Sony ILCE-α6000

      Photo Review 8.8

      In summary

      Like its predecessors, the ILCE-α6000 is a nice little camera with plenty of adjustable functions and a worthwhile range of upgrades and enhancements that make it better than the earlier models.

      Noteworthy improvements include the updated AF system and revised menus, which are much more logical and easier to use than the NEX menus.

      Although not the smallest CSC available, with the 16-50mm kit lens it will fit reasonably comfortably into a jacket pocket or purse. It’s also a great little camera for street photography ““ although the addition of a touch screen would make it even better.


      Full review

      Announced on 12 February, the Sony α6000 offers the same 24-megapixel resolution as the ILCA-77 Mark II we reviewed recently  but in a much more compact body. The new camera’s sensor has the same gapless on-chip lens structure as the α7R  and features on-chip phase-detection AF with wider coverage plus a new-generation RGB colour filter. Like its predecessors, the NEX-7 and NEX-6, the α6000 sports a built-in EVF and a tilting 3-inch monitor.  


      Angled view of the ILCE-α6000 with the E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens supplied in the standard kit. (Source: Sony)

      Who’s it for?
       Replacing both the NEX-7 and NEX-6, the α6000 will appeal to advanced hobbyists who want to step up from a digicam as well as experienced photographers, particularly photo enthusiasts and pro photographers who want a advanced controls and high performance in a compact ‘take everywhere’ camera. The table below shows the main differences between the α6000 and its predecessors.





      Effective resolution

      24.3 megapixels

      16 megapixels

      24.3  megapixels

      Image processor

      BIONZ X


      Sensitivity range

      ISO 100-25600

      ISO 100 to 16000


      1.0 cm (0.39 type) OLED EVF (colour) with 1,440,000 dots,

      1.3 cm (0.5 type) XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 2,359,296 dots


      Pull out and tilt 3-inch; 921,600 dots

      AF system

      Hybrid AF (179-point phase-detection /25-point contrast-detection)

      Hybrid AF (99-point phase-detection /25-point contrast-detection)

      25 point contrast-detection

      Shutter speeds

      30-1/4000 seconds plus Bulb


      1200-zone evaluative

      Max burst speed

      11 fps

      3 fps

       10 fps

      Buffer capacity (JPEG/RAW)

      49 JPEG/21 RAW

      Approx. 10 JPEG/ 6 RAW

      Video format/ max. resolution

      AVCHD plus MP4/ 1080/50p/25p


      GN 6.0 (m/ISO 100), coverage to 18mm

      Wi-Fi & NFC Connectivity


      Wi-Fi only


      Battery capacity (CIPA)

      360 shots/charge with monitor; 310 shots/charge with EVF

      360 shots/charge with monitor; 270 shots/charge with EVF

      430 shots/charge with monitor; 350 shots/charge with EVF

      Body dimensions (wxhxd)

      120.0 x 66.9 x 45.1 mm

      119.9 x 66.9 x 42.6 mm

      119.9 x 69.9 x 42.6 mm

      Body weight (incl. battery & card)

      Approx. 285 grams

      Approx. 287 grams

      Approx. 291 grams

      The main advantage the α6000 has over similarly priced and specified DSLRs is its compact format. The main factor sacrificed to achieve this advantage is a reduction in battery capacity although, when compared with the ILCA-77 Mark II, it’s just over 100 shots (equal to about a quarter of total capacity). A typical entry-level DLSR with an optical viewfinder should support more than 500 shots/charge.

      Build and Ergonomics
       The basic design of the α6000 hasn’t departed much from the earlier NEX styling. Like the NEX-6 and NEX-7, the new camera has a large and comfortable grip. While Sony doesn’t state what the camera is made from, its build quality is very solid. Overall, the α6000 combines the best features of its predecessors and addresses some issues users had with the earlier models.


       Front view of the α6000. (Source: Sony.)

      The front panel is almost identical to the NEX-7’s, although front part of the grip where the shutter button is located steps down instead of sloping. The rear panel has the same tilting monitor as the two NEX cameras.


      Top view of the α6000 with E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. (Source: Sony.)

      The NEX-7’s twin dials on the top panel are repeated in the α6000, although the inner one is now a mode dial (which the earlier camera lacked). This dial carries 10 settings, among them a new   Memory Recall mode that accesses three custom memory banks where users can store frequently used combinations of settings.

      The second dial is a standard control dial that is used for adjusting selected functions. There are also two Custom buttons, one beside the shutter button that provides quick access to a pre-determined function (the default being focus modes) and the other on the rear panel below the arrow pad. The default for this button is the   in-camera guide. It’s also a delete button.

      The arrow pad buttons can also be customised, bringing the total number of customisable buttons to seven. Users can choose from 43 assignable functions to satisfy their individual requirements.

      Recessed into the top panel are a pop-up flash and a multi-interface shoe, which can be used for add-on flash guns. The flash is similar to the NEX models’ flashes and is popped up by pressing a button just above the monitor and lowered by pressing it down.

      Like the earlier NEX cameras, the α6000 has a built-in OLED EVF, which is perched up in the top left hand corner of the camera body. Its resolution is 1,440,000 dots, which is roughly half that of the NEX models. It’s also about 30% smaller.


      Angled rear view of the α6000 with the monitor pulled out and tilted upwards. (Source: Sony.)

      The tilting monitor is identical to the earlier cameras, with a resolution of 921,600 dots. It pulls out from the camera and can be tilted up through approximately 90 degrees for waist-level viewing and down by about 45 degrees for shooting with the camera held above the photographer’s head.

      Like all LCD monitors, it’s essentially unreadable in bright outdoor lighting, even when the Sunny Weather mode is selected. (Fortunately, the EVF provides an alternative way to compose shots for shooting stills and movies.) Touch controls are not supported.

      The arrow pad includes a control wheel plus four directional ‘buttons’ that access the Display, ISO, drive and exposure compensation/Photo Creativity settings. All are customisable. Just above the arrow pad is a Fn (function) button that is also programmable. Pressing it takes you to a quick menu with 12 selectable settings.

      The movie button is small and located on the corner of the camera body, just to the rear of the strap loop. It’s not the most convenient position, so it’s as well to have a dedicated movie mode on the mode dial.

      Sony has re-designed the menu system to make it more ‘mature’ looking and easier to access. It contains six sections, covering shooting parameters, custom settings, Wi-Fi and NFC, applications, playback and set-up functions. Some sections contain six or seven pages, while others have one or two.

      The memory card shares a compartment in the base of the grip with the battery, which is recharged in the camera via a USB cable. The card slot is pushed up against the hinge of the cover, making it quite difficult to insert and remove cards if your fingers are large or your dexterity is limited.

      The Creative Style and Picture Effects settings are the same as in the α7R and covered in our review of that camera.

      Sensor and Image Processing
       The sensor in the α6000 is new and represents a development of the sensor in the NEX-7. While offering the same 24-megapixel resolution, it has a similar   gapless microlens structure to the more sophisticated α7R ‘s imaging chip.

      Gapless microlenses minimise the spaces between actual photodiodes, ensuring all of the light that reaches the sensor ends up in a pixel well and can be used in forming the image. This results in higher pixel sensitivity and lower noise levels at all ISO settings.

      The α6000 also uses the same BIONZ X image processor as the A7R, which supports ISO sensitivity to a maximum ISO 25,600 for stills or ISO 12,800 for movies. It also allows  continuous shooting at up to 11 frames/second (fps) with autofocusing. And there’s space in the buffer memory for up to 49 JPEGs (Large/Fine) or 21 ARW.RAW files (or RAW+JPEG pairs). Large/Fine JPEGs are typically 10MB in size, while ARW.RAW files average 27MB.

      Like the NEX-6, the α6000 has on-chip phase-detection AF pixels, which complement the normal 25-point contrast detection AF system. Sony has improved the AF system by boosting the number of phase-detection sensors to 179, a significant improvement on the 99 AF points on the NEX-6. The area covered by these points is also larger and covers 90% of the frame in the new camera, compared with around 50% in the NEX-6.

      Sony claims the new system is the ‘world’s fastest’ AF performance with a lag of only 0.06 second. The camera also supports AF tracking in movie mode and for continuous shooting of still images.
       The α6000’s video capabilities are similar to other recent Sony cameras, with support for  1080i/p resolution in AVCHD mode at 28/24 or 17 Mbps with frame rates of 24/ 50/60 fps plus two MP4 recording options (1440 x 1080 at 12 Mbps or VGA at 3 Mbps). Sony has added a zebra-pattern display capability to aid exposure control and users can record movies in the P, A, S or M shooting modes.

      Full HD video movies can also be output as uncompressed clean-screen video files to external recording devices via an HDMI connection. Clips are limited to 29 minutes, after which recording stops to prevent potential over-heating.

      The menu also includes a Wind Noise Reduction function, albeit with only two settings: on and off. But while soundtracks are recorded in stereo in the camera, there’s no provision for adding an external microphone, except via the Multi-accessory shoe and you will need the ECMXYST1M stereo microphone (RRP AU$199).

      Wi-Fi and NFC
       On-board Wi-Fi enablesusers to capture and share images via   suitably equipped smart-phones. NFC capabilitymakes it easier to connect the camera with compatible Android smart-phones and tablets. We’ve covered these functions in our review of the α7R.

      Sony’s Wi-Fi system isn’t as refined as the systems in some other manufacturers’ cameras (notably recent M4/3 models from Olympus and Panasonic) because it doesn’t let you adjust camera settings from a connected smart device. And although the growing portfolio of PlayMemories Camera Apps lets users access both free and paid appsthat offer utilities and creative enhancements, some of them are a bit clunky and difficult to use.

      But at least Sony is attempting to provide a pathway to apps that some users could enjoy. The α6000 is also compatible with Sony’s  Camera Remote API programme. This requires installation of the most recent Smart Remote Control, which is available from Sony’s website.

       We tested the α6000 with the E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, which is supplied with the camera in the standard single-lens kit. We have already reviewed the E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS  lens in June 2014 with the ILCE-5000 camera.  

      Imatest showed the combination of camera and lens to be capable of meeting (and even slightly exceeding) expectations for the sensor’s resolution with both JPEG   and ARW.RAW files.  This is no mean feat for a 24-megapixel camera.

      Resolution remained high from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, inclusive, and then declined slowly but steadily with a sharp drop between ISO 12800 and ISO 25600, particularly for JPEG files. The difference between centre and edge resolution across the camera’s sensitivity range was comparatively small, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.


      We found little visible noise in long exposures at ISO settings up to 3200, with a small increase in the visibility of noise at ISO 6400. Shots taken at   ISO 12800 and ISO 25600 were noticeably noise-affected.

      Flash performance was generally good, with only slight under-exposure at ISO 100 and exposures evenly balanced from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. There was slight over-exposure at ISO 3200 because the camera’s auto exposure system was unable to adjust the lens aperture and/or shutter speed to compensate for the higher sensitivity. Shots taken at the three highest ISO settings were so over-exposed as to be unusable.

      The auto white balance setting produced close-to-neutral colours under fluorescent lighting but, as expected, failed to eliminate the orange cast from incandescent lights. Interestingly, both the EVF and monitor screens appeared to be largely capable of rendering incandescent lighting with much less warming than appeared in the captured image, a feature potential users should take note of.

      Auto white balance with flash exposures produced excellent colour neutrality, which meant the flash pre-set had no adjustments to make.  In contrast, both the incandescent and most of the fluorescent pre-sets tended to over-correct and it required manual measurement to produce neutral colours under both types of lighting.

      Autofocusing was generally very fast and the camera was able to lock onto static subjects almost instantaneously.  This was true for both bright ambient lighting and in low light levels, provided subject contrast in the latter wasn’t too low.

      In bright outdoor lighting, the camera was quick to lock to subjects moving at walking speed and capable of tracking them as they passed across the field of view or approached the camera. However, the continuous AF setting often found it difficult to match the speed of fast-moving subjects when recording either movie clips or high-speed burst of still shots.

      Video quality was also above average and similar to the quality we obtained from the ILCA-77 Mark II we reviewed recently. If anything, the quality of soundtracks recorded by the camera was slightly better than those recorded by the A-77 Mark II, although wind noise suppression was no better than the larger camera’s.

      Our timing tests were carried out with an 8GB SanDisk Ultra SDHC U1 memory card, which claims a transfer speed of 30 MB/second. The review camera powered up for shooting in just over two seconds, which is relatively slow for a CSC and about twice the time taken for Sony’s A77 Mark II, which we reviewed recently to power-up.

      We measured a consistent capture lag  of 0.2 seconds, which was eliminated when the shot was pre-focused. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.8 seconds without flash and 4.1 seconds with. In the high-speed continuous shooting mode, we recorded a burst of 48 Large/ Fine JPEG frames in 5.7 seconds, which is slightly faster than specifications. When shooting a burst of ARW.RAW files in the same mode, recording paused after 22 frames, which were captured in 2.45 seconds, which is slightly slower than the JPEG frame rate but still above the specified 11 fps. The buffer memory filled after 21 RAW+JPEG pairs, which were recorded in 2.3 seconds, which was marginally slower than the specified 11 fps..

      Without an indicator lamp on the top or rear panels (it’s on the base plate, next to the battery/card compartment), it was difficult to measure exact processing times for individual shots or bursts taken in the continuous shooting mode. Our estimates of processing times for single shots with the memory card we used, based on an average 10 shots, are as follows: Large/Fine JPEG – 1.5 seconds, ARW.RAW – 2.1 seconds, RAW+JPEG pair –  2.55 seconds.

      The buffer memory took approximately one minute and six seconds to clear after the last frame captured in our burst of 48 JPEG frames, 49 seconds after the end of the ARW.RAW burst and one minute and five seconds after the RAW+JPEG pairs.

      Like its predecessors, the ILCE-α6000 is a nice little camera with plenty of adjustable functions and a worthwhile range of upgrades and enhancements that make it better than the earlier models.

      Noteworthy improvements include the updated AF system and revised menus, which are much more logical and easier to use than the NEX menus.

      Although not the smallest CSC available, with the 16-50mm kit lens it will fit reasonably comfortably into a jacket pocket or purse. It’s also a great little camera for street photography ““ although the addition of a touch screen would make it even better.



       Image sensor: 23.5 x 15.6mm ‘Exmor’ CMOS sensor with 24.7 million photosites (2.43 megapixels effective)
       Image processor: BIONZ X
       Lens mount: Sony E-mount
       Focal length crop factor: 1.5x
       Image formats: Stills ““ARW.RAW (V2.3), JPEG (DCF V. 2.0, Exif V. 2.3), RAW+JPEG; Movies ““ AVCHD (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264), MP4
       Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3:2 aspect: 6000 x 4000, M: 4240 x 2832, S: 3008 x 2000; 16:9 aspect: 6000 x 3376, M: 4240 x 2400, S:3008 x 1688; Sweep Panorama: Wide: horizontal 12,416 x 1,856, vertical 5,536 x 2,160, Standard: horizontal 8,192 x 1,856, vertical 3,872 x 2,160; Movies: 1920 x 1080 at 50p/28M, 50i/24M, 50i/17M, 24p/24M, 24p/17M; 1440 x 1080. VGA at 30/25 fps
       Image Stabilisation: Lens based
       Dust removal: Charge protection coating on image sensor and image sensor shift mechanism
       Shutter speed range: Still images:1/4000 to 30 sec, Bulb, Movies: 1/4000 to 1/4(1/3 steps), up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto slow shutter mode)
       Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV in 1/3- or 1/2-EV increments
       Exposure bracketing: Cont./Bracket: Single, With 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1.0 EV, 2.0 EV, 3.0 EV increments, 3/5 frames (1.0 EV, 2.0 EV, 3.0 EV: only 3 frames) selectable
       Other bracketing options: White balance (Lo/Hi)
       Self-timer:   2 or 10 seconds delay, 10 sec delay 3/5 exposures selectable
       Focus system: Fast Hybrid AF (179-point phase-detection AF/25-point contrast-detection AF) with Wide, zone, centre-weighted and flexible spot (S/M/L/) modes plus Predictive control, Focus lock, Eye-Start AF with optional viewfinder
       Focus modes: Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF) / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF / AF tracking (C-AF + TR) modes; magnify and focus peaking assists for manual focusing
       Exposure metering:  1200-zone evaluative metering with Multi-segment, Centre-weighted and Spot modes
       Shooting modes: iAUTO, Superior Auto, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Movie (Programmed AE (P)/Aperture priority (A)/Shutter-speed priority (S)/Manual (M)), Sweep Panorama, Scene Selection (Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Night Portrait, Anti Motion Blur)
       Creative Styles: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia, Style Box (1-6); adjustments to Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps)
       Picture effects: Posterisation (Colour/B&W), Pop Colour, Retro Photo, Partial Colour (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera (Normal/Cool/Warm/Green/Magenta) Soft High-key, Soft Focus (High/Mid/Low), HDR Painting (High/Mid/Low), Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature (Auto/Top/Middle(H)/Bottom/Right/Middle(V)/Left), Watercolour, Illustration (High/Mid/Low)
      ISO range: Auto (ISO 100-12800 equivalent, selectable lower limit and upper limit),   Manual(ISO 100-25600, selectable lower limit and upper limit), Movies: ISO 100-12800 equivalent (1/3 EV step)
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm White, Cool White, Day White, Daylight), Flash, Underwater, Colour Temperature & colour filter, Custom
      Colour space: sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard compatible with TRILUMINOS Colour
      Flash: GN 6 (in meters at ISO 100),   coverage to 16mm focal length, pre-flash TTL control, +/-3EV compensation in 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps; recycle time approx 4 seconds
      Flash modes: Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync., Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable), Hi-speed sync, Wireless control
      Sequence shooting: Max. approx. 11 shots/sec.  
      Buffer memory depth: 49 JPEGs, 22 raw files, 21 RAW+JPEG
      Storage Media: Single slot for Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards; UHS-1 compliant
      Viewfinder: 1.0 cm (0.39 type) OLED EVF (colour) with 1,440,000 dots, 100% FOV, approx. 1.07x magnification, approx. 23 mm eye relief, -4.0 to +3.0m-1 dioptre adjustment
      LCD monitor: Tilting 3-inch TFT LCD with 921,600 dots, manual brightness adjustment  (5 steps between -2 and +2), Sunny Weather mode  
      Playback functions: Single (with or without shooting information Y RGB histogram & highlight/shadow warning), 12/30 Images index view, Enlarged display mode (L: 16.7x, M: 11.8x, S: 8.3x, Panorama (Standard): 19.2x, Panorama (Wide): 29.1x); Display Rotation (Manual/Off selectable), Slideshow  
      Interface terminals: USB 2.0 Mass-storage, MTP, PC remote, HDMI micro connector (Type-D), BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD, 4K Still Image PB
      Wi-Fi function: IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz band) plus NFC; View on Smartphone, Send to Computer, View on TV
      Power supply: NP-FW50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 310 shots/charge (Viewfinder); approx. 360 shots (LCD monitor)  
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 120.0 x 66.9 x 45.1 mm
      Weight: Approx. 285 grams (body only)



       Based on JPEG files.




      Based on ARW.RAW files processed with Adobe Camera Raw.









       Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with flash illumination.



      30-second exposure at ISO 100; 23mm focal length, f/4.5.


      10-second exposure at ISO 800; 23mm focal length, f/6.3.


      6-second exposure at ISO 3200; 23mm focal length, f/11.


      4-second exposure at ISO 6400; 23mm focal length, f/11.


      2.5-second exposure at ISO 12800; 23mm focal length, f/13.


      2-second exposure at ISO 25600; 23mm focal length, f/16.


      Flash exposure at ISO 100; 50mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 800; 50mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 3200; 50mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 6400; 50mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 25600; 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      16mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/9.


      50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/8.



      Digital zoom, 50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/7.1.


      Clear Image Zoom, 50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/8.


      Close-up with 50mm focal length; ISO 400, 1/160 second at f/5.6.


      Close-up with 50mm focal length using the Macro scene pre-set; ISO 125, 1/160 second at f/5.6.


      45mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      50mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/80 second at f/6.3.


      27mm focal length; ISO 640, 1/60 second at f/5.6.


      34mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/30 second at f/5.


      Still frame from AVCHD video clip; 50i at 24Mbps.


      Still frame from AVCHD video clip; 50i at 17Mbps.


      Still frame from AVCHD video clip; 50p at 28Mbps.


      Still frame from AVCHD video clip; 25p at   24Mbps.


      Still frame from AVCHD video clip; 25p at 17Mbps.


      Still frame from MP4 video clip; 1440 x 1080 at 25 fps.


      Still frame from MP4 video clip; 640 x 480 at 25 fps.


      RRP: AU$1099; US$800 (with 16-50mm lens)

      • Build: 8.8
      • Ease of use: 8.8
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Still image quality JPEG: 8.8
      • Still image quality RAW: 9.0
      • Video quality: 8.5