Best Sony a6000 Setup

Introduction

Today we’re going to talk about the best starter setup for those of you thinking of jumping on the Sony train and starting off with your first Mirrorless APS camera. Oh, happy day, happy day.

What kind of camera is it classified as?

The Sony a6000  is considered a Mirrorless APS cropped sensor camera. Originally released in the summer of 2014, the camera aimed to persuade the upcoming photographer to make the leap to the mirrorless ecosystem and ditch that bulky DSLR. And that it did. Seasoned photographers were impressed with its technological prowess in such a small form factor and have jumped onto the Sony bandwagon since. Today, friends, you may do the same yourself.

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What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies with the a6000?

As with everything in life, technological advances all come with accompanying pros and cons. Let’s discuss the ones of greatest significance now so you have a better understanding of what this camera is capable of and how it can best suit your specific needs.

Pros:

Mirrorless cameras tend to be lighter in weight and more compact in design without compromising functionality and performance. The a6000 is a great example of both those advantages. On average the a6000 weights between 50 to 100 grams less compared to similarly priced cameras. I know what you’re thinking, 50 grams! That’s not really that much. Well no, not in a single-use case. However, if we compound that over 1000 hours of shooting, then yes it will be very noticeable. Lighter and more compact cameras will reduce the physical demand on our bodies or joint strain with prolonged usage. And when you find yourself shooting continuously for 2 or more hours at a time strapped with heavy equipment, you’ll really thank the camera gods for lighter weight.

The a6000 is also more compact compared to similarly priced Full Frame cameras (for example the Sony a7), a much-needed advantage if you’re wanting a small camera for convenient stowing while traveling. When it comes to physical dimensions is thought to beat in that area, coming in at only 344 grams and 120 x 67 x 45 mm in size. That’s incredibly small considering the amount of versatility and features offered.

The lenses for the a6000, and all APS sized cameras for that matter are significantly cheaper compared to the Full frame counterparts (typically by as much as 30%). Granted, these kinds of cost savings are only applicable if you’re purchasing APS designed lenses and not Full Frame (FE) lenses. Purchasing Full-frame lenses to use on this camera will remove any reduced savings achievable.

The autofocus on this camera is fantastic and competitive even in 2019’s standards, namely because of the Phase Detection Autofocus system used. Phase Detection Autofocus allows the camera to track moving subjects and far outperforms the more traditional Contrast Detection Autofocus. Granted, newer Sony cameras will have more AF points, making newer versions significantly better in autofocus performance. Even so, for the beginning photographer, the autofocus on this camera will be more than adequate.

WIFI enabled

The a6000 is also WIFI enabled and has the ability to post directly online to Facebook through the camera itself. It also has NF, which supports the ability to transfer photos directly from the camera to your cell phone. In today’s world, a nice perk when you’re shooting remotely and want to instantly transfer photos to your phone for better viewing.

This camera also charges via a USB cable. Thank god, we can ditch those awful battery chargers.

Cons:

The major con is that the a6000 is a cropped sensor camera and doesn’t have as large of a sensor as it’s Full-Frame counterparts. This is only a con because cropped sensors have reduced Depth of Field achievable at their widest open Aperture. Simply said, APS sized cameras will have greater Depth of Field if directly compared to Full-Frame cameras when all variables are equal (lighting, subject matter, distance, lens and camera settings). If shallow Depth of FIeld is important to you, then crop sensor cameras will not be the ideal fit unless you’re willing to slightly compromise. If you want the shallowest Depth of FIeld possible, say you shoot portraits, for example, then Full Frame is best. However, If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a Full-Frame at the moment, then the slight compromise on Depth of Field will be sufficient enough for your needs so you can at least get started, then upgrade later.

APS cameras also alter focal length when shot with Full-Frame lenses. So know, if you have Full Frame lenses already and are looking to move over to the a6000, your focal lengths will be multiplied by its 1.5X crop factor. For example, take a 50 mm f/1.8 lens, when multiplied by the crop factor turns that same 50 mm lens turns into a 75 mm lens equivalent. This magnification occurs with all APS cameras. But, could be converted into an advantage if you shoot wildlife or sports since you can buy cheaper lenses and use that magnification to get an equivalent larger focal length for less money.

The a6000 is definitely convenient to use due to its size compared to similarly priced Full Frame counterparts, but what it absolutely lacks is customizable dials and buttons. The a6000 only has one variable dial, which depending on the mode selected, has the ability to only change either Aperture or Shutter Speed. All other functions will have to be changed through the main menu using the primary menu dial and select button. This will become especially challenging when shooting in the Manual mode,  where the need to quickly change both Aperture and Shutter Speed occurs.

The a6000 has a smaller viewfinder than the Full-Framecounterparts. It does have an electronic viewfinder, however, which allows users to see changes in camera settings with real-time feedback, but the viewfinder does lack resolution, contrast, and detail in comparison to more traditional viewfinders.

Lastly, not as much lenses are available for the APC format within the Sony ecosystem. Sony themselves hasn’t manufactured the largest lineup of lenses for these smaller format cameras. However, non-native lenses do exist in the APC format from other manufacturers and are definitely an option if you wish to purchase the necessary lens adapter.

What mount does the Sony a6000 use?

The Sony a6000 uses an E Mount adapter to mount lenses within the Sony ecosystem. One main benefit to having this specific lens mount is that there are secondary manufacturers that have made adapters that allow the E Mount platform to adapt to all major lens ecosystems. In fact, there are dozens of these adapters available online. Consider taking a look at B & H photo or Adorama for the specific lenses you’d like to shoot with to see if an adapter is available for the ecosystem.

What are other lenses can the a6000 use?

Here’s a list of available adapters: Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Minolta, Hasselblad, Contax, Leica, Pentax, and Micro Four Thirds to name a few.

Below is a list of the top adapter mounts available for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma:

Canon/Sigma: MC-11 Adapter

Sigma-MC-11-Mount-Converter

Nikon: Vello Adapter

Vello-Select-Nikon-F-Lens-to-Sony-E-Mount

Sony A Mount: A Mount to E Mount Adapter

Sony-A-Mount-to-E-Mount-Lens-Adapter

Bear in mind, using non-native lenses with adapters often cause limited autofocus and auto-exposure abilities. Not all adapters will have autofocus or auto exposure functionality built-in. Only the more expensive lens adapters have those functions. Cheaper adapters only allow the lens to be mounted, and will not have the electronic circuitry built in to control these functions. So once mounted, the lens will become completely manual only. Expect to be stuck manual focusing and manually changing Aperture when using lower end adapters.

What’s the difference between E mount and FE mount?

E mount is for APS crop sensors cameras. FE mounts is for Full Frame sensor cameras. Luckily, with the E mount adapter on the a6000, we still have the ability to shoot with FE mount lenses. They mount and function completely the same way as on the Full Frame cameras. The drawbacks to using an FE lens on the a6000, however, are the following:

The a6000 is a cropped sensor camera with a 1.5x magnification as mentioned previously. This causes the focal length of the FE lens to multiplied by the crop value of the a6000. This is both a gift and a curse depending on the subject matter that you shoot. If you shoot subjects that are a great distance away from where you are physically standing to be shot (wildlife, macro or sports photography), shooting on a crop sensor camera is actually a HUGE advantage. Why? It’s cheaper. By as much as 50% cheaper as a matter of fact. Full Frame lenses that have the same focal length compared to a crop sensor variant are always more expensive. E mount cameras will also have reduced Depth of Field, as mentioned previously. Thankfully, however, the sharpness of the images produced isn’t affected. And we can have confidence at least knowing that images produced on APS cameras, or the a6000 specifically, will be equally as sharp as a comparable camera from its release year.

Is the Sony a6000 a good beginner camera?

Yes.

Why? It’s incredibly affordable and is still competitive even when compared to today’s cropped sensor cameras. It offers enough technical ability and software features to meet the needs of a starting photographer. It offers a good variety of lenses, even solely within the Sony ecosystem alone, to get started. Not to mention the ability to adapt other non-native lenses. It’s small, convenient, compact and user-friendly. Obviously, it won’t be a Full-Frame camera so it will lack some Depth of Field and it’s not as new as current cameras so software and technical ability will be slightly outdated. Even so, it’s still a fantastic camera to get started and hit the ground running on.

What are the best lenses for the a6000?

This section is 100% recommended based on my personal experience. Your shooting style and medium may require that you start with different lenses than the ones listed below. At the bare minimum though, the list below are recommendations to spend the least amount while still covering the basic necessities

General Photography:

Sony E 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

Sony-E-18-135mm-lens

Sony E 55-210 mm f/4.5 – 6.3 OSS 

Sony-E-55-210mm-lens

Sony E PZ 16-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

Sony-E-PZ-16-50mm

 

Specifically for Macro Photography:

Sony FE 90 mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

Sony-FE-90mm-lens

Specifically for Landscape Photography:

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8

Sony-SEL16F28-16mm-lens

Is the a6000 a good camera for you?

If you’re on a budget and just need something good but won’t break the bank, then yes. Are you just starting out and DON’T need the absolute best image quality, then yes. If you DON’T need the shallowest Depth of Field, then yes. If you’re shooting wildlife, sports or fashion and need better telephoto abilities at a lower cost, then yes.

With lenses, the resale value on the used market will consistently be between 50-75% of the original MSRP value of the lens is brand new. So, be okay with starting APS and then eventually moving to Full Frame, it won’t be a total loss of money to do so. In fact, that’s exactly how I started myself. The Sony a6000 is a great entry-level camera to get you started. It has its drawbacks, as with everything, but overall it’ll be perfect for you.

Best Sony a6000 bundles

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Overview
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Summary

The Sony a6000 has minor drawbacks. Even so, rich with features and compact in size, it still remains competitive even in today’s marketplace for entry level cameras.