The Sony A3000 has an APS-C sensor, keeping it in line with some competition CSCs and certainly with most entry-level DSLRs. However the relatively high resolution of 20.2MP does raise some concerns over how the camera with perform at higher ISO settings.
It’s worth noting that the A3000 sports a maximum ISO of 16,000, which is in advance of both the Canon EOS 1100D and Nikon D3200. The bad news, however, is that at the maximum ISO of 16,000 results are almost unusable owing to image noise reduction and colour distortion.
A more realistic cap of the ISO in terms of usable results is probably around the ISO 3200 mark, and even then there’s a fair amount of distortion and evidence of artefacts from noise reduction technology.
Where the sensor does come up trumps, however, is in the level of detail it resolves. The 20.3MP resolution particularly excels in Raw image capture, and the results are some of the most impressive we’ve seen in a camera in this class.
An impressive level of sharpness produced by the 18-55mm kit lens aids this level of detail capture. This lens is some way above average in terms of kit lens performance and offers corner-to-corner sharpness at a host of apertures.
The A3000 also delivers a solid metering and exposure. The camera features an impressive 1,200 zone metering system that is operated through the sensor, and the result is a even exposures in a whole host of conditions.
The good news continues with the camera’s colour performance, with general colour reproduction impressing. The auto white balance system copes well in a host of lighting conditions, while it allows for manual operation should the need arise.
Although the A3000 isn’t hugely expensive, its DSLR-esque design means that it’s competing with some very keenly priced entry-level DSLRs. These include the Canon EOS 1100D, Nikon D3200 and Pentax K-500.
But the Sony A3000 ultimately feels under-specified and under-featured in comparison to entry-level DSLRs, while its iffy build quality and feel does little to endear. We’re all for variety in the camera market, but the Sony A3000 is an awkward compromise between a CSC and fully-fledged DSLR.
The A3000 is neither DSLR nor a CSC, and unfortunately it fails to particularly impress as either, despite some impressive image quality results. It’s an interesting idea, but on this evidence it needs more work.
SEE ALSO: Best cameras of 2013