Despite its age, the Sony A6000 demonstrates many of the key characteristics we still look for in a camera. The 24-megapixel sensor in this camera is still as competitive today as it was when it was first introduced. Although Sony has constantly improved the AF system in its later A6000-series cameras, the A6000 is already quite good – possibly as good as most of us need. Its 11fps burst mode is hardly ever surpassed, even today. However, you don’t get 4K video, and the screens and design are starting to seem a little stale. Even worse, the price of the A6000, which was once a steal, has been steadily rising. It used to be cheap and worn out, but now it’s just looking worn out.
Sharp 24MP sensor, powerful stills features, good autofocus, built-in EVF.
Poor handling with larger lenses; no 4K video; subpar performance at high ISOs.
The Sony A6000 has long been one of our top picks for entry-level cameras and a great deal for those who don’t want 4K video. Although the A6000’s characteristics haven’t altered, its price has. Because it has long been Sony’s practice to keep outdated models on the market at progressively declining prices, for a time the A6000 was an unbeatable deal. However, it appears that costs are starting to rise, which either indicates that Sony has discovered this camera is better than it believed or that its useful life is about to expire.
In terms of camera launches, the Sony A6000 was introduced way back in 2014—a very long time ago. Is it still competitive in the market now, especially since no fewer than five newer models in the same product line have replaced it?
The response is a cautious yes. Thanks to its continued excellent performance and exceptional value for money, the Sony A6000 is still among the top Sony cameras (opens in new tab) and among the best mirrorless cameras. Although their specifications have undoubtedly gotten older, most still shooters can still use them.
The A6000 is a compact camera with a 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor. When it was first released, it competed with midrange cameras, but because of its current low price, it is an alternative for people looking for an entry-level body. Despite the fact that we rank it among the best cameras for beginners because of its low cost, it is actually far more potent than these.
The Sony A6000 is still a capable performer despite lacking the newer models’ 4K video and intelligent AF. Let’s examine its capabilities in more detail…
ILCE-6000 is the model number.
24.3 million APS-C sensor (23.5 x 15.6mm) CMOS camera
1.5x Focal length conversion
Memory: SD, SDHC, and SDXC
Electronic viewfinder with 0.39 inches and 1,440,000 dots.
range of ISO: 100 to 25,600
179 phase detection points and 25 contrast detection points are used in autofocus.
11 fps maximum burst rate
3-inch 921k-dot tilting LCD display
1/4000 to 30 seconds for shutter speeds. Bulb
Size: 344 g (with battery and memory card)
120 x 66.9 x 45.1 mm in size
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NP-FW50
Only a few APS-C cameras today surpass the 24-megapixel APS-C sensor found in the A6000, which was state-of-the-art when it was introduced back in 2014. There are 25 contrast-detection autofocus points for the hybrid AF system in addition to the 179 phase-detection autofocus points on the image sensor.
When the camera was first released, Sony bragged that it featured the world’s quickest AF among APS-C-sized sensor cameras. And even though a few cameras have undoubtedly improved on this since then, it still seems incredibly sensitive.
A tilting LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder—both of which are the same 0.39-inch, 1.4-million-dot unit featured on the first edition RX10 premium bridge camera—are located on the back of the A6000. The A6000 has integrated Wi-Fi and NFC, which is in line with the general trend.
The Sony A6000 comes with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom as its default kit lens, which is still included with contemporary equivalents like the Sony ZV-E10(opens in new tab) vlogging camera. You can also purchase the A6000 body alone, giving yourself the flexibility to select from the wide variety of current E-mount lenses. The performance of the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6(opens in new tab) is superior to that of the average superzoom lens and it has a far longer zoom range.
BUILD AND HANDLING
The A6000 will appeal to people who want a lot of knobs and buttons. It features a tonne of controls, and like previous Sony cameras, almost all of them can be customised to let you modify the camera to your preferences for taking pictures.
The Sony A6000’s grip is very minimally pronounced and rather comfortable to handle, but it starts to feel a little front-heavy when used with a larger lens like the Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6. The camera is also covered in a lovely texture. Two dials are located on top of the camera; one is used to select the shooting mode (such as automatic, semi-automatic, or manual), while the other is used to adjust the shutter speed or aperture, depending on the mode you’re shooting in.
With a touchscreen, this camera’s autofocus point could be set more quickly, but with the correct custom buttons, it’s manageable. Focus Area should be set to Flexible Spot to expedite processes. To access the focal point selection option from here, simply push the button in the center of the scrolling dial on the camera’s back. Then, you can navigate the screen using the directional keys. It’s important to note that when Flexible Spot is chosen, this is the central button’s default setting; if you have it set to anything else, it won’t function the same way.
The screen tilts, despite not having a touchscreen, which is helpful for photographing from some unnatural angles or for protecting the screen from glare. Additionally, because it has a “wide” screen, the standard 3:2 aspect ratio for still images does not fully utilize the screen’s width, giving the impression that the screen is narrow and confined. It’s also not very scratch-resistant; over the years we’ve had it, ours has acquired a few scrapes and dings. With the exception of strong daylight, when it is too easily obscured by glare, the viewfinder is bright and clear.
Compared to today’s standards, the 1.44 million dot EVF has a modest resolution, but it does the job admirably. It’s also great to get a viewfinder on an APS-C mirrorless camera at this price.
The fact that this camera only produces full HD video and lacks a front-facing screen is understandable given the state of the market at the time it was introduced. But even today, it offers pretty much everything a still photographer could possibly need. Particularly striking is its continuous shooting speed of 11fps.
The fundamental motivation behind the A6000-series cameras has been the continuous improvement of their video capabilities. The A6000 isn’t actually that far behind the rest if you don’t need video. The focusing may be more advanced and the picture processing may be better today, but the design, handling, and sensor itself have not changed significantly.
However, if video is what you’re after, the new Sony ZV-E10 or the A6100, which is the A6000’s replacement, would serve you far better (opens in new tab). Although both are more expensive than the A6000, the price difference is decreasing and both are considerably more up-to-date video cameras.
Many of them are part of the A6000 series that the A6000 launched, and Sony has created some of the most intriguing compact system cameras currently available on the market. The A6000 performs admirably even by today’s standards. It produces extremely sharp photos with gorgeously saturated colors. By changing Creative Styles—some of which are offered as pre-stored settings—you can experiment with how JPEGs seem right from the camera.
The A6000 renders details really nicely. For conventional printing sizes, image smoothing typically only becomes an issue in photographs taken at ISO 3,200 and higher. Images with an ISO of 1,600 or higher may have some parts that appear to be painted, but overall, the impression is positive when viewed at 100%. The A6000 starts to lag behind the newest cameras in high ISO quality, it must be said.
The camera’s metering system performs a fair job with exposure, but it occasionally suffers in scenes with a lot of contrast, necessitating the use of exposure compensation. The automated white balancing mechanism works well, too, despite the fact that some artificial light sources can cause it to become slightly confused.
When there is sufficient light, autofocusing is extremely speedy, slowing down as the light level drops, and only straining to lock on in extremely low light.
The 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens is a good all-purpose lens to start with, but you lose image quality for greater compactness, so if you want to see the best results this camera is capable of, you should probably replace it with something better (we highly recommend the long-zoom Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6).
Although a mirrorless camera’s battery life isn’t poor, if you travel or go on longer adventures, it’s still worthwhile to get an extra battery.
We contrasted the Sony A6000’s lab test outcomes with those of three significant competitors who are also a few years old but have held up similarly well. We selected the Canon EOS M50 (opens in new tab), which, like the underrated Fujifilm X-T100 (opens in new tab), also has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor with a viewfinder (now replaced by the X-T200, not shown below). As one of the A6000’s rivals, we also selected the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II(opens in new tab). The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV(opens in new tab), a highly powerful camera for both stills and video that does make the A6000 look a little worn-out and dated now, is the camera we would likely choose today.
Despite its age, the A6000 still offers (only) the highest resolution of all its direct competitors. It equals the highest resolution we could get from the 32.5MP Canon EOS 90D, just for the record (opens in new tab). Up to ISO 800, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II likewise performs admirably, but after that, its resolution begins to deteriorate (due to its smaller sensor).
Signal To Noise Ratio
The Sony A6000 struggles with high ISO image noise, as we mention in the review. Even though it performs worse than the others in our lab tests, noise is not really an issue at lower ISOs, but at higher ISO settings, you’ll need to work harder with your software’s noise reduction tools. In this regard, the other three cameras—including the Olympus—are noticeably superior.
The Sony performs admirably against the Fujifilm X-T100 and Canon EOS M50, but as ISO increases, its dynamic range starts to deteriorate. Although it doesn’t start out as well as the competition, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II gives a surprisingly good dynamic range as ISO is increased.
Overall, the Sony A6000 has extremely good all-around performance, particularly in terms of resolution, at low ISO settings up to ISO 400-800, but at higher ISO levels, its performance degrades more noticeably than that of its competitors.
Can a camera introduced in 2014 still compete after being surpassed by no less than five new models? It’s true that the A6000’s specifications today seem decidedly dated in comparison to what has advanced afterward, but only in a few crucial areas. The A6000’s AF is more than adequate for the majority of us, but newer cameras feature 4K video and more sophisticated AF algorithms, which won’t bother you if you don’t shoot video. It was cutting-edge at the time and is still relevant now.
The Sony A6000’s pricing is crucial. Year after year, Sony has continued to sell it at continuously declining prices. Get the A6000 if you want a low-cost mirrorless camera that is much better than its pricing would have you believe. We hope Sony continues to produce it for many more years!