Even though for marketing reasons NEX brand has stayed on the middle of the road, the main character of our analysis is the spiritual heir of the Sony NEX-6, one of the best surprises of last year in the CSC sector. With the A6000, the Japanese brand wants to consolidate itself in the market of the users that search for the newest generation of technology and high quality pictures without having to carry a reflex.
“If it Works, don’t touch it” says the technology maxim that Sony appears to have put in practice while developing its new camera. The chassis is practically identical to that of the NEX-6, although the handle is bigger to improve ergonomy, the assembly is improved and on an aesthetic level, the bets are on the straight lines that already characterize Sony’s new series and that give them an elegant touch that suits them very well.
The Sony A6000 is a comfortable to use camera. The available space has been well exploited and a combination of a classic mode dial and shortcut buttons on the back works, especially after some days of intensive use. The most traditional and lovers of the non-automatic will probably miss a second control dial (that is present in some of the rivals) but we don’t think it is a specially serious problem. Neither is the loss of resolution on the back panel (motivated by cost savings) now only 1,44 megapixels. The difference in such small diagonals is almost imperceptible.
On the technical level this machine has a new CMOS APS-C sensor mounted of 24.3 megapixels -a big improvement over the 16 megapixels of last model- that fortunately doesn’t have any negative consequences relative to noise when shooting at high sensibility. The great job done by the new generation of Bionz processors has a lot to do with this, as well as some adjustments done on the JPEG output, much more conservative than the usual for the Japanese brand.
With no less than 179 focus points for the phase detection system (that practically cover all the photographic scene ) and 25 for contrast, the A6000 Sony is a beast when we are talking about fast shooting, bursts or autofocus tracking. The camera reaches 11 shots per second both in RAW as in JPEG and it is capable of maintaining the burst up to 20 seconds when shooting in compressed mode. It is an impressive display of strength that, in practice, aids in having good shots without much work, never having to retake a shot for errors in focus. In this point it is certainly outstanding.
In real use, the Sony A6000 is described as an all-terrain camera, ideal for travelers that look for an easy to transport device but that at the same time allows them to enjoy photography. Up to ISO 6400 we haven’t detected any noise problems (and working in RAW we can always retouch via software), offering a fantastic image quality and sharpness. As it occurs with other models of the company, by default they tend to saturate and give an excessive vividness to the color, but it is something easily fixed by calibrating it to our tastes and reducing the automatic processes to the minimum if you consider it necessary.
The brand of the lens used by this camera often has a bad reputation and, unfortunately, the motorized 16-50mm zoom f3.5-5.6 that accompanies this camera is no exception. Though very light, motorized and of acceptable speed, leaves much to be desired relative to optical quality and, for the trained eye, it is easy to detect imperfections on the corners. It is acceptable as a base product, but we strongly recommend investing a little bit more to make the best of such an amazing machine.
The Sony A6000 is a really complete mirror-less camera, full of the newest generation technologies, that inherits everything good from one of the best of last generation. Its price of 799 dollars with the kit seems adequate, taking into account what it offers (it is almost 200 Euros less than the NEX-6 had been when it came out). Although it is possible that it is out of range for the amateur that is hesitating between migrating to CSC format or go for an entry level reflex. It has a lot of rivals on the market and in its own house, with a NEX-6 that has a more than interesting price (as long as there are units left) and an A5000 that is 300 less, although it highly lacks construction quality and the focus capability of the main character of this review.
On the positive side, it is worth mentioning the spectacular performance it offers, its connectivity options and its construction quality well above average. The cuts on the panel, the visor and the quality of the lens have opportunity areas, but it is reasonable that Sony wanted to maintain an equilibrated ratio between cost, advantages and quality. It is a highly recommended camera to take the leap to what will be, without doubt, the format of the future.