Shooting street photography with a Sony A6000
Lately, I’ve been getting a few emails from readers asking about the Sony A6000. In particular, people are interested in using the camera for street photography. I’ve shot street photos a lot with the A6000, and it’s one of my favourite cameras for street shooting. However, as I hadn’t shot this genre with it for a little while I thought I’d take it out for a spin, and record the proceedings as an episode of “Street Photo Diary.”
The things that I like about the A6000 for street photography are its speed, its autofocus and the flip up screen. I know most of these things aren’t particularly revolutionary, but considering you can get this camera for around €400 and it has a pretty good sensor, then they do add up to something special, at least for the price. The downsides of the camera, are pretty much what I outlined in my review, which I wrote a while ago. The screen is pretty bad, and the lens selection isn’t great, although it’s improved a bit since I wrote that.
Regarding shooting with the A6000, it’s the overall speed that I really appreciate. Everything about the camera is fast, especially the autofocus. It just snaps to attention and does what you ask it. One of the things that I’ve noticed over the years, especially lately, is that many camera reviews tend to focus on continuous autofocus performance, but neglect to mention how well or poorly a camera does with single shot and single point. I find that the A6000 is more responsive, reliable and faster for this kind of autofocus performance than the X-Pro 2 with some lenses, which is a newer and much more expensive camera.
In terms of lenses I shot this series with, I used the Sony 35mm f/1.8 which isn’t a great lens. It has some really severe chromatic aberration. While you can correct it with Lightroom or Photoshop, doing so does leave some grey edges, because the aberration is so bad. I also have the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 which is a great lens and doesn’t have the aberration problem, but in this case, I choose to shoot with the Sony because I wanted the shallower depth of field. I believe that the newer f/1.4 Sigma is really good, and I’d like to be able to try that at some point too.
The other problem with the A6000 isn’t really a Sony problem. You may have heard people complaining about the “Sony Colours”, and there is an issue, but it’s only with the RAW files, and in my opinion, this is because Adobe’s calibration for the camera is terrible. It renders skin tones pale and kind of sickly. I’ve worked to create my own calibration for the camera, which I think is better, and you can get it as part of my A6000 guide. I have a free version too.
I won’t get into comparing the A6000 with the X-Pro 2 as it’s not really a fair comparison. The Fuji costs nearly three times as much, but in many ways, the A6000 can hold its own. I find that I shoot differently with each camera, as I adapt my shooting style to each one's strengths and weaknesses. I find the image quality of the Sony is let down by the lenses that I have. When using it with Canon lenses via an adaptor, there is a marked difference, but it's at the expense of autofocus (I would need the A6300 for that). I would be interested to try some FE glass on it. Fuji's strengths are in its lenses and its colour science, but while Fuji has a better selection of APS-C lenses, some of them are very expensive. For example, the Fuji 16mm f/1.4 is around twice as expensive as the new(ish) Sigma 16mm f/1.4 which gets very good reviews (I haven't tried it yet). Again though, they are at very different price points, so its not a fair comparison.
Anyway, here is a selection of images from the shoot that I took. These were minimally processed in Lightroom. If you want to see them larger, with no sidebar, then you can also find them on my photo journal. Don’t forget to watch the video too. I’ve been working hard to improve my videos, and I think this episode is the best one yet of the “street photo diary” series, so please give it a like and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
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