Sony has introduced the Alpha 6000, an interchangeable lens camera and successor to the NEX-6, and DigitalCameraReview had the chance to get a first look at the device.
The new Sony a6000 features an Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3-megapixels and a Bionz Image processing engine, which is standard throughout the A7 series. With its sensor and image processor, the camera has an ISO range of 100-25600 and the ability to record full 1080p HD videos. Sony states that the hybrid AF has 179 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detection AF points, while the NEX-6 has 99 and 25, respectively. Sony also touts the a6000 as housing the "world's fastest auto-focus," at .06 seconds with a continuous shooting speed of 11fps. While DCR was unable to actually time the speeds, it was definitely fast, and seemed to live up to Sony's impressive claims. DCR also noted that the camera is fast to start up, so users can get to shooting quickly without much lag time in between shots or when powering up.
The Sony a6000 looks a bit retro, similar to many other interchangeable lens cameras that seem to be designed as a nod to the days of manual photography. It is targeted at photographers who are a step above entry-level and who are photography hobbyists. The body of the a6000 is compact, but it doesn't feel off balance with the standard 16-50mm zoom lens; the camera's body measures 4.74 x 2.63 x 1.76-inches and weighs .63 pounds. The camera is both sturdy and well-built, with a rubberized hand grip that makes the camera comfortable to hold while shooting. Switching between modes is easy with the dial on top of the camera, right near the thumb grip. The shutter button is located on top of the grip, which sits a bit lower than the other dials, making it easy to find while shooting, without having to look away from the viewfinder.
A 16-50mm lens is included with the standard kit, and DCR had no problem changing the lens using the release button located near the bottom of the lens. It takes a little maneuvering to get the lens out after releasing it, but it prevents the user from unintentionally releasing the lens. Those looking for a viewfinder will appreciate the built in OLED Tru-finder, which the company states features "high contrast resolution and visibility from corner to corner." It offers a 33 degree viewing angle and a live preview, so users will see how their settings and adjustments affect the photograph before shooting. The 3-inch LCD screen has a resolution of 921k dots and it is tiltable up to 90 degrees up and 45 degrees down. It offers a decent viewing range for users opting to frame shots using the display rather than viewfinder and the image quality is up to snuff, so users shouldn't have a problem viewing it outdoors.
The body of the camera has a number of manual controls including a top-mounted dial to quickly shift between modes. The a6000 also features a built in flash and a multi-interface shoe. There are 47 different shooting modes in total, most of which are accessible through the camera's menus, and users can program the Fn button for quick access to their most used settings. Users can also assign up to 43 functions to 7 buttons with two dedicated custom buttons. At first glance, the menu and different features seem easy to navigate, and anyone already familiar with Sony's user interface shouldn't have a problem. There may be a slight learning curve for those new to this level of camera, but most users will adapt quickly. Sony also included Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities in the a6000, allowing users to connect to a smart device to use as a remote control or to upload photos.
The Sony a6000 will be available this coming April in black and silver with a 16-50mm motorized zoom lens for $800, or for $650 for the body only.
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