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Introduction

In this article, we will be reviewing two of the most demanded and heavily used cameras on the market, the Sony A6000 which was introduced on the market in February 2014, and the Nikon D5300 that was announced by Nikon on October 17, 2013.

You can consider this as a battle between a semi-pro mirrorless camera and an entry-level DSLR camera, and despite their fundamental differences and advantages, they have many shared things that make them to be very interesting cameras especially for making a head to head comparison.

Now, I’d suggest getting into action right away and find out what are the benefits that you will receive in a return if you ever decide to purchase the first or the latter camera!

Head To Head Comparison

Sony A6000

Design-wise, the Sony A6000 measures 2.6 x 4.7 x 1.7″ (HWD), weighs approximately 12.1 ounces without a lens and boasts an attractive, black-finished body that is made of composite material which makes this camera strong enough to withstand years of use without letting you notice a significant decrease at its look. If you take a closer look at the specs, you can notice that the body is lightweight and it is compact enough to be half the size of an average DSLR camera.

Furthermore, this unit employs a relatively large, rubberized grip that will significantly ease the way you’re holding this camera, and of course, will offer you a comfortable handhold throughout your shooting sessions!

Speaking of the control layout, I have to mention that Sony has implemented numerous options and each of them is strategically positioned so that you would be able to access it without putting effort at all! In total, there are two dials, 9 buttons and a single wheel, of which most of them are customizable such as the FN button that lets you have access in up to 12 functions!

If we take the controls aside, the A6000 comes with a hot shoe and an in-body flash as well, and so far, I don’t have any remarks regarding its body.

On the rear, the top-left corner is occupied by an impressively strong, 1,44k-dot OLED electronic viewfinder that will provide you a crisp view of the targets you intend to capture, while slightly below, you can find a tilting, 3″ 921k-dot LCD screen which has an aspect ratio of 16:9, and therefore, it is super useful for recording videos, however, my only remark is that it produces two black bars once you are in the photo mode. Otherwise, I like it, and I think that you will be satisfied with its performance.

Moving on, the physical connection options are composed of an HDMI port, mini-USB port, DC-In, single card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and the best part, it is Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled, hence, you will never face any difficulties when you opt to transfer your captured content! Clearly, Sony deserves our applaud here!

When it comes to the performance, the Sony A6000 is armed with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, has an ISO sensitivity range that stretches from 100-25,600, has a 179-point AF, a burst shooting rate of 11 fps and it is powered by a BIONZ X image sensor which dramatically improves the color accuracy, the processing speed and it contributes a lot in minimizing the noise levels throughout the ISO range.

In fact, the A600 is strong enough to output well-defined imagery shot at low light settings, and the presence of the pop-up flash and the standard hot shoe gives you a complete freedom to take advantage of additional flash accessories and boost your shooting experience to a whole new level!

But hey, the A6000 is even better when you shoot pictures in good light, because images are filled with vibrant colors, numerous details and the overall result is crisp-looking images that can satisfy most of the users on the market!

For instance, images shot beyond ISO 1600 look truly impressing, with almost no visible color noise and this pattern is being maintained up to ISO 6400.

What got my attention the most is that even if you reach the high-end part of the ISO range, let’s say at ISO 12,800 – 25,600, the imagery you’ve shot are going to remain usable without any problem because the noise isn’t heavily pronounced.

If you’ve been asking yourself regarding the video quality, well, the A6000 lacks 4K capability, so, you will be restricted to record 1920 x 1080 videos in 24p/50p/60i frame rates, and thanks to the 179-AF points, this unit will record fast-moving objects smoothly and you shouldn’t worry literally about anything! The footage is strong as well regardless if you’re recording under bright-light or low-light, and here, without thinking twice I can say that Sony did a superb job here!

Sony A6000 Sample Footage:

Similar Comparison: Canon 80D vs Canon 7D Mark II

Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5300 has a strong, monocoque, polycarbonate construction that is really well-made, because Nikon has succeeded to create a camera that is tough, lightweight and comfortable to use at the same time.

To be more precise, if we take into consideration that this unit measures 3.9 x 4.9 x 3″ (HWD), weighs around 1.1 pounds without a lens and add the fact that your index finger will fall naturally onto the shutter button, clearly, Nikon did a great job in crafting a camera of this caliber.

Moreover, the control layout is well-organized, and this may be a bit of a problem if you’re new in the world of photography, because there are 15 buttons, two switches and three dials along with a hot shoe that sits on the top-center part of the body. But hey, don’t be, this isn’t as scary as it sounds due to the fact that within a very short period of time, you will be able to conquer the controls and have a deeper clue regarding what does each of them do in practice.

On the rear-top, there is a pentamirror viewfinder that covers up to 95% of the frame and has a magnification of 0.82x which is really cool, because you will have an undistractable sight prior to capture the subjects you find interesting!

In addition, at the middle, you can find a 3.2″ vari-angle LCD screen that packs 1.037k-dots which will offer you convenient shooting angles thanks to its flexibility, while on the other side, the display is bright and outputs vibrant visuals which comes handy especially when you opt to record videos or shoot images!

In terms of the connection options, the Nikon D5300 includes an HDMI port, USB/AV out, stereo microphone, a multifunction port that is compatible with Nikon’s GP-1 GPS unit, as well as a built-in Wi-Fi and GPS support. At this point, both cameras have Wi-FI support, and the only thing that makes them different is that one of them is NFC-enabled, whereas, the other is GPS-enabled, hence, I will leave this up to you to decide which one is more useful.

Performance-wise, the Nikon D5300 utilizes a 24MP DX-Format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter, 39-point AF system with 3D tracking and 3D Matrix Metering II, has a continuous shooting rate of 5 fps, and an ISO range of 100-12,800 which is expandable to 25,600!

For your information, JPEG images taken under low ISO sensitivity such as ISO 400 look well-defined, although there is a pinch of a noise, however, at ISO 3200, the image quality taken in darker areas is somewhat lost and to be honest, I expected a bit more from Nikon.

At ISO 12,800 which is the native maximum sensitivity level of this unit, images tend to have more pronounced noise, but still, they are usable and the similar thing happens at ISO 25,600 although the images are softened. Either way, I wouldn’t recommend you to rely upon this ISO level.

Finally, as was the case with the Sony A6000, the D5300 lacks 4K capability, and therefore, you will be left to record 1080p videos at 60 fps, and the overall quality of the footage remains strong until you start recording videos at low light.

Nikon D5300 Sample Footage:

Similar Comparison: Canon G9X vs Canon G9X Mark II

Sony A6000 vs Nikon D5300 Feature Comparison

Sony A6000 Nikon D5300
Camera Type
Mirrorless
DSLR
Megapixels
24.0
24.2
ISO Range
100-25600
100 12800;25600
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
Yes
AF Points
179 AF points
39 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C
APS-C

Conclusion

Since we reached this far, you may already have an in-depth insight into the capabilities of these cameras. I’m pretty sure that you find them competent to be a part of your shooting arsenal because they are easy to shoot with, and the quality of the image and video is strong enough to have you already hooked into an eventual purchase.

But, I think that if we do a head to head comparison of the key aspects of these cameras, that would contribute a lot in shaping your final decision, so let’s see who wins!

For portrait photography, the Nikon D5300 receives more points mainly because of its ergonomics, although the results do not really differ from each other a lot.

In addition, for street photography, SonyA6000 beats the D5300 only because of the fact that it is more compact and lightweight, whereas at sports photography, Nikon D5300 is a way better thanks to its low-light performance and its AF system that consists of 9-cross type focus sensors and 39 focus points.

Finally, at daily and landscape photography, the A6000 proves itself as a better option for the first, aforementioned photography, while for the latter, the D5300 is slightly better.

To simplify this even more, the Sony A6000 has 100% higher max ISO, 140 more focus points, more accurate viewfinder ( 100 vs 95%), faster continuous shooting rate ( 11 fps vs 5), supports UHS-I memory cards and has a support for NFC connections.

On the other side, NikonD5300 has a larger screen size with 12% higher resolution screen ( 1,037k vs 922k-dots), packs a microphone port which will let you have a better audio quality as you’re recording.

If you ask me, I would go for the Sony A6000 if you want to taste the benefits of having a quality mirrorless camera.