What do you get if you cross the Sony A7R with the NEX-6?
Sony is producing some of the most interesting compact system cameras on the market. Small and sleek, the A6000 has a similar feel to the Sony A7, featuring a newly designed 24.3 million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor and an image sensor with 179 phase-detection autofocus points. At launch, Sony claimed that the camera had the fastest AF in the world among cameras with an APS-C sized sensor. Although it’s not a touchscreen, a tiltable LCD screen sits on the back, which is useful for shooting from awkward angles.
(Setting the autofocus point on this camera would be somewhat speedier with a touchscreen, but it’s not too bad if you set the right custom buttons.)
There are plenty of customisable controls available. There are dials for controlling the shooting mode (such as automatic, semi-automatic or manual), and another for altering the shutter speed or aperture.
Reflecting the broader trend, the A6000 comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. It’s customisable with apps that you can download from Sony’s cloud-based photo storage service PlayMemories (sony.net/Products /playmemories). Setting up Wi-Fi is quick and easy, and makes the A6000 convenient for quickly sharing photos to your iOS device.
The A6000’s grip is pronounced and easy to hold. It can be bundled with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom; this kit lens is a good allrounder to get started with, but there are plenty of additional lenses. You can also buy it as body-only.
Detail is rendered very well by the A6000. Generally, image smoothing only starts to become problematic for normal printing sizes in shots taken at around ISO 3,200 upwards. In good light, autofocussing speeds are very quick, dropping as the light levels drop, but only struggling to lock on at all in very dark conditions.
Finally, battery life is better than its predecessors – due to the smaller sensor – but it’s still worth buying a spare battery. Amy Davies
Within touching distance of the perfect CSC. Fantastic image quality and customisible buttons.