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Sony NEX-6 Review

Sony NEX-6 Review - Daniel Bell gives his verdict on the Sony NEX-6, a new mirrorless camera targeted towards DSLR users with Wi-Fi built in.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Sony NEX-6
Price : £699
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Sony NEX-6

The new Sony NEX-6 is a new mirrorless camera designed to fit in-between the NEX-5R and NEX-7It is targeted towards DSLR users, with Wi-Fi built in. The Sony NEX-6 is available as three different kits, body only at £699, kit with 16-50mm power zoom lens at £829 and a dual lens kit with 16-50mm and 55-210mm lens at £1029, all available in black.

Sony NEX-6

Sony NEX-6 Features

The NEX-6 has a 16.1 megapixel DSLR size APS-C CMOS sensor with up to ISO 25600 available and is on test here with the compact E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS kit lens. The BIONZ processor is designed to give clear, detailed, low noise image with quick, responsive shooting - the NEX-6 calculates direction and movement automatically so it can focus and shoot faster.

Continuous shooting is available at up to 10 fps and when shooting in low light the camera can take a high-speed burst of six frames to create and single low-noise image while reducing blur.

It also has built-in Wi-Fi which allows you to connect to a smartphone or tablet as well as download apps onto the camera itself. There are apps which allow you to directly upload to Facebook and add picture effects to your images.

There is an 2.359m dot OLED viewfinder which gives you a 100% high definition view when composing your images. To select a shooting mode, there is a DSLR style mode dial. The modes available are Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Exposure, Sweep Panorama and a range of scene modes which includes Landscape, Portrait, Sports, Macro and more.

The NEX-6 gives you an extra creative touch with a number of picture modes which include poster effect, soft focus, miniature and more. Portrait shots can be retouched to remove minor blemishes.

Videos can be recorded in full 1080p HD and you can the connect the camera to a HDTV via a HDMI cable for playback.

Sony NEX-6

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Sony E lens mount
  • 3.0 inch wide type TFT LCD screen
  • OLED 2.359m dot viewfinder
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100 - 25600
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
  • Panorama mode
Sony NEX-6

Sony NEX-6 Handling

The camera has a large rubberised hand grip with a good sized thumb grip on the back helping you keep solid grip on the camera. There is a mode dial placed on top with the varying modes available clearly labelled. There is a function button next to the shutter release, which allows you to set the focus mode, focus area, white-balance, metering mode and picture effect but can be customised to give you easier access to settings such as ISO. In manual mode the scroll wheel under the mode dial controls aperture, the shutter speed is adjusted by using the rotating wheel on the rear of the camera.

The NEX-6 has been supplied for review with the SELP1650 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom lens (35mm equivalent: 24-75mm) with Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation built-in. The lens body measures just 29.9mm when fully retracted, making it an ideal travel companion. There’s also a dual-function ring that controls both power zoom and manual focus, depending on operating mode. With the camera set to AF the control ring adjusts smooth, high-speed zoom with small hand movements. With the camera in MF mode, the ring controls manual focus. Smooth power zoom makes the lens particularly suitable for video shooting.

The screen can be tilted at 90° so you can place the camera in a low position and comfortably compose your shot, if you're shooting with the camera held up, the screen only goes to 45° but enough to be able to view the screen easily. The OLED viewfinder is of fantastic quality, with its 2.359m dot resolution, it's great for both composing shots and viewing your images, better than viewing them on the screen.

The menu system does take a little getting used to, when you hit menu you are presented with six options: camera, image size, brightness/colour, playback, application and setup. Some of the lists, e.g. in setup, are quite lengthy and can take a little while to cycle through.

Sony Nex 6 Iphone App Screenshot
Above: Smart Remote Control screenshot
Right: Portrait edited using Photo Retouch app
  Sony Nex 6 Portrait Edited Photo Retouch App

Downloading and installing apps is easy, it requires you to have an account with Sony for PlayMemories, if you have one set up for a PS3, you can log in with these details. The Smart Remote Control app lets you use your iPhone to take pictures. You can't change any settings other than set a 2 second timer, but you can review your picture as well as save it to your camera roll, albeit at a reduced size. The Photo Retouch app has options such as framing, horizontal adjustment, brightness control, contrast control, saturation control and soft skin effect.

Battery life is rated at 360 shots according to CIPA standards. We were able to take over shots before the battery went flat, this also including using the Wi-Fi and apps. As with other Sony digital cameras, it features an "Info-Lithium" battery that tells you exactly how much battery life is left, which is very useful, for example 77%.

We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.05 sec
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.25 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.1 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.8 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.0 secs
Continuous Shooting   3.1 fps
Speed priority continuous shooting   10 fps
Continuous Shooting - Flash   1 fps
Speed priority continuous shooting - Flash   1 fps
Continuous Shooting - RAW   3.1 fps
Speed priority continuous shooting - RAW   10 fps

Focus speed is very quick, with extremely quick shutter response. Switch on time is quite quick, with shot to shot and especially continuous shooting extremely quick.

Sony NEX-6

Sony NEX-6 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony NEX-6 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction whether you are shooting portrait, fast moving objects and landscapes. Portrait modes have excellent skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash. HDR mode has a number of options for the exposure range, the example above has the maximum 6EV range.

Sony NEX-6 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Detail within the image is good throughout the lens range, with a good control over purple fringing in contrasting areas. Although you can't get really close to your subject with the 16-50mm kit lens, detail is good enough for a decent macro shot.

Sony NEX-6 ISO 100 Sony NEX-6 ISO 200 Sony NEX-6 ISO 400
ISO100 | 1/13 sec | f/5.6 | 46.0 mm High-Res ISO200 | 1/25 sec | f/5.6 | 46.0 mm High-Res ISO400 | 1/50 sec | f/5.6 | 46.0 mm High-Res
Sony NEX-6 ISO 800 Sony NEX-6 ISO 1600 Sony NEX-6 ISO 3200
ISO800 | 1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 46.0 mm High-Res ISO1600 | 1/125 sec | f/7.1 | 46.0 mm High-Res ISO3200 | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 46.0 mm High-Res
Sony NEX-6 ISO 6400 Sony NEX-6 ISO 12800 Sony NEX-6 ISO 25600
ISO6400 | 1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 46.0 mm High-Res ISO12800 | 1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 46.0 mm High-Res ISO25600 | 1/1000 sec | f/9.0 | 46.0 mm High-Res

ISO Noise Performance - Images are free of noise at ISO 100 and there is very little at ISO 200 and 400. You can see a small amount at ISO 800 and more so at ISO 1600. ISO 3200 is where you can see a significant reduction in image quality with images becoming softer. There is a further loss of detail at ISO 6400 but image quality is still decent. At ISO 12800 some areas of the image look smudges which only worsens at ISO 25600. The latter two settings are best avoided unless you absolutely have to use them.

Sony NEX-6 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - The auto white-balance copes really well under our studio lights. Under the incandescent lights, the incandescent preset also performs well. There are four different fluorescent presets, the -1 option did the best under the fluorescent lights, with a clear colour cast when using the other three.

Panorama 1 | 1/250 sec | f/11.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Panorama 1 | 1/250 sec | f/11.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - Panoramas are taken by holding the shutter down and sweeping the camera across your scene. There is a dedicated place on the mode dial. You can take standard or wide panoramas. They are well stitched together with a decent amount of detail. We did find when using the wide mode a black border is left where it's not managed to take enough shots so need to be cropped on your computer.

Sony NEX-6 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There is a wide range of picture effects available, many of them also have their own options, such as partial colour which can be set to blue, red, yellow or green.

Video - Below is a video shot in full 1080p HD, quality is good with excellent stabilisation. You can use the zoom during recording, an example of which can be found on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.



Value For Money

The Sony NEX-6 will be available with the 16-50mm power zoom lens at £829.00. Below are a number of alternatives which all come with a kit lens, which are of a similar price.

Canon EOS M Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Nikon 1 V2 Sony NEX-7
N/A
£692.99 £719.00 £799.00 £939.00

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony NEX-6 Verdict

This new addition to the NEX range offers a wide range of features such as its APS-C sensor, tiltable screen, high-speed shooting, full HD video recording and you can purchase from a large number of NEX lenses. Picture quality is excellent, with good colour reproduction and noise performance up to and including ISO 3200. There wasn't much we could find to be critical about, it's a little more expensive than some of the competition and the going through the menu system can become long and drawn out. With the positives far outweighing the negatives, we are happy to recommend the Sony NEX-6.

 
  The Sony NEX-6 is a feature packed compact system camera with excellent image quality.

Sony NEX-6 Pros

Excellent image quality
Tiltable screen
Fast high-speed shooting
Full manual controls with RAW shooting available
Decent battery life
You can download apps for image editing, sharing etc.

Sony NEX-6 Cons

Menu system can be time consuming to navigate
A little more expensive than the competition
Panorama mode occasionally leaves a black border

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony NEX-6 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4912
Pixels (H)3264
Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Resolution2.369 million dots
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS25
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
  • Memory Stick
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FW50
CIPA Rating360
Box Contents
Box ContentsPower cord, rechargeable battery pack, micro USB cable, AC adaptor, shoulder strap, eyecup piece, shoe cap, body cap, CD-ROM and instruction manual
Dimensions
Weight345g
Width119.9mm
Height66.9mm
Depth42.6mm

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Photographs taken using the Sony NEX-6

Rule BrittaniaLondonWatering cansEmpty CloisterTuscan ColoursColour at Luss.Carabao RiderOn laughterThe LadyHigh Risea lady from Goa
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Comments


josa 2 25 Czech Republic
6 Nov 2012 2:36PM
Tle lens could be sharper...

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Niknut e2
4 740 64 United Kingdom
6 Nov 2012 5:57PM
Oh my !!!.....impressive results !!!

Wonderful clarity in the Wide to Tele shots of the stately home....but all at ISO100 !!

I'd love to see the same shots at say ISO1600...as a straight comparison !

I accept there's comparisons at different ISO's, but they're presumably studio
set-ups of a test charts....so some real-world image comparisons would be more
interesting !!!.....the detail in the tree-branches &/or brickwork would make for a
more realistic comparison ??

The detail in all the shots is exquisite....even in the grassy areas, which sometimes
goes goes rather 'mushy'.....so that 16-50 is a beauty !!

Other than that.....I want one !!!!!!!!!!.Grin
YoBellzaa e2
7 224 England
6 Nov 2012 6:47PM
Yeah I want one as well.

We used to do outdoor ISO tests as well (before I was involved), so perhaps something for us to consider bringing back.
pcheywood 9 1.3k England
7 Nov 2012 7:12PM
Loving the look and spec of this camera but hating the price and other available lenses in the system............. Come on Samsung, get an EVF into the NX210 form factor !
willbrealey 10 248
10 Nov 2012 12:10PM
I don't care about the lack of native lenses as I prefer to use legacy lenses. The standard flash hot shoe and the new regular mode dial are big steps forward on this camera. Sony didn't really think hard enough about the needs of enthusiasts on their previous NEX bodies, with lack of intelligible physical buttons and dials, and a (rubbish!) proprietary NEX flash system.
16 Nov 2012 8:18PM
I do like the NEX system, and partnered with the mighty 16MP Sony sensor which is superb (I kn ow, I have the K-5) makes an appealing CSC. One weak spot is the Sony lenses for me, however they are starting to address this with some excellent looking primes. If it got a NEX camera to partner my K-5 then I would get the NEX-6 over the other NEX bodies as it has the best selection of features, controls and sensor, and get the primes that are already appearing. It already has a "proper" hotshoe too, making remote triggers in the studio available for use.
Sony are maturing at a very quick rate it would appear. Kudos to them.Smile
jlgt92 2
25 Nov 2012 6:26AM
so.. im a COMPLETE newbie! i am very interested in buying one of these nex cameras though i really cant get to choose one! i've made lots of research and finally narrowed it between the Sony NEX 5n (cheepEST), 6 (better then 5n?) and 7 (expensive but worth it?)... could anyone here give their reasons for choosing one of these? i really can't decide which and don't think i have enough expirience (as a matter of fact...NONE Tongue) or know THAT much about cameras... any suggestions? Grin
dcash29 9 2.0k England
20 Jun 2014 10:38PM
Just so people are aware.

This camera has a bulb exposure setting in manual mode

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