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MAARTECH | Tuesday May 23, 2017

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Sony a6000 hands on review

Sony a6000 hands on review

| On 11, Jun 2014

Last year I reviewed the NEX6, and recommended it as the sweet spot in Sony’s mirrorless lineup. I was very interested to evaluate the new features included in the updated and renamed version.

 

Bottom line: Loved it, bought it and am learning to deal with the quirks I mentioned. Prices are quoted in Canadian dollars.

For up to date US pricing, here’s my Amazon affiliate shopping link.

So nice to have spring in Canada. Lots of great opportunities to get out – you’ll see lots of photos of tulips, both from the Ottawa Tulip Festival (the tulips are a gift of The Netherlands, in appreciation of the stay of Queen Juliana and her children during WWII) and closer to home.

All photos (and their EXIF data) can be found at my flickr account. All photos have been processed in Lightroom – my typical adjustments increase exposure slightly (I find that the a6000 underexposes slightly), darken highlights, lighten shadows (I prefer a flatter gamma curve), increase both clarity and vibrance. The lens profile correction was applied. If you are interested to have the original RAW file for any image, please ask.

You may notice lip-sync issues – I forgot the cable to attach the wireless receiver to the camera, so I had to ADR my voice. Arrgghh.

The video is shot using a Sony VG20 camera, with the SEL18200 lens. For the closeups, I use the SEL30M35 macro lens. The shots of me using the camera, taken at Yonge/Dundas Square in Toronto, were taken using the GoPro3+ mounted on a (VCT-55LH) bracket. I use the elgato game capture HD to record the HDMI ouput from the camera – the a6000 thankfully supports both clean and dirty output when shooting.

Editing in Final Cut X 10.1.

In addition to Ottawa, locations included: High Park (Sakura blossoms, geese, puppy, swans); Henry’s Toronto Exposure show (parrot, pirate; Equestrian events at Blue Star Farm in Mt Albert; RC Harris water treatment plant and MZTV Museum during Doors Open Toronto; CN Tower; Concord Choir; Alysha Brilla (at Yonge Dundas Square); Curtis Salgado (with Raoul and the BigTime at Hugh’s Room); Kettle Choir (at 3030).

As always, if there are any details I’ve overlooked, I welcome (and reply to) your comments and questions

Comments

  1. Great review, Maarten. I can’t imagine there’s a question about this camera you haven’t answered, and I like that you gave us a good look at the quality of the photos this camera turns out. I doubt many users are going to get nearly as deep into the camera’s features as you did, so it’s great to have a video illustration of what the camera can do: as we know, no one but the camera reviewer reads the manual.

    • Maarten

      Thanks, I’m always happy when one of my videos finds an appreciative viewer.

  2. Vadim

    Thanks for the review; easily the best A6000 review I’ve seen on YouTube, and I’ve seen a lot (if not all…) of them.

    It’s nice that you interleave the video with the images you’ve taken; they’re very good and act as a proof that the reviewer does know what he’s talking about 😉 Such a breath of fresh air after all that usual trash one finds on YouTube.

    Not that I agree with you on all points, but that is to be expected, right? Like, say, on panorama belonging to scenes: I’m using it quite often on my RX100M2, and am quite thankful to Sony for making it easily accessible.

    Thank you.

    • Maarten

      Thank you for the kind words, it’s nice to have an appreciative viewer. That recommendation (reducing the number of positions on the mode dial) has generated many comments. I agree it’s a great feature, and while maybe I don’t use it as often as you do, it’s a one-trick pony kind of thing. Maybe you should be able to assign it to a custom button.

  3. Adrian

    Maarten,
    Do you have written notes? As a newbie I found so much/fast info overwhelming. Great video! Thank you.

    • Maarten

      not really comfortable sharing my scripts. Please feel free to watch as often as you need.
      I’m happy to provide more detail on anything you’re having trouble with.
      Youtube does make subtitles, they’re not very good, but maybe you can get a transcript of those.
      Maarten

  4. Tariq

    Hello Maarten.

    I realise this is an old thread but I’m currently in a quandary and perhaps you can help… For a budget-conscious type like me, what’s the biggest bang I can get for my buck (well, sterling)? “Bang” here meaning great image detail/ colour/ contrast…

    I don’t need fancy-schmancy extras like wifi and selfie tilters etc, but I want to have full manual control, fast AF and good general purpose use (though portrait and close-up probably more than landscape).

    My current ideas:
    * A5000 (with the same considerations as for A6000 above)?
    * RX100 (M2) with its Zeiss glass?
    * RX100 (M3): is it worth the extra bucks over the M2 for IQ purposes?
    * A6000? This would be the biggest stretch, budget-wise, hence a longer-term investment. If so, do you recommend the kit lens or should I try say a Sigma ART (I’m thinking the 30mm f2.8)?

    At the end of the day, image quality – not just detail but the balance and “feel” of the photo – is the biggest priority and lens interchangeability is not a must.

    Sorry if that’s too large and open-ended a poser but any advice will be appreciated!

    All the Best,

    Tariq

  5. Tariq

    Oops. Re-reading my previous comment, I see I swapped A5000 and A6000 bullets hence the phrase “with the same considerations as for A6000 above” is misplaced. Sorry!

    • Maarten

      I would probably go with the A6000, which I feel is a little more versatile and less likely to overheat when shooting video. (Full disclosure, I bought the A6000 – I borrow and return the cameras I review.) But, for image quality, there is no difference. And since Sony added XAVC-S to the A6000, that’s no longer an A5100 advantage. There’s also my feeling that the A6000 just looks more like a grown-up’s camera.
      If size is an issue, the RX100 (m2 or m3) is a terrific camera. I don’t see any advantage (quality wise) to go with the m3. In fact I’m pretty much indifferent between all versions of the RX100 – I took some of my favourite images and have them blown up to huge prints from the RX100. But the larger APS-C sensor in the A6000 and A5100 is better (even in spite of the great tricks in the RX100M4).
      The kit lens is a good start, it’s not stellar, but more than serviceable (I’m saying that as I’m finding lots to like while I’m shooting with the 16-50 kit on the A6300 for my review.) I hope this helps, happy to clarify if you need. Wirecutter.com has an excellent article about e-mount lenses.

  6. Tariq

    Thank you for your considered feedback. And quick, too!

    I do indeed lean towards the A6000 and just missed out on the opportunity to get a brand new one for a little under US$570 incl. kit lens – aaarrgghh, as you might say…

    I understand what you mean in re size – toy vs real camera – but size is not an issue for me either way, picture is king! Which is why I wondered if I could get away with buying a less pocket-stretching unit, e.g. the RX100 II (US$479) with its f.2.8 Zeiss lens or an A5000 body (US$250) with a Sigma lens (US$171 for a 30mm f2.8).

    I’d really like a professional appearance to photos, some decent Bokeh, good colour balance and a little character on top of decent detail – what we all want, no doubt!

    If an extra lightbulb lights up on the subject as you read this, please do tell, otherwise let me just say thanks for your time and thoughts.

    All the Best

    • Maarten

      Either sound like good choices … unless you want the awkward viewfinder, the RX100M2 is a good choice. But the larger sensor and versatility of an interchangeable lens camera might convince me to take the A5000 if it was my only camera.

  7. Tariq

    Looks like an Alpha, then!

    Thanks again, Maarten.

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