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Customer Review

288 of 314 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Meh... Huh?, November 6, 2012
This review is from: Sony NEX-6/B Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3-Inch LED - Body Only (Black) (Electronics)
Bottom line, the NEX 6 is a well designed camera that's easy to use and takes good quality photos. The finish and balance of the camera are excellent and - for the most part - it's a joy to use.

This is Sony's 8th NEX camera in just over two years. You can't say that they aren't serious about the camera line. The NEX 6 is an enthusiast's camera. It's for photographers who are looking for more manual controls than are available in the NEX 3 or 5 models. It has a similar 16 MP sensor to the others and the same very good image quality. You aren't gaining better picture quality in getting the 6 vs one of the NEX 3 or 5 models. So if you are moving up from a phone camera or a point and shoot, you might find one of the other models closer to what you are used to than the NEX 6.

On the other hand, if you are looking at the NEX 6 as second camera, or even as a replacement for a bigger one, the 6 is much more portable than a DSLR the extra dials and buttons on the NEX 6 will speed up camera mode and exposure changes. So, on to the specifics

The first yes is the inclusion of an electronic viewfinder (EVF), similar to the one in the NEX 7. That's a great inclusion and makes the 6 more versatile. It's seems similar to the NEX 7 EVF and the same pixel dimension. The EVF is sharp and clear. It works well on this size camera.

The second yes is the addition of a flash shoe, a real one that accepts all sorts of manual flashes. It's a change from the old reversed Minolta/Sony flash shoe, so if you have old Sony flashes you will need an adaptor. The newest Sony flashes are built the new flash shoe. The camera also has a built in flash, instead of the screw on model on my old NEX 5n. Flash sync is a slow 1/160, which a bit disappointing but at least the camera will now support more flashes and off camera flash.

The third and fourth yeses encompass the inclusion of a mode dial and a camera top control dial. These aren't the same as the NEX 7 dials but will be immediately familiar to experienced camera users. The control dial and the mode dial are stacked on the same spindle. I wasn't sure how that would work, but in practice, just fine. The only thing I would have like to have added is the ability to use the back panel control dial for more functions, like exposure compensation in A or S modes. That's not currently possible and can't be customized. This may change with a firmware update. My fingers are crossed. Sony still includes the some very helpful camera modes like sweep panorama and hand held twilight, along with a bunch of others. The inclusion of a mode dial makes accessing these faster and easiser.

The fifth yes is the new position for the movie button. The button on my NEX 5n is where I often push it accidentally. In fact, I seldom spent more than a half hour shooting without accidentally starting a movie. The button on the NEX 7 is even easier to mistakenly activate. The problem on the 7 is so bad that Sony made a software update to deactivate the movie button entirely. On the 6, Sony has simply moved the button to a location where your right thumb won't rest naturally on it. The movie button is a little awkward to use now, but not too much so.

The meh, is the new lens. Oh, it's an improvement over the old kit lens, mostly. The size is perfect for a NEX camera. The lens looks great and when it's closed nobody will remark that you look like you have a lens with a little bit of camera behind it. Build quality is good. Finish is good, However, this is not the high optical quality kit lens for the NEX 7 that many of us have wanted. It's decently sharp for a kit lens, but it's still a kit lens and it has a kit lens' slow aperture.

Sony still includes the some very helpful modes like sweep panorama and hand held twilight, along with a bunch of others. The inclusion of a mode dial makes accessing these faster and easiser.

On the down side focus is a bit slower than with the old kit lens. Sony has done some sort of magic with the NEX 6 sensor that's supposed to make it focus more quickly. That may be so, but it's not my experience. When I place the NEX 6 and the NEX 5n side by side in tripods and activated the shutter button, the camera with the old kit lens generally reached focus more quickly than the one with the new lens. This isn't a scientific test with instruments, but the new lens didn't wow me with it's focus speed. My other problem with the new lens is that it has a zoom motor instead of direct gearing for zoom. I guess that this is a requirement of the collapsing lens and it's compactness. The lens doesn't have the tactile feedback of a non-motorized lens. It's also a bit slower to zoom. On the plus side, zooming is smoother during movie shooting. Also the new lens seems to provide a bit more shake control than the old kit lens while shooting movies. For stills, they are both good.

The huh is for Sony eliminating the touch screen on the NEX 6. Sony seems to think that more serious photographers won't want a touch screen. I do. Still, I can somewhat see their point. What's brain dead, though, is adding apps to the camera that you can't interact with on the screen. Duh. It's like stepping back from using a new iPhone and having to navigate through an old fashioned dumb phone. Yes, you have to use buttons and the back control wheel to get around in the app interfaces. Talk about user unfriendly. Still, I got a camera, not a micro tablet. I can see some real potential in camera apps, especially with built in Wi-Fi that allows you to control your camera from your phone or tablet. They just won't be as easy to use with the NEX 6.

The NEX 6 is an excellent camera, though it costs more than some DSLRs. My biggest problem with recommending it is the limited line of NEX lenses. Sony hasn't gotten the idea that cameras are no better than their lenses. There are about as many Sony NEX camera models as Sony lenses for them. That's the main reason, other than price, why I'm only giving 4 stars. On the other hand, third party lens makers are now making NEX lenses and Zeiss has promised some autofocus NEX lenses in '13. There's also the fact that Sony's focus peaking makes manual focusing very easy and adaptors allow you to put almost any kind of APS or full frame lens on a NEX camera. So this is a good camera that faces good competition. I like it because it feel right in my hands, takes great photos and is small and light.
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Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 50 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 7, 2012, 1:49:26 AM PST
Honest Face says:
did the old kit lens on NEX-6 perform better? I mean did it focus faster ?

Posted on Nov 7, 2012, 4:39:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2014, 2:33:28 PM PST
Tim 2:24 says:
Thanks for your review. Previous NEX models have reportedly had issues with video - significant noise when moving, and overheating (at least warning messages which stopped recording before the maximum size, even if there was no actual overheating). How well does the NEX 6 handle these?

Edit 5/13/13: I have been using my NEX 6 for several months, and just had an opportunity to take extended videos with it at a school play. I did see the overheating warning indicator come on a few times and the body did feel warm. It did not actually shut down. I was stopping recording between scenes and had the LCD screen pulled out a bit to help it cool. I turned the camera off during intermission. The indicator came on after about 50 minutes of mostly active recording. I am quite pleased with the video quality and the experience, and it does not appear to be as severe as earlier NEX models, as far as I can tell from their reviews. But heat is an issue when doing extended recording, and care needs to be taken. I have not noticed any noise issues mentioned with prior NEX models. And the NEX-6 does quite reasonable correction of distortion on the 16-50 mm lens when taking video.

Edit 2/14/14: I have had the camera actually shut down once with an overheating issue. It had been recording most of the time for about an hour. A contributing factor may be that it was under some relatively bright lights prior to starting, so it wasn't starting completely cool. So it can be a real issue with event recording, but can often be managed, and seems to be an improvement over reports I have heard regarding some older NEX cameras.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 8:10:42 AM PST
The new kit lens seems to focus a bit more slowly than the old model.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 8:15:14 AM PST
Tim, I didn't record a video longer than about 7 minutes. There was no extraneous noise and no noise from lens zooming.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012, 10:04:17 AM PST
AG says:
Is it even worth considering this over the NEX-5N because of the price gap now ? Picture IQ is my main criteria.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 10:31:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012, 10:39:19 AM PST
As to picture quality, I can see no difference between the NEX 5n and the 6. Both are excellent and use variations on the same image sensor. The 6 gives you a built in EVF, flash, mode and control dials, wi-fi, apps functionality, and a hot shoe for your money not better IQ.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 2:20:17 PM PST
AG says:
Thanks Michael, I will consider that in my decision.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2012, 5:41:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2012, 5:42:36 AM PST
Roentgen says:
I think greetchandu was asking about the speed of the old kit lens when paired with the NEX-6 (to see if the slowness is the result of the new AF or the new kit lens).

Posted on Nov 8, 2012, 6:58:59 AM PST
yaseen says:
Michael, thank you for your detailed review. I have a question for you though. I am not a professional photographer or even close to be one. If I buy a camera it stays with me for at least 3 years. I had Panasonic ZS7 which was the best in its class 2 years ago, yet I am not satisfied with its performance. I am looking for a compact yet sophisticated, high-end camera and ever since I learned about the NEX 6, I have been counting the days to get it; until I saw your review. I was really disappointed to learn it has some drawbacks, i.e. slower lens than the NEX5 E. The reason why I want to get the 6 not the 7 is because it is more compact and at the same time it is way better than the RX100 which I am still considering. Any advice?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2012, 7:05:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2012, 7:06:39 AM PST
Roentgen says:
yaseen, the NEX-6 and NEX-7 are practically identical in size so don't let that be a factor in your decision. Check dpreview's NEX-6 preview for pictures of the two side-by-side.
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