A high-resolution SLR-like mirrorless camera that uses NEX E-mount lenses and comes with an affordable price tag.

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Sony’s ILCE-3000 (or Alpha A3000) is an interesting camera because it’s been built to compete price-wise with long-zoom digicams (many of which are more expensive) but also provide some features of a regular DSLR. Paying less than AU$500 for an interchangeable-lens camera looks like a bargain so this review will focus upon how it has been achieved and what compromises have been involved.  

Who’s it for?
With its bargain-basement pricing, the ILCE-3000 should appeal to cash-strapped photographers who want a DSLR-like camera with interchangeable lenses and better performance than a super-zoom digicam. It will also suit snapshooters moving up from a fixed-lens digicam, particularly a Sony model, as its menu is derived from the Cyber-shot and entry-level NEX menus.

Photographers looking for a camera to base an imaging system on are likely to favour a higher-featured model. Most people who buy this camera are unlikely to invest in extra lenses, although they may consider a tele-zoom like the SEL 55210 55-210mm (which sells for the same price as the camera).

Use of Sony’s E-mount system means lenses are generally a bit smaller than those for the single-lens translucent (SLT) models, enabling the camera body to remain relatively small. Purchasers have 18 lenses to choose from, plus two ‘converter’ lenses.

In summary
Sony’s ILCE-3000 is something of a ‘curate’s egg’; excellent in parts. It’s difficult to argue with the pricing and many purchasers will find this the main reason to acquire this camera. Snapshooters should generally be satisfied as the auto settings are comprehensive and usually reliable.

This really isn’t a camera for serious photographers looking as the basis for an interchangeable-lens system, partly because of its cost-cutting construction but also because of its performance limitations and the limited range of lenses available. But if it leads purchasers into higher-featured cameras in Sony’s range, it will have been a worthwhile addition to the camera line-up.

See full review with specs, test charts and sample images

Rating

Build

8.4

Ease of use

8.5

Autofocusing

7.5

Still image JPEG

8.0

Still image RAW

8.3

Video

8.2

OVERALL

8.6

RRP:  AU$499; US$400 (as reviewed with SEL 1855 lens)