Video

The a6600 continues this lineup's tradition of offering good quality 4K video and a pretty robust set of capture aids, but the competition hasn't stood still.

Key takeaways:

  • Oversampled 4K footage is very detailed
  • 1080p footage is unimpressive
  • Strong suite of capture aids and picture profiles, including Log options
  • Good AF tracking but you need to change touchscreen behavior to use it, and may need to menu-dive to undo this change when you revert to stills shooting.
  • Exposure settings carry over from stills shooting unless you set up a memory recall or custom mode on the mode dial
  • Strong rolling shutter artifacts, especially in 4K/24p and 25p recording
  • Video limited to 8-bit files

Video crops

• 4Kp/25/24
• 1080p/60/50/30/25/24
• 1080p/120/100 • 4Kp/30

The a6600 has the same video modes and crops as the previous a6500. Thankfully, most of the modes use the full width of the sensor, but 120p and 100p Full HD modes use a smaller 1.14x crop, and 30p 4K uses a 1.23x crop.

Cropping can have many effects on your shooting. It means you'll need a shorter focal length to get a wide-angle shot, and you have worse noise performance since you're using a smaller portion of the sensor. There is a benefit, though, in that a smaller portion of the sensor can be read-out faster, and shows less rolling shutter.

Video quality

Also like the older a6500, the a6600 can shoot very detailed 4K video. And though it's hands-down better than what the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is capable of, we can see that Panasonic's G9 and Fujifilm's X-T3 are comparable in many areas of the scene. Switching to the 4K/30p 1.2x crop on the a6600 doesn't show a huge difference in detail capture, though footage does look as though there's been a touch more sharpening applied.

Switching to 1080p shows how the Sony cameras really can't compete with other potential options for detail capture, for those users that don't want or need 4K footage.

Video usability

Our resident video expert Jordan Drake got his hands on the a6600 at Sony's launch event and gave us some of his thoughts on how the a6600 stacks up as a main camera for video shooters or vloggers.

For those that don't feel like watching the video, the basic gist is that the a6600 is very, very similar to what we've seen in previous a6000-series models. This means you get picture profiles and log capture, but you're stuck with 8-bit files. This will severely undercut the advantage of capturing log footage in the first place; competitors that offer 10-bit footage with log capture will provide much more flexible results in post-production.

The biggest difference concerns the autofocus tracking while shooting video: it's generally very good, and you can see the camera tracking the face and eye while you're shooting. But unfortunately, you have to tap on the screen to choose your subject, requiring you to take your eye away from the finder if you're using the EVF. Tapping the screen can also induce camera shake. You also have to dive into the menus (or customize your 'My Menu') to find the option to switch from Touch AF, which just moves your AF area, to Touch Tracking, which is what you need to start tracking on a subject in video.

The competition hasn't stood still and other options may work better for you

Jordan goes one step further and says that the a6600 is about as close to the perfect vlogging camera as we've seen at this point. You have a full tilting screen, headphone and microphone sockets, reasonably lightweight body, good autofocus and in-body image stabilization. But the processing pipeline that Sony continues to use in the a6600 is extremely susceptible to rolling shutter, and that could really impact the quality of your video.

Finally, we still wish Sony would keep your video and stills exposure settings separate without having to create a custom mode on the mode dial. As it currently is, switching from the regular movie mode to PASM modes sees your shutter speed and aperture carry over, even though you (likely) will want them to be different between the two. Also, there's a pronounced lag when switching modes, and the video record button continues to be in a hard-to-reach spot (though you can configure the shutter button to begin recording if you like).

In the end, for hybrid stills and video shooters, the a6600 is still a good option, but the competition hasn't stood still and other cameras like Panasonic's G9 and Fujifilm's X-T3 may work better for you.