sony a6000 review – MY travel camera of choice
Welcome to my latest blog! I am often asked which camera I use when travelling so I thought it would be a good time to review the Sony A6000 which I have used for the last two Summers.
This year I also invested a Seafrog underwater housing unit and am excited to share some of the images I took!
NOTE: This is NOT a super technical review of the camera but my thoughts on how easy and fun it is to use when on holiday for photographers and non photographers alike.
Why Sony and not Canon you ask? (As I am a Canon photographer through and through!)
For those of you who know me as a professional photographer, you will know my kit of choice is the Canon. I shoot on a 5d mark 3 and my favourite lenses are the 70-200 2.8, 135 and 85.
**IF** I could fit my Canon into my backpack I would absolutely take this with me, but as we try to travel as light I needed another option.
Cost was also a factor as I didn’t want to invest in something the same price as my main camera as I would be using this one much less often.
Before I owned this Sony I had a small Canon GX1 mark 2. I used it all throughout my trip to Thailand but found the ISO capability to be a little too limiting at night. This started my search for a new camera and I discovered the Sony a6000.
13 reasons I love the sony a6000
1. The weight. This camera is small and light and fits into the smallest of bags. This meant I pretty much took it out every day on holiday to take photos.
2. The flip out screen – This means to take images low to the ground I do not have to lie down – I can just put the camera down and flip the screen which is perfect for me and my bad back!
3. The ISO capability – this little camera can shoot up to 24,500 ISO giving me great low light capability
4. The images are 24 megapixels which is more than adequate for the size of images I would want to print when I got home.
5. I can shoot in RAW or Jpeg giving me more flexibility for sky recovery etc. Also to say that the dymanic range on this little camera is very impressive and it does a great job of exposing for the subjects and sky when shooting wide.
6. I can let the camera do a lot of the thinking – this means I can enjoy my holiday! Intelligent auto, auto and AV mode all work especially well and the camera is very smart when it comes to focusing. This also means my kids and husband can use it in intelligent auto and take great images
7.. The focal length of the kit lens – when I am away on holiday I want to shoot much wider – I am looking more to tell the story of our holiday and not take portraits so I tend to use the standard kit lens. The camera comes with 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 which is the equivalent on a full frame camera to a focal range of about 24-75mm.
8. It has eye tracking technology! – you just have to turn this on in the camera the first time to use it. You can watch this Youtube video here to show you how to do it.
9. The video capability – the video function is super smart and automatically refocuses. I am taking more and more video when travelling now and have been impressed with how easy this has been.
10. It has an on camera flash which I can pull back with my finger so I can feather or bounce it! I actually managed to take shots of my kids in front of the sunset using the on camera flash this year!
11. It has a built in panoramic mode. I have used this over and over again for beach scenes, in Ha Long bay etc so I can create panoramas for my wall when I get home. Examples are shown below.
12. It didn’t break the bank! It cost be £385 including the kit lens and that is all I needed for travelling. When I photograph on holiday I am trying to bring as much environment in as possible. I do own a longer focal length (70-300) which I picked up second hand on Ebay but I hardly ever use it and this time didn’t even take it on holiday.
13. As it didn’t break the bank I could also afford to buy decent underwater housing so I could happily take it into the sea and swimming pool.
I have inclued lots of examples below taken on the sony A6000 from a number of different holidays and you can see how versatile it is. All images were shot in auto intelligent, AV (aperture priortity) or S (Shutter priority mode). In all cases I allowed the camera to make the focus decision.
low light capability
All of the images below were taken at very high ISO with the first 3 images being taken at the cameras maximum ISO level (24,500 ISO). The shot of my son and daughter in front of the sunset is straight out of camera – I have used the on camera flash and pulled it back a little bit with my finger so it feathers rather than pushing the light straight into their faces.
For a small camera (and for the amount I paid for it) the ISO capability is very impressive
panoramic shooting examples
Whilst I am travelling I am looking to take images that remind me and my family of our experience and this is when I shoot in Panoramic mode. The camera does this automatically and stitches the images together. I used this a great deal when backpacking in Vietnam (if you would like to read about the backpacking trip you can visit my very extensive blog post here!)
shooting in the sea and swimming pools
This Summer I decided to invest in a Seafrogs underwater housing kit so I could take the Sony into the sea and swimming pools. I paid approx £280 for the kit and was incredibly impressed with how well it worked.
Firstly, it meant that the camera floated – one of my worries in the sea is that I would drop it but this would never be the case.
Secondly, I could change all of the settings, and turn the camera on and off whilst it was in the case.
Finally, and probably most importantly, the case has an alarm! The minute it senses that any water has penetrated the case it emits a very loud noise. I wasn’t aware of this but my husband took the camera and Seafrog on a speedboat for the day and accidentally got a drop of water inside, he knew immediately to get the camera out.
Below are examples of images I took in the sea and in the swimming pool and all of them were shot in intelligent auto. The camera did an excellent job at deciding on where to focus which meant I could just concentrate on the composition and having fun!
macro and portraits with a longer focal length
I also managed to pick up a longer focal length 55-210mm from Ebay to take backpacking incase I needed to zoom into anything from a distance. I have to be honest I didn’t use this lens very often but I did test it on a butterfly on a flower next to us at dinner and for photographing some of the locals we had met (with their permission)
I hope you have found this blog post useful – if you have any questions regarding the Sony A6000 please feel free to comment below or drop me an email via the contact page. Thanks for reading!
about the author
Nina Mace has is coming into her 10th year running a UK family photography business. Before she became a professional photographer she was a brand and marketing manager for 15 years. She was awarded Children, family & lifestyle photographer of the year by the Guild of professional photographers and was also voted professional trainer of the year by SWPP members in 2017. She offers group and 1-2-1 training for photographers of all levels and not once does she ask the universe to help – sadly its all hard graft and practice.
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