Available Light and the Sony NEX 6

Frank Villafane recently asked 2 Guys Photo for some advice in looking for a good low-light performer for event photography.  He specifically asked about the Sony NEX 6, and although I replied directly to Frank, I thought I’d share some of the photos I took recently that demonstrate the camera’s low light capabilities.

Just before Christmas we attended a performance put on by the choir of a small, local church, which has always been a very nice way to get into the Christmas spirit.  The choir performed from the altar of the church, great for acoustics, but not so much for lighting, as the direct overhead lamps cast uneven light, creating shadows and bright spots randomly about.

Flash was out of the question, so using the Sony NEX 6 and the Sony 55-210 zoom lens, I set out to see what I could do.  I also used Lightroom on all of these to bring up the shadows and even out the light.  Some cropping was also done.


Aperture priority, f/4.5, 1/20 second, handheld, ISO 3200.  Noise is acceptable here.


Aperture priority, f/6.3, 1/160 second, handheld, ISO 6400.  Too much noise to make this a keeper.


Aperture priority, f/4.5, 1/50 second, handheld, ISO 3200. Taken during intermission, this holds up until you really zoom in.


Manual exposure, f/4.5, 1/25 second, ISO 1600.  Taken from the choir loft and resting the camera on the rail.


Manual exposure, f/6.3, 1/25 second, ISO 3200.  Also taken from the choir loft.

Overall, the images up to 3200 were decent and the image stabilization in the 55-210 did an admirable job.  While this is no fast prime set up, it did the trick in this setting.

Let us know what you decided Frank.

About Ed Spadoni

www.2GuysPhoto.com "Thoughts and opinions, resources and experiences… for emerging photographers everywhere."
This entry was posted in Gear & accessories, Images and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Available Light and the Sony NEX 6

  1. Great exposure, Ed, especially in view of the high ISO. I cant see any noise at all. Really good. Something for me to aim for. Blessings, my friend.

  2. Hey Rey,

    Great shots of the choir. I was surprised at the high-iso performance of the NEX-6. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on the events camera (it’s between the Sony NEX-6 and the Fuji X100S), but this certainly does help in my decision. Rey is sending me images of the X100S his son took…we’ll see.

    Shooting with a full-frame does tend to spoil one…I took the Nikon 1 J3 out for a spin recently (currently available for $299 at Amazon). While the camera performed well in low-light, the image quality (IQ) was simply not up to par (imho). There are those photographers who will accept this level of noise as akin to “film grain” – I am not one of them. On the plus side, it is fast, fast, fast! 15fps with a (near) silent shutter allows one to capture just about ANYTHING – but not at the expense of IQ. I sent it back.

    It seems that when discussing IQ, size really does matter. Just because a small(er) point & shoot may feature high megapixels does not mean the image quality will rival that of an APS-C or FF (or larger) camera. The sensor is simply too small to adequately capture the detail one becomes accustomed to from a camera with an APS-C (or larger) sensor.

    I have read good things about both the Sony NEX line (6 or 7) and the Fuji X100S. Trey Ratcliff is sold on the NEX-7; Zack Arias is sold on the Fuji X100S and the X-Pro1. Both offer different capabilities, but both feature stunning IQ. The jury is still out.

    In the meantime, I blew the dust off the Canon G12 and took it out again (I purchased this camera a couple of years ago). Well it performed ably in low-light (with the built-in flash), and the IQ was acceptable (not great, but acceptable); certainly better than the Nikon 1 J3. It can be gotten today for a song. Again, different capabilities for different needs – small sensor, but good travel camera.

    Thank you for the good work you do, and here’s to a great year in 2014! All the best…

    Frank V.

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