Saturday 5 August 2023

Photography Thoughts: New cameras lead to new lenses lead to new cameras lead to .... a cascade!

View from Braeriach in the Cairngorms, June 2023. Sony a6600 & Sony E 11mm f1.8

There's a cascade of tech that often follows the purchase of just one item. Suddenly previous items don't work so well with it as they did with the item it replaced so it seems a good idea to replace them, which triggers more of the same until a whole system has been replaced even though the original intention was for just one item.

This has happened with my camera gear. Back in May I replaced my seven-year old Sony a6000 with the Sony a6600 as the former was developing some irritating quirks and the old batteries faded very quickly. The a6600 has a much bigger battery that lasts much longer along with some other appealing features the a6000 lacks. 

Sony a6600 & Sony 11mm lens

At the same time I replaced my old Samyang 12mm lens with the Sony E 11mm f1.8 because the latter has electronic connections and so its details are in the DxO Photolab 6 database, which I now use for processing raw files. At least that's what I told myself and wrote in this post. I suspect though the desire for a new lens to go with the new camera also played a part.

That I thought was it. My other lenses were all in the DxO database and all still worked fine. However some rainy weather changed my mind. The a6000 isn't a weather-sealed camera. The a6600 is but the only weather-sealed lenses I have are the 11mm and the big Sony 70-350 zoom, which I don't use that often and never take on multi-day walks. I did use the non-weather-sealed Sony 10-18mm f4 zoom a fair bit and always took that on long walks. Now I found that having weather-sealing on the camera but not the lens was frustrating when it was raining, especially when there was an alternative in the weather-sealed Sony 10-20mm f4 lens, which is also smaller and lighter. So I traded in the 10-18. The 10-20mm doesn't have image stabilisation, unlike the 10-18mm, but the a6600 does, unlike the a6000. 

With the Sony a6600 & 18-135mm lens in Knoydart, May 2023

My most-used lens however is the Sony E 18-135mm zoom. This doesn't have weather-sealing. At present there is no weather-sealed alternative to this, which is probably good for my wallet. I both want and don't want Sony to bring out a new weather-sealed 18-135mm!

So, long-windedly, this brings me to the new Sony a6700, the replacement for the a6600 that was launched recently. This has a few advantages over the a6600 - the controls look easier to use, the screen flips out to the side, the eye tracking focus sounds astonishing - but nothing like those of the latter over the a6000. So why am I considering (and so far resisting) buying one?

Because I now have a system whose components aren't as compatible as I'd like them to be. On long walks I usually carry two cameras, both in case one fails (it has happened) and so that I don't have to keep changing lenses and risking dust and dirt on the sensor. Along with the a6000 I carried the older Sony Nex 7. Both cameras take the same battery. Neither is weather-sealed or image stabilisation. Essentially they are interchangeable. 

Now I have a camera that takes a different battery and that has weather-sealing and image stabilisation plus two lenses that have the former but not the latter. If I take the a6000 as my other camera that means carrying different batteries and remembering which body and which lenses are weather-sealed or stabilised. Not a big hassle but I'd rather have two bodies that work the same way with all my lenses and take the same battery, hence my interest in the a6700. I've probably persuaded myself to buy one in writing this post!

Now I just need that weather-sealed 18-135mm!

So deciding to replace a camera body has ended up with me also buying two new lenses and likely to buy another new camera. I didn't intend this!

I haven't mentiond image quality. That's because I don't expect the a6700 to take noticeably higher quality ones than the a6000. The a6600 certainly doesn't, In fact the images from it are indistinguishable from those from the NEX 7. The new lenses are more likely to make a little difference but probably not much. 

What does make a difference, and with some images a big one, is DxO Photolab 6, which I wrote about last month. 


  1. Hi Chris what do you think of the often included 18or 16-50 power pancake zoom?
    I bought the 6700 (I hope to play more with it soon but life in way at mo. Is the batter in67)0 same as your 6600 as its definitely bigger than my 6400 battery. Its bit bigger heavier than 6400 . I'll enjoy a camera chat in October and maybe do a camera live stream chat on my new channel one day with you. If I start taking camera more I either stick with my zriss 300g ish lens 16-70mm or find something lighter bur will it be as good.. Do you use Lightroom? Unfortunately I can't upgrade LR as mac too old to update yet works perfectly. Which codec do you use for video and which fps for video? I want 30 fps but can't see it only 25 50 100!

  2. Hi Tony, the 16-50 is ok and ultralight and tiny. The 18-135 is better though and I like the wide range. The a6600 and a6700 batteries are much bigger and last much longer than the one in the a6400 and earlier a6000 series cameras. I've used LR for years and will continue to do so but I also use DxO Photolab as well now. LR is great for cataloging and fine for processing raw files that aren't noisy or low light shots. DxO is much better for those. All my recent videos are shot on my phone. I have no idea of the code or fps.