In recent times, photography has acquired a very popular spot, aided by the blitzkrieg of social media and Smartphones in our lives. This has led to many innovations in the field of imaging, forcing camera manufacturers to frantically look to add value to their existing portfolios. To make their cameras capture a share of the big social media pie, they are trying to bring affordability to the world of interchangeable lens cameras. It seems Sony has taken the mirrorless route to this end, still retaining the comfortable D-SLR grip. The result is the α3000, a 20.1-megapixel E-mount camera.
Design and Build Quality
The α3000 resembles a D-SLR. However, once you hold the camera in your hand, you will realise that it is not built like a D-SLR. It is rather built like a prosumer camera, similar to the HX-series from Sony. The outer shell is made of engineering plastic. There are not many shortcut buttons at the back. Apart from the four-way controller with a vertical control dial, there is a movie button and two other buttons to select on-screen options. The memory card slot and HDMI/charging cable port are at the left side. The camera has metal lens mount and tripod receptacle.
The 20.1 megapixel Sony α3000 uses an Exmor APS HD (23.2 x 15.4mm) CMOS sensor. The sensor employs a charge protection coating on the optical filter to keep dust away. The camera accepts Sony E-mount lenses. It features an electronically controlled, vertical traverse focal plane shutter providing shutter speeds ranging from 30 to 1/4000 sec along with Bulb setting. The camera, surprisingly, has only one metering mode—1200-zone evaluative metering. Though this is a deviation from the norm of incorporating all three metering modes, this is good since the α3000 is a beginner’s D-SLR. Most entrylevel photographers use only evaluative mode. But when the beginner graduates to an advanced level, he might be tempted to change the camera. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-3 EV in 0.3 EV steps. The α3000 uses contrastdetection AF and features focus modes of AF-S (single shot) and AF-C (continuous). AF frame uptions are Multi-point (25 points), Centre, and Flexible Spot.
Shooting modes available are iAUTO, Superior Auto, Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Sweep Panorama, and Scene Selection. The camera can shoot continuous frames at a maximum speed of 3.5 frames per second. A continuous burst can be fired for up to 13 images in Fine, 30 images in Standard, and 5 images in Raw+JPEG quality. Scene Selector provides options of Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Hand-held Twilight, and Anti Motion Blur. White Balance options are Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom Temperature, and Custom Setup. The camera records still images at maximum pixel dimensions of 5456 x 3632 in Raw (ARW) or JPEG format and provides an option to record both simultaneously. JPEG quality options are Fine and Standard. Videos can be recorded in AVCHD or MP4 format. Creative Style options are Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, and B/W. Long Exposure and High ISO Noise Reduction are also available. The Auto HDR option can be set to capture images with Auto Exposure Difference or Adjustable Exposure Difference. In the latter, the exposure can be adjusted by 1 to 6 EV in 1EV steps. Self-timer can be set for a 10-second delay for up to three exposures. The built-in flash has a Guide Number of 4m at ISO 100 and a maximum coverage of up to 16mm (as printed on the lens). It recycles in approximately 4sec and synchronises with the shutter at 1/160 sec or slower. Flash modes available are Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable), Rear Sync., and Hi-speed Sync. Flash exposure can be compensated up to +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3EV steps.
The α3000 features a 0.2-inch electronic viewfinder and uses a 3.0- inch, 230,400-dot wide type TFT for display. The camera uses a Memory Stick PRO/PRO-HG Duo/XC-HG Duo/ SD/SDHC/SDXC card for external storage. The α3000 is powered by an NP-FW50 rechargeable Li-ion battery pack (provided). The camera has dimensions of 128.0 x 90.9 x 84.5mm (W x H x D) and weighs approximately 353 g (body only).