Sony A6100 overview: An incredible digicam below $1,000
“At nearly half the cost of the flagship A6600, Sony’s entry-level A6100 has everything you need.”
Great in-camera JPEG high quality
Good 4K video
Obtuse menu system
Poor placement of Rec button
Low-res LCD and EVF
As a lot as we love getting our fingers on costly cameras with the biggest sensors and large quantities of megapixels, entry-level fashions often ship the imaging items most of us want — with out tapping out our credit score strains.
The $750 (physique solely) Sony A6100 is an efficient instance of this type of affordability. Armed with the identical 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and superior Real-Time autofocus capabilities because the $1,400 Sony A6600, it looks as if an apparent alternative. While the A6100 does make some trade-offs to hit that cheaper price, most newbie to superior beginner photographers might be simply fantastic with them.
Design and Usability
Cutting-edge design isn’t an integral a part of Sony’s A6000 sequence. This is a black brick that appears and seems like each different mannequin within the line-up aside from the brand new A6600, which has a deeper grip and stronger battery. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt because the A6100 is kind of practical aside from Sony’s common idiosyncrasies, however it’s actually not as fairly because the Fujifilm X-T30. The digicam measures 4.75 x 2.75 x 2.4 inches and weighs 14 ounces with reminiscence card and battery put in.
David Elrich / Digital TrendsThe A6100 makes use of the identical E-mount as all Sony mirrorless cameras, each APS-C and full-frame fashions. That grants entry to 54 native lenses from Sony, plus extra from third events like Sigma, Tamron, and Zeiss. Lens choice is an enormous benefit of Sony due to the E-mount being comparatively mature, and it provides a simple improve path from APS-C to full-frame must you select to make that transfer down the street.
We’re please to see the A6100 includes a 0.39-inch OLED digital viewfinder (EVF). It’s not the perfect within the enterprise, with simply 1.44 million dots, however it provides the Sony an edge over the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, which has no built-in EVF. The important LCD monitor has an unremarkable 921,000-pixel decision, however can tilt a full 180 levels for selfies.
David Elrich / Digital TrendsThe management format is all very easy and legible. There’s a devoted mode dial, twin management dials, and two customized buttons. For novice photographers, that provides the A6100 some room to develop into as they graduate out of auto publicity into handbook. The A6100 has a built-in flash — one thing that was deleted from the A6600 — in addition to a regular sizzling shoe for attaching exterior flashes.
To repeat our fixed grievance concerning the A6000 sequence, there may be one management that simply doesn’t work. The Movie document button is wedged into the appropriate hand fringe of the thumb grip, the place it’s practically unattainable to achieve. Yes, you may reassign this perform to one of many customized buttons, however that looks as if an enormous ask for entry-level prospects. This is simply such a simple repair, it drives us loopy that Sony hasn’t up to date it already.
You’ll discover USB, HDMI, and microphone ports on the left aspect of the digicam, however notably lacking is a headphone jack (one thing you will see on the dearer A6600). The battery and reminiscence card share a compartment on the backside of the digicam. The battery is rated for 380 pictures, first rate for a mirrorless digicam, however a far cry from the 810-shot battery lifetime of the A6600.
Performance and person expertise
The Sony A6000 sequence has featured a 24MP sensors since day one (which was 5 years in the past). They’ve been modified and enhanced through the years and the Bionz X processor has been tweaked as effectively. While it’s a bit unusual that Sony hasn’t opted for the 26MP sensor discovered within the newest Fujifilm cameras, we will’t actually argue with that call — the picture high quality continues to be excellent, and there may be little that the A6100’s goal buyer would discover about that newer sensor.
What the A6100 delivers is is Sony’s newest, artificial-intelligence-based autofocus methods, Real-Time Tracking and Real-Time Eye AF. We’ve lauded this new expertise since its launch and it simply retains getting higher, and we’re happy to now see it on an entry-level mannequin. Other corporations supply Eye AF, however Sony’s continues to be the perfect on the market and is the most important promoting level of this digicam.
The Hybrid AF system makes use of 425 phase- and contrast-detection factors masking 84% of the sensor with a claimed 0.02-second minimal focus time. We can’t confirm that quantity, however suffice to say, the autofoucs felt very quick.
That’s matched with a steady capturing pace of 11 frames per second a sizeable picture buffer that allows you to shoot about 75 JPEG pictures in a row. The A6100 could have no hassle maintaining together with your children or pets.
Perhaps the most important distinction between the A6100 and A6600 is that solely the latter has in-body picture stabilization (IBIS). The two lenses Sony leant us for this overview, the 16-55mm f/2.8 and 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3, are each optically stabilized — as are lots of Sony’s E-mount lenses. We would like to see IBIS in a digicam at this value level, however as neither Canon nor Fujifilm supply it on their competing fashions, we’re not stunned it’s not within the A6100.
Note that neither of the lenses we examined are the package lens and are each dearer than the digicam physique itself. The 16-55mm is a premium zoom promoting for $1,400, whereas the 70-350mm is $1,000. That put our “entry-level” digicam within the $2,000 neighborhood. With any digicam, efficiency and picture high quality is partly a perform of the lens, so our outcomes is likely to be higher than what you may count on for the usual 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 package lens (bundled with the digicam for $850).
Sony’s Real-Time Eye AF labored fabulously with these lenses. It’s skilled to acknowledge each human and animal eyes, however it even labored on statues we photographed in a dimly-lit church. We had been capturing the Canon EOS M6 Mark II side-by-side with the Sony, and the A6100 was much better.
Real-Time Tracking additionally labored very effectively with runners, bicyclists, and surfers we captured on San Diego seashores. We shot a protracted burst of a prepare coming right into a station and each body was in focus. We’ve by no means used an autofocus system this dependable earlier than; that it’s on a $750 digicam is all of the extra spectacular.
But for pretty much as good as it’s, we nonetheless can’t recover from Sony’s menu system, which stays as dense and obtuse as ever. We’ve used this interface for years now, so we all know the assorted hacks to make it work, however it’s a disgrace Sony hasn’t overhauled it. By comparability, the Canon M6 Mark II’s interface was a dream to make use of; the one space the place it outshone the A6100.
Image high quality
The sensor will be the identical, however Sony has retuned its processing for extra correct shade and pleasing, pure tones. In-camera JPEGs look actually good, and naturally you may shoot in RAW if you happen to’re snug enhancing your pictures in put up and wish the absolute best high quality.
The digicam has a local ISO vary of 100-32,000, however it may be expanded to 51,200. Our exams confirmed little or no noise and digital artifacts at comparatively excessive sensitivities, however we’d suggest preserving it under ISO 6,400 for the perfect outcomes. This is the place full-frame sensors, which collect about twice as a lot gentle, present a big benefit, however the overwhelming majority of photographers received’t be disenchanted by the outcomes of the A6100.
As for video, the Alpha A6100 information 4K/30p utilizing the XAVC-S codec with full pixel readout (3,840 x 2,160). You don’t have the superior 10-bit HDMI output choices that you just get on the Fujifilm X-T30, however that’s not one thing most prospects on this value vary are asking for. More importantly, video is extremely straightforward to shoot thanks once more to Real-Time Tracking autofocus. However, Real-Time Eye AF is just not obtainable in video mode. If you you need it, you’ll have to pony up for the A6600.
For an entry-level mirrorless digicam, the A6100 is tough to beat. Image high quality, whereas not a dramatic step ahead, has improved thanks to raised JPEG processing, and Real-Time Tracking and Eye AF leads the competitors. We can’t argue with selecting up the $850 package, however the digicam is a lot better than what the package lens permits it to be. Even for individuals trying on the A6600, you could be higher off going with the A6100 and placing the cash you save towards a higher-end lens. We can nearly assure you’ll be a contented camper.
Are There Better Alternatives?
Not at this value. The $899 Sony A6400 has a greater EVF and extra video choices, whereas the $999 A6500 provides built-in 5-axis picture stabilization (however lacks Real-Time focusing tech). The 26MP Fujifilm X-T30 ($899 physique solely) is another choice that delivers actually good pictures and movies, however its autofocus system, whereas good, is just not at Sony’s stage.
Want extra choices? Take a take a look at our favourite cameras of 2019.
How Long Will It Last?
Sony is consistently including new fashions to the A6000 sequence, however the A6100 might be round at the least two years. It is just not weather-sealed just like the higher-end A6600, so that you’ll wish to deal with it rigorously, however it ought to provide you with a few years of use.
Should You Buy It?
Yes. This is a relative steal at $750. Unless you’re an expert photographer, you actually can’t ask for far more from a digicam.