We have all been talking about how smartphones are getting the better of standalone cameras. In fact, this fact hit me so much recently when I was on a trip to Las Vegas to cover CES. I kept shooting with a smartphone though I had a good DSLR in my backpack. At the end of the week, I had a few dozen photos in the DSLR, over 6 GB of photos and videos in my phone. Incidentally, I haven’t really had the time to copy, edit and share the photos in the DSLR, while the best of the phone photos were shared the very day or used to accompany stories filed from CES. But can DSLRs and other top-end cameras prevent their slide into oblivion? Well, after using the new Sony A6000, I am pretty much convinced they can.
The Sony A6000 is a very compact camera, but it is not a DSLR. This is an interchangeable-lens camera equipped with an APS-C image sensor and E-mount, which is much smaller than the 35 mm full frames. But the camera does not pull any punches and gives you all the versatility you come to expect from a DSLR. The one thing you might miss in this camera is an optical viewfinder. But the electronic viewfinder is good too, though you need the camera to be powered on for it to work. The camera is about 475 grams with a 16-50 mm lens, battery and strap.
What is great?
This is a camera for the smartphone era. It is not the first, but it is definitely among the few cameras that understand the Achilles heel of a smartphone camera and try to exploit it to the fullest. You can click a low-light photo (still unimaginable for any smartphone) on the A6000 and post it using your smartphone in under a minute. That is because the camera creates a Wi-Fi network of its own, which can be accessed easily using the Sony Play Memories app. The entire process is really easy and not frustrating like in many cameras that are exploring wireless connectivity these days. And if even this simple two-step process is a pain, you always have NFC to literally tap and transfer photos from the camera.
What is good?
Having given us the Alpha 7 and the RX100, there should be no doubt how good the results of the A6000 would be. And this camera rises up to those expectations. In fact, it goes a notch ahead. It has the low light abilities of Sony interchangeable lens cameras, but does well on other fronts too. It is fast, it is clear and it is easy to use. I used the camera with a 16-50 lens on a short trip to Bangkok and this camera is capable of capturing anything that you throw at it, adding a distinct element of its own. I guess it must be the the new 4D auto focus that makes framing pictures so easy and fast. And you don’t miss a thing as the bee photos show.
What is not that good?
I am not nitpicking, but a camera this expensive should have a touchscreen. After all touchscreens are so cheap these days. Because life would be a tad simpler on this camera with a touchscreen. It is bit of a struggle getting to review photos after you have shot them as there are no dedicated zoom buttons on this one. Plus, the positioning of the record button for video makes it near impossible to switch on and off without shaking the frame. It should have been larger to avoid this niggle.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if you are looking for an advanced camera to replace your old compact or entry level DSLR. You won’t be able to use any old lenses on this, unless you are moving from another E-mount camera so it is going to be an investment for sure. But it is worth every paisa you will spend of this one.
* 24.3MP APS-C type Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
* 3-inch wide TFT
* 1/4000 to 30 sec, Bulb shutter speeds
* ISO 100-25600 equivalent
* 11 fps continuous shooting
* Full HD video
* NFC, Wi-Fi
Estimated street price: Rs 51,990