Speed rules the world these days. Whether it’s Usain Bolt or the Snapdragon chip inside your smartphone, faster equals better. And it’s no different with cameras: After all, even the biggest sensor isn’t much use if you’re constantly missing the perfect shot while your camera hunts for focus.
That shouldn’t be a problem with Sony’s new Alpha 6000. The compact system camera has what Sony proclaims is “the world’s fastest autofocus of any interchangeable lens camera” – and having tried it out, we’re not about to disagree.
This thing is seriously swift. Sony reckons it’ll snap subjects into sharp focus in just 0.06 seconds, and although such timings were beyond our stopwatch, it seemed pretty much instantaneous in use.
How does it do it? Almost certainly witchcraft, although Sony says it’s by teaming a 179-point phase-detection AF sensor with a 25-point contrast-detection AF. But really, all that matters is it works. And given that the dual AF system also operates in movie mode, it’s also good news for anyone who likes filming sports, small children or excitable pets. Or excitable children and small pets.
That speed isn’t just limited to the autofocus, either. The Alpha 6000 will also rattle off stills at up to 11fps, even with AF tracking engaged. No, you’ll never need 11fps, but it’s nice to have all the same. Plus, it sounds amazing, a bit like an electronic woodpecker.
With a 24.3MP Exmor-R sensor inside it, you’d expect pictures to be impressive too. And from what we saw, they are. Even on a typically grey and drizzly London day, the snaps we took were packed with detail. Some of the credit for that must go to its new Bionz X processor, which is apparently three times as quick as the last generation Bionz and which gives it noise-free pictures at high ISO settings. Even ISO 3200 shots looked fairly clean.
We’d need more time with it to be able to really judge the images it takes, but it certainly looks as if Sony’s winning way with a sensor is continuing here. That said, Sony was keen to point out that this was a pre-production sample and thus images may not reflect the quality of those turned out by the actual retail A6000.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Alpha 6000 will be available in Singapore come April. There hasn't been any indication on what the price would be like but we'll likely know once the second quarter rolls in.
Look out for a full review soon and find out if it makes our System Cameras Top 10.