Sony 55-210mm f 4.5-6.3 OSS E-Mount with a6000 Samples

I know the Sony E 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 OSS E-Mount has been around for a while, but I recently picked one up and thought I’d share some samples taken with it. I don’t mind that it’s not very fast since I intend to use it outdoors in the Florida sun. I usually shoot with primes, but sometimes zooming with your feet will only get you so far - especially once you hit the waters edge or the end of the pier. These photos show more of the longer end of the lens since I have the Sony/Zeiss 55mm 1.8 or Sony 28mm f2 on my a7 most of the time. This combo of the a7 and a6000 works well for me.

The Optical Steady Shot, or image stabilization, works well and if you are shooting video, the lens is nice and quiet. I took this lens out before sunrise to test it in different lighting and was really pleased. This is not a low light lens. You can increase your ISO to help, but don’t expect to use this lens in a indoor low light situation or at night without a tripod; this lens works best in daylight.

The bokeh can be a little busy, and I did notice some lens flare, but nothing to complain about. The 55-210mm kind of soft wide open, but stopping down sharpens it up. The build quality is similar to the Sony 50mm 1.8, the Sony 35mm 1.8, and the original kit lens for the NEX 7. It’s light and pretty small for this focal range.

Are there better options out there? Won't there always be? If you need a longer zoom, and more importantly if it's in the budget and going to make you money the Sony FE 70-200mm G f4 may serve you better. Keep in mind that you can always rent one when needed. If you have the cash to buy a lens or take a trip, I'd say take the trip every time. That does not mean that this is a bad lens - it means appreciate this lens for what it is rather than what it isn’t. It’s a solid, affordable, variable aperture, kit zoom that preformed better than I expected and in the right conditions is capable of making some great images.

First shoot with the Sony a6000: Update 10/15/2015


Sony 35mm 1.8


Sigma 30mm 2.8


Sony 35mm 1.8

Here are photos from my first shoot with the Sony a6000. We had planned on me shooting behind the scene shots of the Syndicate’s video for “3 AM in Da Jack”. I decided the night before that I would leave the 5D Mark III at home and see what the a6000 could do. Woody Allen once said "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." The video shoot was delayed, so we went ahead with a few stills. I kept it simple with one Alien Bee strobe bare bulb run-and-gun style.

The camera came with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS retractable zoom, but I have yet to really use it because I wanted to shoot with lenses that I am familiar with, so I can’t say much about the the kit lens. 

The a6000 didn’t disappoint: this camera is quick, responsive, light and small. I am now wondering if I am the only one who really liked the tri navi controls of the NEX-7. Having aperture on the top right dial, shutter on the top left dial and ISO on the back dial just worked for me. I don't really need the mode dial since it's always set to manual. I do miss that setup but the performance of the a6000 makes up for the ergonomic changes. Sony has dropped the NEX branding and the menus are now the Alpha menus and it is a welcome change from the convoluted menus of the NEX line. I wish Sony would release a firmware update for the NEX-6 and NEX-7 and update the menus to the Alpha menus. Fuji showed the love for the orignal X100 with firmware well after the X100S was out. Oh well, back to the a6000.

Auto-focus is fast with 179-point phase detection system and 25-point contrast detection. In continuous mode it shoots 11 fps with AF tracking. I set the C1 button to toggle between auto focus and manual making manually focusing a breeze. The electronic view finder resolution is scaled down from the NEX-6 and NEX-7, but the refresh rate is quick and looks fine to my eye. I used my first EVF back in 2000 with the Sony MVC-CD1000 - a 2.1 mega pixel camera that used Mini-CDs - what a beast that thing was. Man, EVF tech has come long way. The a6000's high ISO does really well up to 3200 and quite usable at 6400 which is great since the NEX-7 was not so good with high ISO; I never really pushed it past 1600. The battery life is on par with most mirrorless cameras, so I would suggest getting a couple of spares. 

The a6000 shoots good 1080p video and offers clean HDMI out for those who do not want to use the AVCHD codec. Sony also added zebra, and with focus peaking, it's easy to get exposure and lock focus. The bad news is there is no audio input so be prepared to use an external audio recorder.

I know many will say that the a6000 has a small APS-C sized sensor and to that I say check out this post from Zack Arias "Crop or Crap: Math or the Moment" over at I shoot both full frame and APS-C; they both have their advantages. It’s nice when a 50mm is a true 50mm but it’s also nice when that 50mm can become a 75mm and give you a little more reach. 

Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic are really pushing camera tech these days, making me wonder what is going on with Canon and Nikon, are they getting complacent? 

The a6000 is an excellent performer, especially at this price, and if you are on a budget or on the fence about trying mirrorless, Sigma's 19mm, 30mm and the 60mm E-mount primes will get you going without breaking the bank. I am glad I purchased this versatile little camera.

Check out the single “3 AM in Da Jack” from the Syndicate on iTunes and Amazon

Update 10/15/2015:

After using the a6000 for over a year now, I have to say that I love this camera. Personally, I believe it is still the best bang for your buck currently available in the mirrorless market. A while back, Sony released firmware version 2.0, which adds the new XAVC-S codec, making this camera even better for video. I wish Sony would add this codec to the original a7 as well.

Sony’s mirrorless offerings have been quite polarizing, and some love to hate Sony. I love my Sony cameras. There is no doubt that Sony is doing something right when they manage to keep the industry talking as much as they have and it's clear that they are committed to e-mount.

Click here to see more photos taken with a6000.