4.0 Y n
Sony NEX-5T« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n
Sony NEX-6« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n
Sony NEX-F3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.5 Y n
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n
Sony NEX-3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n

Both the A6000 and the D3300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3300 was replaced by the Nikon D3400, while the A6000 was followed by the Sony A6300.

Review summary: Sony A6000 vs Nikon D3300

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A6000 and the Nikon D3300? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 124x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 86g or 20 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.

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Advantages of the Nikon D3300:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (700 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6000 emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

A6000 07:04 D3300

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 D3300 handle or perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A6000»Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i
Nikon D3300«Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i
Sony NEX-5T« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2013 699- i
Sony NEX-6« »HiRec78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i
Sony NEX-F3« »-74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599- i
Sony NEX-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i
Sony NEX-3« »-70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599- i

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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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