Sony a6000 – a little review

Introduction

Hi, guys this is Alex with a little story or you may even call it a review about my newly acquired Sony a6000. It’s the first one i ever attempted so let me know afterwards in the comments sections if you like it or not. Please also tell me if I forgot any major point about the cam or if you got any questions about it.

Until july this year i was a true DSLR lover and user. I never bothered with anything else but a old trusty camera with a flipping mirror inside! In the middle of the year i did some planning for upcoming trips that would take me right across the globe, reminding me of my Last Trip to Thailand in late 2013 where I was hugging around my ThinkTank messenger bag loaded with 2 Nikon fullframe DSLRs and 3 lenses with one of them being a 70-200/2.8 (that’s what happens when your girl is a photographer as well and doesn’t want to carry her heavy gear by herself;)) and the accompanying pain in my back at the end of the day.

Around this the idea of having a small, compact yet powerful set-up to take with me to varying trips to London, Spain, Thailand and finally Cape Town was slowly building up in my mind. So I decided to dive head-on into the mirrorless world.

I shot this from the millennium bridge, handheld at 1/5th of a second. Seems like the 35mm's OSS is working quite good. London, GB
I shot this from the millennium bridge, handheld at 1/5th of a second.
Seems like the 35mm’s OSS is working quite good. London, GB.
Alexander Waetzel, Sony a6000, Sony 1.8/35mm
The a6000's high dynamic range making it easy to capture high-contrast scenes, leaving a lot of headroom at recovering highlight and shadows in post! Genoa, Italy
The a6000’s high dynamic range making it easy to capture high-contrast scenes,
leaving a lot of headroom at recovering highlight and shadows in post! Genoa, Italy.
Alexander Waetzel, Sony a6000, Sony 2.8/16mm

At first I was taking a look at the low-budget offerings from Fuji (XE-1) and Olympus (OMD  EM10) leaving me quite impressed what Olympus can deliver with the tiny sensor cramped into an even tinier body after a few minutes of fiddling around in front of my local camera store (www.fotohaus-klinger.de).

So I decided to give the Olympus a chance and they were kind enough to sent me the camera with 2 lenses to take a look. Overall this camera is able to pack quite a punch into a tiny package but it didn’t convince after all because of it’s too small body and the sluggish autofocus performance! I sent it back and came across the Sony a6000 which was quite new at that time. I ordered it via Amazon in quite an impulse and never regretted it for a second!

General & Built

You can find the exact specs somewhere around the internet so I make this a quick rundown of the camera’s important aspects. Overall it’s a rangefinder style mirrorless camera with EVF located on the left-hand backside, right above the tilting display! Event though it’s not the highest resolution EVF on the market it does the job and it made me missing all the available information when getting back to a DSLR. It houses a 24 MP sensor with on sensor phase detection AF with an incredible amount of Focus points covering nearly all of the sensors surface. It is capable of shooting up 11 frames per second even though it takes quite a while until all these files have cleared the buffer making the camera lock up pretty quick. Overall the design of the Sony a6000 can be described as streamlined, almost featureless at the front and lots of dials and buttons at the back. All of these buttons are fitted on the right hand side around the comfortable rubber thumbrest so operating the camera single handed comes at ease. The grip protruding at the front is massive for the camera’s overall size which makes it very comfortable to hold even over longer periods of time.

The camera handles quite nicely even with bigger hands. I'm using it with the optional half leather case which is increasing it's heigth for about 5mm, making it even more comfortable to hold.
The camera handles quite nicely even with bigger hands. I’m using it with the optional half leather case
which is increasing it’s heigth for about 5mm, making it even more comfortable to hold.
The front is exceptionally sleep apart from the shutter button, one customizable one and the dials on the top-plate.
The front is exceptionally sleep apart from the shutter button,
one customizable one and the dials on the top-plate.
All the controls you need for operating the camera and making your way through the crowded yet organized menu.
All the controls you need for operating the camera
and making your way through the crowded yet organized menu.

In general using this camera is quite easy even though not as intuitive as a DSLR. It is indeed very technical with all the stuff you can do and a high level of customization. But Once you get used to it, it lets you navigate through the menu system in a breeze configuring the camera to your special shooting needs!

A few more words to the AF-System, it’s actually quite amazing. Wether you’re using SingleShot mode with a selective focuspoint (you can choose between 3 sizes) or continues Af with zone focusing it never lets you down, locking on your subject almost instantly without any hunting. In low light you need a bit more patience since it can take a moment or two until the camera sets focus, but it always does and it’s mostly accurate. That being said I photographed a Christmas party at ISO 10000 and overall got all the shots I wanted. And please show me a DSLR that focuses without any hesitation in a room lit mostly by candles 😉

Image-quality

Truth to be told this camera is great to use, it got a great af system, it does 11 pics per second, it got wifi and a host of other stuff but where it really shines and stands out is in image quality. When going through the files and tweaking them in my usual Lightroom workflow I tend to forgot I deal with a 550,- € Cropsensor camera’s files. Dynamic range and ISO performance is just great and did not make me miss a ff sensor for a second. With the right glass in front of the camera it can deliver also stellar sharpness. Sure you got some grain above ISO 3200 buts its pleasant and i rarely shoot above that.

Just a quick show off from a shot i did lately. Highlight and shadow recovery is certainly not a problem even you totally messed up your exposure.
Just a quick show off from a shot i did lately. Highlight and shadow recovery
is certainly not a problem even you totally messed up your exposure.
A picture from a personal shoot i did a few weeks back. I attached my Nikon AFS 1.8/50mm with an adapter to it. It took a while to get used to manual focusing but with the peaking i was able to get most of the pictures tack sharp. And retouching the files was also pretty amazing because of the versatility of the RAW-files.
A picture from a personal shoot i did a few weeks back. I attached my Nikon 50mm with an adapter to it.
It took a while to get used to manual focusing but with the peaking i was able to get most of the pictures tack sharp. Retouching the files was also pretty amazing because of the versatility of the RAW-files.
Alexander Waetzel, Sony a6000, Nikon AFS 1.8/50mm
Another shot from a personal shoot i did it in London. I had my D600 on my back but took the sony instead. I think that speaks for itself ;)
Another shot from a personal shoot i did it in London. I had my D600 on my back
but took the sony instead. I think that speaks for itself ;).
Alexander Waetzel, Sony a6000, Sony 1.8/35mm

Conclusion

The camera has become my daily companion over the last several months. It’s size and weight making it the perfect camera to throw in your bag and take with you wherever you go. I shot quite a lot of pictures for my stock agency with it and even used it for some of my personal portfolio work. It came quite close to become my main camera, making me leave my Nikon D600 at home on more than one occasion. It packs a bunch of useful features and the amazing IQ in a affordable body backed by good quality lenses which won’t stretch your budget too much.

For me it’s also the perfect travel camera, letting you share your shots on Instagram or Facebook in an instant using the wifi functionality.

It even made me switch systems, ditching my D600 for a Sony a7 in the coming days.

So all in all this camera performs remarkably well in every area making it quite a winner for amateurs and enthusiasts alike aswell as pros looking for a more portable solution to back up their main shooting setup!

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33 Kommentare auch kommentieren

  1. What lenses do you use with the a6000?

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi there,

      at the time of the review i was using the Sony 2.8/16mm Pancake, Sony 1.8/35mm, Sony Zeiss 1.8/24mm and the Nikon AFS 1.8/50mm with a Novoflex adapter. When you head over to the bangkok post you can also see a few pictures from my girlfriend and she was using the Zeiss Touit line-up.
      We might also do a review on these!

      All the best,
      Alex

  2. 1stgc sagt:

    RE Buffer, use the fastest SD card and there is hardly any lag, great review

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi, i was using a 90MB/S from SanDisk, but still had the problem! Even though I must admit it’s hardly a problem in real world use. I’m glad you liked the review!

  3. Brett sagt:

    I just saw image quality comparisons of the A6000 vs Canon 7d II, Nikon D7100, and several others and the A6000 had way better IQ than all but one which was very close. I don’t remember if it was the Nikon D600 or D750. I’ve read where several professional photographers, even wedding photographers that are shooting with it now. Great camera and I enjoyed your review.

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi Brett, i can definitely agree on that. I was using a D600 by myself and the a6000 never made me miss it! Thanks for taking your time to read through the review!

  4. caver3d sagt:

    Nice review. I do respectfully disagree with one of your comments. I own a Sony A6000, Sony A7, and Olympus E-M1 – all exceptional cameras. And I mention this because I am not biased towards one camera, Your comment about sluggish AF performance with the E-M1 is not true, Yes, the A6000 AF is very fast, but the Oly E-M1 is the fastest of these three cameras. If you don’t believe me, just check around the web. Also, the E-M1 is not small compared to the A6000.

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi there, im so sorry but i meant the EM10, already edited the post! I’ll will probably work with a em10 in a few weeks and i must say im quite excited to see how it stands up to the sonys because i also own an A7 by now!

  5. Terry Cole sagt:

    Great review of the A6000. A quick question: you made the comment that you went ahead and purchased the A7. What do you think you actually gained in your images going full frame with the tradeoff of a higher cost and larger form factor. Thanks for your feedback.

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi Terry, im glad that you enjoyed the review. About your question it wasn’t actually about replacing my a6000 but more about replacing my Nikon D600. Originally i bought the a6000 as a travel camera but after using it i could imagine using a mirrorless system professionally but for that i would need a full frame cam to use alongside my a6000. So i sold my D600 and went completely mirrorless with the a7 and the a6000.

      1. Terry Cole sagt:

        I guess my question was if you noticed a significant difference in the images you got out of the a7 versus the a6000. I would like to know if a full frame sensor will make that much of a difference as I am not a professional photographer, just an enthusiast who appreciates good photos (mostly of travel and family photos). I am on the fence on which one to commit to so I am just looking for opinions from people who actually own both. Thanks for being so quick with your reply.

        1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

          Well yes there is a difference! The one you will notice without being a professional is the smaller depth of field! That means if you would use a lense at the same respective focal length, for example a 35mm on the a6000 and a 50mm on the a7, at the same aperture you will get more background blur on the a7. Also the a7 has a little more headroom in the RAW-Files for recovering highlights and shadows even though it is not much. So if you want a recommendation, if you travel a lot and use the camera for casual photography get the a6000 and invest the money in some good glass, if you’re more into portraits and photographing people get the a7!
          I really hope i was able to help you! 🙂

          1. Eugene sagt:

            Great review! I used a lens turbo and that gives me a full frame like view and DOF on A6000 using canon fd lens. IQ is fantastic and the package is light. Fave lens canon fd 50f1.4, Sony sel55210, Zeiss 16-70mm f4. Looking forward to IBIS in A7000.

          2. AlexWaetzel sagt:

            Thank you eugene! I have heard about these speedboosters aswell but since i also have an a7 … 😉 But I also wanna try some old manual lenses in the future too! I’m thinking about getting an older, used Leica 90mm! I’m eager to see how this will turn out!

          3. Hi Alex!,like you I’m Nikon user (wedding photographer) with d7100 and fast primes like sigma 30 1.4, I’m thinking progressive switch to Sony, I so many reviews telling go with a6000 over the A7 (focus speed, accuracy in low light, and image quality is not a big deal ), what do you recommend me?
            Thank you and excellent review!

          4. AlexWaetzel sagt:

            Hi there Sebastian, for weddings I use the A7 alongside the a6000, having a fast, mostly manual prime on the A7 and an autofocus lens like the 24-70 or the 70-200 on the a6000. This gives me the best of both worlds!

          5. Thank you very much!, I follow your recommendation, I’m thinking buy first a6000 promo kit combo (55-210 include) and 28 f2 fe, in a few month a7 body (to get better bokeh and low light performance). in comparison with your old d600 the a7 was step forward in quality?, you miss something ?(may be in wedding work)

          6. Or maybe start with a A7 with some prime and then add a6000
            Thank you again Alex

  6. Chris Carson sagt:

    I bought an X-E1 myself. An amazing camera. The X-Trans sensor makes extremly sharp pictures and I don’t think there is an APS-C camera system, it’s equal for IQ.

    Gave it to my daughter. I now have an a7R and am so far very pleased. I need it for my hungry printer which does 16×20 and needs just about exactly that many pixels.

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi Chris, youre definitely right, the fujis are fine cameras! And they’re definitely the best looking cams on the market and they’re handling skintones exceptionally well. But i preferred the overall package of the a6000.

  7. Urs sagt:

    I was looking for a small camera do guide me through my days. In the store I tested several Fuji, Olympus and the Sony a6000. For me it was the most intuitive camera and so damn fast. With the Zeiss FE f1,8, 55mm it is just an amazing quality. I’m waiting for the f 1,4, 35 mm which will arrive in april. But one little thing guys. This camera has quiet a lot of noise. With 1200 ISO you can barely sell it. But I will not miss it for one day. A good friend has edges.

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi there Urs, please let me know how it is to use the 35 from Zeiss! It must be Overkill on the small a6000! 😀 You’re quite right with the noise, but I must say the whole noise/ISO discussion is overrated! Noise is just natural and you have to deal with it if you asked me! 😉

  8. soumyajt sagt:

    hey i’m planning to buy this camera but the e mount sony lenses are exensive. i’m planning to buy these lenses sony 16mm, sony 55-210, but for the 35mm and 50mm is it worth spending on sony lenses or should i buy nikon 35 and 50 nd use with adapter? will it be a problem? i‘ a travel photographer, will be taking street, environmental portraits, landscapes, and people photographs?

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi pal, if you asked me most of the lenses are priced very competitive if you compare them to other manufacturers and I would say the 35 and 50 primes are well worth the money. I wouldn’t advice to use Nikon lenses with adapters since it would make the camera big and chunky! I love the 16 and 35mm which I own myself and also tested the 50 on a wedding the other day! If Money isn’t that much of a concern I would also opt for the Zeiss 24mm which is just a phenomenal lense for everything.
      Unfortunately I can’t say anything about the zoom, I just own the 70-200/4 which is also great but rather big and heavy! Hope I was able to help!
      Let me know how you decided and how you get along with your combo!
      Best,
      Alex

      1. Mohammad Jilani sagt:

        I just asked the same question and stumbled with your answer
        having said that if I said I have a 1000$ budget to spend on Sony a6000 what list of lenses plus the body would you recommend for me
        there is a package of a6k with kitlenss and an additional 55-200 what else do you recommend

  9. Mohammad Jilani sagt:

    I read it carefully and tbh Iv been a lot of reviews this one is the most helpful still
    I find that Sony lenses are quite expensive
    much more expensive than Canon or nikon systems
    My photography mentor keeps telling me thatreal investment is in glass and it’s far from reaching in Sony and carlziess

  10. Udo sagt:

    Hi Alex!
    I’m using a Leica Summarit 90 on my A7R, and the results are great. A perfect combi.

  11. Soumyajit Paul sagt:

    hey nice post man, really appreciate it. i’m also planning to buy the a6000 soon but confused with the lens choices. can you please advice which are the first lenses to buy.

    a6000 + rokinon 12mm f2 + sigma 19mm f2.8 + sigma 30mm f2.8 + sony 50mm f1.8 + sony 55-210

    or

    a6000 + rokinon 12mm f2 + sony16-70 f4 + sony 50mm f1.8 + sony 55-210

    i’ll using for daily as well as travel photography. please advice.

    1. AlexWaetzel sagt:

      Hi Paul,

      tough question because it really comes down to your personal style of shooting! For example when I was traveling to thailand last year I was taking a 35, 85 and a 24-70 for video thats it. Id say for your first option the focal lengths are too close together so if you don’t mind
      zooms go for the second options. If you just want primes get a good 35 equivalent and a light tele (85mm) and maybe something wide like the 12mm rokinon.
      Hope I could help!

      Best,
      Alex

  12. Fredy sagt:

    i have a question, why when I set up the shutter speed at 1000 and the ISO 200 the pictures get dark?

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