The a6000 series can come with various lens kits, such as the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and new Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 G lenses. The 16-50 and 18-135mm aren’t the best lenses out there. They’re okay if you’re just getting into photography and need a lens to start with, but don’t expect stellar images from them. The latter is a very great lens, however. It comes at a hefty add on price, but being a Sony G lens and a constant aperture lens of f/2.8 it does offer the best setup for those wanting to get the most out of their a6000 series camera.
The a6000 was my first camera purchased in the Mirrorless system and it’s still with me today. It’s a phenomenal camera that still holds it’s own over 6 years later. There are newer and better models and for the sake of the others being quite similar I’m going to discuss all the versions here (Note: all the images in this review are from the a6000).
What I think about the a6000 series
It’s impressive! I was hesitant initially about the E-Mount camera’s from Sony, in would this be something I could find valuable to have in my collection and actually use.
I watched videos on the a6000 for a few months and after that I thought that’s it, I need to add this! Mind you, I had just bought the Sony a77 II a month before, but I broke down and bought this regardless.
Prior to purchasing I had used the Sony a7R, which I wasn’t sure of upon my first time using it, but after having some time with it I absolutely LOVED this camera!
The portability of this camera is what impressed me enough to try it. It’s INCREDIBLY SMALL!! So many are surprised by how small this camera is! It’s smaller than my iPhone 5s as well (see how in my below YouTube video)! Considering I travel a lot on public transit and do a lot of walking in public with equipment, I wanted a camera that was small enough to where it wouldn’t be noticed.
I’m telling you guys… this is a powerful camera in a very small package.
The a6000 is used for all of the genres I photograph in, but primarily for my epic cityscapes and landscapes, where I take great use of the wide angle Sony E 4/10-18mm OSS lens with this camera.
Even though this is a crop body camera it still offers the level of quality I obtain in my full frame counterparts, of the a7 series. Where these cameras shine is for being in a smaller package compared to those. Of course the difference being from the smaller sensor size, which does a very good job in any situation, even many low light situations.
Favorite lenses for the the a6000 series
I've utilized the a6000 series cameras for over 5 years and have used a variety of lenses with these cameras. For those on a budget or may not be interested in going full frame then the first set of lenses will be my go to choices. Those that are ZEISS lenses are for those who may want a bit more in quality and want the option to have lenses they can use, if they decide to go to full frame later on.
Sony E 4/10-18mm - This was the first lens I purchased for the a6000 and what a great first lens purchase this was! This is my primary lens for the a6000! Most of the images you’ll ever see with this camera are shot with this lens. This is an exceptional lens and should be one of your first purchased E-Mount lenses, trust me!
Sony PZ E 4/18-105mm G - I purchased this to replace the standard kits lens (Sony PZ 3.5-5.6/16-50mm), as I felt the quality of that lens was simply too soft for my needs. I chose this over the Carl Zeiss 4/16-70mm, as I liked the range, the power zoom (great for those into video) and price for quality that was pretty darn close to that of the Carl Zeiss. I rather have the range, as I needed something a bit longer than my usual 16-50mm f/2.8 I have for the old A-Mount. It’s an exceptional lens and you can see some examples of images taken with this below. If you’re wanting to upgrade from the kit lens quality, then you won’t go wrong with this. It’s a great upgrade to that.
Rokinon E 2.8/8mm Fish-Eye - I was quite impressed by this lens and the unique perspective it offers and how wide it is on the a6000. It’s a great specialty lens to have that gives you even more of a unique angle to compliment the Sony 10-18mm.
ZEISS FE Loxia 2.8/21mm - This is a fully manual lens, but it's an excellent lens option for the 6000 series. This is a full frame lens, which can be utilized on the crop body 6000 series. The focal length equivalent for this lens is 31.5mm. In utilizing a full frame lens on the crop body you're able to obtain sharper images, which is a plus.
ZEISS FE Loxia 2/35mm - This is another fully manual lens from ZEISS. The focal length equivalent on full frame for this lens is 52.5mm. This is a great choice if you're into street photography, have a few portraits you want to photograph here and there and much more.
Sony/ZEISS 1.8/55mm - This is one of the best lenses I ever owned and it's a light compact choice for the 6000 series. This gives you an 85mm range equivalent on the crop body, which allows me to utilize this combo in a way that's like using my full frame cameras with the ZEISS Batis 1.8/85mm, that I've become known for.
Image quality! The 24MP sensor of this camera is a great performing sensor. What’s not to like about that?! To have the same as my previous Sony a77 II, it was a great buy!
Low Light - I really wanted to see how this camera would hold up on ISO, compared to my a77ii. With zoom lenses for these cameras the lenses are f/4 vs f/2.8 of the A-Mount Sony’s. I wasn’t concerned with this, but after a real test photographing a worship service side by side with both cameras the a6000 I felt was better with an f/4 lens at higher ISO’s than the a77ii with an f/2.8 lens at only 800 to even up to 5000 ISO. The a6000 photos just seemed so much cleaner and that’s what made me switch entirely to the a6000 for my primary camera choice. Update: Sony has a new line of lenses, Sony G Master lenses, which include f/2.8 zoom lenses now!
WiFi & NFC - Being able to send my professionally taken images to my phone or upload directly online is INCREDIBLE! It’s a great feature for those who may photograph primarily with their mobile devices and would want to take images but edit them on their phone or tablet. Makes for higher quality photographing with the same great use of mobile photo editing apps.
Compactness - Having a camera so small and light weight is just game changing. Sony just impresses me more and more year after year. Other makers have these skimpy sensors in their camera’s but Sony is packing APS-C and Full Frame sensors in these tiny little bodies!
Control with Smartphone - Being able to use my iPhone and take images is AMAZING! It’s certainly useful for night time photography and you don’t have a remote trigger and want to avoid camera shake. You can use your phone, via the Play Memories App to take your images.
Lens options - Having the flexibility to use an adapter and being able to use other brands of lenses, even the A-Mount on this tiny camera is great! Great move Sony!
Face Recognition, Lock on AF - The focusing system on this camera is probably the most talked about thing. This camera is just AMAZING for what it can do in focusing. Locking on to a subject and being able to track the subject without losing it, even if something comes in front of it is impressive.
Auto Focus - You can’t help but love having 179 AF points, which cover over 90% of the screen! It works pretty gosh darn amazingly too! It’s very fast when in action and it’s very useful to me when I photograph Worship services and there’s a lot of moving during the Praise & Worship parts.
Skin Smoothing - Having built in skin smoothing is a very neat feature! It makes it a great addition for anyone in Beauty and Fashion!
What don’t you like about the Sony a6000?
My only issue with this camera itself is the exclusion of the LEVEL GAUGE! I can’t believe this wasn’t included! This was included in my a57 and a77ii. For a camera that’s above the a57 and on the same level as the a77ii I’m disappointed by this. It’s a VERY useful feature to have, which I used heavily on those two camera’s.
The LCD on this camera isn’t as bright as many may want and if you’re outdoors in bright sunlight it can sometimes be hard to see this screen, compared to the screen on my previous a77ii or a57. It’s fine to me, but for some this may be an issue.
This camera doesn’t have any weather sealing, which wasn’t a deal breaker.
What about the Sony a6300?
Just looking at them, you won’t find any major changes in design between the two cameras and much of the changes are in the camera body itself. Below are a few things that may make you want to go a bit further and purchase the a6300.
Weather Sealing - Something that wasn’t present on the a6000. I had this with my a77ii and was disappointed that it wasn’t in this camera. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but I’m glad the new a6300 has this! If you photograph a lot under the weather elements then that may be one of the main reasons for upgrading.
4K Video Recording - Just like the Sony a7rii and Sony a7sii you now can record in 4K video.
Microphone Jack - Anyone who does a lot of video certainly hate this wasn’t present with the close to perfect a6000, but now it’s in the a6300!
Higher Res Electronic View-Finder (EVF) - Those who either had the Sony NEX-6 or NEX-7 had to have been disappointed by the lowered resolution in the a6000′s viewfinder. In the a6300 this has gotten bumped up to the resolution many of us have come to appreciate in the a7 series!
Focusing System - The a6300 has a new 4D Focus system, that has over 400 focus points! Like the Sony a7rii, this camera also features Phase Detect Auto Focus, which will make focusing with other brand lenses incredible!
Silent Shutter - Like the Sony a7rii, this camera also features this same thing, which makes shooting in quiet places a lot more useful! You do have the issue of rolling shutter, which the a7rii also had issues with when using this feature however.
Low Light - This camera has a sensor similar to that of the Sony a7rii, which improves the performance in low light. The a6000 was already good, as it’s one of the reasons why I switched from the Sony a77ii, so this should be an even greater improvement.
What about the Sony a6400?
Sony recently announced the brand new Sony a6400, which is a higher level camera that replaces the 6300 and adds many new improvements over the a6300 model:
Flip Screen - For the first time in the a6000 series the a6400 brings the flip screen of the a5000 series to the lineup. This is a useful feature for those who utilize their cameras for vlogging.
Real-Time Eye AF & Real-Time Tracking - This camera brings a whole new generation for focusing to the Sony lineup. This camera has always on Real-Time Eye AF that engages with the half press of the shutter button. The Real-Time tracking utilizes Sony’s latest algorithm including artificial intelligence (AI) based object recognition and processes color, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness) as spatial information to ensure that all subjects can be captured with excellent accuracy.
Low Light - This camera boasts the highest ISO range of any of the APS-C cameras for Sony, with a maximum ISO range of 102,400.
What about the Sony a6500?
This camera has all of the additions as the Sony a6300 added, but below are the new features key to this camera, that may make this camera more for you if you’re upgrading or new to Sony Mirrorless:
New Grip - This camera now adds a hand grip that is more familiar to those who may use the 2nd generation Sony a7 cameras. It also adds a new layout for the custom setting buttons, with two custom buttons now added above the mode dials.
IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) - Just like the Sony a7rii and Sony a7sii you now have 5-axis image stabilization in an APS-C mirrorless camera for the very first time. This is very useful for those who may want to adapt other brand of lenses to this camera and have full stabilization with their lenses of choice.
Touchscreen - This camera now adds a touch screen, which is very handy for focusing on images and in videos. It also adds touchpad functionality. When using the viewfinder the LCD can be used as a touch pad by dragging your finger across the screen to shift the focus point around.
Expanded Buffer - This camera can photograph over 300 frames, at 11 frames per second with continuous auto focus and exposure tracking and up to 8 frames per second in a live-view shooting mode, thanks to the new front-end LSI chip, which also increases image quality for video and photos.
If you’ve wanted to purchase a Sony a6000 for a while and haven’t yet or you’ve owned your a6000 for a year now, then upgrading to the a6300, a6400 or a6500 would probably be a welcome upgrade for you. Is the a6000 no longer a great camera to purchase? Of course not!
Conclusion: Who is/isn’t this for?
Anyone! Not often I recommend a camera for everyone, but with it’s size and features… not to mention it’s excellent price point, it’s a fully feature packed camera at an entry level price. You can’t beat a deal like this with the a6000.
It’s a great camera if you’re already a Sony shooter or have another brand maker but want something better for travel that still takes great images. It’s a great companion to whatever you may already be shooting and this little camera can get the same amazing photos as what you’re probably already using and far better!
I’m telling you guys, this camera is EVERYTHING! Of any camera I’ve ever owned or used, this little camera here is by far the best one I’ve purchased! This is the future you guys… I can’t see myself ever going back to a conventional SLR. Who would NOT want everything a big and bulky D-SLR has in a tiny little package like this?
Sony α6400, Loxia 2/35mm
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