About two months ago I did something that I thought I would never do. I bought one of these new-fangled mirrorless non-DSLR APS-C cameras.
The camera industry is struggling to work out what to call this 'new' type of high-end semi-professional camera that doesn't have a reflex prism or a mirror as part of its design. Some bloggers call them 'interchangeable lens mirror-less cameras' (or ILCs), others just call them 'mirrorless cameras', then there is 'mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC). But there is a group working hard to have them called 'compact system cameras' (CSCs). The reality is that, at this stage, there is still no agreed common standard name for this new type of high-end camera.
Anyway, I bought myself the Sony a6000. Sony is currently considered the technology leader in this category of semi-professional camera. It probably helps that Sony make most of the sensors.
I got the Sony because it suddenly became very cheap. Normally, in Australia, the a6000 alone with no lens would set you back a little under $1,000. But then the Harvey Normal chain had an offer where the a6000 with the 16-50mm kit lens was $686, plus you got a $100 cash-back directly from Sony. That made the 24MP a6000 with a semi-okay lens come in at $586. What a friggin bargain. So I did it, and I can confirm that Sony do pay the $100 cash-back because it has gone into my back account—even though it took them a bit over three weeks to deposit the funds.
I am loving this camera. It is a real surprise. The focus speed—in reasonable light—is almost instant and it is correct. It is safe to say that this camera has exceeded my expectations. And on top of all this it is about a third the size, overall, compared to my Pentax K-3 while having a sensor the same size (APS-C or half-frame). Check out the following picture to get some idea of the size of the camera with the 16-50mm zoom lens attached.
One of the great things about this camera—as you can see from the picture above—is that it is small. I can actually put it in the pocket of my jeans with the 16-50mm lens on! To underline this point I am going to say it again: I can put the a6000 with the 16-50mm lens attached into the pocket of my jeans! I can put this camera, housed safely inside its own little camera bag, into my every-day take-to-work bag. Translated this means I am able to carry a semi-pro ranked APS-C sensor camera in my work-day messenger bag.
I still have the Pentax K-3 but I will confess to not having taken a single picture with it since I got the a6000.
At some stage in the future I hope to do a simple 'shoot-out' comparison between the a6000 with the 16-50mm lens and the Pentax K-3 with the 18-135mm lens.
Many years ago, back when all us enthusiast amateur 'photographers' used to read magazines to find stuff out I read something in the UK version of the Amateur Photographer (which probably does not even exist anymore). The question asked went along the lines of "I have three cameras and I never know which is the best one to take out on my shoot trips?", and the answer went something like "If it's a hobby and not a business then take the camera you will have the most fun with". Well right now my 'fun' camera is the a6000.
The following picture was taken with the a6000 using the 16-50mm lens. The first picture shows the picture as taken, the second picture is after my little bit of cropping and editing.