Sony of Canada Ltd. has announced a new mid-level Compact System Camera, the Alpha 6000. Aimed at enthusiast users, the a6000 (shown at left) replaces the NEX-6 and NEX-7. As with the Alpha 5000 announced at CES, Sony has abandoned the NEX sub-brand for the a6000. Henceforth, all system cameras, both the SLR-like single-lens-translucent models and the rangefinder-like mirrorless models, will carry the Alpha brand.
The new camera employs an APS-C-sized 24.3MP Exmor HD CMOS sensor and the same Bionz X processor found on Sony's pro-oriented full-frame Alpha 7 and Alpha 7r mirrorless cameras. The sensor has a gapless on-chip lens design that optimizes the angle of incoming light, improving light-collecting efficiency and maximizing maintain corner-to-corner sharpness. The processor incorporates technology to minimize diffraction; produce clean high-ISO images through area-specific noise-reduction; and capture detail realistically, without artificial edge enhancement.
The sensor contains 179 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detection autofocus points. According to Sony, the a6000 has the world's fastest autofocus: 0.06 seconds. This allows full-resolution stills to be captured at 11fps with tracking autofocus. The camera also offers new autofocus modes. AF-A (automatic) switches between still (AF-S) and continuous (AF-C) modes depending on subject movement. Eye AF locks on the nearest eye (conventional phase-detect AF will often focus on a subject's nose in a portrait, Sony notes). Lock-on AF maintains focus on the primary subject.
The a6000 combines a tilting 3" 921,600-dot rear with a 1.44-million dot OLED eye-level viewfinder. There's also a new users interface, with separate mode and control dials.
Like all new cameras nowadays, the a6000 has built-in Wi-Fi, and can be used with iOS and Android apps for transferring image and controlling the camera remotely. The a6000 also features NFC for instant pairing with NFC-capable devices.
Sony is unique among camera vendors in offering downloadable apps that run on the camera, for functions like time-lapse photography, star trails and lens compensation. Ten PlayMemories apps are available for the a6000 (some paid, some free), with three more coming this spring.
The a6000 will be available in Canada in black and silver finishes starting in April. Kits will be sold with 16-60mm standard-zoom lenses of the same finish as the camera body; the combination will retail for $800. The body will be available on its own for $650.
Sony of Canada has also announced several new fixed lens Cyber-shot models, including three SLR-styled super-zooms. Arriving in early March for $529, the DSC-HX400B (shown at right) has a 50x (24-1200mm equivalent) Zeiss lens, 20.4MP CMOS sensor, 3" LCD, GPS, 1080p video recording and 4K HDMI still-image output. The DSC-H400B has a 20.1MP CCD sensor, 63x wide-angle zoom lens and 720p video recording. It will be available in early April for $329. Equipped with 20.1MP CCD sensor and 35x wide-angle zoom lens, the DSC-H300B is now shipping for $249 retail. There's also a compact super-zoom, which Sony bills as the smallest 30x zoom camera with CMOS sensor. Shipping in early March for $449, the DSC-HX60VB has a 24-720mm (135 equivalent) Sony G zoom lens and 20.1MP sensor. The DSC-HX400B and DSC-HX60VB both run Sony's PlayMemories camera apps.