Like any new mirrorless camera, the a6000 features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and has the usual features plus a few things unique to the Sony world. The a6000 can transfer photos to your smartphone, tablet or computer, and does so with minimal fuss. Once my phone learned the WiFi network, it was very quick and easy to transfer images to the phone and then share or edit them right away. I did find the Sony PlayMemories app to be a bit flaky at times, and I often needed to load the app, then exit, then reload the app, after which the camera would immediately send the image. This seems to be a problem more on the app side of things, but it’s worth noting.
One thing that is missing from the a6000 is the ability to convert RAW files on the camera to a variety of JPEG settings. When you send a RAW file to a mobile device, the camera simply creates a JPEG with whatever the capture settings were, with no option to change it. This is in contrast to the excellent RAW conversion capabilities provided by companies like Fuji and Olympus, both of which allow you to adjust white balance, exposure, JPEG tone curves, and more before sending the image off to your mobile device. Sony’s Wi-Fi implementation also lacks any means of recording GPS data to your files, either through a constant connection or a phone based log. While I personally don’t use this feature, I know a lot of shooters who would like this functionality.
The a6000 does have a fairly competent remote shooting function (accessed through the “Smart Remote Control” app), which provides a live view of the camera feed and allows you to adjust focus point, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation and a few other things. If you have a power zoom lens, it’ll even let you (very slowly) adjust the zoom setting. The remote shooting function works fairly well, providing access to most of the functions you would need when shooting remotely. It’s not perfectly implemented, though. The process when shooting remotely is quite slow. Setting the focus point is laggy, and taking the shot is a bit laggy as well. When you set the focus point, you then have to ‘confirm’ the focus point on screen before any of the exposure controls are active. This is a very unnecessary step. Also, if you want to have the camera copy the image to your phone after each shot, you must wait for that image to download before you can shoot again. Even if you have that setting turned off, there is about a 1 second delay after every shot before you can shoot another frame. If you’re using this feature to set up an image that you are in, it’s quite useful, but it’s a little too slow for remotely placing a camera in hopes of catching that decisive moment.
PlayMemories Camera App Store
One feature the a6000 (and other Sony cameras) have that is somewhat unique is the Sony PlayMemories Camera App Store, which allows you to purchase new applications for the camera to enable new functionality. On the plus side, this provides access to new and robust features to expand your camera’s capability. On the down side, it feels like a bit of a money grab, since many of these apps require paying between 5 and 10 dollars each to enable functionality that the camera should probably have baked in to begin with. Still, it’s one way to keep the cost of the camera down while allowing users who want these features to easily get them.
Some of the apps allow some cheesy filters, and these are, in my opinion, extremely overpriced for what they do. I’d imagine most people who want these types of filter effects will simply toss an image to their smartphone and use any number of far more powerful and easy to use apps to add effects to their images. However, some of the other apps offer expanded functionality for the serious shooter. I’d imagine one of the more popular apps would be the ‘time lapse’ app, which adds a very robust intervalometer to the camera, complete with the automatic assembly of the images into a time lapse movie, if desired. I will probably eventually purchase this app, as it’s an inexpensive way to get a feature that is extremely nice to have.
The overall experience of using the app store is slightly clunky (especially when you first set up your account), but it works about as well as you could expect a non-touchscreen device to work. The store is one area that would be much more fluid if the camera had a touch screen.
Other Notable Features
The a6000 is a very full featured camera, especially given the low price. The a6000 has an excellent exposure bracketing mode, allowing single shot or continuous shot bracketing, which rattles off the 3 to 5 frames at the 11 frame per second burst rate. You can bracket 5 frames up to 0.7 EV apart, or 3 frames at up to 3.0 EV apart. I typically use 2 EV for 3 frames, which is enough to cover almost any scene.
The camera’s self timer, in addition to offering the usual 10 second or 2 second timer, can also be set to fire off three or five shots after the timer goes off, which is a nice touch.
The a6000 has the typical ‘scene’ modes that I never use, as well as their now standard ‘sweep panorama’ mode, which takes a series of photos and stitches them in camera. The a6000 does a decent job with this feature, but the clacking shutter always makes me loathe using this feature in practice, and you’ll get a better stitch if you carefully take individual frames and stitch them using more sophisticated software.
Not a feature, but a detriment: The a6000 continues a recent trend with Sony, and that’s not supplying an actual external battery charger with the camera. Instead, all battery charging must be performed by connecting the camera via USB cable (and provided wall charger for USB). I can’t imagine the cost of the USB wall charger is significantly less than that of a dedicated external battery charger, but even if it is, this is inexcusable on an interchangeable lens camera. The battery life on the a6000 is typical of most small mirrorless cameras, which means you get about 350-400 shots out of a charge. As such, a second battery is a very good idea. Without an external charger you can either charge your battery or use your camera…never both. Sony sells their charger for around $50, though third party chargers can be had for much less. I’d budget for the charger as part of the purchase, as it’s somewhat essential in my view. Shame on you, Sony for cheaping out on consumers in this manner, however.
31 thoughts on “Review: Sony a6000”
Very nice review.
How do you rate this camera when compared to the X-E2 or X-T1?
It’s hard to say. The a6000 for the most part has feature parity with the X-T1, excepting the intervalometer..but you can pay for that…plus a higher burst rate and a wider PDAF area. In some cases it’s superior, in others it’s not. The X-T1’s viewfinder is notably better (though the a6000’s is a bit better than the one in the X-E2), and both Fuji cameras are built better…the X-T1 notably so. While I enjoy shooting the a6000, I do prefer the control scheme on the Fujis more. The X-T1 feels like a pro grade camera, and the a6000 feels like a mid range (but performs like a pro-grade).
The a6000 is definitely the better bargain, but I still prefer my X-T1 overall, primarily because of the amazing EVF and especially the quality and direct controls, which I prefer to any camera I’ve ever owned. I’ve shot a lot with my a6000 over the past several weeks, though, and it’s a wonderful small camera with an amazing feature set.
Image quality wise, the a6000 has more detail and when shooting landscapes with foliage at a distance, can resolve green detail better. At high ISO, the Fuji cameras are cleaner (even when accounting for ISO fudging), though the a6000 retains more detail at similar sensitivity (along with more noise). The Fuji files do hold up to punishment better, as the RAWs are completely uncompressed…shadow noise when pushing the shadows at low ISO is notably better as well. DR seems very similar between the two, and color and contrast rolloff is different, but it’s hard to say which is ‘better’. The Fuji produces images with more punch right out of the camera, but the Sony images produce more pleasing natural tones in many cases.
If choosing between the two when starting a new system, I think the lenses hold more sway, and there, Fuji has the upper hand when it comes to enthusiast/pro level lenses….the Fuji glass is exceptional, and they have a very wide array of fast high end gear, while the Sony APS-C lineup is more consumer oriented. While there are some excellent Sony lenses (and the Sigma trinity is outstanding), overall, the Fuji lens lineup is better. Right now I use my Fuji kit as my main kit, and the a6000 + a few lenses as my ‘small’ kit. (The a6000+ the 3 Sigma Art primes is very tiny and VERY high quality.)
thank you for your good review.
How about focus speed when you use sigma 60 compare with sony lens?
The Sigma 60 focuses quite quickly. No major difference between it and my 18-105mm f/4, though there may be a slight edge to the Sony lens there. However, the Sigma 60 doesn’t appear to use PDAF for tracking, so in continuous AF it’s no question that the Sony lenses will do better there. My Sigma 60mm review will be coming in the next week. (Hint, it’s an incredible lens).
Thank you for your information. and waiting for your review sigma 60mm
Thanks so much for this review. I have enjoyed all of your reviews. I have the NEX6 but mostly shoot the E-M1 because of the superb set of lenses I have for it. I have enjoyed the image quality of the Sigma 60 (90mm equiv) on the NEX and actually feel it is sharper than the Olympus 45mm (also 90mm equiv)… but wouldn’t stake my live on it just yet 🙂
Thanks for the review on the EVF on the 6000. My problem on the NEX6 is 1) the darks are blocked up and 2) with glasses I can’t see into the corners which is especially problematic because I always use the live histogram and the right side of the histogram is in the bottom right corner. Grrr.
And finally, since I am always searching for good lenses for the NEX6, I have read your review of the 18-105. How does this lens stack up on the newer a6000? I can’t remember whether your review used the NEX7 or the lower pixel NEX6.
The 18-105 is about as good on the a6000 as it is on the NEX-6. You get a tiny bit more resolution out of it due to the higher sampling, but overall it’s, again, a competent lens, but not an outstanding lens. The NEX-6 was used for that review, but the conclusions are valid on a 24MP sensor as well.
I would like to know if you are an iPhone or Android user, as the experience with PlayMemories app is VERY different. Everything works very well on Android, on iphone, the experience can be very flakey. Some iOS versions work better than others. On Android, anything Android 2.3 on works without issues.
Also it’s worth mentioning that you can connect the camera to your PC and download the apps from your browser, you don’t have to navigate the PlayMemories app store on the camera itself. This is my preferred way of doing things. it’s so much easier. It’s also worth mentioning that there are plenty of decent free apps there, and any apps you want to buy, if you don’t like using creditcards, you can buy pre-paid cards to use (both this and Playstation Network use the same “SEN” card, so a PSN-prepaid card will work just fine to buy camera apps.
I’m an iPhone user. The app as a whole works pretty well except for the odd ‘exit then go back in’ behavior much of the time, but that does it when it thinks too much.
Good review and even better sample shots!
One thing I’d add to your “Cons” (Pros & Cons): Sony’s got a ways to go to catch up on the breadth of lenses — at least half-way attainable non-Zeiss ones.
I’m currently on Olympus, and own every single focal length of lens I want, none costing over $1000 (most much less), and all are _excellent_ and of either quite fast or very fast aperture.
They’re getting better for this APS-C E line, but I’d still like to see a more complete selection of native fast AF primes that don’t cost a kidney or a first born child.
I agree on the E-Mount line, though the line has expanded enough that there are good choices for the most part (though still a distinct lack of native fast glass), but this isn’t a system review, but a camera review.
I primarily shoot in manual mode. Do you find it easy to adjust the exposure triangle with the available buttons/dials? Or do you have to do a bit of menu digging to say adjust ISO in M mode.
No menu digging necessary. If the rear wheel is active all the time, you have aperture on the top and shutter speed on the rear wheel (you can switch these if you choose). ISO is accessed by pressing right on the 4-way then adjusting with the rear wheel. (or whatever button you set ISO to…it’s the right direction by default). It’s not as easy as with a camera with dedicated dials, but it’s not bad.
Thank you for the prompt response. That is great to know. It just might be my future purchase
I really enjoyed your review, but I would like to know if you believe the a6000 is worth upgrading from the NEX-6? I would also like to know what are the best lenses for the NEX or a6000 cameras.
Firstly, my congratulations on a truly excellent review of the A6000; certainly the best I have read.
I am wanting to change from Nikon D700 + heavy lenses to a lighter system with improved resolution. I am torn between Fuji and Sony and your comparison between the XT-1 and the A6000 are most helpful. (If only I could combine the best from both…)
As it is, neither camera/system ticks all the boxes, so the indecision continues.
I am holding off my decision until the news is available re new cameras/updates from Photokina next month. I would dearly like Fuji to announce improvements to the XT-1, or an X-Pro2, to more closely match what the A6000 offers in critical areas.
Again, my thanks.
Great review with top-notched photos as usual. I am also on the fence when it comes to interchangeable mirrorless so your reviews offer a great deal of info for me to consider and therefore many thanks for that.
I’ve got a question about Rokinon 12mm f2.0, your photos show amazing quality. What is your thought on it vs Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 or Fuji 14mm f/2.8?
Also, Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS was just introduced and that makes me even more excited although the price is ~double. Are you going to review that lens too :)? Thanks
I’m weighing APS-C cameas … A6000 and the 7D2 … quite different, including price, thus a dilemma. Any thoughts? Choice?
Similar to HF’s question:
I’m looking at the Olympus OM-D5-II and the Fuji X-T1, but the Sony 6000 is there in the background as a somewhat cheaper alternative. It looks more plasticky, and the focus got horribly confused in the shop (as the X-T1 but not the Olympus), but it does seem from what is said to be a really good and compact camera body. One of my requirements is “takes less room in the bag than my DSLR”.
I tend to shoot in available light, so have ended up using fast primes to push the performance of my Nikon D90 to the level required. But a big problem I’ve had with the D90 is the whole “Focus, Compose, Shoot” process and I hope that any replacement camera can help here. Again the OM-D1 seems good as I’ve used it, the Sony good on paper, and all I’ve experienced of the Fuji is that it didn’t perform so well in the shop.
I do like the ergonomics of the Fuji. I feel the Olympus will take some getting used to.
So which one? There’ s a huge price difference between them with the a6000 kit now under £500, and the Olympus and Fuji exceeding £1000.
If the Olympus or Fuji detect multiple faces, can I tell them which one to use? How useful is touch to focus in real life? I guess it means not composing through the viewfinder.
The face detection for Fuji and Olympus is pretty basic, though it works well for both. It’ll try and hit the close eye if possible, and with Olympus you can specify preference for features.
If you want fast primes, the Fuji system is amazing with their fast glass. There are some really good fast lenses for m4/3 as well, though they won’t give you as shallow depth of field if you’re into that. Sony has some very good lenses, but nothing faster than f/1.8.
The a6000 is a really nice camera, though I prefer my X-T1 to it for most things. It’s very subjective, though, and what works for me may not work for another shooter. Perhaps it may be worth renting your top few for a few days at a time with a nice lens and see how they fit you. Sure, it’s not a super cheap outlay to try three systems, but it will probably be worth it to get what works best for you, considering the potential future investment in glass.
Love your reviews. Trying to decide between the A6000 and the GX7. Both can be had for reasonable prices. I’m looking to step up from a Canon G15. I like aspects of both cameras but am having a hard time deciding. I like taking landscape photos and pictures of my 2 1/2 yr old daughter as well as random photos around NYC. Any advice would be appreciated.
It’s really hard to go wrong. The a6000 will have slightly better image quality, but the lens selection for m4/3 is significantly better. If you’re after action shots of your kids, the a6000 will track motion better than the GX7, though the GX7 will be faster in single shot focusing mode.
Which better one is better for landscape? A6000 or XT-10?
Apparently this Sony series has no real Macro option that is worth a discussion.
Seem to be great for portraits and landscapes, but Macro shooters need not apply.
I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. There aren’t a lot of APS-C only lenses for this, but there are definitely some high quality options.
Sony has three lenses that do 1:1 reproduction that are native E-Mount lenses. The decent (but not great) 30mm f/3.5 macro is the worst of the three. The FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro is brand new, reasonably priced and has excellent optics from what I’ve read (I plan on reviewing this lens fairly soon). And finally, the FE 90mm f/2.8 macro (my review here) is absolutely fantastic. Sure, it’ll be big on something like the a6000, but it’ll also give you great working distance and truly outstanding image quality.
Finally, there’s the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 Macro (which I reviewed here in Fuji X mount), which is a native e-mount lens as well, and made for APS-C. This lens is fantastic optically, though it costs a fair bit.
And, if you’re OK with manual focus, you can adapt many wonderful manual focus macro lenses in a wide variety of mounts.
Do you know the base ISO for the A6000? My RX-100 is 125 but I think for the A6000 it might be 200. Thanks