It may look like a DSLR, but the Alpha 3000 is Sony's latest system camera.

While on the face of it the Alpha 3000 may appear to be another DSLR, this new model is based around Sony’s Compact System Camera (CSC) E-mount design. In essence then, this new camera is a NEX CSC with a built in viewfinder that’s been styled to look like a DSLR, rather than the more compact offerings we’ve seen such as the NEX-6 or NEX-7.

This sees it following a similar design ethos then to the likes of the Panasonic G5 and G6, with the Alpha 3000 targeted at new users looking for a compact, affordable DSLR-style camera.

Users should expect DSLR quality results, with the Alpha 3000 featuring a 20.1MP APS-C Exmor sensor with an ISO range from 100-16,000, while its also capable of shooting Full HD video at either 50i or 25p.  

The built-in electronic viewfinder offers a fairly modest 201,600-dot resolution, so we’ll be intrigued to see how that performs in testing, while the rear of the Alpha 3000 features a 230k-dot, 3in display.

Sony E-mount lenses

As we’ve touched upon, the Alpha 3000 is the first Alpha camera not to be based around Sony’s Alpha lens mount, but users will have access to 18 E-mount optics enjoyed by Sony’s NEX range of system cameras. As well as this, users with existing A-mount lenses who fancy the compact proportions of the Alpha 3000 will be able to use their existing lenses (and continue to enjoy continuous AF) via the additional LA-EA2 lens mount adapter, while the Alpha 3000 will be bundled with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom that includes Sony’s Optical SteadyShot technology to counteract camera shake.

As you’d expect, there are a host of arty filters to play with, with the Alpha’s Picture Effect mode offering a palette of 15 artistic filters to apply to shots that include Retro Photo, Miniature and Partial Colour. Auto Object Framing will neatly trim portraits, macro close-up shots and even moving subjects for tighter, more professional looking results.

Battery life is expected to last up to approximately 460 shots if you’re using the Tru-finder, while you should expect a further 10 shots should you rely solely on the LCD display.

Small and light

The Alpha 3000 will be one of the lightest interchangeable lens cameras with a viewfinder available, with the body tipping the scales at just 353g.

Prices are yet to be confirmed, but Sony are making no bones about the fact that they want this to be an affordable option for those looking to upgrade from a compact, so don’t be surprised to see a street price easily under £400 for the bundled kit, with availability anticipated to in September.

  • Terry Byford

    Having a Nex 5N, the A3000 immediately caught my attention, that is, until I read further. The promise of higher IQ from its 20meg sensor, at far less cost than a Nex 7 body, is still to be proven, but the appeal was short lived when I realised just how useless the low res EVF would be using legacy 35mm film camera lenses and which, apart from a super little Sigma 30mm prime, I use a lot.

    The A3000 promises much better handling, something which I admit is a little awkward with some legacy lenses on my 5N, but the EVF is going to make it tricky or nigh on impossible to gauge manual focusing with any degree of accuracy.

    If the IQ turns out to be better than my 5N, then if the A3000 becomes available as a body only option, then it might, just, go on my shopping list despite the EVF shortcoming.

    Despite my initial misgivings about Sony’s first E-mount styled dslr, the design is ripe for improvement and no doubt we shall be seeing upgrades fairly quickly as Sony realise the concept will appeal to more than beginners. So, come on Sony, why shackle a potentially successful offering with low quality viewing options?