I’d just like to mention, before getting into the meat of this post, that I’m not a professional photographer, and this “review” is going to be from the perspective of a total hobbist. I wrote this post ages ago and totally forgot to post it (sorry).
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos of random things, ever since I first laid my hands on a camera. When I got my first phone with a camera, I brushed away all of my dedicated cameras and jumpted onto the cameraphone-only train, until now.
To start off, the build quality is amazing - the majority of the body is metal and the small amounts of plastic still feel premium. The switches and buttons are clicky and feel durable. The camera is a lot smaller than a DLSR, but not as small as Sony’s fixed-lens compact cameras (like the RX100). It wouldn’t fit in an average pocket, but I have had no problems with its size.
Turning the camera on reveals an extensive but easy-to-learn UI. There are 24 pages of options spread across 6 tabs in the main menu, containing every setting you could ever want. 3 of the pysical buttons can be remapped and there’s a customizable “function” menu allowing you to change frequently-used settings without delving into the main settings.
Specs & Quality
The camera can take 24MP (either 3:2 or 16:9) stills and 1080p60 (you can switch between PAL and NTSC) video. For photos you can choose “fine” or “standard” JPEG and RAW, videos can be recorded to the XAVC S (requires a 64GB SD Card), AVCHD or MP4 codecs, all of which look stellar.
Primiarlly shooting in RAW, the quality I’ve been able to get from this camera (as an amateur, mind you) is impressive. Even though I’m only really comparing the quality with my phone, the improvement is more than noticable. I personally don’t shoot much video, but the few clips I have taken have looked just as good as the photos, despire the 1080p maximum resolution.
Here’s a selection of (admittedly “meh”) photos I’ve taken
Check out more in my Flickr albums
While not the best, the provided kit lens (SELP1650) isn’t as bad as the reviews make it out to be. I’ve found it to be suprisingly versitile in a range of different shooting-styles and the quality is certainly acceptable, at least for me (I’m hardly a pixel-peeper), and I think it makes more sense to get the camera including it, just to get you started. I do recommend you pick up a decent telephoto lens later down the line though, if you feel constrained by 50mm.
Battery life is, again, a lot better than the reviews have made it out to be. I’m the type of person that always switches the camera off if I’m not activly planning to take a photo, so bear that in mind - no “standby” tests here. I’ve frequently taken the camera on day-long trecks and the battery only loses about 70% charge, even when taking hundreds of shots.
Overall, I think the a6000, despite being a few years old, is certainly still a good mirrorless option if you’re shopping for cameras. The feature list is substantial while being easy-to-operate, allowing the camera to appeal to a broad audience - from total beginners to semi-pro hobbyists; the kit lens is a good starting point, offering acceptable quality and a useful range and the quality is certainly there.
Thanks to Matt for assistance with this post