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Sony A6000

This is a discussion on Sony A6000 within the Camera equipment & accessories forums, part of the Education & Technical category; Back before the end of April I would get an occasional kick out of reading DP's review of whatever mirrorless ...

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    Default Sony A6000

    Back before the end of April I would get an occasional kick out of reading DP's review of whatever mirrorless camera was just released. Not so much the reviews themselves, mind you, but the comments left by the opposing camps from Olympus, Panasonic, Fugi, Samsung and Sony. Arguments over who had the best sensor, which was the best format, or who had the largest selection of lenses was never ending, but one thing they were all in agreement on was that mirrorless spelled the death of old fashioned DSLR cameras and that they were all riding the new wave of digital photography. Bless their little hearts, I remember thinking to myself.

    Then came the month of May and the end of our outage season. With a little money burning a hole in my pocket I walked into a Best Buy with nothing particular in mind, just a need to spend. What I walked out with was the last thing I would ever have expected to see myself putting hard earned money down for.

    Not only did I leave with a DSLM, it was one that didn't have the Nikon badge on it. I sure am glad they didn't have the Nikon 1 V3 model in yet because I would have played the loyalty card and made a monumental mistake by buying one of the crappiest little sensors in existence. What the heck is Nikon thinking? If they want to compete, at least make an honest effort. And the price they ask for their V3 is absurd. (although, at an almost 3x crop factor, it'll turn a Tamron 150-600mm into a 405-1620mm with ZERO loss of light. Think of it as a $1200 digital TC)

    Maybe the stars were in alignment because they had just gotten in a single copy of Sony's new A6000. What little I knew about the mirrorless realm told me that I couldn't go wrong with Sony so I decided to go about it in the bass-akwards manner of buy now and do the research later. I got lucky.

    The A6000 is a kick-a$$ little camera, and I do mean “little camera”. It has a much better APS-C sensor than the one in my D300s and can shoot at 11 fps with an autofocus (179 focus points) that keeps up very well. That, along with other built in features like WiFi, focus peaking, zebra patterning, and what DP calls the best overall video capability, could make this a camera that will change a lot of minds about how much easier some of the things we do can be done. The best part is that it all comes wrapped up in a tidy little package that, when sporting something like the 16-55mm kit lens, fits in a shirt pocket.

    I can't say much about the 16-55mm kit lens that was mounted when purchased because it was only on the camera for the length of time that it took a couple of adapters to be overnighted and the Sony 55-210mm I picked up as part of the package has never been mounted. With those adapters I'm able to use any of the M42 mounts and a few of the Nikon lens (non G type) I already had in my collection of glass. Alas, they all have to be used in manual focus, but with focus peaking thats not a problem at all for most of what I shoot. In fact, it adds a certain element of fun.

    An added degree of enjoyment to be had is in the search for other interesting pieces of legacy glass and the ability to purchase them for what amounts to a song and a dance. I've had and old Spotmatic with its Super Tak 50mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/3.5 for years and I've bought two more in the last few weeks just to get the lenses that were included. One of them came with a Super Tak 55mm f/1.8 (another of the radioactive lens) mounted and a 135mm f/2.5 (major find in the 135mm) in the bag and the other with a 35mm f/2 and a Komine made Vivitar 200mm f/3.5. They came from local flea markets and I gave $40 for one and $20 for the other. That's four superbly crafted and reasonably fast lens in excellent condition for a total of $60. I'll leave it to you to imagine the smile on my face. I've given a little more for some of the other pieces I've managed to find in shops. A couple of Chinons in focal lengths that I already had set me back $75, but at those kind of prices it allows you to enjoy the different characteristics of one lens from another without hurting the pocket so much. I have to say that when you pick up an old piece of glass from the 60's and early 70's and hold it in your hands it makes you wish they were still built the same way instead of the cheap feeling plastic we find in even the most expensive lens made today. The Komine made Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 in pristine condition that I gave $50 for is a poor mans Zeiss. It's a fabulous lens.

    Now for the bad news and its that the viewfinder sucks. It takes one back to what many of us remember from our “point and shoot”days with its EVF. It does provide %100 coverage, but definitely lacks crystal clear view most of us are used to seeing in our DSLR. After two months of use, I've gotten over that. In reality, Im finding that the more contrasty view actually aids exposure when shooting in some conditions.

    I don't want to come off as a DSLM fanboy and can't imagine the A6000 replacing my D800, but I am beginning to wonder if maybe the A(9-11)R might be able to. DSLR's are the tool for professionals at this time, but I don't hesitate to say that in the not so distant future that may change.
    Last edited by Barefoot; 07-04-2014 at 10:18 AM.
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    Thanks for the review BF.

    One thing I despise about most point and shoots and most mirrorless cameras (and i see a fair variety of them on a regular basis) is that it's usually a nightmare (compared to nearly any DSLR) to change the position of the autofocus points quickly and easily.

    Given that I do this on 95% of the images I make I find it an essential feature.
    So....gotta ask, what's it like moving around those autofocus points?
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    Haven't fooled around with any of the e-mount lens that provide auto focus, so its hard for me to say. Marko, focus peaking is remarkable. You loose AF with anything other than an e-mount lens. Use the AE Lock button and turn the focus wheel until what you want in focus is highlighted in your chosen color (yellow, for me) and then pull the trigger. I'll put one of the e-mounts on later today and see how that performs.
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    Sounds like a great new purchase BF. As chance would have it I just saw a review on this camera today and the only criticisms were the viewfinder and range of available lenses.

    As for focusing they did a test on a fast moving subject moving toward the camera. Apparently the subject moved from 20 metres (65 feet) - 50 centimetres (1-1/2 feet) over 5.2 seconds during which time they took 53 photos (not quite the 11 fps claimed). Only 2-3 were out of focus. Not bad at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runmonty View Post
    Sounds like a great new purchase BF.
    I know it sounds funny, but I could neither recommend nor discourage its purchase. They're just not quite ready for prime time. For someone considering taking the next step up from a compact without the budget to go beyond entry to mid-level models, then , why not? Most of us started that way and then move up. Maybe the DSLM arena will have vastly improved by the time they were ready to take another step. I don't know.

    All I really wanted to say about it was that I bought the little camera to use my old M42 mount lenses. Tried to use them on the nikon body years ago, but with adapters you either lose focus at infinity or suffer a cheap piece of corrective glass. The little camera is perfect for that. If it only had in body stabilization and a faster shutter...
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    Sounds like a great purchase. Personally, I find that the camera you want depends entirely on what you are going to use it for, and then, occasionally, what your photography will expand to thanks to the new camera. I had a nice point and shoot that had died, had budgeted a sum to buy a wide-angle for my DSLR, but ended up buying a mirror-less camera with an excellent wide-angle lens in place of both items. And its working well for me. In answer to you Marko, the new Fuji has a pretty good system for changing the focus point, I too do this often when I am setting up on a tripod (you hit a button on the front of the camera which brings up the screen and all the cross-points in the visor and then move it with the arrow pad keys on the back). For hand-held I tend to shoot the same as I do with my DSLR ( use the centre focus point, then recompose the shot with my subject where I want). In most situations I have my controls set to separate the focus button from the release button. I have also been playing with the Fuji's face-recognition function to do street photography, and am pretty pleased with the results of that too. So my new camera works well for nice wide angle shots and street photography and I am very happy with my purchase. Nothing is perfect, but I can recommend this little camera, and its much easier on my hands and arms than my DLSR!

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