A travel camera that’s aged like fine wine.
The Sony a6000: Still the Best Budget Travel Camera?
I recently bought myself a used Sony a6000 mirrorless camera. Debuted in 2014, I felt like I was taking a risk on a camera nearing a decade in age. However, for my money, It was the best travel camera I could afford. I had long ago given up any pretense of owning the newest, shiniest toy.
A few nights ago, I looked out my window and noticed a particularly vibrant sunset. I immediately grabbed my camera and walked down to a nearby park that overlooks the city. While there, I got to talking with another guy snapping pics, who happened to be a professional photographer.
His camera? A Sony a6000.
Price: $600 or less with kit lens; body can be found used in good condition for about $350
Camera Quality: 24.3 MP
Sensor Size: Sony APS-C (1.5x crop factor)
Lens Mount: Sony E
ISO Range: 100-25,600
Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000
Video Quality: 1080p/60fps
Weight: 12 oz (344g)
Other Attributes: Electronic viewfinder
Pros & Cons
- Very compact form factor
- Metal construction
- Reliable models that last
- Good image quality even years later
- Viewfinder offers live view
- Excellent value
- Middling battery life
- Aging system
- Not weather-sealed
Introduced in February 2014, and still being produced as of July 2023. Widely considered one of the best all-rounder cameras for the money, performing well for both fast action shots, landscape scenes, and portraits. The Sony a6000 is the Toyota Corolla of digital cameras: it may not be the fanciest, but it will keep you taking great photos for a long, long time.
The a6000’s small form factor harkens back to the days of classic 35mm film cameras, which makes it excellent for travel purposes. This is enabled by its mirrorless system, which results in a much more compact mechanism than a traditional DSLR.
About the only downside of the a6000 in terms of its travel applications are its lack of weather-sealing. While not strictly necessary, it’s extremely useful to have when in varying climates. Without it, simply be careful of using it in rain or in highly dusty or sandy conditions.
Pro Tip: Get a decent camera, and really good glass
The lens, or “glass,” has more of an impact on your photo than the megapixels offered by the camera body itself. I would get a decent camera (like the a6000!), and then the very best lens that you can afford. You’ll save money and still get excellent image quality.
The Sony a6000 can take any Sony E-mount lens, just make sure that you’re not using an “EF” lens, as those as for full-frame cameras and won’t work as well.
I personally use the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 prime lens. While it doesn’t offer the zoom of other cameras, it is a very clear lens that offers excellent depth of field and, most importantly, portability! I find that the 30mm focal length also forces you to frame a shot, making it ideal for portrait and street photography, while also providing decent field of view for landscape and skyline shots. I’m a one bag traveler, which kind of makes me a one lens photographer, and the Sigma f/1.4 30mm is a jack-of-all-trades. While it’s not the smallest lens you can get, both its size and its image quality are well-suited to the Sony a6000.
Of course, at the end of the day, the true power lies with the photographer, not the camera. But for a minimalist traveler who doesn’t want to sacrifice quality for weight, the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera is a tried and true travel camera that will serve you well for years to come.
Use my link below to snag your very own Sony a6000 and start taking incredible photo photos!
Want to get a Sigma f/1.4 30mm lens to go with it? Use my link below: