Which Sony Mirrorless Camera Is Right For You?

We received such a great response from our Fujifilm “which is right for you” post that we have decided to make this into a little bit of a mini-series, and on today’s docket is the Sony mirrorless ecosystem. There is no doubt that Sony has been the “It” kid of the photography industry over the last few years with their impressive sensor technology and very capable APS-C and Full Frame mirrorless cameras. They have also released a ton of cameras, which may leave some of you wondering, which Sony mirrorless camera is right for you?

Well, let’s see if we can help you get that figured out…

The A6300

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (4 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Sony has some of the best APS-C based mirrorless cameras available right now, and among them is the A6300. Until only recently with the announcement of the A6500, the A6300 was the best APS-C camera that Sony was offering, so it should come as no surprise that this is a serious camera that would do well in many gear bags.

Sony A6300 Highlights

  • Excellent autofocus
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice, compact size
  • Ergonomic layout of the controls is very intuitive

What we thought in our review: “In many ways the Sony a6300 is an excellent camera. Great image quality, very versatile RAW files, a small size, great autofocus, and more. What more could you possibly ask for?” Read the full review

Who should get one?

The A6300, sitting right around that $1000 mark, is an incredible camera for the price. If you are looking for a camera that takes great still images and also offers some of the best 4K video quality around, then the A6300 is a camera you need to consider. The AF is some of the best in any mirrorless camera and you really can’t go wrong with this choice at all. Those interested can get their hands on the A6300 over on Amazon, here.

The A6500

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As good as the Sony A6300 is, the A6500 is just that much better. The A6500 is for those who wants the best that Sony has to offer in terms of AF performance and in-body sensor stabilization, as well as slight improvements in other areas over the A6300.

Sony A6500 Highlights

  • Top Class Autofocus
  • Weather sealing
  • Sensor Stabilization
  • 2.4x 4K Oversampling

What we thought in our review: *Note, we have not had time to do our full review of the A6500 yet, so this quote is from our initial thoughts* “It’s loaded with features and from what I’ve experienced thus far, delivers in spades. I wish I would have gotten to take the video capabilities through its paces, but as a stills cameras it is going to be one of the better options for hobbyists and pros alike. I’d say the other cameras in the same price-range have been put on notice.” Read Our First Impressions

Who should get one?

The A6500 is for the wildlife and action sports photographer as well as the dual purpose stills/video shooter. Its improved AF, in-body stabilization and 4K video output makes this one of the best dual purpose cameras you can get right now under $1500. Those interested in picking up an A6500 can get their pre-orders in now over on Amazon, here.

The A7 II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a7 Mk II product photos (2 of 8)ISO 1001-50 sec at f - 5.0

 

Sony’s current budget full frame mirrorless offering is none other than the A7 II, a very capable full frame camera that has the disadvantage of being out shined by other cameras that share a similar name in various aspects. That said, as far as being a well rounded, general purpose camera, the A7 II is a quality option that should be considered by anyone looking to get into the Sony full frame mirrorless ecosystem.

Sony A7 II Highlights

  • Decent Autofocus
  • In-Body Sensor Stabilization
  • Improved Grip over Previous A7 Models

What we thought in our review: “While current Sony A7 owners may be groaning because of the quick refresh to their brand new camera, they can rest assured that the A7 Mk II is really nothing more than a further attempt to snatch up the professional market. This is evident in the small changes.” Read the full review

Who should get one?

The A7II may not get mentioned much in gearhead camera circles because of it being out shined in almost every headline feature when compared to its other second generation A7 series brethren, but when you look at the camera on its own, the A7 II is a very capable camera, one that would do well in the hands of a landscape, portrait, or travel photographer. Those interested can find the A7 II over on Amazon, here.

The A7s II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7s Mk II extra product images (2 of 4)ISO 8001-160 sec at f - 11

 

Sony’s A7s II is a camera that gets a lot of attention, despite the fact that it is meant to be a fairly specialized camera. If you are someone who likes to shoot in low light, than this is the stills camera – DSLR or mirrorless – that you should be considering. It’s ISO performance is virtually unmatched in the current camera market, but the trade-off for that insane level of performance is a lower resolution sensor.

Sony A7s II Highlights

  • High ISO output is excellent.
  • Dynamic range editing capabilities are stellar to a point
  • Fast autofocus performance
  • Uncompressed RAW output actually does make a difference if you’re pixel peeping. Otherwise, it just adds a bit more versatility. This versatility may not be needed if you meter correctly in the first place though.
  • Video users will enjoy the features for that market

What we thought in our review: “The Sony A7s Mk II is getting it for really great autofocusing, excellent high ISO results but most of all for what the dynamic range is capable or retaining. It’s really, really crazy and I’m not even sure that I would expect that with film.” Read the full review

Who should get one?

The A7s II is for those low-light freaks out there and video people who absolutely need that ISO performance since they don’t have the ability to shoot in RAW to push/pull details and dynamic range like us stills shooters do. Unless you fall into one of these categories though, you are better off with the A7 II or A7r II if we are being really honest. Those interested can pick up an A7s II over on Amazon, here.

The A7R II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II product images review (2 of 3)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.8

 

Sony’s A7R II is the company’s current cream of the crop, their best camera on the mirrorless market (also the most expensive). It offers insane levels of resolution, sensor stabilization, 4K video, and really respective high ISO and dynamic range performance. It is the top of the line, but honestly it is also a lot more than most photographers need for that the price that it commands.

Sony A7R II Highlights

  • High ISO output is excellent.
  • Dynamic range editing capabilities are stellar to a point
  • Fast autofocus performance
  • Uncompressed RAW output actually does make a difference if you’re pixel peeping. Otherwise, it just adds a bit more versatility. This versatility may not be needed if you meter correctly in the first place though.
  • Video users will enjoy the features for that market

What we thought in our review: “Need more megapixels? Sure, it’s got it. What about better high ISO results? Yup, it’s got that, too. And autofocus, it’s improved quite a bit. Weather sealing? It’s not the best, but it’s there according to Sony’s definition of it. It’s good enough realistically–and to that end, it’s all most people need and much more.” Read the full review

Who should get one?

The A7R II is the peak of mirrorless camera technology right now in many ways. It offers incredible resolution, great AF performance, great dynamic range and high ISO performance, there is really only a few negatives to this camera, one being battery life and the other being it’s premium price tag. That said, for those looking to get the best of the best, the wedding photographers, portrait photographers, product photographers – this is the camera you will want to look at. Those interested can pick one up over on Amazon, here.

A Few Throw Backs

What about some older generation cameras that are great deals and still very capable in today’s world? We have a couple of those picked out for you below, for those of you who aren’t so concerned with getting the latest tech, and are maybe more concerned about getting proven cameras at a great price.

The A6000

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A6000 product images (3 of 9)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 11

 

Sony’s A6000 for the longest time was their highest end APS-C based mirrorless camera, and it blew away the competition in several key categories including video support and AF performance. It is starting to show its age with its relatively low (by the latest generation standards) resolution, but this is a proven camera with great capabilities.

Sony A6000 Highlights

  • Fast and Smart AF
  • Easy to carry Size
  • Decent battery life

What we thought in our review: “The Sony A6000 hands down has what could arguably be called the best autofocusing system out there. While it isn’t the fastest, it by far is the smartest and the most responsive–putting some DSLRs to shame in our tests for sure. Granted, Sony did this with an APS-C sensor and have yet to do this with a full frame sensor. ” Read the full review

Who should get one?

The A6300 and A6500 both outclass the A6000 in every way, but as noted above, the A6000 is still an incredibly capable and effective camera. This could be a great general-use camera for family gatherings, or sports camera for parents looking to shoot their kids. At the time of this writing the A6000 is also under $500, making this, without a doubt, one of the most solid cameras on the market for that price – this generation or not. Those interested can pick one up on Amazon, here.

The A7

julius motal the phoblographer sony a7 product image

Sony’s A6000 for the longest time was their highest end APS-C based mirrorless camera, and it blew away the competition in several key categories including video support and AF performance. It is starting to show its age with its relatively low (by the latest generation standards) resolution, but this is a proven camera with great capabilities.

Sony A7 Highlights

  • Beautiful image quality
  • The most satisfying shutter on the planet
  • A large and bright viewfinder
  • Weather sealing

What we thought in our review: “It almost seems like an obvious choice, but the A7 is wholly deserving of an Editor’s Choice Award for its beautiful design and image quality. Alongside the A7R, the A7 is creating a new market that Nikon has also tried to stake its place in, but this is clearly Sony’s game.” Read the full review

Who should get one?

The original Sony A7, despite some of the quirks that it has being a first generation product, remains a solid full frame choice for those who do not need an incredibly fast AF. It is also one of the most affordable full frame cameras on the market right now, so for someone who wants to get into Sony’s full frame ecosystem, but can’t jump into one of the higher end bodies just yet, this could be a perfect option. Those interested can pick up an A7 over on Amazon, here.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.