Recently though I heard the siren song of the mirrorless camera. For about a year I pondered and considered a Sony. Then the Christmas 2016 season Amazon had the Sony A6000 on sale. I decided to get myself a Christmas present and bought one with two lenses. It took no time at all to fall in love. The camera is small and lightweight. Now I can take the camera and both lenses along with extra batteries in a camera bag smaller than my girlfriends purse, and she has a fairly small purse. The camera bag weighs less too! Now I don't look like a weird photo geek when I go to a kid's band concert or sporting event.
There are many amazing things about the camera. I will only touch on a few that I totally love. First, you can use the LCD panel or the viewfinder, and the camera will auto-switch between the two simply by holding it up to your eye. Basically being a mirrorless camera it is always operating in what Nikon and Canon would call live view mode. My Nikon would have a frustrating delay after pushing the shutter button when operating in live view. The Sony does not suffer from this. Also, as you adjust the aperture, shutter, or ISO you will see the change in exposure on the LCD panel or in the viewfinder in real time. You will see it getting brighter or darker. This is an incredible advantage for people new to photography and trying to learn manual mode. And there is an interesting zebra mode where anything that is pure white shows stripes to warn you ahead of time when composing the photo that the image might be too bright. The sensitivity of zebra mode is adjustable too.
The camera does have a pop-up flash. But I have not really used it other than one time to see that it really did flash. One odd thing with flash is that the hot shoe is standard and yet not standard. In their infinite wisdom, and desire for sleek looks, Sony made the decision to paint the sides of the hot shoe black. Most flash units use the metal on the side of the hot shoe as an electrical connection. So you either need to scrape off the paint, use a hot shoe adapter, or get a Sony compatible flash for the hot show. I got an adapter for $15 and it works well. The adapter is able to get to the ground point at the front of the shoe that the Sony flashes use. Of course if you use Sony compatible flash units this won't be an issue at all.
That brings up the issue of components for the camera. Mirrorless cameras are fairly new to the market, and don't have the market share of the DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon... yet. So the third party options are not nearly as wide as for the DSLRs. But that is changing and will even more over time as mirrorless becomes a more major market player. So there are lenses and flash units for the Sony, but they are somewhat limited, and at this point still a bit pricey. IMHO though the mirrorless is the wave of the future, and Sony is the biggest player.
That brings me to the other amazing feature, the video. Not that many years ago everyone had camcorders to shoot video. Now pretty much no one uses them. People either use their phone, a tablet, or their camera. The phone and tablet are very annoying at the kid's school play with that big screen brightly distracting the audience. If you have used a DSLR you know that the focus will be hinky, especially when people are moving or you shift from one subject to another. That is called follow focus. The Sony has amazing follow focus. I won't say it is as good as a dedicated camcorder, but it is pretty darn close. For concerts and such I would recommend a monopod or tripod to help stabilize the camera. But the video is amazing. And you are shooting in full HD video. You can even shoot at 60 frames per second to be able to later do slow motion with it. One suggestion. Shoot in shutter priority mode of video and set your shutter to 1/50th of a second for 24 frames per second and 1/125 for 60 frames per second for the best looking video.
No camera is perfect, and the Sony has it's little frustrations. But it is so nice to get a camera that is so much smaller and lighter weight than a DSLR. And the mirrorless gives some amazing features, only a few that I have touched on, compared to the DSLR. We did not even talk about things like focus peeking, or other cool features. And I would say this is hands down the best camera for a new user wanting to get serious about photography to use.