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Sony A6000 vs Nikon D5300 – the best mirrorless vs the best DSLR - Under $1,000!

Updated on December 18, 2014

A6000 VS. D5300


Under $1,000, the best mirrorless VS. the best DSLR

The Sony A6000 and the Nikon D5300 are arguably the best cameras you can get when it comes to quality over price. 2 weeks ago, I decided I wanted to invest in a semi-pro camera so I have gone through tons of reviews, tests and videos... only to find out the final 2 under $1,000 could only be the Sony A6000 and the Nikon D5300. None of their competitors within the same price range could really compare to them.
Many would not compare a mirrorless with a DSLR because they are different technologies and are hard to compare. And that’s true when it comes to choosing between mirrorless or DSLR, both offer pros and cons. This is why this comparison will focus on the end results and not really the technology itself.

Nikon D5300


Their similarities.

Let’s start with some similarities and why they are both really great cameras.

  • They are both considered the best cameras for their price range in each of their categories.
  • They are technological marvels and are outstanding in terms of videos and photos. They both support 24p and their colour depth (24 bits for the D5300 and 24.1 for the A6000) and their Dynamic Range (13.9 EV for the D 5300 and 13.1 EV for the A6000) are really good.
  • Both screens can be flipped out for greater flexibility when shooting videos.
  • Finally they are both affordable since you can get going with 2 lenses and the kit at less than $1,000!
  • They both support RAW for better editing.
  • They both support external flash and have great sensor types which make them great for low light.
  • They both have Viewfinders and you’ll be able to plug an external microphone although you will need an adaptor for the Sony A6000.

Sony A6000


Their main weaknesses

  • They both don’t have a touch screen so you won't be as reactive as with a touch screen.
  • Both can’t take 3D Photos.
  • Another weak point is that they both do not have an external headphone jack… so you won't be able to listen to how things sound in the video while shooting…

A brief overview of their differences

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Comparison Table

(click column header to sort results)
Nikon D5300  
Sony A6000  
Camera Size, weight and thickness.
A6000 WINS
The A6000 (120x67x45 mm) is much smaller than the D5300 (124x99x76 mm)
Lenses availability
D5300 WINS
Much more lenses available for the D5300 with 205 lenses vs 21 lenses for the A6000
Has a GPS, can automatically geotag your photos when travelling.
D5300 WINS
The A6000 does not have a GPS.
Battery Life
D5300 WINS
More than 40% more shots per battery charge for the D5300. (600 shots for the D5300 vs 420 shots for the A6000)
Screen Size
D5300 WINS
The D5300 has a larger screen size (around 10% bigger)
Has an optical viewfinder(Saving battery life and more detailed than electronic viewfinder)
D5300 WINS
The D5300 has a Pentamirror technology vs Digital for the A6000.
Dynamic Range
D5300 WINS
Dynamic Range for the D5300 with 13.9 EV (vs. 13.1 EV for the A6000)
Image Stabilization: Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
A6000 WINS
The A6000 has it, the D5300 doesn't.
Focus points
A6000 WINS
Many more focus points for the A6000: 179 (vs. 39 for the D5300)
D5300 WINS
The D5300 has a faster Autofocus with Phase detection vs Hybrid detection for the A6000
Shoot speed
A6000 WINS
The A6000 shoots 2X faster continuous shooting.
Boost ISO
A6000 WINS
The A6000's boost ISO is 1 f-stop better: 51,200 ISO vs 25,600 ISO

Why I chose the Nikon D5300 over the Sony A6000...

For a budget below $1,000, I chose the Nikon D5300. To be honest, I was first seduced by the quality of the Sony A6000. And it wasn't just that the Nikon D5300 looked more professional... I passed that...
My needs entail a lot of video shooting with my camera and the lack of a proper standard 3.5mm microphone jack on the Sony A6000 made me hesitate. It wasn't a biggy but then I thought about the amount of lenses available and here again, Nikon was able to secure my trust in the brand for my future needs... Finally, the battery life gave a final blow to the Sony A6000 for me. For all these reason, I chose the Nikon D5300 .

However, if you don't mind using an adapter to use an external microphone, and want a smaller, smarter looking camera, then the Sony Alpha a6000 is really the one you should get within this price range. The image stabilization eliminates any blur you may have when you're shooting at something / someone in motion. That's definitely a huge plus compared to the D5300. The great thing about the Sony Alpha a6000 battery is that it plugs directly to a USB port! So you can charge it in your car, computer... much more "daily life" friendly than the Nikon D5300 on this one...

To be honest, considering the extreme quality of both cameras, I wouldn't have mind buying either of them. They really stand head and shoulders above the other cameras in this price range. Please feel free to have a look at the pictures below to see some photo samples on both cameras. Please let me know if you liked this article or feel free to comment, I would love to hear from you.

Sony A6000 Review

Nikon D5300 Review

Sample Pictures taken by Nikon D5300

Sample pictures taken with Sony A6000

How did you like this review?

4 out of 5 stars from 14 ratings of Nikon D5300 VS Sony A6000

What do you think?

Which one would you go for?

See results


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      The a6000 actually has the faster auto focusing. The worlds fastest to be exact. It focuses at a rate of .06 seconds. Also, when utilizing the 11 fps capability if refocuses every single time it takes that picture...the Nikon doesn't

    • profile image

      Joe v 

      4 years ago

      You say the sony has image stabilization. I thought both have it in the lenses and neither in the camera. I know sony a7 full frame is in camera, can it be clarified


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