I shot with the Sony A6600 in a wide range of conditions and it’s delivered a very nice collection of images.
Helped by the electronic viewfinder, which displays an accurate preview of the image and guides the exposure settings, the majority of my images are correctly exposed. But that’s not to take away from the capability of the metering system in its default ‘Multi’ setting. This system takes a lot in its stride and there aren’t many surprises or occasions when you have to use the exposure compensation control when you wouldn’t expect to.
The autofocus systems in Sony’s recent cameras are very good and the A6600 doesn’t disappoint in this respect. It focuses quickly and accurately and is capable of keeping speeding subjects sharp.
Sony’s Eye AF system set the bar for the other manufacturers, and while Canon may have taken the lead with the EOS R6 and EOS R5 in this regard, the Sony A6600 does a great job of spotting eyes in the frame and keeping them sharp.
When set to ‘Animal’ the Eye AF spotted one of my dog’s eyes and focussed on it on most occasions. Switch to ‘Human’ and the performance is every bit as good, if not better. It’s great for portrait shoots, but it also means that you can be confident that your eyes are in focus if you flip the screen up through 180° and step in front of the camera to vlog.
Sony A6600 Image Quality
Sony has given the A6600 a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-32000. I wouldn’t go above that value as the images become very noisy and there are false colours visible.
I’d aim to keep the sensitivity setting to ISO 6400 or lower whenever possible. Going above that value makes raw files look quite gritty and Jpegs look smoothed. You may get away with ISO ISO 25,600 with some scenes but be prepared to see some texture in the raw files and for the finer textures of Jpegs to be lost.
At the other end of the scale, low-ISO images have a good level of detail.
At the low-to-middle sensitivity range, the Sony A6600 has very good dynamic range, which means it can capture a wide range of tones within a single image. This means that you don’t have to underexpose to protect the highlights on a frequent basis and the shadows don’t turn deep black too quickly.
A wide dynamic range is very useful with high contrast scenes when you don’t want to lose the detail in the shadows and highlights. Thanks to its impressive dynamic range, low-ISo images from the A6600 can withstand significantly brightening without noise levels becoming excessive.
That’s handy with landscape images when you may want to reduce the exposure a little to capture every scrap of detail, because you can brighten the shadows in an image meditating software package like DxO PhotoLab or Adobe Photoshop. In fact, I was able to brighten a very dark image by a little over 4EV without noise becoming problematic – but it pays to keep an eye on even-toned areas.
Shooting at the 55mm end of the Sony E 16-55mm f2.8 G lens, I found I was able to get around 60% of my hand-held images sharp at 1/5sec. That’s a shutter speed compensation factor of 4EV. Dropping the shutter to 0.4sec, which would require a 5EV compensation factor, proved a step too far. Several of my images were almost sharp, but they don’t quite make the grade.
Video footage from the A6600 matches the stills but you need to look out for rolling shutter effect. If you walk along a post and rail fence, for example, you may spot that the posts bend.
The stabilisation system works very well in video mode. It’s not good enough to smooth out the camera-shake created by walking with it hand-held, but it’s fine for stationary hand-holding, panning and the like.