Sony claims the a6000 has the world's fastest autofocus time. Can this David challenge DSLR Goliaths?
With a claimed 0.06 second autofocus acquisition time, the just-announced Sony a6000 mirrorless interchangeable lens compact digital camera is be the world's fastest-focusing camera—if it lives up to Sony's claim. Furthering its claim to be a speed demon, it can catch 11fps burst rate with its 24.3MP APS-sized sensor. Despite its lightning-fast specs, the camera carries a surprisingly low price tag of $648 (body only).
Note: The Sony a6000 will be available body only for $648 or with a 16-50mm kit lens for $798 in April, but can be pre-ordered now from Adorama. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Credit cards will not be charged until orders are shipped.
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Key features at a glance
- 24MP APS-C sensor
- 11fps burst rate with continuous autofocus
- 179-point phase-detection AF sensor
- Wi-Fi, NFC connectivity
- Claimed 20 percent improved sensitivity over NEX-7
- 1080p uncompressed HD video at up to 60p
- 1.4 million dot OLED EVF
- Tiltable 3-inch, 921k dot LCD monitor
- Built-in stereo mic
- Pop-up Flash
- 3 programmable buttons, 47 assignable functions
Just to keep things in perspective, most similarly-priced DSLRs will deliver somewhere between 3 and 8fps, but the Sony a6000, which weighs in at 12.1 ounces and measures 4.7x2.6x1.8 inches, is smaller and lighter as well as faster. To achieve such fast AF speeds, Sony deployed an hybrid autofocus system with a focal plane phase-detection AF sensor an a wide autofocus coverage area with 179 focal points. At the same time, it also has contrast-detection autofocus—a combination that lets the camera track and respond to a subject moving through the frame.
Besides still photography, the a6000 offers full 1080p at up to 60i or 60p frame rates, which makes it a light, compact alternative for some serious video cinematography. Again, very impressive specs for its size, weight, and price.
The Sony a6000 also adds wireless communication. Wi-Fi is available for Android-based smartphones or tablets, so you can see live views from your mobile device and control the camera remotely. iOS users don't get this capability, but do have NFC one-touch wireless image transfer. Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps are also available to expand the capabilities of the camera. Apps are available for Time Lapse, Multiple Exposure, Lens distortion compensation, picture effets, motion shot, portrait lighting, cinematic photo and more. Some apps are free but most cost $4.99 or $9.99.
Ergonomically, the camera has a mode and control dial atop the camera and several customizable buttons that can be assigned any one of 47 possible assignable functions.
If its actual performance reflects its spec sheet, the Sony a6000 could be the first MILC to achieve parity, performance-wise and image quality-wise, with the top echelon of APS-sensor DSLRs. And that's big news.