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Sony makes its best mirrorless camera faster, better, and smaller with the A6000

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Gallery Photo: Sony Alpha A6000 pictures
Gallery Photo: Sony Alpha A6000 pictures

Sony's in the midst of a reinvention of its camera lineup, and up next is one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market: the NEX-6 is being discontinued in favor of the new Alpha A6000. It's the latest in Sony's efforts to kill off its NEX line and organize everything under its Alpha brand, but the A6000 also represents a meaningful upgrade for the camera. It's not retro-cool, or even especially handsome, but it continues Sony's remarkable trend of shoving high-end hardware into smaller and smaller bodies. The A6000 has a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor that Sony assures me is different from the 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor on Sony's NEX-7, along with the latest Bionz X processor (the same one in the A7 and A7R).

Improving on the best of the NEX-6, plus blistering fast focusing

The A6000 has 179 autofocus points, and Sony says it has the fastest focusing system on the planet. Of course, virtually every manufacturer makes that claim about their cameras, but there's no doubt the A6000 is among the fastest-focusing cameras I've ever used. The focus points cover more than 90 percent of your field of view, too, meaning you can focus on just about anything you see. With Wi-Fi and DLNA, ISO capability up to ISO 25,600, a built-in OLED viewfinder, plenty of dials and a customizable Function button, and a big grip on the right side, the A6000 is aimed squarely at a buyer who might once have bought a DSLR. It has all of the capability, and at just over 10 ounces, none of the body fat.

The A6000 should be better than the NEX-6, and cheaper besides: just $799 with Sony's standard 16-50mm kit lens. The camera's coming in mid-April, and it might quickly make the NEX-6 a forgettable relic.