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Sony Alpha A6600 (ILCE-6600) Review - Performance

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Sony Alpha A6600 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, including shutter response, and 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. Test using the 18-135mm lens.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15secs

 

Sony Alpha A6600 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Portraits benefit from face and eye-detection focus, and this is rapid and reliable. Photos look good from the camera, with good colour reproduction, and good dynamic range. Exposure is reliable with very little need for use of exposure compensation, except perhaps in challenging lighting conditions. Even when using the kit lens, with a slower aperture than many primes, the camera is capable of producing images with good levels of bokeh, and subject separation, particularly when using the zoom. There is no automatic sweep panoramic mode on the camera.

 

Sony Alpha A6600 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The 18-135mm lens gives a versatile zoom range, although there were times when we wished for a closer focusing range. Any distortion is automatically corrected in-camera. The lens gives good results, but for an improvement in image quality, a good prime lens will produce better results - read our review for a full run-down on the lens. The camera has built-in lens correction for shading (vignetting), chromatic aberration, and distortion compensation. This last option can't be switched off with this lens.

We were able to take sharp photos in low-light with a shutter speed of 1/15s, with slower shutter speeds not as sharp. Whilst not as impressive as the Olympus's 5-axis image stabilisation system, it is reasonable, and certainly better than no in-camera image stabilisation.

 

Sony Alpha A6600 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The A6600 gives good noise performance, with low levels of noise, and good levels of detail up to ISO3200/6400. As the ISO speed is increased detail drops, with fine detail beginning to drop off at ISO6400. The camera handles noise well, and images taken at ISO speeds up to ISO3200 and ISO6400 are usable, depending on your needs. At ISO12800 and ISO25600 image noise increases, and detail drops further. ISO51200 and above is best avoided as noise levels are very high. There are options to set the minimum shutter speed (menu 1, page 8), as well as noise reduction options of Normal, Low and High (menu 1, page 1). Noise performance is improved over the Sony Alpha A6500, with better detail retention at ISO3200 and ISO6400.

 

Sony Alpha A6600 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten lighting which will be pleasing to many. There are options for AWB including Standard, Ambient (warm) or White - with the later being slightly cooler in tone. For more accurately corrected results, the Tungsten preset performs well under tungsten lighting. AWB gives good results under mixed and fluorescent lighting. To access the white balance options, you need to go into the menus to access this, as there is no quick access to these settings. Other cameras give quicker access to adjusting the AWB priority.

 

Video - There continue to be some odd "features" or issues when using Sony cameras for video. Of course, there's the need to switch between NTSC and PAL modes to change the frame rate between 60/30fps and 50/25fps, at which point the camera needs you to format your memory card. This is also needed if you want to record high-speed FullHD video at 120fps instead of 100fps. AF-S and other focus options become greyed out, meaning the only options are MF (Manual focus) or AF-C.

Anyone who is used to Sony cameras will be used to these features and may have worked out some workarounds, such as having different memory cards for PAL / NTSC, or using the back AF button when needed, but as someone who has reviewed every brand of camera, it's frustrating to see this hasn't been updated to simply let you change the frame rate when needed.

The A6600 uses full-width of the sensor, downsizing a 6K image into a 4K image for better detail. The camera performs well in low-light, with ISO100 to ISO32000 available, and the in-camera image stabilisation helps keep video stable when recording handheld. There are multiple picture profiles that can be customised, with a vast array of options, including S.Log2 / 3, as well as HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), and more. The addition of the headphone socket will be a welcome addition.

With a screen that can be tilted up and forwards, the camera will be a good option for vloggers.

 


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Photographs taken using the Sony Alpha A6600

Birch ReflectionsBlair Atholl CastleMr & Mrs MallardFallen TreeRiver Don, AberdeenMother EarthJust surfingMoness BurnRiver Don, AberdeenA Wee SnackMoness BurnRural PerthshireYoung Wren on a flower potInside a Geranium flowerRoe Deer

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Comments


RayBeck 15 43 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2020 8:04AM
You say that the camera gives "Great image quality" and yet suggest that it would be better with a different sensor. Can you explain why please?
joshwa Plus
10 927 1 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2020 8:53AM

Quote:You say that the camera gives "Great image quality" and yet suggest that it would be better with a different sensor. Can you explain why please?


Hi Ray, yes the camera gives great image quality, however, considering the camera is Sony's flagship camera, and Sony are the leaders in sensor technology, it's a shame it doesn't feature a BSI CMOS sensor, as this would take the image quality to the next level. As we said in the conclusion, considering APS-C BSI CMOS sensors are available, and in use by other people, why isn't Sony using the best available sensors in it's flagship product?

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