Some (early in ownership) a6000 observations

Started Apr 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Helen Veteran Member • Posts: 5,210
Some (early in ownership) a6000 observations

Just thought I'd post here some of my minor observations about the a6000 I'm currently getting to know - mainly the more trivial handling stuff, which often gets overlooked(!).  My example is the black variant, because in the UK the silver(ish) one isn't yet available - it appears to be expected in stock about a month after the black.

The a6000 feels surprisingly light in my hands.  It has a good balance and is comfortable to hold.  The small size, sharp-edged styling and rubber front and rear grips give the impression that it is built a bit more "poshly" than it actually is.  The top, front, back and base are all polycarbonate rather than metal - it's warmer to the touch when picked up "cold" than even the warmest alloys. There's a paint finish over the material which helps it to look expensive - and to resemble the metal-bodied NEX-7 more than the NEX-6, which had that unique-in-the-range matte sputter finish paintwork.  The door over the connectors at the left hand end is a nice, rigid one with a properly sprung hinge.  The battery/card chamber door still doesn't open quite far enough, just like the NEX-6 (and 7, presumably).  It's a shame that a hot shoe cover isn't supplied as standard any more - it just looks tidier with one.  I am glad to find that the built in flash release button is no longer as tricky to operate as it was on the NEX-6 (which seems to require a very determined nail or sharp object to release it).  The a6000's feels just right.

The EVF seems fine despite its reduced specification.  The eyepiece is smaller than the one on the NEX-6 (same eyecup supplied, though), but the image inside seems of a similar size and I don't find the lower resolution to be problematic - in fact, it seems less over-contrasty and is also easier to see clearly at the edges (quality of eyepiece optics?).  The LCD monitor also seems to move more easily.

Strangely, the NP-FW50 battery has had a slight change of design - its finish is slightly different and it is noticeably lighter than previously.  It also isn't such a secure fit in my charger (the one supplied with the earlier NEX models that didn't do in-camera charging).

To me, power-up seems more rapid than on the NEX-6 and 5R - they tended to quite often hesitate on power-up, displaying " --- " in the frame counter area, whilst this only appears (occasionally) for a split second on the a6000.  I haven't yet downloaded any in-camera apps to see if the camera seems more lively than those two previous models when running them - they always struck me as noticeably less responsive in the control interface when running an app.

I've yet to do any proper AF speed comparison tests - because I tend to shoot in centre spot AF mode with AF-S, this may not show the speed difference to maximum advantage anyway.  I notice there's now an AF-A mode too.  Image quality seems good so far - nice and sharp, with the 16-50 not being shown up too badly at all by the 24MP resolution.

There is of course a lot of difference in the controls (both physical and interface) compared with the NEX-6.  (I'm coming at this from the direction of someone who hasn't handled the A7 models - I imagine the a6000 is quite similar to them).  The a6000 interface is more like A-mount cameras, and is much more detailed than the NEX menu system; it also disposes of the "soft" buttons which the NEX cameras had, where the function/label on the screen next to the button varied according to context.  An "entry" screen can optionally be set on the a6000 for the menu system, divided into six headings with icons, somewhat reminiscent of the NEX system, or as a default you can just open it straight into the menu itself, with its tabbed headings arrayed across the top.  There's a generous amount of physical control customisation - the C1 and C2 buttons, the arrow keys of the directional pad (if required), the OK button, and the Fn button with its many onscreen positions, all of which can be customised - many more configurable buttons and functions than any NEX ever had.

There are lots of new and improved functions that have been covered elsewhere, such as the zebra feature, improvements to the PDAF, tracking and so on.  I also notice that we can now (at last!) turn off the pre-AF feature, so the camera need not always be hunting for focus and wasting the battery; it is also finally possible in image review and playback to move from image to image whilst maintaining magnification and position within the image (always a useful feature).  As is well known, there's also the facility for memorising and recalling up to 3 sets of control settings.

On the other hand I've noticed a couple of features that I quite liked which have now gone - the level gauge on the display is no longer provided, and neither is the "large" data display which I found quite handy - it was legible and contained the important stuff without cluttering the display.  I'm also having to train myself to remember that in image review and playback, the button to hit for an instantly magnified view is no longer the centre button, but the AE lock button - yet the centre button is still the one to cancel it and return to a full frame view.  The playback button being at the bottom of the back is also new, it having always been near or on the top of the camera in the NEX range.

It's nice to see that multi-frame NR is now built in rather than requiring the relevant app, so it's smoother to access and fuller-featured.  The top value which can be set in this mode is higher than the normal modes, being an impressive 51,200 ISO!  Also useful, in this mode and normal Auto ISO, we can now set the minimum and maximum ISO values.  The 11 fps top shooting speed also comes in handy for the various multiframe shooting modes, as they are shot very rapidly with less opportunity for subject or camera movement.

Well, sorry it's long, but it's what I've noticed so far!!

Sony a6000
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