Sony has proven of late to be one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking of the major camera manufacturers. From ground-breaking developments like the QX-series of smart lenses (or ‘camera-in-a-lens’) to innovations like the first full-frame mirrorless cameras in the A7 and A7R, Sony has put the full weight of all those years of electronics experience and success behind it’s camera division. Even in it’s entry-level DSLR the A58, which I to the Nikon equivalent the D3200, Sony has tried to incorporate innovative features like an electronic viewfinder, where the Nikon model was a more straightforward evolution of earlier models.
Today Sony announced it’s latest mirrorless model, the A6000. This new addition to the α (‘alpha’) series is a replacement for the NEX-6 and NEX-7 models. In fact Sony is retiring the whole ‘NEX’ designation in favour of the α designation.
[While I was searching online for an ‘alpha’ symbol I discovered that an uppercase alpha is the same as our own western ‘A’. So strictly speaking we shouldn’t use a lower case ‘a’, like ‘a6000’ but instead write ‘A6000’. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was losing sleep over that little conundrum!]
The A6000 features a 24.3 megapixel APS-C format sensor, which is the equivalent to what you will find in most consumer DSLRs (like the Sony A32 for example). It comes with a OLED 1.44 million dot viewfinder, which is a fantastic feature and a major draw for photography purists who believe you need to get your eye to the camera to be a ‘real’ photographer. The A6000 also has a tiltable LCD screen which is a handy feature (even for purists), especially in crowded situations. It should be noted however that the screen only tilts downwards to 45 degrees.
One of the downsides of mirrorless cameras is the short battery life, something that’s bitten me on the backside more than once since I started shooting with them. My intuition is that if you work only with the viewfinder on the A6000, you’ll get more out of the battery.
The A6000 ships with an eyepiece cup for the viewfinder (which you may not see in promo photos) which is great, but makes the camera just a bit less pocketable.
Onboard is the newly developed Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X processor which allows a pretty amazing 11 frames per second continuous shooting. And not only that, it can autofocus at the same time! I noticed this feature when I reviewed the A32 in the summer, and it’s very cool.
Speaking of autofocus, Sony claims the A6000 has the ‘world’s fastest’ (in the mirrorless category), and preliminary reports indicate that indeed it is lightening quick.
One of the most analyzed aspect of any new camera is the high ISO (low light) performance. Sony tells us that the ISO sensitivity is 20% higher than the NEX-7 due to the new sensor-processor combo, which is a nice little bump.
It’s not too surprising that the A6000 is wi-fi enabled, that’s becoming a standard feature nowadays. But the A6000 can also be controlled remotely using the Playmemories Camera Apps, which allow you to frame the image and control the shutter. Selfie heaven.
Another cool aspect of the wi-fi connectivity is that you can personalize the camera by adding new features, again through the Playmemories Camera App.
All in all the A6000 looks like a cracking little camera, with an ergonomic design that makes good use of the limited space to give even the most demanding shooters enough control to push it to it’s limits. And price-wise, I believe the A6000 is going to be a bit of a steal. It will be available in black (online and in-store) and silver (online only).