CAMERAS Sony Alpha 6600 Review

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

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Sony Alpha 6600 Review

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Sony Alpha 6600 Review: APS-C flagship camera

Sony’s new APS-C flagship model is the Alpha 6600, which is the successor to the Alpha 6500 and the larger sister model of the Alpha 6400. Compared to the Alpha 6500, there are a total of over 40 improvements, but the flagship also puts a shovelful of functions or fewer limitations on top of the Alpha 6400.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Robust, compact, ergonomic housing
  • Good image quality with high resolution color accuracy
  • High continuous shooting rate and endurance
  • Very good video function including interfaces

Cons

  • No front dial
  • No complete splash water protection
  • Slow memory card interface
  • Quite low signal-to-noise ratio

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

In addition to the Alpha 6500, the Sony Alpha 6600 is the only mirrorless APS-C system camera from Sony that has a movable image sensor for image stabilization. [Photo: Sony]

The Alpha 6600 is Sony’s APS-C flagship and, apart from the predecessor model Alpha 6500, is the only APS-C Sony equipped with a sensor shift image stabilizer. It also stands out from its smaller sister models with a higher-quality, more ergonomic housing with a larger handle, more keys and above all a significantly larger battery, which is also used in the Alpha-7 series. But whether the Alpha 6600 is really a worthy flagship and what its image quality is like is revealed in our detailed test report.

The Alpha 6600 also uses an APS-C sensor with 24.2 megapixel resolution, with ISO sensitivity ranging from ISO 100 to ISO 32,000, and ISO 50 to 102,400 with an extension. Phase and contrast AF sensors are located on 425 points, which are distributed over 84 percent of the image field. The A6600 also recognises faces, eyes and animal eyes in real time and has real-time tracking at eleven continuous frames per second or eight continuous frames per second in silent mode. The buffer holds 116 JPEG or 46 raw images.

Unlike the A6100 and A6400, the Alpha 6600’s real-time tracking AF works for faces, eyes and animal eyes, but also during 4K video shots. The A6600 also uses the Alpha 9’s 1.8 times faster Bionz-X image processor. It also records 4K video without time limit. While a maximum of 30 frames per second with full-pixel readout is possible in 4K resolution, 120 frames per second for slow-motion effects can also be recorded in Full HD. In addition to the microphone input, it now also has a headphone output for sound control. Just like the Alpha 6400, the Alpha 6600 is capable of video recording with HLG (HDR) and S-Log 2/3 (with native ISO sensitivity of 500), S-Gamut 2/3 and proxy recording are also supported.

Also reserved for the Alpha 6600 is the Sensor Shift Image Stabilizer, which allows up to five f-stops longer exposure times. Furthermore, according to the press release, only the Alpha 6600 has a dust- and splash-proof magnesium case (we didn’t find any seals on our hands-on model; Sony may, as has often happened in the past, subsequently revise the specification to an unspecified “moisture protection”). In addition, the “Z-Battery” (NP-FZ100) of the large Alpha full format models is used. Compared to the Alpha 6500, this increases the recording capacity according to CIPA standard by 231 percent to 810 images, which is probably the record among the mirrorless APS-C system cameras. In addition, the housing is about 5.7 millimeters thicker and 50 grams heavier than that of the Alpha 6500, but with 120 by 67 by 59 millimeters and a weight of just over half a kilogram, the Alpha 6600 remains a thoroughly compact and lightweight camera.

Like the Alpha 6100, the Alpha 6600 has an integrated OLED viewfinder and a touchscreen that can be folded up 180 degrees. Remote control via WLAN and Bluetooth connection is also possible in order to transmit images and videos or to operate the camera remotely with live image transmission. Since January 2020, the Sony Alpha 6600 is already available at a price of just under 1,600 euros, while the set with the 18-135mm lens will cost just under 2,000 euros.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

In terms of screen and viewfinder, the Sony Alpha 6600 offers only mediocrity and does not stand out from the Alpha 6400, and in terms of 16:9 touchscreen not even from the Alpha 6100 [Photo: Sony]

Preliminary Remarks

At our request, Sony provided us (as they do with many review sites, of course) with the Alpha 6600 with the two new zoom lenses E 16-55 mm 2.8 G (SEL1655G) and E 70-350 mm 4.5-6.3 G OSS (SEL70350G) for testing, to which we dedicated separate test reports (see further links).

However, the Alpha 6600 is not available with these lenses in a set, but only as a body for 1,600 Euro RRP and as a set with the E 18-135 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL18135) for just under 2,000 Euro. Normally we always test cameras in available or typical sets. However, we made an exception with the Alpha 6600, not only because we wanted to test the lens, but also because we feel that a flagship camera, which the A6600 is currently in the APS-C segment at Sony, should have a corresponding “flagship lens”.

The 16-55 meets very high quality demands, as our single test of the lens shows (see further links). However, camera and lens bought separately cost 2,900 euros RRP, the street prices are currently (beginning of January 2020) together only a good 200 euros below that, after all both products have not been available for long. Whether with or without a lens, the Alpha 6600 is without doubt an expensive cup of tea and is priced significantly higher than its smaller sister models Alpha 6400 and 6100, but it also has clear advantages in one or two respects. In terms of image quality, autofocus for taking pictures and the continuous shooting function, however, it is not or only minimally superior to its smaller sister models.

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Alpha 6600 has a newly designed case, which is, however, very similar to the previous Alpha 6500 model and its smaller sister models. This has some advantages, we think. Width and height are identical at twelve by 6.7 centimetres, but the Alpha 6600 measures one centimetre more in depth, namely seven instead of six. Since the lens protrudes further than the handle anyway, the Alpha 6600 with an identical lens also fits into the same cube as the Alpha 6100 or 6400. In other words: theoretically, it is larger, but not with the lens attached. On the other hand, it offers a handle that protrudes one centimeter further with room for a larger battery and, above all, much better ergonomics, especially when using larger lenses. By the way, measured from bayonet to screen, the Alpha 6600 is not thicker than its smaller sister models; we were able to compare it directly with the 6100. Thus, the movable mounting of the image sensor for image stabilization doesn’t take up any additional space and could basically also be built into a smaller Alpha if Sony wanted to. However, this image stabilizer remains another trump card that the Alpha 6600 can throw into the balance to make up for the high price.

The case is impressive when you first touch it, not only because of the luxurious handle with its non-slip, grained rubber surface. In fact, it is mainly made of a magnesium alloy and should be protected against the ingress of dust and splashing water thanks to a double structure and seals on “important” controls. That sounds good at first, but it is restrictive and lags behind the competition, which builds completely sealed cameras. One only needs to look at the interface or the battery compartment cover to see that the splash water protection is not far away, as there are no seals to be found here. A great case, but with potential for improvements in robustness.

In terms of controls, the Alpha 6600 offers slightly more customization than the Alpha 6400 thanks to twice as many function keys and direct user memories on the program dial, but retains the suboptimal operating wheel concept. Instead of one front and one rear control wheel, the Sonys have two rear control wheels, both operated by the thumb. This means that it must constantly change position. The fact that the rear control dial is also a four-way cross may also work in the entry-level class, but with a flagship camera that should be easy to use, it can be annoying if you press too hard when turning the thumbwheel to set the exposure time and suddenly unintentionally adjust the ISO sensitivity.

However, the possibilities for assigning individual functions to keys are very exemplary. This includes not only the four custom buttons C1-C4, but also the directional pad confirmation button, three of its directional buttons, and the AFL/AEL button. More than one hundred functions are available for each assignment, which Sony has clearly grouped together. Thus, the individual allocation is possible even without studying the manual, as long as you can imagine what the functions available are. In addition, a function menu that can also be individually assigned is available.

The menu structure of the Sony, on the other hand, is divided. Especially long-time photographers do not necessarily find the menus logically sorted, for example, the AF function is separated from the shutter release button in the AF area of the menu instead of in the button assignment area, but an AF-On button must be defined in the button assignment area. Some people are also irritated by the division of the recording menu into two main tabs with sub-tabs. The second recording menu starts with three tabs for video settings, but is followed by more general settings for shutter, zoom, display and image control as well as custom operation. In principle, this is a matter of getting used to and there are even short explanations for the individual menu items. However, this is sometimes necessary, because abbreviations are often used in the menu.

The Sony Alpha 6600’s rear screen isn’t at all flagship-worthy: not that the screen is bad, it measures 7.5 centimeters diagonally, is bright enough for sunny environments with 730 cd/m² in sunny mode and has a resolution of 921,000 pixels, but it doesn’t stand out at all from the Alpha 6100 and 6400 models. Above all, he also inherits their aspect ratio, which with 16:9 is not exactly optimal for photographers. Thus, the live image shrinks to an effective diagonal of 6.6 centimeters in 3:2 format. The tilt function with 74 degrees down and 180 degrees up, thus also suitable for selfies, is also the same as in the smaller sister models. The touch functionality is also only sparsely integrated into the operating concept. Of course, the Alpha 6600 has enough keys, but it wouldn’t hurt to be able to operate functions additionally on the touchscreen. But the functionality is limited to setting the focus point as a replacement for a non-existent focus joystick, which you might expect in this class as well.

The “not flagship”, not special, not price-appropriate continues with the viewfinder. It is identical to the much cheaper Alpha 6400, but the 2.36 million pixel OLED with 100 to 120 Hz refresh rate and 0.7x magnification in the 35 mm equivalent is actually quite sufficient for working. In contrast to the screen, the viewfinder even offers automatic brightness control and the colour reproduction can also be adjusted. Both viewfinder and monitor offer insertions of recording parameters, grid lines, electronic spirit level, live histogram, exposure preview and, of course, image playback, completely glare-free in the viewfinder. By the way, spectacle wearers do not find an optimal view, probably the one who can recognize a sharp image within the control range of the somewhat fiddly dioptre compensation.

The fact that the Alpha 6600 weighs a good 100 grams more than its smaller sister models and thus almost breaks the half kilogram mark is due to 40 percent to the battery, which is twice the size and twice the weight (82 instead of 42 grams compared to the battery of the Alpha 6100 and 6400), which is sufficient for an extremely lavish runtime of 810 shots according to the CIPA standard. It’s great that it can be charged in the camera via micro-USB and that simple USB chargers or power batteries, then just slower than more powerful ones, are accepted as power source. But the fact that Sony includes a USB power adapter with the camera, which everyone already has at home for their smartphone anyway, instead of an external charger, is again a point that is accepted for a mid-range camera, but not for an APS-C flagship camera that costs more than 1,500 euros. The one or the other “power user” would surely like to charge his battery externally while continuing to shoot with the second one. After all, Sony offers an external charger as an optional accessory.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

For selfies or video recordings without a cameraman, the screen of the Sony Alpha 6600 can be folded up 180 degrees. [Photo: Sony]

We don’t have a jump in the record, but there’s another point that Sony, at least on a flagship model, could have done better: The memory card slot. On the one hand, it is also included in the battery compartment, a separate opening at the side would surely not have been wrong, even if the card can be easily removed, even with the attached tripod exchange plate. But Sony has again built in a universal slot in which either a Memory Stick Duo or an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card can be inserted. Thus, it only masters UHS I, but does not support UHS II and on top of that, even the UHS-I interface is not very fast with just over 40 MB/s. It’s enough for 4K film, but with continuous shooting, the interface becomes a bottleneck when the camera takes forever to capture a full buffer on the memory card (see the section on features when testing the continuous shooting function).

When it comes to interfaces, the Alpha 6600 finally has something ahead of its smaller sister models: in addition to Micro-USB and Micro-HDMI and the 3.5mm stereo jack microphone connection, there is also a 3.5mm headphone connection for videographers. By the way, the USB interface is not only suitable for data transfer and for charging the battery, but also a cable remote release can be plugged in here. The HDMI interface can output a pure video signal for external recording and even time code. The microphone interface has phantom power. Wirelessly, the A6600 is also well positioned with Bluetooth 4.2 LE (a remote control is also available for this), WLAN and even NFC.

Equipment And Features

The fact that the Alpha 6600 is aimed at ambitious amateur photographers rather than beginners is not too obvious from the program dial. The swivel panorama mode has been dropped, instead there are two positions instead of one for direct recall of the two user memories. However, fully automatic mode with subject recognition, manually selectable subject programs, and numerous picture effect programs are still available. Thus, those who profit from the handy case and the image stabilizer as well as the longer battery life but do not want to adjust the camera themselves and are not afraid of the high price, are welcome to take it. The Alpha 6600 is neither worse nor more complicated than an Alpha 6100 or 6400 when it comes to automatic systems.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

The Sony Alpha 6600 has two more custom buttons than its smaller sister models. But it also lacks a front dial, so the thumb has to switch back and forth between two wheels. [Photo: Sony]

However, it is primarily built for expert photographers who require high performance and want to customize the camera to their individual shooting needs. This includes, for example, the powerful autofocus including face and eye as well as animal eye recognition, the performance of which does not differ from that of the Alpha 6400 or 6100 as long as you “only” take photos. However, the A6600 has additional options for customising the autofocus on fast-moving subjects and storing presets for quick recall for different subjects.

In the testing with the photography measurement software, the autofocus proved to be slightly slower than on the Alpha 6100 when focusing from infinity to two meters, but this is not due to the camera but to the lens. With the F2.8 fast 16-55mm, not only do larger masses have to be moved due to the higher light intensity, but the autofocus has to work more precisely due to the shallower depth of field. And there is really nothing wrong with this precision. The autofocus works absolutely unerringly and without pumping, even in low light it finds its target quickly. With the 16-55 it took about 0.35 seconds in the lab to focus from infinity to two meters, the pure shutter delay, which also occurs without focusing, is 0.05 seconds and is therefore fast. Including autofocus, the total delay is therefore 0.4 seconds.

The fact that this value is far away from the 0.02 seconds that Sony promises is probably due to a variety of reasons. These datasheet figures are often used for “bragging”, after all, every manufacturer would like to claim the title of the fastest autofocus system for itself. This is when you reach into your bag of tricks and the camera is shipped in factory AF-S mode with a balanced mix of focus accuracy and shutter speed instead of focus priority. This is what you would expect with tracking AF, but not in AF-S mode. By the way, a pre-AF function can also be activated in the Alpha 6600 that adjusts the focus on the subject even when the shutter release button is not pressed at all.

However, depending on the application, what the autofocus is needed for and what it is capable of doing in different scenarios is decisive anyway. For example, in the continuous-advance mode. Here Sony promises that the autofocus can follow subjects live at eleven continuous shots per second, and even faces and eyes of either people or animals (this is something you have to decide on before taking the picture, you can’t do both at the same time) can be followed. And it really works. Thanks to the large buffer for 48 raw or even 96 JPEG images (in the highest quality level), the Sony can keep up with the eleven continuous frames per second.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

The Sony Alpha 6600 has a robust magnesium alloy case that is supposed to be protected against splash water and dust. However, we couldn’t find any seals on the battery and memory card compartment as well as the interface flap. [Photo: Sony]

But what happens after that is not worthy of a flagship. In Raw the continuous frame rate breaks down to 1.7 frames per second, in JPEG even to only 1.2 frames per second. The Sony Alpha 6600 cannot process the data any faster and write it to the memory card. In raw mode, the 40.1 MB/s slow memory card interface might be the bottleneck, but for JPEG recordings, the extensive image processing in the camera, including compensation for lens errors, sophisticated noise suppression, etc., is probably the most important factor. So it happens that after the end of the continuous shooting, if the buffer was exhausted, the camera is busy writing for 25 seconds in raw and even 70 seconds in JPEG. Further recordings can then be made and some functions are available, but others are locked during writing, such as changing the continuous-advance mode. By the way, it can be quite useful to switch down from eleven to eight continuous frames per second. Not only is there enough buffer for a longer series of shots, but the live image is also available during continuous shooting, so that the subject can be dragged along better than if you always see the last shot instead of the live image.

Sony wants the shutter to be stored with low vibration and tested for 200,000 releases. Nevertheless, it is not quiet, even though it sounds somewhat more muffled than the Alpha 6100 due to the larger body and lens mass and the sealing, but it is a real pity that the fastest shutter speed is only 1/4,000 second instead of 1/8,000 second as in many competitor models. If you want, you can trigger silently electronically, but the exposure time will still not be faster than 1/4,000 seconds. The flash sync speed is also relatively long at 1/160 second.

Speaking of flashes: the Sony Alpha 6600 doesn’t have one at all, unlike its smaller sister models and the previous model. So if you want to flash, you have to put a system flash or a control unit in the flash shoe. Actually, a small pop-up flash would have been good for a flagship camera or, more generally, a camera costing over 1,500 euros. Not because it is particularly useful for taking well-lit photos, which is not the case, but as a wireless controller or additional brightener, such a small flash would be very useful. Instead of omitting it, Sony could have set the A6600 apart with such a function from its smaller sister models, whose built-in flash does not have a wireless control function.

The Alpha 6600 can then score points again in the exposure bracketing function. At 0.3 to 1.0 EV, three, five, or nine images can be captured with 0.3 to 1.0 EV between exposures, and three or five images with 2.0 and 3.0 EV. This is great for HDR recordings. But even the Alpha 6600 can do this itself if you want to. In the corresponding function, it takes three photos with one to six EV or an automatically determined exposure distance and composes them directly into an HDR photo. In addition, the A6600 is capable of interval shooting with adjustable start and interval time, as well as many shots over a long period of time. Thanks to the USB charging function even when the camera is switched on (in this case mobile when using a large power bank) and an optionally available quad battery adapter, the power supply is no obstacle.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

The Alpha 6600 is the only camera of Sony’s current APS-C generation to feature four instead of three interfaces. Besides Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI and the 3.5 mm microphone jack, only the 6600 has a 3.5 mm headphone jack. [Photo: Sony]

Videographers also get their money’s worth with the Alpha 6600, but have to be aware of a few minor pitfalls. At up to 4K resolution and up to 25p, the entire sensor is completely read out for 2.4-fold oversampling. At 30p, on the other hand, there’s less oversampling and 1.2x crop – good for more telephoto, bad for more wide-angle, and also the image quality. Good, however, are the different gamma curves for subsequent video editing such as S-log2 and 3 or HLG for direct playback on HDR televisions. External recordings are also no problem and microphones and headphones can be connected, Sony also offers an XLR adapter as an option.

When it comes to video autofocus, the Alpha 6600 is then somewhat ahead of its smaller sister model. It not only tracks normal subjects and adjusts the focus accordingly, but can also do this with face and eye recognition and optionally animal eye recognition. So anyone who wants to make action video recordings of their pet will be just as well served with the Alpha 6600 as someone who wants to record sports videos or their children.

Both photographers and videographers benefit from the moveable image sensor, which is designed to compensate for camera shake for up to five f-stops longer exposure times. While you can subtract one f-stop if you don’t want to produce too much waste or focus on a steady camera position, four f-stops are a lot, especially if you can combine them with wide angles or fast fixed focal lengths that don’t normally have image stabilizers. If a lens does have an image stabilizer, you still benefit from the camera stabilizer, as it can also compensate for rotational movements, the camera automatically combines the systems.

Sony has always been rather sparse in the image post-processing capabilities of its cameras. You can’t even crop or resize your recordings afterwards. This is all the more painful since the PlayMemories camera apps were discontinued. However, the Alpha 6600 does have a picture rating and favorites function to suit the target group. However, a raw converter function is missing.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

In the Sony Alpha 6600, the tripod thread is located far enough away from the battery and memory card compartment to be able to open it even with the quick-release plate attached. [Photo: Sony]

The connectivity of the Alpha 6600 is extensive. Thus, a power-saving Bluetooth connection as well as the less economical, but more powerful WLAN connection are available. To use them, a free app must be installed on the smart device to be connected. The “Imaging Edge Mobile” app for iOS and Android is available for free download from the respective store. The app is the direct successor of the PlayMemories app.

Pairing the Alpha 6600 with the app is quite simple and the camera will guide the photographer through this process if desired. In addition to a simple remote trigger, a comprehensive remote control with Live View can also be activated. Of course, image data can be transferred from the camera to the app. The permanent connection with the smart device for the transmission of position data is easily possible via Bluetooth. In addition, the camera can be integrated into a wireless network, whereupon it can be controlled, transfer images and convert raw data using the “Imaging Edge” desktop app. The remote control function of the app works fine, but could be more extensive in the settings options.

Image quality

In practice, the Sony Alpha 6600 delivers detailed, well exposed, dynamic photos with beautiful colors. It is also convincing at higher ISO sensitivities, with the best results being achieved up to ISO 800. But even at ISO 6.400, the Sony still has a certain level of detail, but also lets visible brightness noise pass through. Higher sensitivities, on the other hand, are really only suitable for significantly downscaled recordings. Those who want to get an idea of the performance over the whole offered sensitivity range and maybe develop pictures from the raws and compare them with the camera JPEGs themselves can download our test picture package with lab pictures for a small fee that we are offering and helps to maintain the website.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

Of all Sony’s 2019 APS-C cameras, the Alpha 6600 has the largest and most ergonomic handle. [Photo: Sony]

In the lab test, the Sony E 16-55 mm 2.8 G (SEL1655G) on the Alpha 6600 showed only minimal image errors; distortion, edge dimming and color fringes are negligible. The resolution at 50 percent contrast is also high from the open aperture and at all focal lengths with an overall low edge drop. The maximum resolution is a proud 71 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in 35mm equivalent, which is quite a lot for a 24 megapixel image sensor. This is located in the center of the image at F2.8 at a 16mm wide angle. When the lens is stopped down, it loses resolution very slowly, but even at F8 it is still 67 lp/mm. With a focal length of 30 millimeters, the maximum resolution in the image center is around 62 lp/mm at F2.8 and F4, which is also a very good resolution. At 55 millimeters, the resolution peak is clearly at F4 with 63 lp/mm in the image center.

At the edge of the picture, a maximum of 50 lp/mm is achieved at the wide-angle lens, at 30 millimetres it is even 59 lp/mm and 51 lp/mm at the tele lens. The absolute edge resolution is thus good to very good, the relative edge fall-off is highest at wide angle and minimal at medium focal length. Overall, the resolution values are therefore very good, especially considering the focal length and light intensity. Beyond F8 the diffraction then strikes clearly. The shots at F11 are still quite good, but not quite as crispy. The overall best results are achieved at F4 and F5.6.

In contrast, the signal-to-noise ratio is almost disappointing. At ISO 50 and 100 it is in the good range of more than 40 dB, but drops quite linearly and quickly, at ISO 800 the still acceptable value of 35 dB is already slightly undershot. The signal-to-noise ratio becomes very bad from ISO 12.800. But the visible noise increases rapidly. At the latest from ISO 3.200 on, a slight brightness noise appears, which becomes very strong above ISO 12.800. In contrast, the Sony suppresses color noise better, it’s hardly visible. After all, the noise does not form too large clusters, but remains fine-grained at a maximum size of two pixels.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

The Sony Alpha 6600 has the same 24 megapixel CMOS sensor in APS-C size as its sister models Alpha 6400 and 6100. [Photo: Sony]

The fact that the Sony Alpha 6600 doesn’t completely suppress noise speaks for good detail retention. It is better to have a few more details and noise in the picture than to have smoothed out pictures that look like watercolors. Above ISO 800, the texture sharpness decreases only slowly at first and even at ISO 6.400 there are still enough details measurable or recognizable, even if not as much as at ISO 800. But above ISO 12.800, the detail fidelity breaks down considerably, the images become visibly softer, fine structures are hardly present.

Despite the low-level noise suppression that usually embellishes the dynamic range a bit by removing bright noise pixels from black areas and dark noise pixels from white areas, the Alpha 6600 has a good dynamic range. This is highest at ISO 100 and reaches almost twelve aperture stops. At ISO 50, the signal attenuation is clearly visible, the dynamic range is one f-stop worse than at ISO 100, and up to ISO 800, the dynamic range drops slowly to eleven f-stops, but even up to ISO 12,800 at well over ten f-stops, a good value.

While the Sony Alpha 6600 shows only a few sharpness artifacts, its tone curve is clearly divided, which provides for a crisp image impression without oversharpening. The output tonal range, on the other hand, falls linearly and rapidly again as the ISO sensitivity increases. While at ISO 50 and 100, well over 224 of 256 possible brightness gradations are achieved, it’s already below 160 at ISO 800, which is only a satisfactory value. Above ISO 1.600 there are only 128 gradations, fine brightness gradients already show visible steps. From ISO 12.800, the value is bad with less than 96 levels.

Sony Alpha 6600 Review

The large NP-FZ100 battery in the Sony Alpha 6600 offers an enormous recording capacity of over 800 photos according to CIPA standards. It is charged via USB in the camera. [Photo: Sony]

The Sony Alpha 6600 really makes ground with its extremely precise color reproduction. The colour deviation is low on average and can be tolerated even at maximum. Only minimally does the image processing screw up the saturation of warm color tones and shifts the green a little towards yellow. The actual color depth is also very good. Up to ISO 800, more than four million colour nuances are differentiated, up to ISO 6,400 the value is good with more than two million colours, more than this the average human eye cannot distinguish anyway.

Conclusion

The Sony Alpha 6600 is a mirrorless APS-C system camera with plenty of light and little shadow. It does not afford any real weaknesses, but in a few points it is not quite worthy of its price or the claim of an APS-C flagship. One almost has the feeling that Sony would deliberately leave some room for an Alpha 7000 with better sealing, higher viewfinder and monitor resolution, reasonably placed dials and a faster memory card interface. The APS-C fan community has been waiting for such a camera model for years. Nevertheless, the Sony Alpha 6600 offers clear advantages over the Alpha 6400, such as the more grippy case, the better video autofocus or the integrated case stabilizer, as well as the significantly longer battery life, which is probably by far the leading battery performance in the APS-C segment. The autofocus is fast when tracking subjects, and the continuous shooting speed and endurance are also very good. The Sony Alpha 6600 is also at the highest APS-C level in terms of picture quality, without being able to distinguish itself from its smaller sister models. However, this does not speak against the Alpha 6600, but for its smaller sister models. With a lens like the Sony E 16-55 mm 2.8 G (SEL1655G), the Alpha 6600 runs up to top form.

Profile

Profile
Manufacturer Sony
Model Alpha 6600
Sensor CMOS APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5)25.0 megapixels (physical)
24.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 3.9 µm
Resolution (max.) 6.000 x 4.000 (3:2)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2,160 30p
Lens Sony E 16-55 mm 2.8 G (SEL1655G) (zoom lens)
Video finder EVF, 100% field coverage, 2,359,296 pixels resolution, 1.07x magnification (sensor-related), 0.70x magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)
Display 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Resolution 921.600 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swiveling
Touchscreen yes
AV connector HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic yes
Scene automatic yes
Scene mode programs 9 scene modes are available
Automatic programming yes
Program shift yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
Manually yes
Bulb Long Term Exposure yes
HDR function yes
Panorama function no
Exposure metering Matrix/multi-field measurement (1,200 fields), center-weighted integral measurement, spot measurement
fastest shutter speed 1/4.000 s
Flash
Synchronous time 1/160 s
Flash connection Hot shoe: Sony Multi Interface, standard center contact
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, cable release, infrared release, Bluetooth release, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Interval recording yes
Storage medium
Memory Stick (Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 100-6.400
manually ISO 50-102.400
White balance
automatically yes
manual measuring yes
Kelvin input yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 425425
Contrast sensors
Speed 0,45 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions 120 x 67 x 69 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 503 g (body only ) 997 g (with lens)
Tripod thread on optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manually on the lens
Battery life 810 recordings (according to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available

This test of the Sony Alpha 6600 with Sony E 16-55 mm 2.8 G (SEL1655G) was made with DXOMARK Analyzer.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Robust, compact, ergonomic housing
  • Good image quality with high resolution color accuracy
  • High continuous shooting rate and endurance
  • Very good video function including interfaces

Cons

  • No front dial
  • No complete splash water protection
  • Slow memory card interface
  • Quite low signal-to-noise ratio

Sony Alpha 6600 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)25.0 megapixels (physical) and 24.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 3.9 µm
Photo resolution
6.000 x 4.000 pixels (3:2)
6.000 x 3.376 pixels (16:9)
4.240 x 2.832 pixels (3:2)
4.240 x 2.400 pixels (16:9)
4.000 x 4.000 pixels (1:1)
3.008 x 2.000 pixels (3:2)
3.008 x 1.688 pixels (16:9)
2.832 x 2.832 pixels (1:1)
2.000 x 2.000 pixels (1:1)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.31), DCF standard (version 2.0)
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 120 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 100 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
HDR video yes
Video format
XAVC S (Codec H.264)
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MPG4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Lens mount
Sony E

Focus

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 425 sensors, autofocus operating range from -2 EV to 20 EV, contrast autofocus with 425 spot sizes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (12x)
Sharpness control Depth-of-field control, depth-of-field button, Live View

Viewfinder and Display

Display 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 921,600 pixels, non-reflective, brightness adjustable, colour adjustable, tilts 180° up and 74° down, with touch screen
Video finder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 2,359,296 pixels, 1.07x magnification factor, dioptre compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 1,200 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (automatic
)1/4,000 to 30 s (manual)
1/4,000 to 30 s (electronic shutter)
Bulb function
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic (with program shift), Shutter automatic, Aperture automatic, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 9 shots, 1/3 to 3 EV increments, HDR function
Exposure Compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 6.400 (automatic
)ISO 50 to ISO 102.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, cable release, infrared release, Bluetooth release, remote control via smartphone/tablet
, remote control from computer: certain functions
Scene modes Landscape, macro, night scene, night portrait, portrait, sunset, sports, and 2 additional scene modes
Picture effects High Key, high-contrast monochrome, neutral, retro, black and white, selective color, sepia, toy camera, 25 additional image effects
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 4 presets, Tungsten light, from 2,500 to 9,900 K, Manual 3 memories
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 11.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 99 stored images, 46 consecutive images at Raw8
frames per second with silent (electronic) shutter Continuous shooting function
including AF and AE tracking and continuous live image
Self-timer Self-timer with interval of 10 s, special features: or 5 or 2 seconds, continuous shooting 3 pictures after 10 seconds, 5 pictures after 10 seconds and 3 pictures after 5 seconds.
Timer Timer/interval recording with max. 9,999 recordings, start time adjustable
Recording functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash no built-in flash availableShoe
: Sony Multi Interface, standard center contact
Flash range Flash sync speed 1/160 s
Flash functions Auto mode, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, high-speed sync, slow sync, flash on second shutter curtain, red-eye reduction, master mode, flash exposure compensation from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer Sensor shift (optical)
Memory
Memory Stick (Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit Power supply connectionUSB continuous power supplyUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Sony NP-FZ100 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 7.2 V, 2,280 mAh
)810 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Image rotation, image protect, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, playback magnifier with 16.7x magnification, image index, slide show function
Face recognition Face recognition, face recognition (8 faces)
Image parameters Sharpness, contrast, color saturation, noise reduction
Special functions Electronic spirit level, Grid fade-in, Zebra function, Orientation sensor, Live View, User profiles with 2 user profiles
Connections Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
NFC: available
AV Connections AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo with power supply))
Audio output: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, Exif Print, PIM
Tripod thread 1/4″ in optical axis
Housing Splash water protection
Special features and miscellaneous Bionz X image processorFinder
with up to 120 or 100 fps (NTSC/PAL)
Ultrasonic sensor cleaningCreative design presets
(13)
Dynamic range optimisation (5 levels)
Video Picture Profile Yes (Off/PP1-PP9) parameters: Black Level, Gamma (Film, Photo, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800 %], S-Log2, S-Log3), Black Gamma, Knee Color Mode (Film, Photo, Cinema, Pro, Saturation, ITU709 Matrix, White&Black, S-Gamut, S-Gamut3.Cine, S-Gamut3), saturation, color phase control, color depthAudio level meterAudio recording functionAuto

Slow ShutterVideo
color range xvYCC standardVideo
ISO 100-32.

0

00Hybrid AF system
(contrast and phase comparison autofocus)
Micro AF adjustmentReal-time
eye recognition AF (photo and video)
Animal eye AF (photo and video)
Touch triggerTouch focusFocus peaking

with three selectable colours (white, red, yellow)
Lens compensation:

Edge shadow, aberration, distortionSilent
shootingFlash bracketing
3, 5 or 9 frames (1/3-3 EV)
S&Q recording mode up to 120 frames per secondHDR
video (S-log 2.3 / HLG)
Copyright info

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 120 x 67 x 69 mm
Weight 503 g (ready for operation)

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Sony AC-UUE12 AC adapterSony
NP-FZ100 Special BatteryCase CapMicro USB cablePower cordPower cordEyepiece capShoulder strapAccessory shoe cap
additional accessories Sony BC-QZ1 Charger for special batteriesSony
HVL-F20M Plug-on flash with swivel reflectorSony
LA-EA4 Lens accessoriesSony
RMT-P1BT (Bluetooth remote control)
Sony RM-VPR1 Cable remote releaseSony
XLR-K2M (microphone adapter)

 

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.

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