Wayne Capili’s Sony A6000 Epiphany

September 14th, 2015

WayneCapiliThis is a guest post by Wayne Capili. Wayne was the very first PFRE real estate photographer of the year in 2008. Back then we called it PFRE Idol Contest. If you are a regular in the PFRE Flickr group you’ve seen a lot of  Wayne’s work there. The photo to the right is work Wayne has done with his Sony A6000.

With all the talk about equipment, I wanted to tell everyone about my epiphany using a Sony A6000 in real estate photography.

I was in Best Buy and there was an open box sale of a Sony A5100 for $260. I bought it as my pole camera, as it had built in wi-fi, and had the rare feature of controlling the zoom and all controls from the app on my phone. I was amazed by the quality. I used to do pole photography with a DSLR, and it involves a beefier camera mount and is not really mobile. You set it up, you take your show, maybe rotate it, but to go to the next location, it takes a bit of time. With a Sony on a pole, I’m simply just holding it up, it’s so mobile, I now shoot events walking around with this camera on top.

I started to get used to the size, but the A5100 did not have a viewfinder and does not accept external strobes, or triggers. Enter the A6000! It has an Electronic View Finder (EVF) which takes a little to get used to, but now I would NOT do real estate without an EVF. Here’s a fun fact, and something I never thought of. In a DSLR, you can’t SEE the actual depth of field at a given stop. Yeah, depth of field preview is available, but let’s be honest it just darkens the screen. With an EVF, it actually shows depth-of-field. That’s important because you have MUCH better control. How many people, find it frustrating because they think they need more powerful strobes, or more of them to shoot at f8 or f11 just to get more depth of field? I’ve found with the crop sensor at f6 with my 12mm I get 3 ft to pretty near infinity. Now I saw pretty near, because it’s not quite if you are shooting outside, but inside, I’m golden and I’m not pushing my strobe power, and now, I only bring 3 strobes.

Then there’s focus peaking and magnified view. And yes, DSLR’s have this features on the screen, but these features in a viewfinder are magic! Use focus peaking for quick focus, use magnified view for critical focus, and with the new added depth of field in LiveView, you can set critical focus, and adjust the aperture to how much you want in focus.

I’ve found, that since the A6000 is a consumer not a “pro” camera, it has consumer features and interface. Take wi-fi: on my Canon 6D it works, but you connect 1 device, want to connect another one in the field? Nope… the Sony is meant to be connected…they want you to be able to get the images. With built-in near field communication (NFC), just touch your phone to the side of the camera and BAM it’s in your phone. Battery going down? Don’t have a battery charger? No problem, it charges the battery IN camera with the same cord you charge your cell phone with.

When I first got the camera, it had the ability to control the camera thru wi-fi on my phone but very simple controls. I wished there was a more “pro” version. The camera can access an App Store which I bought a better remote and while I was at it bought a time lapse app…in the phone. I can continually upgrade the features of the phone thru it’s software. I’ve had this camera 5 months and have updated the firmware twice. when was the last time you updated the internal features your camera?

So what did I do with all the gorgeous Canon and Nikon glass I have? With adapters, I have used of the best glass that Nikon and Canon I own. Pretty cool…even with all the glass I have I bought the simple 12mm Rokinon. Honestly, I bought it as a joke. Now with the A6000 it’s my real estate camera.

So now, my RE kit is a Sony A6000, 12mm Rokinon, 3 YN560 strobes, YN560 tx controller and at the current prices my kit is $1000:

WaynesKit

All you need to do is add experience!

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19 Responses to “Wayne Capili’s Sony A6000 Epiphany”

  • Wayne,
    I use all Nikons, D-7000 and D-300 with a Tokina 12-28mm lens. which works ok, but very heavy, especially for the elevated images on a pole.

    So, I bought a Fuji X-E2 mirrorless camera (very light weight) for my pole images and I too bought the 12mm Rokinon X version lens thinking it was going to be a terrible piece of glass…………But, it turned out to be a very impressive manual lens, sharp and very fast (f-2).

    The main issue I have with the Fuji mirrorless camera, is the slow X-synch, 1/180th of a second. But, I have shot a few properties with this set-up, and realized people can certainly produce some very fine images with a mirrorless body, and the 12mm Rokinon lens.

    I think the mirrorless cameras are going to eventually take over DSLRS in most photography assignments, especially if they can make them focus as fast as the motorized lenses.

  • Wayne,
    I too got the A6000 as a fun and second camera along side my Canon 6D, and Hey I got the 12mm Zeiss Tout 2.8 and Ist as awesome combo i use for my Real Estate Captures
    Good Info

  • I’ve seen Wayne’s setup first-hand and it’s AWESOME. Everything he needs to shoot a listing fits in a case smaller than my laptop bag!

  • I too switched to the A6000 last December and found it much easier to use than my Sony A65. What I found amazing with the 6000 is it has cut my photographing time and post time by 30%, I love this camera!

  • I got my A6000 last December to replace my A65. The 6000 is so much easier to use and I’ve found much better AWB. I’ve been able to cut my post time and photography time by 30%, the perfect RE camera!

  • I moved from Canon to a Sony A7 II and have been delighted with the change. I use the Sony f/4 16-35 and my photographs have never been sharper. Depth of field is a non-issue as I’m at F/8. To add to the benefits outlined by Wayne, I love the tiltable LCD monitor. It makes set-up, as I move from shot to shot, a piece of cake. And since the camera sits on the tripod much lower than my eye, I tilt the screen to my eye level and I’m not bending over with every setup to look through the viewfinder. Lots easier on my back and sometimes I’m so far in a corner I couldn’t look through the viewfinder if I wanted to. Like Jerry Kelly mentioned above my time on-site has dropped by about 25% and my processing time to create better images has dropped by at least a third.

    The only criticism I have of this Sony camera is that the electronic level is too small and somewhat insensitive. I nail most of the horizontals and verticals but sometimes I need to do post processing perspective corrections. I really hope Sony will offer a firmware change to make the electronic level larger. I use a flash in the shoe so no room there to add a level.

  • The Sony A6000 sounds like a great little camera to me. The one fly in the ointment for me is that many of the native mount lenses for this camera, by Sony and others, exhibit very mediocre performance in the test reports I have read, even some of the Zeiss lenses, which are pretty costly. The Rokinon 12mm, which Wayne uses, appears to be one of the exceptions that performs very well. However, this is not to say that all of the lenses for this mount are mediocre or that the performance of many of the lenses is not adequate for most routine real estate photography.
    I base the above opinions on lens test reports on the Photozone website. You can use a huge range of dslr lenses on this camera via adapters. However, that kind of compromises the compactness and light weight of the system, which is one of its major attractions

  • @Bill – I switched from Nikon to Sony A7II as well and have the same beneficial experiences you described. For lining up verticals for the shot, I have grid lines turned on and simply eyeball it which works very well with some practice. My knees are also very happy!! =)

  • I’ve used this combo which is a great one. I sold the Rok 12 to fund the Sony 10-18, David Eichler, it’s a great lens for RE too. I’ve seen it compared very favorably to the 16-35 on full frame which is no small feat.

    Only caveat would be to buy the lens from a retailer with a return policy and check for de-centering when it comes in. That said a good copy is spectacular.

    Wayne (or anyone else who knows) what bag are you using for that? I’m tired of carrying my flashes and camera in two bags for a shoot.

  • Matt, I’m using a Lowepro Hardside 200. I chose it because of the shallow depth. Every other bag, the A6000 just drops to the bottom.

  • Thanks Wayne

  • Matt, I have the Sony 10-18 and LOVE it. I had A mount for years and used Sigma 10-20 and Tamron 10-24. I was constantly doing barrel correction. I don’t think I’ve had to do it once with the 10-18. I bought a used 18-200 from http://www.lensauthority.com for $450 and it’s a great lens, too!

  • Another thing to consider about Sony is that the range of lenses made for their cameras is rather limited. For mirrorless cameras, Fuji has a much broader range of lenses available, plus the lenses available by other makers for this lens mount. And you can still get the 12mm Rokinon for Fuji if you want. The Sony does have an edge in resolution at this point, and seems to perform slightly better in a few areas compared to Fuji; however, I have not doubt that Fuji will keep pace with the technical advances, whereas Sony has traditionally seemed to be very conservative about expanding their lens line.

  • This seems well worth considering but (there’s always a but isn’t there?) what about the author’s “So what did I do with all the gorgeous Canon and Nikon glass I have? With adapters, I have used of the best glass”

    It looks like adapters with electronics to pass between my Canon EF lenses and the A6000 are, as we say here in Boston, wicked expensive. This one is $400 and is getting mixed reviews. Maybe I should sell my Canon gear and go Sony?

  • I use the NEX-6 (predecessor to the A6000) as my second real estate camera. In addition to all which you have already said, the on-screen level is also very useful for real estate work. It is in my opinion far more accurate than hotshoe bubble levels. This comes in handy especially for exterior shots. Sure, you correct perspective and lines in Lightroom but it makes a HUGE difference to start as level as possible in-camera. I am almost afraid to shoot exteriors with my Canon now because even with a grid viewfinder it is never as accurate as the on-screen level in the NEX-6.

  • Anyone know more about when the a7000 (or whatever they are calling it; newer version of a6000) will be released? The a6000 just dropped $50 on Amazon overnight this week.

  • Hi Wayne,
    I pulled the trigger on the a6000 and the 12m rokinon and wondering what other lenses you are using with the 6000.
    Thanks
    Jane

  • After editing for way too many hours, I am very interested in this statement! > “I’ve been able to cut my post time and photography time by 30%”. . . something in me is very resistant to leaving Canon! Of course I was also very late in converting to digital too. . .

    Has anyone here used the A6000 with housing for underwater pics?

  • I switched to the Sony A6000 in July and never looked back. The drawback would be the lack of quality lenses at affordable prices. The Rokinson 12mm is an overall favorite of many users and is affordable, but I also spent the extra $$$ on the Zeiss Touit 2.8/12mm lens which works seamlessly with the A6000, and the Sony Prime 1.8/50mm which I also use a great deal. I’m impressed with the quality with both of these lenses both indoors and out and both are also recognized by Lightroom 6 for post editing, where I don’t believe the Rokinson 12mm in my version anyway is (kind of a big deal for me).

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