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Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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I think it was Ken Rockwell who coined the phrase "digital rot" to describe this phenomenon. I can remember back in the 1980's (or thereabouts ;~/) when Mitsubishi/JVC/Panasonic/Hitachi etc. were introducing new camcorder models about every 8 months or so. Sony seems to be "innovating" their mirrorless offerings at about that same pace. Soon or later, things will slow down, as the customers finally decide what they need and want. As things are now, I think these newer cameras are getting in the way of photography, not enhancing it. (Just an old grumpy guy unable to keep up....)

Is the value of everything just trending to zero? What am I missing?

This is a fabulous bargain on a wonderful camera! I've been a fan of Sony's NEX concept since it began. My personal favorite was the 7, followed closely by the little 5N (which I carried through Japan). But with my 7 a bit worn, I bought an A6000 earlier this year (at a much higher price :-/ ) and it's been an excellent replacement.

For those considering taking advantage of this bargain I offer a different lens pairing suggestion than Mike. Since you're getting a deal on the camera I suggest selecting one of Sony's excellent FE (full-frame) E-mount lenses. In the event you're finally drawn into A7 the maelstrom (resistance is futile) you'll already have a lens that serves both cameras fully! No stinkin' adapters required.

...it was announced, according to dpreview, on February 12th of 2014, not even one year ago.

Mmmm... More like "close to two years ago." But still a good deal at $398.

Feb 2014 was nearly two years ago.

Shouldn't February 12th of 2014 be "about 18 months ago", rather than "not even one year ago"?

Anyway, these Sony mirrorless are awesome!

Cheers!

Abbazz

This is depressing news only for people who like to think of their cameras as "investments." It's wonderful news for bargain hunters. I'd think twice about buying the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN though. The focusing ring, should you ever use it, is so thin and flexible that the slightest inward pressure of your thumb and fingers will make focusing feel rough. OTOH, it's optically excellent, so if you hardly ever focus manually, go for it.

Your lens choices are great for enthusiasts, but most buyers want zooms -- and the Sony is available with a 2-zoom kit for $696. Which is just amazing.

It does seem Sony is taking us back to the early days of digital in the sense of frequent upgrades and end-of-run price cuts. I suspect we'll see a couple of years of this from them before they feel secure enough to slow down. If they stick with their plans to become a serious camera company.

I can vouch for the Sigma lenses, though I use them on m4/3. The 60 is great and the other two are very damn good.

The A6000 is becoming very tempting. I used a NEX 6 for a while. Loved some of the lenses, especially the somewhat unpopular 16-70, and loved the image quality overall, but in the end the controls and menus drove me back to Panasonic. I would have bought the A6000 at the original price if Sony had included touch screen and/or fully articulated LCD - both features I have learned to love and depend on. At $400 it becomes very tempting even without.

Of course the day after I buy one Sony will announce a successor with everything I want - touch screen, articulated LCD and all the rest. So I'll wind up buying twice. So it goes ...

Maybe I'm crazy, but I LOVE those little, cheap, light, super super sharp Sigma EX DN Art lenses. I own one of each and they are the Lenses of Choice on both my A6000 and A5000 (hey, it was new and really really cheap and I couldn't help myself, OK?).

For what it's worth, it's the A6000 that encouraged me to give my FF and APS-C Canon DSLRs the boot. My neck and back have never been happier. My clients can't believe how sharp/good my images are coming out of such a small camera (the A6000).

It may be nearly two years old, but as early as last Christmas season, it was available on special for $450 (that's when I bought mine). I see that $399 looks like the new regular price - it doesn't appear to be a sale price.

The camera itself is very capable, but not "high end" enough to justify a much higher price. The main weakness is the EVF. It's perfectly functional, but lower res than many competitors use, and to me, it's not pleasant (I'd happily spend more for a higher res EVF if it were to be my main camera). Sony also bweilderingly chose to remove the "virtual horizon" feature, whether to cut costs, I don't know, but it's such an obvious feature for any live view camera to offer, it sticks out by omission.

Meanwhile, Olympus prices are dropping and their cameras offer IS, and the full frame Sony A7 (which, admittedly, is slower) is down to $1000. I'm kind of surprised the A6000 is all the way down to only $399, even with the competition dropping. I wonder if Sony is looking to grab market share during the holiday buying season.

I opted for the Sony FE 28/2 as my main lens (I also have the surprisingly decent 18-200, purchased several years ago to shoot video with the NEX-5). The Sigma 30/2.8 seems like a nice alternative if you don't mind a slower lens. But now you've got me thinking of adding the 60/2.8 for a great 2-lens kit. (I typically have to dig out the DSLR and 85/1.8 for candids).

With the reputedly excellent Sigma lenses at around $200 each, you can put together a very nice prime-based kit with a camera that's a steal at only $399.

It seems like only eight seconds ago that the Sony A6000 was the latest-greatest thing—actually it was announced, according to dpreview, on February 12th of 2014, not even two years ago

While this is true, Sony has been rumored to be on the verge of releasing the next version for ages. And the next version will have what I consider to be the key feature for increasing the keeper rate: in-body stabilization. For people who primarily shoot with tripods it doesn't matter much, but for people who don't universal image stabilization is amazing.

Well, the bad news is that that price resurrected my GAS that had lain dormant for over a year. The camera and lens will be here Friday.

The good news is that I went through TOP to get them.

I had the NEX-7 for a while, and like the reviews all said, the menus were terrible. But the IQ was great. I sold it a while back but kept one or two of the older version Sigma lenses, mainly because they were cheap and good, and not worth much of anything in resale. Thanks, Mike, I just picked up one of these just because... assuming the newer reviews are trustworthy and Sony improved the menu system from 2012.

The price drops in used gear are astounding, BTW. My main camera these days is a two year old Sony RX1R, which I bought in essentially new condition off some guy on eBay, together with the stupidly overpriced lens shade, EVF, grip, 64GB card, and extra batteries for less than half of the original price. Mind you, with all the add-ons, the kit when new was almost $4K. Sony just announced the successor to the RX1 with an even bigger sensor and a built in EVF. I am curiously watching the used prices for the first gen like mine, and they haven't dropped yet. But still, taking an over $2K hit on a camera like the seller of mine did (did I mention it was essentially new when I got it?) seems pretty steep to me.

Some days we're living in.

"Don't you wish you could teleport to 2002 and tell people about the cameras that would be going begging at the end of 2015? Our 13-years-younger selves would have been astonished."

Looking backwards a bit... I was just last night flipping through my Lightroom library and ended up finding old shots from my Canon S2 circa. 2005 - my first ever digital rig. My oh my, what a staggering difference 10 years makes. Even shots in full sun at ISO 100 are a mushy, noisy mess. And don't even think about going to ISO 400.

And this same camera was still functioning until very recently. I had passed it on to my brother when I picked up a Rebel XTi and he used it off and on until late last year when it simply would no longer turn on. I tried to revive it just to see if I could peer through that 10-year old EVF once more, but it was hopeless.

I should pop in to look at those "old" photos on occasion if for no other reason than to remind myself to be thankful for the amazing little bundles of magic we have these days.

Just ordered one (via your link) and can't wait. Under 400 bucks is almost disposable.
I've been using a 2 year old NEX-6 with a 16-70 zoom for about 80% of my newspaper/web work, and most of my personal work. I'll be on the lookout for high ISO noise, compared to the NEX-6. 16 megapixels, to me, seems like the sweet spot for low noise for the APS-C format. From what I hear, the A6000 is a tad noisier. Still, as a grizzled old film shooter, I roll my eyes when people who have known only digital whine about noisy ISO 6400 images.

I had the NEX 6 and had a real love/hate relationship with it - It was the right size and I could get great results out of it. But it was... frustrating and that really meant that it limited its usefulness for me and my photography suffered.

I bought an A6000 last year when I found a refurb at ~400.00. I did this because I had a pretty good investment in glass at that point and I was attracted to the comments about the improved sensor and focus speed. I was a bit nervous though because of the many caustic comments about the EVF being cheaper/lower res than the NEX - frankly I didn't notice unless I viewed them side by side. I couldn't believe the difference! Almost all the annoyances were gone. I'm pretty happy with this now and probably carry this with me 2x then I did the earlier camera. My only real annoyance still is an overly aware auto proximity switch of the back display and the viewfinder with no way to program a button as the alternative that I can find. I've recently done quite a bit of work taxing the limits of highlight and shadow recovery and have been very happy indeed with what I can do with this.

Wow, love the great prices ... $400 is a steal. Thanks for the tip.

I bought my NEX-6 for ~$800 in 2013. I love it and am still using it. Maybe I should upgrade though, for the better AF.

I just bought an A77ii with 16-50 2.8 "kit" lens at my local Best Buy -- $1000 on clearance (it's normally about $1400). I bet it was just sitting there for the past year; no takers until I stumbled upon the price drop. The A77ii kicks butt for my sports shooting needs.

Are we in the Golden Age of digital photography or what? The democratization of awesome gear!

"Is the value of everything just trending to zero? What am I missing?"

Second Law of Thermodynamics?

I give up cuz I can't keep up.
I'll stick with my Canon EOS 5DSR.
Heavy, but incredibly capable.

Mi dos pesos.

OK.
The perfect camera for me would be something manual/automatic/auto focus no frills and shoot DNG.
I wrote Fuji several months ago because all they would have to do is strip down the X-100 and make it a perfect shooter.
I doubt that they will since camera mfrs. still insist on writing their own software which, as Michael Reichman points out is not good for the consumer.
Imagine a pint size "Leica!"
Well, I can dream anyway.

Mi dos pesos.

I used to like A6000, until I handled Samsung NX500. Coupled with Samsung 30mm f/2, it is a mean machine that is compact, fast, and beautiful, albeit without the viewfinder. Too bad that its future is uncertain.

Got it in two days. Jeez, is it fast to focus. Like the Nex-7 except not nearly as nicely built, or maybe not nearly as nice a feel in the hand as the NEX-7, since the body seems to be 100% polycarb. But who cares, it is inexpensive and outputs great photos, errr digital files.

One small point, the Sigma lenses are not supported for the phase detect AF magic on these cameras. One of the selling points of the A6000 is the 179 or whatever PD points on the chip, and they only work when used with native Sony lenses. I checked and it seems to be the case, so my old Sigma primes are only hooked up with the contrast-based AF. No biggie, but if you want the whole AF enchilada, you gotta stick with the Sony lenses.

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