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Sony Alpha A6000 (ILCE-6000) Full Review

Sony Alpha A6000 (ILCE-6000) Full Review - Read our full review of the new Sony Alpha A6000, the 24.3 megapixel mirrorless camera features high speed continuous shooting with AF.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Sony Alpha a6000
Price : £550
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony Alpha A6000 (4)

The Sony Alpha A6000 replaces the Sony NEX-6, and Sony NEX-7, with a new camera which claims to have the World's fastest AF. The camera features a new 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, 11fps continuous shooting with AF, 3inch tilting screen, built in flash, and new BOINZ X image processing engine. The Sony A6000 is available for £549 body-only. 

Sony Alpha A6000 Features

Sony Alpha A6000 (3)

A new 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor features in the Sony Alpha A6000 (ILCE-6000), which has a gapless microlens design for improved light capture at both the centre as well as at the edges of the sensor. Wi-Fi and NFC is built in, along with support for Sony PlayMemories Apps, which include a number of new apps including a Star Trail app, and a Lens Compensation app.

Sony Alpha A6000 (10)

A number of accessories have been introduced to match the camera including the LCS-EBC body case, the LCS-ASB1 active sling bag, the LCS-BBXL soft carry case, for long lenses.

Key Features

  • 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Sony E-Mount
  • 3inch 921k dot tilting white-magic screen
  • 1.44m dot OLED EVF (0.7x magnification)
  • Hybrid AF, 0.06s (CIPA standards)
  • 179 phase-detection / 25 contrast-detection AF points
  • 11fps continuous shooting with AF tracking
  • BIONZ X processor
  • Full HD video recording
  • Wi-Fi, NFC built in
  • Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps
  • Available in black or titanium

Sony Alpha A6000 Handling

Sony Alpha A6000 Silver Top

The Sony Alpha A6000 is slightly larger than the NEX-6 it replaces, with a redesigned mode dial and command dial, the camera is still able to squeeze in the electronic viewfinder (EVF), a pop-up flash and hot-shoe on the top plate. The square design of the camera more closely resembles the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R, and Sony say that the user interface has been standardised between all new models of camera, including Sony Cyber-shot compact cameras. This should make it easier to switch between different Sony cameras without having to re-learn the menus.

Sony Alpha A6000 Black (1) (Custom)

The camera has a bottom memory card and battery compartment, and build quality appears to be very good, with the camera feeling well built. The camera has a large rubber grip at the front, as well as a good sized rubber grip on the rear for your thumb.

Sony Alpha A6000 (6)

There are 2 dedicated custom buttons on the camera, that can be customised to a setting of your choice, but it is also possible to customise a further 5 buttons, as well as the control panel on the back of the shooting screen.

The electronic viewfinder looks good in use, and appears to refresh quite quickly - Sony say they have worked on the electronic viewfinder to make it more enjoyable to use, and it has additional brightness controls over previous models. The screen is clear and easy to see, even when shooting outdoors, and being able to tilt the screen helps here. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, so when shooting in the default 3:2 aspect ratio there are black borders on the left and right of the image. 

Sony Alpha A6000 (8)

The menus are clearly laid out into several sections, including: Camera settings, Custom Settings, Wi-Fi, Applications, Playback and Setup. Pressing the Fn (Function) button on the back of the camera brings up a quick control panel where you can set the most commonly used options. You can also customise these so that you have direct access to your own favourite settings. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 310 shots (using the Viewfinder) or 360 shots (using the LCD monitor) according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is reasonable for a mirrorless camera. We would recommend a spare battery if you plan on shooting more.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.175secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.175secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 2.1secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.4secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.9secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
10.1fps (48 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 0.9secs
Continuous Shooting - RAW 10.1fps (20 shots)

Tested with the 16-50mm OSS lens. We were able to shoot at 10.1fps for up to 48 shots (JPEG) and 20 shots (Raw) without the camera slowing down, whether shooting with continuous AF active, or shooting with AF set to single focus. Shutter response and focus speeds were both impressive. 

Sony Alpha A6000 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Alpha a6000 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The Sony Alpha A6000 takes photos with bright saturated colours on default settings, with reliable exposure. Skin tones are good, and there is no red-eye visible in portrait photos taken with the built- in pop-up flash. 

Sony Alpha a6000 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Images taken with the 16-50mm kit lens are a little soft on default settings, although detail is reasonably good. We would recommend using a prime lens or alternative zoom lens for better results, and the kit lens also struggles when used for macro shots, as the closest focusing distance makes it difficult to get detailed close up shots. The lens is resistant to flare, and distortion is automatically corrected by the camera, although slight vignetting is visible at times. Images are softer towards the corners of the frame, although purple fringing and chromatic aberration is well controlled.  

Sony Alpha a6000 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400, with very good levels of detail. There is a slight increase in noise at ISO1600, as well as at ISO3200, but detail remains good. At ISO6400 noise increase again and detail suffers quite noticeably as it is smudged away by the image processing. ISO12800 shows strong noise and low levels of detail, so it only recommended if you have to use it. ISO25600, shows the highest levels of noise and a low level of detail. 

Sony Alpha a6000 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a more accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast.

Panoramic | 1/200 sec | f/10.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Panoramic | 1/200 sec | f/10.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - The camera features a panoramic sweep mode where you simply press the shutter button and pan the camera in the direction you want to take the photo. You need to move the camera from one direction to the other at a quite specific speed, otherwise the camera will fail to create the panoramic or alternatively produce a panoramic with a black edge, which will need cropping off later. Results are quite good, with good detail and a fairly high resolution result, although there is some ghosting noticeable.

Sony Alpha a6000 Outdoor images


There are a number of ways to improve dynamic range in harsh lighting conditions, and when in intelligent Auto or Superior Auto+ the camera will automatically use the backlight scene mode if it decides it's necessary. In program mode you can switch DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) or HDR (High Dynamic Range) on, with these featuring Auto or manual settings. Here we've shown the auto settings which have produced very good results, without looking too artificial, with the HDR mode combining a number of shots taken at different exposures. Setting the HDR mode to 6EV gives an unrealistic looking image.

Sony Alpha a6000 Digital filters


Digital Filters -  When using the picture effects, the camera records the altered JPEG but does not let you use this feature with raw enabled. There are also colour options available which can be customised, letting you set contrast, saturation and sharpness.

Video - The A6000 records full HD video with stereo sound, and when used with a power zoom lens provides smooth zoom during recording. Optical image stabilisation also helps keep videos smooth with the quality of videos looking good. You can use the zoom ring around the lens, and the lens zooms quickly, alternatively you can use the zoom switch, and this is slower and smoother at zooming in and out. The highest ISO setting available for video is ISO12800, and an example using this in low-light can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.


Value For Money

The Sony Alpha A6000 is available for £549 body only, or £649 with 16-50mm lens, which makes it excellent value for money, alternatives to consider include the following cameras:

Panasonic Lumix GH4, 12fps, Weather-sealed, £1299 body only
Olympus OM-D E-M1, 10fps, Weather-sealed, £1249 body only
Fujifilm X-T1, 8fps with continuous AF, Weather-sealed, £1016 body only
Nikon 1 V3, 20fps with continuous AF, £729 body only

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Alpha A6000 Verdict

The Sony Alpha A6000 offers an impressive range of features, including a good electronic viewfinder, and a tilting 3inch screen. The 24 megapixel sensor is new, and noise is well controlled up to ISO3200, with the camera delivering bright saturated photos with reliable exposure. Dynamic range is good and the camera has a number of easy to use ways to improve this further. Continuous shooting with auto focus is very good, shooting at just over 10fps at full resolution, making the camera ideal for anyone who wants to track or shoot quick moving subjects. The A6000 is offered at an impressive price point, under-cutting a number of the competition, whilst offering high speed shooting. The only area this camera is let down, is in the choice of the 16-50mm OSS kit lens, which we feel does not deliver the full potential of this camera. While the 16-50mm OSS is a reasonable starter lens, and would suit lower resolution Sony E-mount cameras, to get the best out of the A6000 we would recommend getting a prime lens. 


 
  The Sony Alpha A6000 delivers a seriously quick camera with good image quality at an impressively low price considering the features on offer.
 

Sony Alpha A6000 Pros

10.1fps continuous shooting with AF
DRO / HDR modes for extended dynamic range
Solid metal body with good handling
Electronic viewfinder
Wi-Fi connectivity
Excellent value for money
Improved menu system
Good colour

Sony Alpha A6000 Cons

Prime lenses needed for best results
16-50mm lens performance 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony Alpha a6000 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Image Sensor
CCD pixels24.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6000
Pixels (H)4000
Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Underwater
Exposure Comp+/-5
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Resolution1,440k
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting11fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS60p, 24p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeInfoLithium
CIPA Rating310
Box Contents
Box ContentsPower cord, AC adaptor (AC-UB10), Rechargeable battery pack (NP-FW50), Shoulder strap, Body cap, Eyepiece cup, Micro USB cable
Dimensions
Weight285g
Width120mm
Height66.9mm
Depth45.1mm

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Comments


AlanWillis 5 63 England
12 Feb 2014 2:32PM
Wow another step for mankind Sony.
Fastest AF in the world, 11FPS 24mp, NFC. and only £550.
Most of my Canon shooting friends, use Sony as a pocket camera.
For Photographers with no interest in Sport or wildlife this camera has it all.
Wedding photographers could do well, using this as a back up to the A7R.
I would suggest owners to go for EF lenses, as one day they may aspire to the Sony 36mp full frame products.
I believe the only difference with cameras when they go full production is the firmware. Sony still have pre-production cameras with latest firmware for use on occasions.

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h4rsx 4 17 5 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2014 4:38PM
It's interesting that they've marketed this as a replacement for the NEX-6/7 camera. It's defintely an improvement on both as far as the sensor is concerned as well as its focussing ability. I was never quite happy with the noise from the NEX-7 due to having 24mp crammed into an APS-C sensor, especially at high ISO, however they seemed to have worked around this now.

One thing I can't understand is why the resolution of the EVF has decrease to just 1,400K dot with its predecessors having a 2.4M dot OLED. This is a step back in my opinion. After all the rave about how EVF's are getting better and better, why bring one out with an inferior resolution. Doesn't make sense.

I too own a FF Canon Camera and use it's EF lenses together with a metabones adapter for my Sony, but if/when Canon bring a camera closer to 36mp camera, I will be upgrading my 6D to that and not the Sony A7r. I would rather use a FF system without the use of an adapter.
AlanWillis 5 63 England
12 Feb 2014 6:58PM
One thing I can't understand is why the resolution of the EVF has decrease to just 1,400K dot with its predecessors having a 2.4M dot OLED. This is a step back in my opinion. After all the rave about how EVF's are getting better and better, why bring one out with an inferior resolution. Doesn't make sense.

Quote from Sony: This viewfinder is not a step down.the numbers are deceiving.
This is I believe because of the position of the viewfinder,
Most reviewers have got this wrong.

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Niknut e2
4 542 60 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2014 3:48PM
Superb camera, superb IQ !!........& average EVF ?????.......what a let down !!!
AlanWillis 5 63 England
15 Mar 2014 8:02PM
Great demand for this camera, People not shooting wildlife and sports are turning to lighter and smaller cameras. With the 16-50 and 55-210 lenses and well under £1,000 this fits the bill.
I do not understand your, comment Niknut? What donít you see that I do when looking through the A6000 viewfinder?
Niknut e2
4 542 60 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2014 4:27PM
It's simply that the previous NEX range had a hi-res 2.4k.....now replaced with a lower res 1.44k !!.....why spoil the ship
for a ha'porth o' tar !!

I've got a camera with a 1.44k EVF...it's quite usable, but looking through a 2.4k EVF makes all others seem a poor relation !

The NEX6 can be bought for under £500 now, with comparable IQ !!
josa 2 25 Czech Republic
16 May 2014 6:55PM
Great camera with a bad lens...check corners on WB shots...
Ahaios 1
17 May 2014 12:21PM
Spec-sheet comparisons can be very misleading.

From what I gather from people who have shooted both the NEX-6 and the A6000 they prefer the later viewfinder.

The positive feedback is mostly for the better refresh rate and the lower contrast. The lower contrast is very helpful at getting a feel of very dark areas that would previously be pitch black.

I have not shooted the A6000 yet but the above is what my impressions from users reviews have been so far.
21 May 2014 3:47PM
.....but, does anyone know if this camera still has the glaring shutter release problem, as found on the Nex6? That is, you can't release the shutter with the self timer or an electronic release when in HDR or bracketing modes. Sony could have rectified this with the Bracket Pro App, instead they produced Micky Mouse App that's only any good for "photographers" who don't know their f stop from their hot shoe.
h4rsx 4 17 5 United Kingdom
21 May 2014 4:02PM

Quote: .....but, does anyone know if this camera still has the glaring shutter release problem, as found on the Nex6? That is, you can't release the shutter with the self timer or an electronic release when in HDR or bracketing modes. Sony could have rectified this with the Bracket Pro App, instead they produced Micky Mouse App that's only any good for "photographers" who don't know their f stop from their hot shoe.

I think I get what your trying to say. I had the same problem with my NEX-7, it woudn't allow me to reel off 3 exposures without having my finger on the shutter button. What Sony have done now is introduce an option in the new menu layout which gives you the option of having a 'remote on/off'.

You can then use the camera in auto bracket mode with a remote and the camera will fire off 3-shots at different exposures without you having to have your finger on the shutter button.
21 May 2014 4:15PM

Quote: .....but, does anyone know if this camera still has the glaring shutter release problem, as found on the Nex6? That is, you can't release the shutter with the self timer or an electronic release when in HDR or bracketing modes. Sony could have rectified this with the Bracket Pro App, instead they produced Micky Mouse App that's only any good for "photographers" who don't know their f stop from their hot shoe.

I think I get what your trying to say. I had the same problem with my NEX-7, it woudn't allow me to reel off 3 exposures without having my finger on the shutter button. What Sony have done now is introduce an option in the new menu layout which gives you the option of having a 'remote on/off'.

You can then use the camera in auto bracket mode with a remote and the camera will fire off 3-shots at different exposures without you having to have your finger on the shutter button.

21 May 2014 4:32PM
Thanks, for the update, it's about time Sony sorted out this problem on their new cameras. It's useful information for those that decide to stay with Sony.

Sony have not however addressed the problem for users of Nex6 or 7s. I had to resort to making a hotshoe bracket from Delrin plastic, which incorporated a threaded insert to take a mechanical plunger type release. A very sad reflection on Sony, who I'm sure could fix the problem with either a firmware update, (which they don't plan to make) or a decent App, which I'd happily paid for.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
29 May 2014 9:21PM
Is there are reason for all the WB test images being somewhat under exposed.
dcash29 8 1.9k England
27 Jun 2014 8:44PM
The camera has the 'Bulb' facility. Why is this overlooked on reviews?

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