So this is not a technical review, specs don’t interest me at all. This is a short piece on my reaction to this camera after one week of using it. If you don’t have time to read it the TL:DR is the Sony A6000 is the best camera I’ve ever used.
I’ve been slugging my Nikon D7000 around for three years and it’s heavy and big and cumbersome. The reason I’ve been doing that is that it performs, no other camera I’ve ever used could match it’s autofocus, it’s low light capability and it’s immense battery life.
For the past 8 months I’ve been struggling, persevering and becoming more and more frustrated with my Fuji X100, a camera which takes amazing pictures but has a glacial autofocus and a dreadful battery life. I experimented with zone focussing but found it just too difficult in low light and I’ve tried slowing down my photography, but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I would often go out and shoot, miss shot after shot and find myself cursing it all the way up to the moment the battery died.
The one aspect of the Fuji that I did like was it’s size and weight. Being able to just slip it into my pocket was really appealing so I’ve been looking for something for a while but of all the mirrorless cameras out there I haven’t been able to find one that was the right price coupled with the right performance. I need fast autofocus in low light, it’s what my photography is based on and I can’t compromise on that.
So when the Sony A6000 was announced I read the reviews and after a particularly disappointing evenings shoot with the Fuji I just went ahead and bought it.
I’ve been shooting with it for a week with the 35mm f1.8 lens and it’s speed, accuracy and image quality has blown me away. The electronic viewfinder is bright and clear, the menus are pretty good compared to even the Nikon (and head and shoulders above the puzzle menus of the Fuji) but it’s the autofocus that really stands out as a stunning feature.
With face recognition switched on it locks onto people so well and so quick that it feels faster than the Nikon and whilst I’m still getting my head around the other focus settings, so far it’s performed amazingly well. I’ve been able to point the camera in someones general direction and it locks onto their face and gives and clear sharp image at f1.8 focussed on their eyes.
The low light outperforms the Fuji with far less grain and even at the lowest light levels the autofocus didn’t even blink.
Battery life too is great due to some neat power saving tricks like a proximity sensor next to the eyepiece so the electronic viewfinder only comes on when you look through it. I shot for around 3-4 hours without a charge and still had around 30% left however this is all academic because the A6000 uses an Micro USB cable (like Android phones) so you can charge it from your computer, lovely.
It’s also tiny, with the lens on it’s not quite small enough to put in your coat pocket but taking into account the performance this is still a very compact and light camera which is comfortable to hold and much lighter than my Nikon.
So it’s only been a week but I’ve decided to go all in and sell my Nikon and lenses, I’m that confident in the abilities of this little camera. I’ve bought a 50mm f1.8 lens to accompany my 35mm and I’m looking forward to combining the wider style shots I’ve been getting at the car boot sale with much more intimate close up portraits, I finally feel like I have the camera that can deliver the performance I need without compromise.