Sony Alpha A6600 Review: A Powerful and Versatile Mirrorless Camera

Sony Alpha A6600 is an expensive mirrorless camera, but it offers an impressive performance with a host of valuable features. In today’s Sony Alpha A6600 review, we’ll go over the details of this product so that you can decide whether it’s worth the time or not.

The Sony Alpha a6600 is a high-end mirrorless camera designed for advanced photographers and videographers. It boasts a powerful autofocus system, fast shooting speed, and excellent image quality.

Sony Alpha A6600 Review

Sony A6600 Review

Megapixels/Sensor: 24.2/APS-C  | Video maximum resolution: 4K, 60 fps | Shooting speed: 11 fps | Autofocus: 425-point contrast detection/ 425-point phase detection | Image stabilization: 5-axis | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Display: 2.95-inch 922K touchscreen | GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth/NFC: No/Yes/Yes/Yes | Battery life: 720 shots | Size: 4.7 × 2.7 × 2.3 inches | ISO: 100-3200 optical

Functions and Features

After years of steady progress of the full-frame mirrorless system, Sony is now focused on improving its budget-friendly and compact APS-C inventory. The maker kicked thing off with the a6400, and followed with a model below it – a6100. Afterwards, a model above it, aka a6600, which today’s review is about.

These three models share the same basic features and image sensor, but A6600 is rare due to many new additions, which we’ll see in the coming sections.

Controls & Interface

Owing to the slew of the camera’s functions and features, it’s obvious that there are plenty of menus, dials, and buttons. The frequented ones are quickly accessed via physical controls. 4 custom buttons can be programmed by the user so they can access their preferred settings. It’s a breeze to learn the icons and controls as they’re based on the industry standards.

Shutter, on, and off buttons are present at the top, whereas the control, 2 custom buttons, and mode knobs are available behind. On the back, there’s a typical array of controls, such as manual focus/autofocus and 2 other custom buttons. Directional control offers double and triple duty sometimes based on the current mode.

It chooses a display design, scrolls through menus, launches the ISO options, the focus area, the drive mode, and exposure compensation. Users can easily reach for all these controls with their right hand holding the battery in a standard photographer position and their left hand beneath the lens.

The small indented movie button to commence video recording is present at the upper right corner between the battery compartment grip and the camera back. Although the nested menus are redesigned to be logical, navigating them gets complicated owing to the variety of options. There are 6 tabs on the interface:

  • A customized My Menu 
  • Still image
  • Setup tools
  • Movie options
  • Playback controls
  • Network settings

These tabs have further multiple screens, which leads to 36 separate screens. Plus, some advanced functions demand tweaking, which means you’ll have to scroll down these screens. However, consider the function button that serves as a shortcut for basic settings. It showcases a menu of 12 functions at the bottom of the LCD screen.

This button offers direct access to tweak the following settings in the photography mode:

  • Shooting mode
  • Drive mode
  • File format
  • Focus mode
  • Creative style
  • Focus area
  • White balance
  • Exposure compensation
  • Flash compensation
  • ISO
  • Flash mode
  • Metering mode

And in the movie mode, this button offers less default icons, which are as follows:

  • Video exposure mode
  • Focus mode
  • Creative style
  • Focus area
  • Metering mode 
  • White balance
  • Exposure compensation
  • Flash compensation
  • ISO

But the function menu can be changed. 

Image Quality

The captured images are consistently decent. Colors are brought to life and the pictures are sharp. But the still image can be over-saturated and not as crisp as outdoor pictures. Sony Alpha a6600 captures clean, crisp, and vivid images outdoors with sunlight. Even the skin tones are pleasing and natural.

There is clarity in highlights and shadows in images captured outdoors in bright sunlight. Dynamic range and well-balanced exposures are ensured in challenging light, like backlighting, or a mix of very dark and bright shadows. The attention to detail is truly impressive. But from time to time, users will need to employ exposure compensation to shoot the highlights, true midtones, and shadows.

Speed & Autofocus 

Sony Alpha a6600 is a quick shooting camera as it matches the shooting speed of a6500 in continuous mode, and its autofocus (0.02 seconds) is also better. But at 11 fps, a6600 will showcase the last shot captured instead of a live view. This can be problematic when users have to compose their image on a moving object. It means you will need to slow down to 8 fps to utilize the live view.

Its fast hybrid autofocus employs 425-point contrast detection and 425-point phase detection. This analyzes the complete picture frame vertically and 84% horizontally. The real-time autofocus zeroes in rapidly and correctly.

Moreover, the camera has expanded on the a6500 AI object recognition for tracking and detecting eyes. Its eye autofocus is practical for animals and people alike in still picture capture. The camera also has eye autofocus in the video mode, which is only reserved for people.

It is possible to edit the autofocus for video by tweaking the autofocus drive speed (slow, standard, or fast) and autofocus sensitivity (standard or responsive). Choose your autofocus drive speed based on how quickly you want the subject to arrive in focus. Autofocus sensitivity relates to the ability to rapidly switch among subjects or either remain locked on a particular subject while filming.

The practicality of LCD has been boosted to add not only touch tracking but also touch focus. This means that users can fastly choose particular moving subjects to stay in focus while shooting a video. 

Video Performance

Sony Alpha a6600 crafts 4K movies by oversampling 6K capture to determine superior quality. Aside from the S-log 2 and S-log 3 gamma curves for shooting a complete range of data via the image sensor, the camera also boasts hybrid log-gamma for high dynamic range capture (HDR). Similar to the a6500, the Alpha a6600 comes with Quick and Slow Motion. This means users are able to slow down motion or execute time-lapse videos.

Video Performance

Moreover, it features the same 5-stop 5-axis in-camera stabilization as the one found in a6500. This enables you to create smooth videos. It is a great pick for a vlogging camera. 

Design

The camera inherits the a6500 foolproof construction, which is a moisture and dust resistant magnesium-alloy foundation laced with a black plastic cover. The compact camera has a somewhat bigger grip, which proves to be a balanced handhold when employing bigger lenses.

Sony Alpha a6600 can take advantage of the more robust Z battery employed by the brand’s DSLRs. This guarantees twice the battery life of the a6500. On a single battery charge, users can capture around 720 still images. The increase in weight is minimal.

Another significant improvement is the versatile LCD screen, which now flips a complete 180° from a flush posture on the back so that it can face forward over the lens to take memorable selfies. It also tilts 74° so that you can watch the screen while holding the camera above the head.

The LCD screen is the same 3 inches with 922K dots similar to the a6500. But the touchscreen capability of the newer version is boosted beyond touch focus to also add touch tracking and touch shutter. The monitor is responsive and the screen is bright, with a great attention to detail. However, the LCD can become unreadable under direct sunlight, which is a common issue.

The 2359K-dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder is also crisp and vivid, with intuitive data shown in white on the live view black border. Same as a6500, the camera takes advantage of the complete range of professional standard Sony E-mount lense present from the third parties and Sony.

Likewise, a flash hot show at the top is compatible with third-party flashes and Sony. The maker eliminated the pop-up flash which is common in the series predecessors. However, this decision is logical as different lenses occluded the popup’s illumination. Sadly, the Sony Alpha a6600 still includes only one UHS-I-compatible SD memory card slot, which is settled with the battery. 

Software & App

Sony has exchanged the PlayMemories app with Imaging Edge software. This links the camera to a smart mobile device, such as a computer or smartphone. The app is divided into a total of 3 modules – Remote, Editor, and Viewer.

Remote is the most critical part, and the only reason why you will be tempted to download and utilize Imaging Edge. Via the Remote interface, one can control and capture from a device or computer. Afterwards, it can be transferred. The app also applies the smartphone’s GPS location info on the file metadata.

Comparatively, the Editor and Viewer are inferior siblings to remote, and definitely won’t replace Adobe Lightroom or even the high-rated editing software for expert photographers.

Pros
  • High-capacity battery.
  • Real-time autofocus tracking.
  • 5-axis image stabilization.
  • Extensive eye autofocus.
  • Better handgrip 4K recording.
  • Splash and dust resistant.
  • Integrated EVF.
Cons
  • Slower one memory card slot.
  • Rejects in-camera flash.
  • No front dial or focus joystick.

Final Verdict

This Sony Alpha a6600 review makes it clear that it’s a solid new flagship for the maker’s mirrorless APS-C array of cameras. The advanced features including a flexible LCD, extended eye autofocus, speed, performance, and stellar tracking, makes it quite appealing. In simple words, it is definitely worth every penny.

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