Steven Brokaw Photography

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Sony Alpha A6000 For Street Photography

Paris cafe, a glass of wine & my Sony A6000 with the kit lens

Paris cafe, a glass of wine & my Sony A6000 with the kit lens

I participated in a street photography workshop hosted by Valerie Jardin in Paris.  I took 3 cameras all for different situations.  One was the new Sony A6000.  For those unfamiliar to the Sony line, the A6000 is Sony's replacement for their NEX6 & NEX7 ILC cameras.  Form factor is similar to both.  I ended up using the A6000 about 75% of the time.  It was light to carry, rendered excellent image quality, focused very fast and is quasi-stealthy with the tilt LCD.  Also one of my colleagues was using the A6000 as well, so I was able to borrow some of his lenses as well as swap notes, techniques & settings.

Bottomline, after a week in Paris my initial conclusion is that the Sony A6000 is a "perfect street photography camera"  for my style.  There are great cameras for street photography, but the A6000's mix of form factor, speed, features won me over.  I don't discount the fine cameras by Olympus, Fujifilm, Panasonic, etc., but for street photography I was very happy with the A6000.

There are MANY reviews on the A6000 focusing on features & performance, so I won't try to do one myself.  I would recommend if you are looking at an ILC for street then check out the online reviews, blogs and go to your local camera store to get the feel of the Sony A6000.

However, I did want to highlight what I liked about the camera.  They are:

  • Lighting fast focus,
  • Easy to use menus & menu layout,
  • Fine lineup of Sony lenses and readily available adapters for non Sony lenses,
  • Focus tracking is awesome,
  • Burst rate is stupid fast,
  • OK (but, not great) low light performance,
  • Feels good in my hand (very sticky),
  • APS-C sensor,
  • Good video,
  • WiFi functionality

This is my first Sony ILC so I can easily say I'm not a Sony fanboy.  Therefore I have several recommendations I'd like to share with you, and of course if Sony is interested in one guys opinion here is what I would change / improve / gripes.  Ready, set, go:

  1. The eyepiece cup falls off too easily when pulling the camera out of the camera bag.  I ended up just leaving it off,
  2. The diopter adjustment dial is too loose and moves way too easily.  I often thought I was going blind when I used the EVF until I realized I needed to adjust the diopter,
  3. Speaking of the EVF, it's essentially useless in bright sunlight.  It's overpowered by bright sunlight.  Same holds true with the LCD.  Limited use in bright light even when cranked up to full bright,
  4. The LCD is not touch screen.   Not overly bothersome, but it would be nice,
  5. I often had problems using WiFi connecting to my iOS device,
  6. No MIC out plug out which limits video,
  7. No headphone jack (I realize this is primarily a still camera),
  8. Battery life sucks.  I burned through 2 batteries a day and really needed another.  Seriously, if you are taking the A6000 out for a full day of shooting you want 3 batteries,
  9. The articulating LCD should flip out and spin backwards for selfies and to act as a cover to the LCD to avoid camera bag scratches,
  10. No truly silent mode for street photography,
  11. The biggest bother for me was the eye sensor functionality.  When I had both the EVF & LCD turned on and held the camera at waist level with the LCD tilted up the LCD would turn off when the camera was less than about 6" from my body.  This defeats the street photography waist level stealth mode.

Most of my comments don't negate the opinion that the A6000 is an outstanding street photography camera.  The biggest gripes for my style of photography would be the EVF/LCD functionality in full sun & the eye sensor functionality.

OK, there you go.  After a week long street photography workshop in Paris with Valerie Jardin the Sony A6000 gets my thumbs up.  BTW, Paris is a great city for street photography & Valerie runs a great workshop there.  



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