The new Sony NEX 6

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience with the mirrorless Sony NEX 5N camera.  Thanks to its APS-C sensor, it met my requirements for a high quality image making camera in a smaller package, but there were a few “issues” that I just couldn’t get used to.  I found myself missing a dedicated viewfinder and didn’t like having to choose between attaching a flash or a VF.  Plus the body of the 5N was just too small to feel secure in my hand.  Take a look at the photos in those two posts if you want a quick refresher.

Sony NEX 6 with 16-50 kit lens

Sony NEX 6 with 16-50 kit lens

The new NEX 6 had been announced by Sony and appeared to address some of my concerns, so I returned the 5N and placed an order for the 6, and waited about three weeks for it to arrive, which it did last week.  Here are some initial impressions.

Sony NEX 6 EVF

Sony NEX 6 EVF

The Sony NEX 6 comes with a built-in electronic viewfinder AND a pop-up flash.  The EVF is rated one of the best available with high resolution and offers 100% coverage, but this being my first experience with an EVF, (as opposed to a conventional optical viewfinder), the EVF took a little getting used to.  You are effectively looking at a miniature television screen, and it’s bright and crisp.  It reminds me of the old View-Master toy my brothers and I loved as kids.  Now that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a little different from what I was used to on my DSLR, but I quickly acclimated.  There’s a diopter adjustment to fine tune the view to meet your needs too.

The built-in flash pops up with the press of a button and although it has a low GN of 6, it does a nice job in close settings.  Flash compensation (+/- 2EV) also allows adjustment as needed.  Interestingly, and I don’t know if Sony planned this or not, the flash, once popped up, stands on a spring-hinged arm, which allows you to tilt the flash head back to bounce the light.  The spring wants to return it to its normal position, so you have to hold it with a finger on your other hand.  Not the contortion it sounds like and actually pretty effective.

Sony NEX 6, kit lens, at 16mm

Sony NEX 6, kit lens, at 16mm
Click for detail

Another plus: for the first time on a NEX series camera, there’s a standard hot shoe.  My Nikon SB-600 fits nicely but must be operated manually as there’s no TTL communication between a Sony and Nikon.

The NEX 6’ body is heftier and heavier than the 5N which is a welcome improvement.  The deep grip with rubberized coating feels much more secure in the hand.

Sony replaced the 18-55mm kit lens found on both the 5 and 7 series NEX cameras with a power zoom 16-50mm lens.  With the APS-C sensor, this equates to a 24-75mm focal length, a pretty useful range.  One of the best features of the lens is it’s low profile, making the 6 with kit lens coat-pocketable… something the 5 and 7 only dream about.

The kit lens has a max aperture range of f/3.5 to 5.6, so it’s not exactly a low light demon, but the camera’s excellent high ISO performance helps overcome that.

Sony NEX 6 ISO 3200

Sony NEX 6 at ISO 3200

This NEX model also adds a PASM dial and second dial for aperture adjustments, something the traditional DSLR shooter will find familiar.  The 6 lost the touch screen that the 5N had, so maneuvering through the menus must be done with the 4 point/wheel on the back or the second dial on the top, easy stuff.  On the 5N’s touch screen, I sometimes touched the wrong menu item, so I won’t miss the touch screen.  The other advantage of the touch screen was the ability to touch the point in the scene where you wanted the camera to focus.  I didn’t use that as I tend to focus with the center focus point and then recompose.  But it’s matter of personal preference.

Sony NEX 6, Looking down, kit lens at 50mm

Sony NEX 6, Looking down, kit lens at 50mm
Click for detail

Stay tuned — you can continue reading about my experience with the NEX 6 including more image samples here.   The question remains, is this the camera that will replace old faithful… my Nikon D90???


About Ed Spadoni "Thoughts and opinions, resources and experiences… for emerging photographers everywhere."
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10 Responses to The new Sony NEX 6

  1. mikeronesia says:

    Look forward to more…

  2. Hey Ed,

    I was at the Photo Expo in Bergen County (NJ) yesterday, so I made a point to go to the Sony booth. I took a look at the RX100 and the NEX7 (they didn’t have the NEX6). Several observations:
    1) They are amazingly fast. RX100 has an 8fps rate, while the NEX7 has a 10-12fps rate;
    2) The image quality is about as good as any cropped DSLR out there, including the D7000 (and not surprising – it has a Sony sensor!);
    3) The menu system would take some getting used to, ditto the EVF – but doable;
    4) They are SMALL (compared to a typical DSLR like the D7000 or the D600) and VERY pocketable.

    IF I decide to get a mirrorless ILC camera, it will be either a Sony or an Olympus (OMD or the new EPL5)…they are steadily improving. Not sure if they will replace my D7000, tho’, but certainly function well as a backup/travel camera (definitely WILL NOT REPLACE the D600 – maybe if Sony lowers the price on the RX1). Looking forward to the rest of your review.

    Frank V.

    • Ed Spadoni says:

      Hi Frank, yes, the technology is advancing so rapidly. I think in the future, entry level DSLR’s will be replaced by more advanced mirrorless cams, and the DSLR will be the domain of professionals who require full-frame and can justify a top price.

      I’m a slow adopter, and have held out for the longest time, believing that only an APS-C or better DSLR could deliver the goods, but I’m beginning to turn, as are many others from what I’m reading.

      Appreciate your input and support Frank. Thanks, Ed.

  3. Clanmother says:

    I like stopping by just to figure out the jargon!!! Learning, little by little, one becomes more knowledgeable. Or is that, step by step, one travels far? Either way, I win!!!

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