Sunday, June 26, 2016

SE Asia Gallery / Sony a6000 review

Finally, after far too much procrastination since returning home from SE Asia, I have completed my gallery of travel photos. While most of the images I captured were very unplanned and spontaneous, I feel like in the end I was still able to capture moments that I can look back upon and remember exciting things. Normally at home I currently shoot with a Canon 6D and Tamron 24-70 2.8 lens. For this trip though, since it was not only my first trip longer than 10 days, it would also be my first time overseas so I opted to try out a mirrorless camera system so as not to lose or damage my Canon which I use a lot of event and music photography and the setup would be hard for me to replace at the time. After much research I went with the Sony a6000 camera for my trip. The price was very reasonable for a camera which boasts a 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor (equivalent to a crop sensor on a DSLR) in a very compact, lightweight design which is good since I was packing super light for this trip. Overall I was happy with the camera, though in hindsight I should have bought the camera body and lens separate as the kit lens it came with left a lot to be desired. I would recommend a mirrorless camera system to anyone looking to capture high quality images while reducing size and weight during travel. A complete review of the Sony a6000 can be read here for anyone interested. Shortly after I returned back to Canada in March, Sony had announced the latest version of the camera, the Sony a6300, which cost quite a lot more and at first glance appears to be quite similar to it's predecessor.
The compact size and fast focusing of the camera was very useful when it came to street photography, which is something I spent a lot more time trying out during this trip. The opportunities for amazing street photography are endless in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia so I was happy to have a small and discreet camera system in hand. Another feature I found quite useful during my trip was the ability to do RAW conversion and export directly and easily to my smartphone. With free WiFi at almost every establishment in SE Asia I was able to keep my social media feeds going with current content using high quality RAW base files. The camera body itself features a 3" articulating screen on the back, something I found to be a bit of a poor design compared to the fully adjustable screen found on something like the Canon G12. The reason I find the design poor is that it only tilts to about a 45 degree angle, in the end the screen is always exposed on the back making it very prone to scratching when you are transferring it regularly in and out of a backpack or daypack. The design of the Canon G12's screen is far better in my opinion as it can be rotated completely around and the screen can be folded into the camera body during storage. While many reviews speak to the poor battery life of the camera, I didn't find it too bad overall in my experience and the battery/camera can be easily charged with a micro USB cable similar to many of today's smartphones so it was never an inconvenience for me. I found the quality of the landscape photos I captured pretty good as well, and not having to lug a heavy DSLR/lens combination to some of the hikes was definitely a bonus at times when the temperatures on average reached over 30+ degrees each day.

Overall i'd say my first experience with a mirrorless system was a positive one, though at times I definitely wanted my DSLR in hand for familiarity. I have since sold the Sony a6000 since I was out of money when I came home and did not require 2 camera bodies at the time. The technology has certainly come a long way in mirrorless camera systems and I would definitely consider buying another one someday as a second body.

If you are reading this (i'm not certain that anyone does or not haha) I highly encourage you to check out my full SE Asia gallery of images over at my website ... http://www.neilmcelmon.com/Travel/