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Sony A6000 Camera Review - A Camera for Mums-on-the-go - Bumble Bee Mum

It’s been about 6 months since I bought my Sony A6000 camera.  Ever since I changed my camera and shared some photos on my personal Facebook page and this blog, my friends have been asking me about the camera.  Knowing how lazy I am when it comes to answering the same questions again and again, I am going to blog about it.

 

 

Firstly, I am not a photographer.  I am just a mother who is always out with my kids and want to have a camera to take better photos of them.

But that being said, I think it is only fair that I tell you what I DO know about photography.  Ever since getting the camera, I have been reading profusely about aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  So most of the photos you see on this post were NOT taken in the camera’s Auto modes.  They were taken in either aperture-priority or shutter-priority modes.  Also, they were taken in RAW format with some basic post-processing done in Lightroom.

However I know nothing about focusing.  Neither do I have steady hands.  And I am definitely not bringing a tripod around when out with the kids.  Hence, I am largely dependent on the camera’s ability to auto-focus and stabilize the images.

As you would know if you follow my blog, we visit indoor playgrounds a lot.  Indoor playgrounds are usually not brightly lit.  And the kids are constantly moving.  These two factors have made it very difficult for me to get a clear shot of the kids.

As much as I would love to invest in a more professional DSLR to take photos of my kids in action, I was reluctant to lug a bulky camera around when out with the kids.   So after reading about how mirrorless cameras compare to DSLRs, I decided a mirrorless camera suited my needs and budget.

Portability

In terms of sizing, the Sony A6000 was not that much bigger than my previous compact camera.  It was an acceptable size for me to put into my diaper bag and bring around regularly.

Sony A6000 Review - Camera for Mothers

Fast Continuous Shooting

One of the main features of the Sony A6000 that attracted me to it was its capability to take ‘continuous shots at an amazing 11fps’ with ‘ultra-fast hybrid auto-focus’ (whatever that is.. I just copied those words from Sony website).  In layman terms, it means that I can just hold on to the button and the camera can shoot 11 shots in 1 second.

I almost always use this continuous shot function when my kids are playing and so far the results have worked well enough for me.   To be fair, the photos I am only going to show you next are taken with the standard kit lens.

I have found this extremely useful for parents like me with limited photography knowledge and skill but want to take photos of the kids in action. Out of like the 20 photos I shoot in a row, I can usually find at least one decent shot.

And just to do a quick comparison with my old camera, here are photos I took at Katapult Trampoline Park with my old camera.  I couldn’t get a single decent photo of MF while he was doing the free fall.

The next photo is a photo I took with the Sony A6000 at the same spot.  See how much clearer MF is?

 

When I was using my old camera, I could never take a decent photo of my boys (who cannot stop moving) at night.  Shortly after I bought the camera, it was GE2015.  So I decided to bring the camera to the night rallies to see what I could do.  I was quite happy with the photos I took of kids in action during the rally.  Though, no, I’m not supposed to be happy that the boy got hit in the face by the ball.

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And just to make sure nobody accuses me of being political, here is a bouncing ball at an opposition rally.

Sony A6000 Review - Camera for Mothers (4)

Additional lenses

On top of the standard kit lens, I also have two additional lenses: SEL50f18 and SEL55210.

Sony A6000 with SEL50f18

SEL50f18 has a maximum aperture of f1.8 compared to maximum aperture of f3.5 on the standard kit lens. In layman terms, this means it is better able to isolate an object by blurring the background / foreground.

I generally prefer using this lens instead of the standard kit lens to take portraits of my kids.

Sony A6000 Review - Camera for Mothers (5)

A larger aperture also helps in taking photos of fast-moving objects.  Using the ability of the camera to snap pictures at 11fps plus the large maximum aperture of the SEL50f18, I was able to capture the exact moment the bird flew through the ring that MF was holding during the show at Zoorasia.

Or jumping shots like this one from Shinjuku Gyoen:

Or shots like this one of MF doing a Tarzan at Hamamatsu Fruits Park:

Although the photo quality of the SEL50f18 is better than the standard kit lens, you need to stand very far away from the subject when using it.  So in constrained spaces like inside a bouncy castle, I couldn’t use the SEL50f18 and had to go back to the standard kit lens.

Sony A6000 + SEL55210

The standard kit lens that came with the Sony A6000 was not able to zoom very far, which made it very difficult to, say, take photos of animals at the zoo.  Hence, I bought the SEL55210 to take photos of faraway objects.  With this, I was able to take close-ups at zoos and wildlife parks.

However, the SEL55210 lens is very heavy and bulky, so it is not meant for bringing around on a daily basis.  I only bring it when I need it, like when visiting the zoo.

Sony A6000 Review - Camera for Mothers (7)

WIFI

When I was looking for a camera, I didn’t specifically try to find one that had WIFI capabilities. But since the Sony A6000 had it, I have been using it and now I am somewhat addicted to it.

The WIFI capability allowed me to transfer photos from my camera to my phone directly.  Because of this, I have become a lot more active on Instagram (not sure if that’s a good thing actually).

 

Another benefit I have found was that I could take photos of my friends, transfer the photo to my phone and whatsapp the photo to them immediately.

 

Cons

As mentioned in the comparison between DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, mirrorless cameras are known to have poor battery life.  I have found this to be true with the Sony A6000 and a spare battery has been mandatory for me.  But that is partly due to my over-reliance on continuous shooting when taking photos of the boys in action. :p

Also, the USB charging cable charges the battery very slowly.  So you may have to invest in an external battery charger to charge up the batteries faster, especially when on vacation.

Note also that to fully optimize the use of the continuous shooting function, you will need a very fast SD card.  If you are already invested in the camera, don’t scrimp on the SD card.

In Summary…

I’m pretty happy with my Sony A6000.  Like I mentioned, I am not a professional photographer.  If you read reviews online about the camera from professional photographers, they often lament about the lack of quality lenses to go with the Sony A6000.  Since I have limited budget, quality lenses are usually out of my budget anyway.  The Sony A6000 is small enough for me to bring around regularly and it handles my kids’ movements well enough.

Currently, the RRP for the Sony A6000 is S$849 (body only) or S$1099 (with standard kit lens).

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But I do find the standard kit lens pretty insufficient and I recommend you at least get the SEL50f18 as well if you are on a budget. Try to get a bundle (purchase-with-purchase) deal.  I got mine under a purchase-with-purchase deal at Changi Airport for $200+.  If you decide to purchase the SELF50f18 separately later on, the RRP is currently $449.

If you need to zoom far, there are several telephoto lenses available, but the only one within my budget was the SEL55210. RRP is currently $599. I got it under a purchase-with-purchase deal at Changi Airport for $200+.

Okay, I really cannot remember the exact prices I paid for each lens, but I bought them together and paid $500+.  So they were like less than $300 each.

Overall, I think the camera and the two bundled lenses were extremely value for money.  I now have photos of my kids that I am perfectly happy with.

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If you are a professional photographer, go ahead and laugh at me being happy over my mediocre photos and trying to review a camera when I barely know anything about cameras and photography.  This is not meant to be a professional technical camera review and I am not here to debate with professional photographers whether it is a good camera or not.  It is just me answering to my friends who want to know more about the camera I am using after they saw my photos.

For More sample photos:

> Dahlia Dreams @ Gardens by the Bay (Flower photos)
> Butahage @ Liang Court (Food photos)
Tupperware® Hello Kitty Eco Bottles (Product photos)
> Amazonia (Indoor playground photos)
> Japan (Tokyo & Chiba) (Travel photos)
> Japan (Nagano & Gunma) (Animal photos)
> MOSH! (Low-light photos)
> Singapore Night Safari Thumbuakar Show (Fire show at night)

Pin this up for later!

Sony A6000 Camera Review - A Camera for Mums-on-the-go - Bumble Bee Mum

 

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the author

Supposed to be a stay-home mom, but hates staying home. Definition of parenting is bringing the boys out for 'experiential learning' in Singapore, Japan and wherever else in the world her husband can afford to pay for.

42Comments

  1. Susan says:

    You were using this camera when I saw you at Christmas Wonderland? Love your photos of the boys in action and your jump shot is right on the spot too! I have to admit that I’ve never taken the time to learn all about my camera to fully maximize it and I think I ought to if I want better looking photos.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yupz, I was using this at Christmas Wonderland! After all the money I invested in the camera and lenses, I really forced myself to go and learn how to use it and brought it with me around to practice whenever I can. After I learn how to control stuff like aperture and shutter, I am going on to learn about the different focus modes. I still thinking whether to use the government SkillsFuture credit to take up some photography class.

  2. JJ says:

    The photos are well taken. You have potential! Thumbs up..
    I m thinking to invest on mirrorless camera too as it is not bulky if compare to DSLR.

  3. Vixalexa says:

    Great camera, amazing camera, thanks for review.

  4. JJ says:

    May I know how to save the battery life of the camera? As the battery life seemed to be short from some users’ review.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Try not to use the continuous shooting function too much and remember to switch off the camera when it is not in use. But other than that, just got to invest in a spare battery. :p

      • JJ says:

        Good morning :)

        Thanks for ur quick reply!!

        1. Is 2 batteries enough for travel?

        2. Photo taking by using eye view finder or screen is recommended?

        3. As I know that the battery charging is directly to camera, means there will be Waiting time to charge battery . Any external charger that allows 2 batteries charging at the same time?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          1. It depends on how many photos you take really. I was cutting it pretty close to using up 2 full batteries during my last trip because we took like a thousand photos at theme parks and I kept using the continuous shooting function. So I learn to use the continuous shooting sparingly, especially when I am on the 2nd battery already. And i use my phone to take videos instead of the camera.

          2. If you are used to using phone to take photos, you will probably find the screen easier. I personally prefer the eye view finder, especially during bright daylight where I can’t see the screen properly.

          3. Yes, there is external charger for the batteries. You need to purchase the external charger if you want to charge the 2 batteries simultaneously.

          • JJ says:

            Thanks Bumblebee mum :)

            May I know which memory card that u r using for this A6000 camera? Thank u very much.

            • bumblebeemum says:

              I am using a ScanDisk Ultra 40MB/s Class C10 card.

              • JJ says:

                :)

                Thanks thanks…u r really good and kind for sharing all info! never missed out our questions/message.

                I m thinking to invest 18-200mm lens okay for this camera?

                • bumblebeemum says:

                  The only advantage of the 18200 is that you don’t neeed to keep changing lenses. But photo quality won’t be as good as the 50f18. And it’s very expensive. The 18200 alone cost more than my two extra lenses combined – which is why I didn’t buy it.

                  How often do you think you need to zoom far? If not very often, the 55210 is much cheaper – just that you will have to switch lenses when you need to zoom. But if you just want to bring one lens when travelling, 18200 will do the job.

                  • JJ says:

                    Cool! i think the 18-200 lens are too ex.

                    The battery drains very fast. Can I recharge the battery by using Xiaomi powerbank?

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      I have never tried using a powerbank to charge the camera. I just carry a spare battery around.

                    • JJ says:

                      Any recommendation fish eyes lens for this camera? :)

                      Thanks

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      Not that I know of. I bought an Emolux wide angle converter lens that can be attached to the kit lens to turn it into something like a fish eye:
                      http://www.emolux.com.sg/0.5X_for_prosumer_and_DSLR.html

                      They had two types: One that only converts to wide angle and one that converts to macro cum wide angle. I got the macro cum wide angle one because it only cost a bit more than the purely wide angle converter.

                      Below are some photos I took using the wide angle converter:




                      And the bug photos below were taken with the macro converter:

                      But got to warn you first, I was told the lens converter is actually not good for the kit lens because it puts weight on the lens and can cause damage to the lens in the long run if you keep zooming in and out with the converter on. So what I do is to always support the converter and avoid zooming while the converter is on. And only attach it when I need it and remove it once I am done with the photo. Quite a hassle frankly.

                      I also have the Sigma 19f2.8 mentioned in this article:
                      http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/first-sony-e-mount-lenses-to-buy/
                      But I still prefer to use my kit lens with the fish eye converter because I like the ’rounded’ fish eye effect.

                    • JJ says:

                      The fish eyes effect is definitely cool!
                      I need to study more which to invest :)
                      U r always nice sharing ur ideas here. Thank u

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      Welcome. Yeah, I use the fish eye attachment quite often since the places I visit (like indoor playgrounds) tend to be very tight in space. Though I’m not very pleased that the shop which sold it to me didn’t warn me that it may damage the zoom mechanism of my lens. I found out about that later from another shop. I think the attachment is more for prime lenses.

  5. This is one competitor of Olympus OMD EM10 Mark ii, the camera I recently reviewed. Not easy to choose, haha!

  6. Serene Seah says:

    Make my heart itch as well because like you, I have running kids all the time and shakey hands hahahhaa ! But super love your action shots and as well as how clear the night lights turned out to be !! Gonna do some brainwashing ahhahaa

  7. Ai Sakura says:

    I’m using a Sony alpha something something too haha.. bought last year when I dropped my other Sony and I love it! Especially the selfie camera mode 😛 Don’t think I’ll use another camera series anymore.. Batt life seems ok for me and can usually last a whole day even if I’m out traveling with it.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      something something.. haha… My A6000 doesn’t have selfie mode unfortunately. If I don’t shoot videos and photos in continuous shooting mode, the battery can last. But when I keep shooting continuous modes (like during Disney on Ice), then the battery drains very quickly.

  8. Jolin says:

    I love how your photos turned out. All very nice! I have jumpy and fast action boys too. How I wish I know about this camera earlier. We just bought a new camera for a few months.

  9. Veron Zhen says:

    Nice high res photos with a compact cam. I’m still sticking to lugging my heavy & bulky DSLR around *horror of horrors*
    Just like to stick to familiarity. Maybe when my cam dies then I will look at this Sony A6000 =)

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Actually to be honest, if you have always been using your DSLR and have invested in lenses for your current camera, it is very difficult to change to a new brand altogether and having to sell away your lenses and buy new ones. Even if your camera dies but if you lenses are all working fine, replacing your camera with one that works with the lenses you have seems to be an easier way out. Well.. I shall swing my small camera in front of you next I see you.. hahaha… Your camera really very big lor. I would never carry something like that around with the kids frankly. You are so hardworking.

  10. Priscilla says:

    Hello Lin Ying!

    I must say the photos you took are really impressive despite your claims on not being a professional photographer! Like you, I only got a camera to capture clearer photos of my kid. It was a tough decision between Canon and Sony because both have very good reviews and I eventually caved in to the G7X. But thanks to your review… I am thinking of testing this camera out. -.-“

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I didn’t look into the G7X since I was looking specifically for interchangeable lens cameras. It’s an expensive hobby I must say, but I know I would never be satisfied with a compact camera.

  11. Nowadays there are endless options of camera and so difficult to decide. I feel use the camera which are best at using and this is giving a good quality photos with a clarity.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      We are so spoiled for choices these days isn’t it? Techonology is so amazing these days, it really helps beginners like me. I was surprised with what I could do with my very limited photography knowledge. But at the end of the day, regardless of which camera we buy, there is still a lot of practice involved and there will never be one best camera. It’s really just finding one that suits our needs and budget – and taking the time to learn how to use it!

  12. Shub says:

    I don’t use any professional can yet and try to play with apps to enhance the photos. Want to buy something more professional but don’t want something too big. I can’t even hold it! Will check out Your model of cam for sure.

  13. mmlittlee says:

    Neaaaarly bought this one hhaha u know my story :)

  14. JJ says:

    Thank for sharing!! very Cool! the fish eyes converter works well with your kit lens :)
    Quite hassle if bring along to travel especially with kids around

  15. Qiu says:

    Hi, have you tried using the camera during winter? Just wondering if it works as well due to harsh condition as compared to SG and whether the battery life will be drained. Am contemplating to get this and bring along for Hokkaido in Feb.

    Did you get the camera at the public area of the airport?

    Thank you!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I used the camera in mainland Japan during December last year. It survived. :p Haven’t brought it to the sub-zero kind of winter like in Hokkaido before though. But definitely I would expect the battery life to be worse in winter. And there will be the usual fogging up of the lenses every time you step from a cold place to a hot place. But I think all cameras will have this problem..?

      Nope, I got my camera stuff in the departure area of the airport, not the public area.

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