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Sony Alpha A3000 photo samples

The A3000 delivers excellent photo quality for the price.

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LoriGruninNewHeadshot.jpg
Lori Grunin
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Lori Grunin
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1 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

Noise and JPEG processing, low ISO sensitivities

One of the cheapest cameras available with an APS-C-size sensor, the A3000 unsurprisingly delivers excellent low-ISO sensitivity photo quality for the price. You can start to see some initial detail degradation at ISO 800 in the shadow areas, but it's still pretty good.
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2 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

Noise and JPEG processing, low ISO sensitivities

ISO 1600 is probably the highest I'd go with this camera, but for the money that's extremely good. Beyond that, you can see significant artifacts in all areas, and by ISO 6400 you lose quite a bit of detail.
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3 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 100 JPEG

The A3000 with its kit lens does a fine job of rendering detail without looking oversharpened or processed.

(1/50 sec, f10, pattern metering, AWB, ISO 100, 18-55mm lens at 55mm)
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4 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 200 JPEG

As you'd expect, ISO 200 looks excellent as well.

(1/60 sec, f4.5, pattern metering, AWB, ISO 200, 18-55mm lens at 55mm)
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5 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 400 JPEG

The camera does a fine job of preserving texture and detail at ISO 400.

(1/40 sec, f4, pattern metering, AWB, ISO 400, 18-55mm lens at 18mm)
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6 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 800 JPEG

This shot frequently displays some degraded edge detail and blown out highlights at ISO 800, but the A3000 handles it very well. You can see a bit of ringing on the text edges, but it's more than acceptable.

(1/80 sec, f4, pattern metering, AWB, ISO 800, 18-55mm lens at 18mm)
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7 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 1600 JPEG

ISO 1600 shots look fine scaled down. See detail on next slide.

(1/40 sec, f4.5, pattern metering, AWB, ISO 1600, 18-55mm lens at 48mm)
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8 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 1600 raw vs. JPEG

There's a lot of detail degradation by ISO 1600, and you can reclaim a bit of it by shooting raw+JPEG, though the trade-off is grain.
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9 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

ISO 3200 JPEG

By ISO 3200, most everything is soft and processed to extremes.

(1/40 sec, f4.5, pattern metering, AWB, ISO 3200, 18-55mm lens at 40mm)
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10 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

Color

The A3000 produces bright, saturated, if slightly punched-up colors.
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11 of 11 Lori Grunin/CNET

Color and tonal range

While it tends to clip highlights like many consumer-targeted cameras, and the reds aren't always accurate, there's enough latitude to bring up shadow areas without introducing a lot of noise.

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