Sony's latest mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the Alpha A6000, is no slouch when it comes to speed. Aimed at hobbyists and photo enthusiasts, the 24.3 megapixel shooter has a super-fast autofocus system which is said to rival all but the fastest of professional DSLRs.

While Sony has ditched the NEX branding on its latest mirrorless cameras, they still take the same E-mount lenses and retain a familiar compact design. As such, the Sony Alpha A6000 (or ILCE-6000, or even α6000 depending on your naming convention of choice) can be seen as the direct successor to the NEX-6.

The A6000 features a 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (23.5 X 15.6mm) paired with Sony's latest Bionz X image processor, as seen in the Alpha A7. This allows for an ISO range of 100 to 25,600, meaning it should be capable of shooting quality images in any lighting condition, and Full HD 1080p movie recording at 60/50/24 fps.

But speed is the main attraction of the A6000, and its hybrid autofocus system is claimed to be the world's fastest of any interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C image sensor. Featuring 25 contrast-detection and 179 phase-detection points, it's capable of focus speeds of just 0.06 seconds. It can also shoot 11 frames per second, with subject tracking, in continuous shooting mode.

Measuring 120mm x 66.9mm x 45.1mm (4.7 x 2.8 x 1.8 inches) and weighing 344 g (12.1 oz) the A6000 looks a lot like its predecessor. One notable difference is on top where the A6000's control dials now sit next to each other rather than being stacked like on the NEX-6. There's also Sony's multi-interface shoe which can be used to attach accessories like a microphone or an external flash, for when the built-in pop-up flash won't do the job.

Around the back, there's an OLED electronic viewfinder with 1,440k dots which offers 100 percent frame coverage, and a three-inch LCD which can tilt up 90 degrees and down 45 degrees, with 921,600 dots. The camera also has a number of customizable buttons which can give quick access to any one of 47 assignable functions.

Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC means that pairing the A6000 with compatible smartphones or tablets is simple for either the sharing of images, or using the external devices for remote shootings with a live image preview. The camera is also compatible with downloadable Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps.

The Sony A6000 will be available in April in either black or silver for about US$650 body-only, or $800 bundled with a 16-50-mm kit lens.

Product page: Sony A6000

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