Sony a6000 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- 24 megapixel APS-C sensor is one of the best in its class
- Small body with generally well placed controls
- Very fast continuous shooting
- Class-leading continuous autofocus
- Excellent level of control over video (including manual exposure)
- High quality, responsive viewfinder
- Electronic first-curtain option
- Good JPEGs with well-judged sharpening
- Extensive feature set, including sweep panorama and auto-object framing
- Wi-Fi with plenty of options
- USB charging offers convenience
Conclusion - Cons
- Flash exposures often misjudged
- No In-camera Raw conversion option
- Noise reduction can be a bit heavy-handed
- No touchscreen
- No electronic level gauge
- Battery life feels low (though provided charge percentage info helps judge remaining life)
- Specifying an autofocus point can be cumbersome
- Lens range not as well developed as rival systems
- Movie record button can lead to shaken footage at start and end of clips
- Lack of included external charger makes keeping a second battery charged awkward
The a6000 is one of Sony's first E-mount cameras to eschew the NEX branding that first introduced the company's range of mirrorless cameras around four years ago. And, while it may look very similar to the NEX-6 that preceded it, the cumulative effect of the changes means it's a very different camera. In part that's because of the rate of technological progress at Sony, but it's also because Sony has finally decided to pair a fully photographer-focused user interface with its impressive image makers.
So, while the a6000 may see its viewfinder downgraded compared to the NEX-6, just about everything else is a step forward. And this isn't just a step forward for Sony: we've not before seen a camera at this price able shoot so fast and track focus so well, nor one that offers such complete control over its movie shooting. And, for that matter, it's not just a step forward for mirrorless cameras: we'd struggle to think of another camera in this price bracket that offers so much in the way of stills and video capability in such a coherent package.
It's not perfect, of course: I personally find the Olympus E-M10 more fun to shoot with, thanks to the layout of its control dials that can be operated with different digits, and the a6000's kit lens can't hold a candle to the Fujifilm X-E2's excellent XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS. Fujifilm's X-T1 offers further ergonomic and build-quality advantages. But in terms of image quality per size and per dollar, the a6000 is hard to beat. While some people will never step away from a DSLR, the a6000 makes a very strong case for being able to do everything a Nikon D5300 or EOS 700D/Rebel T5i can do, even in terms of autofocus.
The a6000 fits in the hand nicely and then makes it easy to bring most of the camera's key settings near to hand. This combination of button customization and the user-configurable Fn menu make the a6000 that bit nicer and more straightforward to operate than its NEX predecessors.
The a6000 has two control dials, which offer a little control over their function. We'd have liked to see two full control dials (ideally designed for operation with different fingers), but the reasonably solid detents on the four-way/ rear dial mean that it can be controlled with a good degree of precision. It's not as good as the likes of the Olympus E-M10 or Fujifilm in this respect, but still offers a good degree of control - and more than the Canon or Nikon DSLRs at this price.
As a video camera the a6000 isn't quite so well worked out: you can still change all the key settings during movie shooting, but having to turn click dials and navigate Fn menus isn't optimal, if you're trying to keep your footage smooth and responsive. That said, it's a hard balance to strike and we'd rather the a6000 worked well as a stills camera while still offering all this video control, rather than compromising either the stills handling or the level of video control offered.
Image Quality and Video
The a6000's image quality is very good, both in JPEG and Raw. The improved sharpening in the latest generation of Sony camera brings a significant improvement to the JPEG quality, though we'd recommend turning down the High ISO noise reduction as its claims to be context-sensitive seem to have emboldened Sony's engineers to push its intensity up a bit too high. The DRO+ algorithm allows the camera to incorporate lots of dynamic range into JPEGs without them looking too 'flat.' Sadly you have to all but guess what level of DRO to apply, since it's hard to see that sort of tonal subtlety on the rear screen and there's no in-camera Raw processing option to let you select it after shooting.
The camera's Raw files have plenty of flexibility - whether in terms of the extensive DR that's there to be taken advantage of at low ISOs, or the scope for applying more subtle noise reduction at the other end of the sensitivity scale. You don't have to shoot Raw with the a6000, but if gives you more options if you do.
Video quality is pretty good, too. It's not in the class of Sony's own RX10 or Panasonic's GH4, in terms of detail, but for a consumer-grade camera it's more than acceptable. Combined with the high level of control the camera provides, the a6000 is the best all-rounder for shooting stills and video under $1,000 we've tested.
The final word
The a6000 is a really solid camera and is better than its predecessor in almost every respect - anyone worried about Sony cutting corners to hit a lower price point should be reassured that it has done so intelligently. The result is a really capable camera, offering impressive image quality in both Raw and JPEG modes, plus class-leading video features. That it then does so in a small, convenient, well featured and competitively priced package is what really seals the deal for us. It's strong in all areas and outstanding in some.
If you plan to shoot video as well as stills, this is the camera to buy in this class. If your focus is purely stills, things are a little less clear-cut, and the decision should probably come down to lenses: Sony's approach to its E-mount lens lineup doesn't seem as enthusiast orientated as those of Olympus or Fujifilm (with a bit more focus on consumer zooms than accessible primes), and the power zoom included here offers lots in terms of convenience and flexibility, but falls short on ultimate image quality. As such, more than usual, the a6000's full potential isn't truly realized without buying additional lenses but, if you're willing to make that commitment or can appreciate the a6000 kit as a really canny all-rounder, then you'll end up with a camera that's difficult to beat.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Sony Alpha a6000
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The a6000 brings Sony's latest interface improvements and enhanced JPEG processing to a well-featured, competitively-priced mid-range camera. Its stand-out features are its comprehensive video controls and continuous autofocus performance unprecedented at this price. The flexible but optically average power zoom make this a highly capable and compact package.
|Misty morining by Claudi Lourens|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|Jet and Full Moon by dibilio57|
from Aircraft lights
A popular Instagram user based in Singapore has been caught passing stock images off as his own work. Daryl Aiden Yow, who has worked with many recognizable brands, has apologized for his actions, and has deleted some images from his Instagram account while adding credits to others.
Instagram is the fourth Facebook-owned social media app to reach the coveted 1 billion users mark.
Chinese smartphone brand Oppo has employed a clever solution to the dreaded display 'notch' – a sliding mechanism that houses the device's front and rear-facing cameras.
The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is an all-manual prime lens for APS-C (and Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless cameras. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, it'll go on sale to the public for just $200 – see what it can do on Sony and Fujifilm bodies.
Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is a new app and service from Instagram that puts the focus on video content. You can now follow content creators and watch up to hour-long vertical videos inside the new dedicated IGTV app, as well as directly within Instagram.
Researchers at NVIDIA have used artificial intelligence to train a system that's capable of turning standard 30fps video into 240fps slow-mo video with minimal loss in quality.
Loupedeck has updated its popular Lightroom editing console with a new '+' version featuring improved build quality, more customization and support for some non-Adobe software.
Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X.
Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing, in a single application.
Adobe's quarterly financial report was just published, and the news is good. Q2 2018 saw a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion, and 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment.
Just months after launching its QuartzLine filters for DSLR and mirrorless lenses, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will give you credit towards a PolarPro filter for trading in an old one - even if it isn't theirs.
Sigma has announced that five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping.
Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.
The FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. We've been shooting with one for a few days, and we're impressed. Check out our sample gallery to judge for yourself.
Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched.
Back in 2010, Canon announced that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, measuring about 40 times larger than full frame. The company has just updated its website with more details.
Samyang has launched its latest lens, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF. This telephoto prime is a direct competitor to Canon's $1,600 alternative—and considering it's expected to retail for half the price, it looks like quite the bargain.
Scanning film takes forever and photographing negatives is a pain. The Pixl-latr aims to provide a simple solution.
Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing its synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness and academic mindset unusual for the industry.
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.