Three years ago, I purchased the Sony a6000 mirror-less camera. Its been a great camera, and I was surprised to see that while Sony is now up to the a6500 in this series, for my shooting, the a6000 still holds its own – and at a current price tag that is a steal compared to the newer upgraded models. It is a 24 mp mirrorless APS-C 1″ sensor camera that supports removable lenses – and my 24mm 1.8 lens is a real gem.
Because I got rid of my car a year ago June, my life has become a lot more “portable”. I have become a master of getting around on my bike and mass transit. In fact, even though I no longer ride metric centuries like I used to when I was younger – or when I rode 160 miles a week – I still get around and ride nearly every day. Because of this – I wanted something (other than my smart phone) that had a decent lens – one that would be capable of distance shots for San Francisco cityscapes as well a landscape photography – and when carrying around the larger a6000 would not be realistic. I have several decent lenses – from 12mm super wide angle to telephoto – so I am covered.
The Sony RX100VI fits this bill – with a big caveat.
I like city and country photography equally. The only problem is that they typically are at the opposite ends of the light spectrum – city photography can be full of shadows – and some of my favorite shots are night scenes in low light. Landscape shots are generally done in much brighter light.
Lens choice is also important – city shots of full buildings require a wide angle lens, but if you are doing Henry Cartier-Bresson style “decisive moment” or you want to shoot a small feature of a building from far away – a telephoto lens is required. If you don’t want to be noticed – the RX100 series camera is perfect.
The RX100VI is a good general purpose camera for what I want to do – but its not great in low light. Sony has other models that are – the RX100V and RX100IV – previous models with a wider lens that does not get into the telephoto range. If you want low light and do not need telephoto coverage – you should go with their previous versions.
I did a test with both cameras in low light – and sure enough – as I had researched, the a6000 with the 24mm 1.8 lens outperformed the RX100VI significantly. At telephoto and brighter light shots – the RX100VI holds its own (as I fully expected it would), and because the size of the RX100VI is so much smaller than the a6000, and because it has this excellent Zeiss lens (non removable) – it works great as a day camera commuting to and from work – or as a landscape camera. The RX100VI is much more compatible with cycling.
The complement of these two cameras fits my use cases nicely. The older a6000 and the older RX100 line of cameras are still for sale and are really great deals – if you don’t need the newer video features and some other small improvements (i.e. supposedly lower noise and whatnot). I had no desire to upgrade the a6000, but the telephoto lens in the RX100VI was important – and I do have a range of all possibilities that I can shoot in now.