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2013.08.28

Sony is the behemoth of the electronic industry – and thereby of the digital camera industry as well – which lets them offer a huge lineup of cameras. Although surprising at first, buyers are now accustomed to Sony having two lens mounts and two separate systems of interchangeable lens cameras.

The compact NEX series is unbelievably compact, offering APS-C sensors in bodies comparable to Micro Four-Thirds ones in size.  They represent the direction of mirrorless everyone has been asking for, high image quality and small size together. The SLT series, neither DSLR, nor completely mirrorless, provides the high-end offerings, full of features and ergonomically designed for efficient operation.

Now comes, the all-new Sony Alpha A3000.

Sony Alpha A3000

The A3000 is – by most accounts – a surprising offering. It is a fully mirrorless camera in the body of a DSLR.  It is designed for people who want the look of a DSLR, a look which screams image-quality and capability, with some of the former but not much of the latter. While the A3000 offers full manual-controls, components have been reduced to the minimum with 230K and 200K pixels for the LCD and EVF, respectively. Such low resolution is rarely seen these days, even in compact cameras. There is no Eye-Start sensor and only a single control-dial.

The Sony A3000 does introduce a first for Sony though. It is their first E-mount camera with built-in stabilization. It remains to be seen if such a market exists. Only sales of the A3000 will tell. However, the inclusion of the E-mount in a DSLR-style body may be a hardbringer of the nearby future. Sony along with their partner Carl Zeiss, just call them Zeiss, had been adding high-quality offerings to the E-mount lens lineup, obviously to appeal advanced photographers and raise average selling price, but this forces Sony two maintain two such series.

In an effort of cost cutting and streamlining, Sony may decide to merge at the NEX mount which has the shortest flange distance and – thanks to the A3000 – can offer stabilization to adapted Alpha-mount or other legacy lenses. In this case, the next models of the same series, should bring more features and ergonomics to the pack: larger higher-resolution EVFs with Eye-Start sensor, dual control-dials and weather-sealed bodies, perhaps, although the new lenses are not weather-sealed.

Now the Sony Alpha A3000 fits in here has a proof of concept rather than first model in future direction. At this point is is little than an oversize mirrorlss with poor quality EVF and LCD. It does have an attractive suggested price of $399 USD, including a basic kit-lens and expects to ship next month.

Simultaneously with the A3000, Sony launched 4 more products:

  • The highly desirable Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm F/4 ZA OSS which promises Zeiss quality with arguably the most versatile zoom range with a constant aperture. Stabilization included for use with mos NEX cameras.
  • A videographer lens, Sony NEX PZ 18-105mm F/4G OSS which is also constant aperture and offers a longer-range. Crucially for video, it offers a variable-speed Power-Zoom controller.
  • The Sony 50mm F/1.8 E-mount lens, now available in black in addition to silver.
  • The traditional small mirrorles, following to the NEX-5 is the aptly-named Sony NEX-5T which offers WiFi and NFC above its older sibling. Let’s image the T stands for Transfer!

Follow the links above to see detailed specifications and where orders and preorders for each mode is accepted. Most new item are expected in September or December. The 50mm F/1.8 expects to sell for $300, the 18-105mm F/4 for $600 and the Carl Zeiss 17-70mm F/4 for $1000 USD.

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