Sony a6000 Review: Easy ‘a’ in price and function
Sony has been a favorite in the mirrorless camera industry for the past few years, and with a new installment to the Alpha series released this month, we brokedown the latest offering to see how it compares to its predecessors. Prices for mirrorless cameras are still upwards to $1,000 and the new Sony Alpha 6000 comes in at $800. It us a small break in price, but it’s the features and overall design of the new gadget that will most likely catch interested buyers, rather than the sticker-price.
On paper the Alpha 6000 has a lot to brag about, with a 24.7MP APS-C sensor, popular full-size hot-shoe and a very appealing range in both AF points and wide ISO range, the stats on the outside of the box are impressive. The first of those points comes with Sony’s promise of the, “world’s fastest auto focus,” the camera offers users 179 AF points to capture moments with instant clarity, and no real issues were found with Sony’s claim, or in field-testing. While the ISO range doesn’t break any records, the range of 100-25600 will easily cover even some of your darkest shoots, and offers more control and flexibility than many of the camera’s competition, even at higher prices.
A few characteristics like the OLED viewfinder and metal-body structure haven’t changed in the upgrade, Sony also made sure to include popular conveniences like smartphone-sharing and both Wi-Fi and NFC compatibility. Smartphone sharing is still a time-consuming process, but a simple UI and the ability to transfer multiple photos at once are both welcomed additions to the service.
Other specs like being able to shoot in Full HD (1080/24/60P) aren’t unique to the camera but are included, these features are quickly becoming a basic requirement at this point for all mirrorless cameras on the market at this price range, so although I mention them, it’s not exactly winning any points. This model does offer an 11 frames-per-second consecutive-shooting mode, something that is becoming a nice bragging feature on the market, as each manufacturer finds new ways to improve that score. Sony’s high auto-focus feature does shine at this point, as consecutive-shooting tends to lean in favor of any statistic regarding speed.
Other quick mentions that customers may want to be sure are included are the pop-up flash, a 3-inch, tilting LCD screen and there is dedicated wheel for shooting modes. In the past a completely separated shooting-mode solution has always been a sticking-point for me, though I do understand that not everyone may feel this way, if you do, then you should be pleased. Another quick-dial offers users adjustments to the shutter-speed and aperture, without having to dive into obnoxious menus.
While the included 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power-zoom lens may leave a few customers hoping for more, it does offer tried and tested reliability that should prove to be beneficial. It’s always hard to judge just how important the bundled lenses in these offerings will be to each interested customer, as many professionals already have an arsenal of lenses at their disposal, for them I feel that compatibility is more important than bundling. If you are looking for compatibility, the Sony E-mount (Sony A-mount, Minolta/Konica Minolta Maxxum lenses are confirmed via optional LA-EA adaptor for the latter) is the official readout on the subject. For the lens itself, a standard zoom wheel on the front of the lens will take care of your broader adjustments mounted with the standard Sony E-mount system as mentioned before. More precise dials and buttons are placed on camera’s side, ISO sits by your thumb along with the REC button on the right-hand side.
Although this topic is often debated, I do wish there was a touch-screen included in this model. The UI included is much cleaner than earlier renditions, and it wasn’t hard to click or scroll into settings or features, but a touch-screen I feel would have been a great improvement for the user. On one hand I’m glad that it isn’t totally reliable on touch-screen only, as there are many situations that touch-screen only devices create problems, but the option would have been nice.
I didn’t find any great improvements with the battery over any other model that uses Sony’s standard 1,080mAh cell, but it also still performs incredibly well, so it’s understandable that Sony let it continue another round. I was hoping that an improved cell would be released with the 6000 series, but that didn’t come to pass, but the choice probably kept the price down at the same time and still offers an above-average performance.
Running all of this software and powering all of these features is the BIONZ X image processor, one of my favorite options on the market and still incredibly fast. Booting the system is still a little longer than I had hoped, but I am still optimistic that Sony will introduce a firmware update down the line to improve the matter. Image quality in any situation is also fantastic, only made easier to capture by a laundry-list of features and extras that are included in the camera’s design. With a Exmor APS HD CMOS imaging sensor, RGB primary color filtration system and Anti Dust mechanics assisting every shot, the camera offers one of the most precise captures you can find anywhere near the MSRP of the Alpha 6000.
Finishing things up, this entire system comes down to a price-debate (much like all products do in electronics) but Sony is offering an incredible device for $800. You could go through each statistic and find models from other manufacturers that offer more in a few of the categories, but the price can jump from a few hundred dollars, to even double with some other manufacturers. Considering that the bundle comes with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power-zoom lens at $800, the kit is a terrific deal and the camera offers some terrific design choices with professional performance.