Saturday 10 September 2016

New Camera: Sony a6000

Sometimes I'm asked about the cameras and lenses I use and I have posted about them occasionally over the years. Yesterday I bought a new camera for the first time in many years so here, for anyone interested, are my thoughts about it.

For the last four years the Sony NEX 7 has been my main camera with an NEX 6 as backup. I'm still really pleased with the NEX 7 and although it's a little battered now I hope it'll last quite a few more years. The NEX 6 however, whilst okay as a backup, doesn't have as good image quality as the NEX 7 nor as easy to use controls and I've never been really happy with it.

Sony replaced both the NEX 6 and 7 with the a6000 a few years ago, having dropped the NEX name. At the time I didn't think it offered enough to justify upgrading. So why have I bought one now? With a big trip coming up (more on this soon) I want two 24mp cameras (the NEX 6 is 16mp) with a lens on each so I can use them alternatively and know the results will be the same quality. I did consider the a6300, Sony's latest camera in this series, but it's over twice the price of the a6000, which is currently available a real bargain, and its main advantages - 4k video and fast shooting - are not big concerns for me. It is weather resistant but my lenses aren't so that probably wouldn't be much of an advantage. From reading many reviews it seems the image quality is only marginally better than the a6000, if at all, and that's the main factor for me. I also briefly considered the full frame A7 which costs less with a 24-70 lens than the a6300 without a lens but I'm not convinced full frame has enough advantages to justify the extra weight.

I bought the camera from Jessops in Inverness - I always like to handle cameras to be sure I'm happy with them - and must praise the assistant there who gave good advice, listened patiently to my deliberations, and didn't try and push me towards the most expensive option. That's the way to get regular custom.

NEX 7 left, a6000 right
I bought the a6000 with 16-50mm lens even though I already have one of the latter. I think my old one is on the way out though - the focus/zoom ring no longer works - and I wouldn't want to rely on it on a long trip.

So my camera kit for long trips where weight matters will now be the Sony a6000 and NEX 7 bodies plus Sony E 10-18mm and 16-50mm lenses and Velbon V-Pod tripod. On other trips other lenses may come along - Sony E 55-210mm, Sony E 30mm Macro, Samyang 12mm, Sigma 30mm.

Initial tests with the a6000 suggest the image quality is much the same as that of the NEX 7 at low ISOs, as expected. Maybe at high ISOs it'll be a little better. The controls are better than those of the NEX 6 though I think I'll miss the top dual control dials of the NEX 7. The menu system is far more user friendly than that of the NEX cameras, which involves endless scrolling. I think I'm going to like this new camera, though it'll take a while to feel as familiar with it as I am with the NEX 7.


  1. I have an A6000. I bought it last year before a month long trip to Ecuador. I think it's a fantastic camera, it's much more capable than I am!

    I bought it after reading your reviews of the other Sony mirrorless cameras and a handful of other reviews.

  2. Ditto Lordyosch. Thanks to your previous camera/photography posts Chris re. Sony's latest mirrorless cameras - NEX 7 etc., I took your advice and bought the a6000 last year. What I love about this camera is that it feels like a camera that I will not outgrow. Its a great point and shoot, but has all the creative abilities I can throw at it - when I learn! I had trouble getting my hands on the discontinued V-POD, so bought their nearest equivalent at 390g.

    Good point re. weatherproof camera but not a weatherproof lens. I was tempted by the Zeiss lens as I'd read mixed reviews online about the 16-50mm kit lens, but judging by the results of your photos using the same lens I'm happy with the lighter weight (and less expense) of the kit lens. It seems Sony's inbuilt camera software corrects any barrel distortion etc.?

    1. I'm certainly happy with the 16-50mm lens. Sony does deal with the problems you mention in-camera with JPEG files. The lens & camera are designed to work together.I shoot raw files and any correction needed is then supplied in Lightroom.

      A shame the V-Pod has been discontinued.

  3. I also bought a secondhand 6000 with less than a 1000 shutter actuations on eBay, great camera and a replacement for my old NEX6..bit of a bargain for £270 and mint condition. Really like it's low light ability.
    Sony make some great mirrorless cameras and no new lenses to buy.

  4. I got one in the beginning os summer (with the kit lens and the 55-210). Some quite nice photos already (e.g. Quite a nice camera (I use a Ricoh WG4 as a backup: it *is* weatherproof)