The Sony α6000 is the predecessor to the Sony α6100. First released in 2014, this APS-C mirrorless camera has maintained its staying power thanks to its incredible value. It's lightweight and portable, with a 24.3-megapixel sensor that still holds its own in an increasingly crowded camera market. While it can't shoot 4k video, and its autofocus isn't as snappy as we've come to expect from Sony in the years since this camera's release, this is still a great option for beginner photographers.
The Sony a6000 is very good for travel photography. It's portable and lightweight, so it won't cause fatigue during long days or while on the go. It also takes good images, with excellent sharpness and noise handling straight out of the camera, especially at lower ISO levels. Battery life is fairly good, and you can get a lot out of it in a day depending on how you use it. However, its autofocus system is just decent, and while it can track subjects accurately, it's a bit slower to find its target than newer AF systems.
The Sony a6000 is good for landscape photography. It's very portable, making it easy to take on hikes or to remote shooting locations. It also has a decent battery life. Image quality is nice overall, and it works well if you're shooting JPEGs. However, while it has good usable dynamic range, RAW files don't fare too well when making extensive exposure adjustments, which can introduce noise and digital artifacts. This is especially true at high ISOs, where its noise handling is just okay, meaning the camera isn't as well-suited to capturing landscapes at night or in low light.
The Sony a6000 is decent for sports and wildlife photography. It takes sharp, color-accurate photos straight out of the camera, and it can shoot at a fairly quick continuous shooting speed for burst shooting. However, its image buffer is quite small, which can interrupt your shooting at a critical moment if you fill it up. Its autofocus system does well with slower subjects, but it can lose track of faster-moving subjects, and it can be a little slow to catch up compared with newer AF systems.
The Sony a6000 isn't suited for vlogging. It doesn't have a fully articulated screen, and you can't flip its tilting screen to face forward, making it hard to monitor yourself for walk-and-talk vlogs. It also can't record 4k video. On the upside, it can shoot at up to 60 fps in 1080p, which is great for slow-motion or smooth action footage.
The Sony a6000 isn't suitable for studio video. It can only record 1080p video with 8-bit 4:2:0 color, meaning it doesn't capture as much color information as cameras that can record in 10-bit with 4:2:2 sampling, giving you less to work with when editing and processing your footage. Video quality is decent, but it doesn't have the best dynamic range and doesn't perform very well in low light. Its autofocus system also shows its age compared to newer Sony models, as it can sometimes lose its target and be a bit slow to catch up.
The Sony a6000 isn't suitable for action video. It isn't designed for action rigs or helmets, and it can only record 1080p at up to 60 fps, so while it can capture smooth action footage, it doesn't support any higher frame rates for super slow-motion. It also lacks any waterproofing or weather-sealing.
The Sony a6000 has a good build quality, similar to the Sony a6100, though its plastic construction feels cheaper than the magnesium alloy body of the Sony a6400. The inputs and battery compartment are covered by sturdy hinged doors. The buttons also provide nice physical feedback. However, some of the inputs, like the aperture dial, aren't the most responsive, with a slight delay when you change an input.
The Sony a6000 has just a single dial on top, which controls aperture by default, and a control wheel on the back, which controls shutter speed and also acts as a directional pad to navigate the menu.
The Sony a6000 feels comfortable to shoot with for people of most hand sizes, except for those with larger hands, which can feel cramped on the camera's relatively small handgrip and body. The video record button is also strangely placed by the thumb rest, making it a little awkward to start recording in movie mode. Still, the camera feels lightweight and well-balanced. It's also easy to adjust settings with either eye to the viewfinder, though the offset EVF is better suited to right-eye shooters.
The EVF is decently sized and fairly comfortable to shoot through. However, its resolution falls short of newer models like the Sony a6400, meaning the image doesn't look as crisp. Thankfully, it doesn't exhibit too much lag.
The Sony a6000 has a tilting screen, which is great for waist-level shooting since it's discreet and easy to pop out. The screen is bright enough to see clearly in sunnier conditions, but it lacks touch capability, making it more cumbersome to navigate the menu and change settings. The lack of touch capability also means there's no option to use touch focus, as on newer models, so you're stuck with using the control wheel to manually select focus points.
The Sony a6000 uses Sony's older menu system, which is notoriously confusing and difficult to navigate. More advanced settings are buried within submenus that aren't all logically organized. However, you can set it to tile view, which makes it a little quicker to get to the right section of the menu. Thankfully, it has a lot of customization options, allowing you to configure the buttons and a custom menu to your preference, so you don't have to dive into the labyrinthine menu as frequently.
The Sony a6000 includes a range of assistance functions to help you frame your shot, ensure your subject is in focus, and ensure the image is exposed correctly. In addition to many commonly used assistance functions, there's a manual focus assistant tool that lets you zoom in on a section of your photo to check that it's in focus.
The Sony a6000 has an okay battery life. Depending on how you use it, you can get a fair amount of shots out of it on a full charge, though it still pales in comparison to most DSLR cameras. Battery life is good for video, but mostly because the camera's limited to 1080p recording, which doesn't drain the battery as fast as more demanding 4k video.
While the Sony a6000 doesn't have electronic shutter capability for silent shooting, it does have an electronic front-curtain shutter (EFCS) option to reduce shutter shock at slower shutter speeds. However, you have to delve into the 'Custom Settings' menu to enable it.
The Sony a6000 has an alright shooting speed. It shoots at a fairly quick continuous shooting speed in its high-speed drive mode, which is good for capturing stills of fast-moving subjects. In addition to 'Low' and 'High', there's also a 'Mid' drive mode that can shoot at 6 fps. Unfortunately, the camera has a relatively small photo buffer, especially if you shoot in RAW format. The buffer also takes a fair amount of time to empty once full. Though it isn't the worst, it's slow enough that you could miss a key moment waiting for it to finish clearing.
The Sony a6000 has a decent autofocus system. It was an impressive AF system at the time of its release in 2014, but it falls short when compared to newer cameras. Like other Sony Alpha models, it uses a hybrid on-sensor AF system with both phase-detection and contrast-detection AF, although it has fewer focus points than newer models.
Overall, it does a great job tracking moving faces, and it includes an eye-detection feature for more precise focus. It isn't as fast or sticky as newer models like the Sony a6400, meaning faster-moving subjects likely won't be in focus in every shot, but it still has a solid hit rate. The general subject/object tracking can be a bit slow to find its target. Still, for general purpose and casual photography, it's likely to keep up fairly well in a wide range of shooting situations.
The Sony a6000 doesn't have in-body image stabilization, but you can use an optically stabilized lens to help reduce camera shake and shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds. The Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS kit lens that we tested the camera with includes 'Optical SteadyShot', Sony's name for stabilization, and it does a decent job of stabilizing the camera for photos. However, you'll still need a tripod when shooting at 1/20s or slower.
The Sony a6000 has impressive dynamic range. While it isn't as good as newer, higher-end models like the Sony a6600, especially at higher ISO settings, it still captures a fairly wide range of detail in higher-contrast scenes. You do lose some shadow detail, but highlights are preserved quite well. That said, the camera doesn't have the best noise handling, and pushing the exposure of your RAW files too much results in noticeable noise and banding. Overall, that means you can take photos of high-contrast scenes with a fair amount of detail preservation, but you don't have as much leeway when making exposure adjustments as you might with a newer camera.
The Sony a6000 is capable of taking very sharp JPEGs when paired with a high-end lens like the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 lens that we use to test image quality. You can punch in on your photos and still get pretty clean edges, especially with photos taken at base ISO. If you stick with the 16-50mm kit lens, expect photos that don't look quite as sharp, particularly around the edges of the frame, and have more chromatic aberrations, as you can see in some of our sample gallery images.
JPEGs taken straight out of the camera have fantastic color accuracy. On a technical level, the colors are very close to how they appear in real life. Skin tones look a little flat, however, and color science is largely a matter of preference, so you may prefer how cameras from other brands render certain colors and tones.
RAW noise handling is just okay. It performs well at low ISO values, but noise begins to creep in as you raise the ISO, and it doesn't handle noise as well at higher ISOs than newer models do, meaning images taken in low light don't look as clean.
The Sony a6000 has a fair amount of frame rate options, including 60 fps for smooth action recording or generating standard slow-motion footage.
Internal recording capability on the Sony a6000 is good. Bit rates are more limited than newer Alpha models, so the camera can't capture as much raw information, but smaller bit rates result in files that are easier to transfer.
The Sony a6000 has a decent autofocus system for video. It has a face detection feature, but no eye tracking. It does a good job with tracking human subjects, especially with slower movements, but it's not as "sticky" as the AF on newer Sony cameras, meaning there's occasionally a slight delay for the AF to catch up to your subject after they've moved or popped back into frame. Same goes for the general subject/object tracking, which can be slow to find its target after it's moved.
The Sony a6000 doesn't have any in-body stabilization, but the kit lens includes 'Optical SteadyShot' to help stabilize the image. It does an okay job of smoothing out camera shake, but there's still some jitter, which is especially noticeable when you're moving more slowly.
The Sony a6000 records decent-quality video. It isn't the sharpest or most detailed 1080p, but it's suitable for more casual recording. Unfortunately, it struggles a bit more in low light, where video looks grainy and muddy. You also lose a lot of detail in the shadows.
The Sony a6000 has some noticeable rolling shutter effect when panning the camera from side to side, but it isn't too distracting when the camera's moving at a slower pace.
The Sony a6000 has just a single SD card slot, rated for slower UHS-I cards, meaning you can't take advantage of the faster read and write speeds of newer UHS-II cards.
The Sony a6000 has a few inputs and outputs, including a Micro USB port, Micro HDMI, and microphone input, but it doesn't have a headphone jack. It's an older camera, so it doesn't support Bluetooth, but you can still transfer files over Wi-Fi if you prefer wireless connectivity.
The Sony Alpha 6000 has four different color variants: 'Black', 'Silver', 'White', and 'Graphite Gray'. However, the non-black models are more difficult to find now.
You can buy the camera bundled with a Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS kit lens, both the 16-50mm lens and a Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS zoom lens, or without a lens. We tested ours with the 16-50mm kit lens. You can see our unit's label here.
Let us know if you come across any other variants, and we'll update the review.
The Sony Alpha 6000 is an older camera that still offers some value in a very competitive mirrorless camera market. Though it lacks the refinements of newer cameras, it's a popular and affordable entry point into the world of mirrorless photography, especially if you buy used. If you don't need the most advanced autofocus or 4k video capability, the a6000 makes for a solid beginner or travel camera.
The Sony α6400 is better overall than the Sony α6000, especially if you're interested in video as well as photography. The biggest difference is that the a6400 can record video in 4k resolution. It also has a higher-resolution EVF, a newer sensor with better high-ISO performance, and an improved autofocus system. That said, the a6000 is a bit more portable and offers similar photo performance at a fraction of the price since it's an older model.
The Sony α6100 is a bit better than the Sony α6000. They look and perform similarly overall. However, because the a6100 is a newer model, it has an improved autofocus system, a newer sensor with slightly better dynamic range and high-ISO performance, and it can record 4k video. The a6000 still offers a lot of value for its price, especially if you don't do a lot of video work.
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II and the Sony α6000 are both solid beginner mirrorless cameras. Even though it's older, the Sony holds its own against the Canon, with a faster max burst rate, better battery life, and a wider range of available lenses. However, the Canon offers 4k video recording (albeit with a severe crop and limited frame rates), a more reliable autofocus system, a higher-resolution viewfinder, and a much easier-to-use menu system.
The Sony α6600 is a significant upgrade over the Sony α6000. The a6600 takes what works about the a6000, like a low-profile form factor and extensive customization options, and adds a bigger battery, a more ergonomic handgrip, and in-body image stabilization. The a6600 also has a newer sensor with better dynamic range and high-ISO performance, as well as an improved autofocus system and 4k video capability. It also includes more connectivity options and weather-sealing, although it isn't as portable as the a6000.