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First Impressions: Sony A6000

by Chris Gampat on 02/11/2014

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (5 of 8)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.0

It’s been a while since the NEX-6 was announced, and we still love ours. But today for CP+, the company is announcing its successor: the 24.3MP APS-C sensor A6000. As Sony reported earlier, they’re getting rid of the NEX moniker and putting all cameras under the Alpha name instead. For what it is, the A6000 seems like a beast of a camera. Besides the large megapixel APS-C sensor, it has NFC, Wifi, 179 autofocus points, and loads more features.

Oh by the way, those focusing points are all phase detection points on the sensor. This coupled with the new sensor are two of the bigger upgrades to the camera.

While we’re still waiting for our review unit, we got some time to play with the camera at an event recently in NYC.

Tech Specs

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (1 of 8)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.0

- 24.3 MP APS-C Sensor

- 1080p 60p and 24p video

- 1,400K dot EVF

- 3 inch 921,600 dot LCD screen

- 1/4000 shutter speed

- 11fps

- 1/160th flash sync

- ISO 100-25,600

- 179 phase detection Af points

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (2 of 8)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.0

The A6000 retains a very NEX style body but also tries to pack a bit more of a serious feel into the small frame.  The front is characterized by very little except for the camera’s grip and a shutter release, on/off button and a function button.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (6 of 8)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.0

The A6000′s top is characterized by new additions. Where the NEX 6 had a mode dial and exposure control on one dial, the A6000 separates them and puts the pop-up flash next to it on the right hand side.

Then there is the hot shoe and the viewfinder. Plus, the camera has a tilting LCD screen.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (7 of 8)ISO 2001-25 sec at f - 5.0

The back of the camera is where you’ll be doing a lot of controlling. The other exposure dial is here in the form of the four way control area. Plus there is an Auto Exposure Lock, menu, pop-up flash, playback, and delete button.

All of these are totally needed since the camera doesn’t have a touch screen. You’ll also experience a button interface to how the NEX system works with buttons serving more than one function depending on what setting or screen you’re in.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (4 of 8)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.0

If you liked the NEX 6, then you’ll enjoy what Sony created with the A6000. It feels like a minor upgrade overall, but that’s absolutely fine with us. The NEX 6 was and still is an excellent feeling camera, and so is the A6000. Overall, it really just feels like there is a new dial and that’s about it. Everything else that you enjoyed is still there but this time maybe in a different spot.

Note that the camera doesn’t incorporate weather sealing at all, so don’t even bother with that. It would’ve been really nice if they added this, but then again we’re talking about a pretty darned affordable price here.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 first impressions images (8 of 8)ISO 2001-25 sec at f - 5.0

The A6000 has a very Alpha style menu interface, but if the user so chooses they can switch to the older NEX style that is a lot more visual and less text heavy. Think of this as the A7/A7r but without the full frame sensor.

Autofocus

We played with a pre-production model during our meeting, and so we aren’t going to make any stark conclusions about the autofocus yet. However the promise of 179 phase detection point on the sensor is quite insane. From what we were able to see, the camera focuses slightly faster than the previous NEX 6 but it isn’t anything with blazing speed. The NEX 6 has phase detection points near the middle–but this camera has it nearly everywhere around the sensor.

We’re going to have to test a production unit to get the full story though.

Image Quality

The camera we tested was a pre-production unit, so we couldn’t put a card in it. But we’re told our review unit is coming soon.

First Impressions

So far, we don’t see the A6000 as a necessary upgrade from the NEX 6. The sensor on the NEX 6 is wonderful and very capable. But the new focusing system makes the package quite tempting for the right person.

We’ll have to see how it performs once we get the review unit in.

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