A6000 first impressions (from a beginner coming from m43)

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kg1128
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A6000 first impressions (from a beginner coming from m43)
6 months ago

Used A6000 for a few days, took about 1500 shots mostly portraits of kids running around outdoor (bright sunlight) and indoor (dim) using kit lens and Sigma 30/2.8. Before A6000, I used Oly E-PL1 for about 2 years, exclusively with Panasonic 20/1.7 pancake lens.

It is not intended to be a professional review. Just wanted to share my incoherent stream of thoughts for other amateurs considering to buy A6000.

1. EVF seemed fantastic: Coverage was good, everything looked bright and sharp. (Caveat: I don't have much experience using EVF since E-PL1 didn't have one!)

2. Continuous Shooting: Burst is just crazy, it sounds like a machine gun. It was useful, especially for shooting moving subjects and portraits. Also, it definitely adds to the 'cool' factor. There were a few times I burst fired for 3 seconds near other photographers just to show off. However, I encountered some new problems I never had to worry about before. Shooting raw (which I do 100%), quick burst rate fills up your memory card fairly fast and it adds a lot of extra time post processing (including importing and reviewing). Okay, these are definitely minor concerns but I learned not to use full burst unless I absolutely have to.

3. Related to 2, after you burst, camera locks up for a while clearing buffer. The length depends on the size of buffer. I definitely lost one or two shooting opportunities due to buffer clearing. Also, camera doesn't allow you to change settings (for instance, focus mode or coverage) while buffer clearing. It was somewhat inconvenient.

4. AF: This is the major selling point of A6k with Sony claiming world's fastest AF. Well, to me AF accuracy is a lot more important than AF speed. In that respect, AF is good but certainly not exceeding my expectations by leaps and bounds. Well, a lot has to do with my lack of skills and busy background (which I had to deal with for most outdoor shootings), but there were a good number of out-of-focus shots due to both 1) camera picking a wrong focus target, and 2) correct target but still blurry, usually happens with burst shooting.

5. ISO performance: Definitely much better than my old system, thanks to bigger APS-C sensor and possibly newer processor. For ISO ranges 1000-3200, performance was very good and noise was almost a non-issue (unless you pixel peep full crop...) Especially for viewing on screen, even 6400 is much more than adequate, imho.

6. Handling: still learning but no major complaints yet. Made some adjustments and custom key assignments for my style of shooting. There were a few things I wish I could do (maybe it's possible but I just don't know how). 1) In Aperture priority mode, can I set top control wheel for aperture and back dial wheel for ISO? Both wheels control aperture. Same thing with Shutter priority mode. 2) Can I toggle focus area mode with a button? Instead of pressing a button, then use directional pad to change between (wide/zone/center/spot), can I just press a button to toggle one by one?

7. Wifi/NFC/App: Apps- I have no idea yet. You can use wifi/nfc to send photos to your phone or use phone as a remote, but these features are not important to me. I tried phone as a remote, but refresh rate and available controls are just not good enough. I'd rather use a timer/tripod combo to reduce shutter shock or to take a selfie. I can see myself putting the camera on airplane mode most of the time....

8. Battery: and with airplane mode on, battery life was good. With a single charge, took 650 shots (30 of them with flash on), still had about 15% remaining. Not bad at all, but how long will this last?

9. Flash: love I can bounce flash up (not side ways though). E-PL1 had a similar bounce flash, but for some reason the one on A6k performs much better. I use flash for both low light situation and bright outdoors, and flash worked surprisingly well both ways.

10. Images have less pop than Oly in terms of color saturation and contrast. Maybe I'm just used to Oly colors, but I see myself adjusting saturation/highlight/shadow/vibrance/contrast more than usual in post processing. Auto WB is decent, but on the colder side I think.

11. Moving from 12MP to 24MP. I think resolution per sensor size is about equivalent as m43. I'm glad I can crop more aggressively without sacrificing much on the resolution. Maybe I can focus less on framing shots now; just go wide and utilize crop more.

Let me know if you have any specific questions or comments.

Edits

12. barrel distortion with kit lens was terrible on the wide end. applying lens profile correction fixes this but it's annoying. (can we automate this during import?)

Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony a6000
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