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Sony Alpha 6000 (A6000) Review

royteophotography Member 11172 points
03/06/2014 | 10:39:31 edited January 2015

AESTHETICS

Coming from the NEX6, the A6000 feels and looks familiar in the hands. Estatically, it is almost identical to the NEX6.  However, it is slightly thicker and with a bigger grip.

Sony has still managed to include a hotshoe and built in flash and an addtional thumb wheel on the top of the camera.  This is something i didn't think was possible with the small size but they did.

The camera feels solid int he hands and the grip makes it steady and firm to hold. It is one of the most comfortable holding light camera around.

MENU

Those familiar witht he A7 series and Alpha DSLR menus will be very familiar with this as they have totally gotten rid of the old NEX menu system and now use the same menu as the A7 series. The button layout is almost almost identical to the A7 series. Having also own an A7r, navigating and using the A6000 took me no time to grab and shoot and navigate the menus. It feels exactly like the A7.

PERFORMANCE

This is there the A600 shines. Sony claims it to be the fasted focusing APSC mirrorless camera int he market and i can't fault them for that. I believe them...Note they said APSC mirrorless because there are faster APSC DSLR around and there is the Panasonic GH4 which is a faster mirrorless but that's m43. So in a way, Sony isnt wrong to claim that.

In real useage, the Single mode AF is indeed VERY fast. Comparing to the A7r, this one feels like lightning. There's almost no lag and the subject locks into  focus almost immediately. 

What Sony is trying to sell is the AF-C mode and the 11fps burst mode. Here's the caveat, the 179 Phase detect points ONLY work in AF-C or AF-A mode and only in WIDE AF. It doesn't work in Spot focus or Center focus mode. You have to use the WIDE AF to see the little green squares jumping all over the screen to lock onto the subject. In most cases, using WIDE AF on a single subject works but when you are trying to shoot a group of people, especially when everyone is moving, the WIDE AF gets it wrong sometimes.

The 11fps mode is indeed very fast. All 11 frames are supposed to be tracked and in focus. In reality you will get about 50% of the photos sharp and 50% not in focus. Having said that, 50% of 11fps is still 5-6 photos per second in focus and sharp. That alone is fantastic!! And it really works great.

I personally do not shoot sports of fast moving action so the 11fps and AF-C isn't a priority for me. I mainly use Spot focusing and single shot mode. 

OPTICAL QUALITY

 Using the kit lens that came with the camera, it is a very decent setup. The 16-50mm power zoom lens although slow in aperture, actually does a really good job optically. It's not going to match up with the Zeiss glass but it's more than adequate for normal shooting and it is the smallest zoom lens you can find. Perfect for travel and pocket size.

I personally use the Zeiss FE55 f1.8 on the A6000 to shoot portraits which gives me about 85mm field of view which is perfect for portraits. Pair that with a fast autofocus and 24megapixles without an AA filter, this make the images from the A600 super sharp. Is it better than the A7r? It is very close and almost impossible to tell apart unless you really pixel peep.

As for ISO handling. Well, as with any camera i use, the highest ISO i would want to go is 1600. Anything higher and i will have to use some Noise reduction either in camera or in Photoshop and i rather not do that at all. Most of the time i will shoot at 100-800 max..1600 is when really required..I never go higher. But as with almost every new camera int he market these days, ISO on the A6000 is no different. I twill go up to ISO3200 relatively noise free but there still is noise. And Sony's in camera Noise reduction is still something you should avoid...it really isn't good at all. Turn that off the first thing you do. But shooting up to ISO1600 on this camera, i won't need to apply any kind of noise reduction...becuase there almost is none.

CONCLUSION

At under $1k with kit lens, you are not going to find another camera that is this valu for money and gives you this kind of performance. It rivals many pro DSLR camera int he market but at a much cheaper price.

In fact, even for mirrorless cameras, there isn't another one in the market that can match it's performence at a similar price point. The closet rivals would be the Olympus EM1, Fuji XT1 or Panasonic GH4, all of which are almost double in price. The A6000 is definately a highly recommended camera and is the camera i grab with me everytime i leave the house. The A7r actually stays at home unless i really need the resolution. If not, the A6000 always gets priority. It is that good a camera. 

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