Over a decade ago, I downgraded my camera. I had begun to use point-and-shoots and mobile phone cameras. I figured the best camera is the one that is with me when I need it. A few years ago, I upgraded to the Sony RX100. This year, I’ve come one full circle, and now use a biggish camera again, the Sony a6000.
I wasn’t actually on the lookout to replace the RX100. I was out shopping one day, dropped in at a Sony Store, and tried out an A5100 that was available. It was pretty good.
To cut long story short, that encounter with the A5100 started me looking at mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, and I eventually ended up with the Sony a6000. Just to be clear, I’m not like a Sony fan or one who only buys Sony cameras. I did consider other systems, including Micro Four-Thirds as well as alternatives from Nikon and Canon. But the Sony a6000 will prove to best meet my needs all-around.
The Sony a6000 was announced a little more than a year ago. I don’t want to sound like I’m regurgitating some marketing pitch, but the super fast 0.06 sec auto-focus and 11 fps continuous shooting speed got me really interested in the a6000. The traits I look for in a camera, such as great image quality and portability, include speedy performance so that it can take a shot whenever I want one taken.
Even though I don’t typically take action sports photos, just photos of kids who cannot sit still is enough of a challenge for many cameras. The RX100 is not slow at all. But it’s no match for my kids.
There are many great things about the Sony a6000. It has an APS-C sensor with 24.3 megapixels. It’s super fast hybrid auto-focus system has 25 contrast-detect points and 179 phase-detect points. It has both a 3-inch tilting LCD screen with 921,600 dots and an OLED EVF with 1.44M dots. It does full HD video up to 1080/60p. Last, but not least, the Sony a6000 includes Wi-Fi with NFC and supports downloadable apps.
The camera body is slightly on the biggish side. That does mean that it’s chunky enough to hold very comfortably and securely. It’s a whole lot less portable than my RX100, and it’s also somewhat larger than both the A5000 and A5100. Portability has been something important to me.
The definition of portability, of course, is subjective, and indeed my own definition has loosened over time. Three years ago, none of the NEX cameras, which had also appealed to me to some extent at that time, qualified as being compact enough to fit my portability needs. Today, well, you can see how my thoughts have changed.
The Sony a6000 is by no means a clunky camera. For the kind of image quality and performance it delivers, it compares favourably to many other much larger cameras. There is certainly a bit of compromise now, because there’s no way the a6000 will fit in any kind of pocket in my clothing. I know some reviewers talk about pockets in jackets, but no, with the kit lens on, it won’t work for me.
Since I’m moving up from the RX100, the a6000 is in many ways immediately familiar. It has the same menu system, and many buttons work in similar ways. The a6000, of course, has more buttons for quicker access to functions.
I am a bit disappointed, however, by the included 16-50 mm zoom lens. It’s not sharp. I’m now finally appreciating the quality of the RX100’s lens, which produces razor sharp images. The a6000’s kit lens also has other problems, though they can be corrected to some extent with Lens Correction in Lightroom.
The kits lens aside, the Sony a6000 seems to be all-around a great performer. I’m a casual photographer, and photographs are taken any time, any where. I still believe the best camera is the one that you have with you, so the issue of portability is always going to be important.
I’ll post a more detailed review another time.