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Showing posts with label SONY ALPHA 6000. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SONY ALPHA 6000. Show all posts

9/08/2014

SONY ALPHA 6000 Review - what do you get if you cross the A7R with the NeX-6?




With the launch of the Alpha 6000, Sony has introduced what amounts to an APS-C version of the full-frame Alpha 7. At the same time, two old NEX lines, the NEX-7 and the NEX-6, have been discontinued. Sony expects the NEX-7 owner to upgrade to the A7 range, while the A6000 is designed to meet the needs of the NEX-6 owner, sitting at the top of the company’s APS-C enthusiast line.

Small and sleek, the A6000 has a similar look and feel to the A7. It features a newly designed 24.3-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor. It competes pretty closely with the likes of the Fujifilm X-E2, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Panasonic Lumix G6.

features
Along with the new sensor, the A6000 is equipped with the Bionz X, Sony’s latest processor, which is also found in the newest full-frames like the A7, the A7R and the A7S. Sony claims that the Bionz X is three times faster than the previous generation. The image sensor has 179 phase-detection autofocus points. There are also 25 contrast-detection AF points for the hybrid autofocussing system. At the time of launch, Sony claimed that the camera had the fastest AF in the world among cameras with an APS-C sized sensor.

On the back of the A6000 is a tiltable LCD screen, which is joined by an electronic viewfinder: the same 0.39-inch, 1.4-million dot device found on the RX10 premium bridge camera. Reflecting the broader trend, the A6000 comes complete with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. Like several other Sony cameras, it is customisable with apps downloadable from Sony’s cloud-based photo storage service PlayMemories.

As its standard kit lens choice, the A6000 comes with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom – the same lens that is packaged with the A5000. You can also buy it body only, giving yourself the freedom to choose from the large range of different E-mount lenses now available. Perhaps the perfect all-round lens for this camera is the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 optic, but that comes with a £799 price tag – quite a bit more than the camera itself.

Building And Handling
Those who appreciate lots of dials and buttons will enjoy the A6000. It has plenty of controls available, and, like other Sony cameras, pretty much all of them are customisable to help you adjust the camera to suit the way you take photos.



The grip of the A6000 is ever so slightly more pronounced than on the NEX-6, making it easier to hold. There’s also a nice texture covering the camera. On top of the camera are two dials: one for controlling the shooting mode (such as automatic, semi-automatic or manual), and another for altering the shutter speed or aperture, depending on the mode you’re shooting in.

Setting the autofocus point on this camera is a task that would be speedier with a touchscreen, but it’s not too bad if you set the right custom buttons. To make things quicker, set Focus Area to Flexible Spot. From here, you simply need to press the button in the centre of the scrolling dial on the back of the camera to bring up the focus point selection option. You can then use the directional keys to move around the screen. It’s worth noting that this is the default option for the central button when Flexible Spot is selected: if you’ve got it set to anything else, it won’t work in the same way.

Although it’s not a touchscreen, the screen tilts, which is useful for shooting from some awkward angles, or for shielding the screen from glare. The viewfinder is bright and clear, and doesn’t seem to suffer from any noticeable lag. Setting up Wi-Fi is quick and easy, and makes the A6000 convenient for quickly sharing photos to your smartphone or tablet.

“Those who appreciate dials and buttons will enjoy the A6000. It has plenty of controls available”

Performance
Sony is producing some of the most interesting compact system cameras currently on the market and, pleasingly, the A6000 is another great performer to add to the line-up. Its images are great, with beautifully saturated colours. You can experiment with how JPEGs look straight from the camera by adjusting Creative Styles – a number of which are available as pre-stored settings. Detail is rendered very well b
y the A6000. Generally, image smoothing only starts to become problematic for normal printing sizes in shots taken at around ISO 3,200 upwards. Examining images at 100% from around ISO 1,600 upwards, you will find areas of the image that have a painterly effect, but the overall effect is good.



“Sony has come within touching distance of creating the perfect compact system camera”

The camera’s metering system does a good job with exposure, although it sometimes struggles in high-contrast situations, when you’ll need to dial in some exposure compensation. Similarly, the automatic white balance system is a good performer, although it can be slightly confused by some artificial light sources.

In good light, autofocussing speeds are very quick, dropping as the light levels drop, but only struggling to lock on at all in very dark conditions. The 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens is a good all-rounder to get started with, but this is the kind of camera you’ll want to buy additional lenses for. Luckily there are some great ones for the E-mount.

Battery life is better than in the A7, probably due to the smaller sensor, but it’s still worth buying a spare battery if you travel.

Overall
Sony has come within touching distance of creating the perfect CSC. Fantastic image quality and customisable buttons are great to have, but a couple of niggles keep it from greatness.