Sony NEX-6 - Assessment and Conclusion

The Sony-NEX-6 is a fine camera. Not revolutionary or with a host of new features and improved performance. But a worthwhile upgrade none the less.

This is indeed pretty much a 5n in a NEX-7 body. So a 16MP sensor with an added built-in EVF.  Now the 5n was an exellent camera, indeed it was my camera of the year 2011. But for me it suffered by having to use an external viewfinder. Excellent quality though it was, I found it a bit flimsy, plus it was hardly the most aesthetic accessory I've seen.

Having the viewfinder built-in on the NEX-6 is a more satisfactory solution and gives the camera a much more integrated, complete feel.

In terms of image quality, the files are virtually identical to the 5n, which means that they are very good indeed. However, this sensor has been around for a while, and though the 5n could be seen to have an advantage over m4/3 cameras, for example, in terms of high ISO performance when it came out, that is no longer as significant as it was. Due of course in part to Sony's own sensor in cameras like the Olympus OM-D and (allegedly) the Panasonic GH3. 

The body is also different to the NEX-7, with the two function wheels missing. There are alternative ways of doing the same things, but its not so neat or accessible. There is a conventional hotshoe on the NEX-6, but one thing that does annoy me is that Sony haven't included an external microphone socket on the NEX-6 which means it isn't possible to use one for video, which strikes me as giving with one hand and taking away with the other. 

Some have said that this is an ideal combination of the 16MP sensor and the NEX-7 body. However, I don't agree. At all but the highest ISO settings, my NEX-7 files are bigger with a higher pixel density but don't suffer because of this. At the low ISO settings I constantly use, the higher resolution of the 7 is an advantage. I see no particular improvement in the NEX-6 files at anything up to ISO 1600, though after that the files are "cleaner". I would also like to have seen ALL the features of the NEX-7 body retained and not just some of them.


The NEX-6 is being bundled with the 16-50mm zoom. A flawed lens yes, but one that is capable of decent results with the lens profile in Adobe Camera Raw. I've written enough on that previously and will leave that there. However there is no doubt that the combination, pictured at the top of the page, is a small light outfit that is a pleasure to use. Its got fast AF, and if you remember to shoot slightly wider to allow for the distortion and vignetting "fix" its a useful combination. 


This seems to me to be an excellent upgrade from some of the earlier and smaller NEX cameras. Though I would suggest that if you have a 5n with the external EVF, you would need to be pretty keen about the virtues of the built-in viewfinder, because you aren't getting that much more. I've written before that this isn't a camera to make people change systems, and if you have an Olympus OM-D or GH3, then to my mind you are getting much more flexible and versatile cameras. Its an incremental upgrade for the NEX system, and its main selling-point, as far as I can see, is the body design and built-in EVF. 

It will also function as a great body for manual focus lenses, and if you have some wide angle m-mount lenses that you like to use, then the magenta cast and vignetting that occurs on the NEX-7 isn't present here. 

Like the vast majority of 16MP cameras on the market, particularly those with this 16MP sensor, it will deliver fine pictures that will satisfy all but the most demanding of users. It suffers from the same problems as all NEX cameras, in that there is a very limited lens range, but even bearing that in mind I would still feel happy about recommending the camera. As I said before it isn't a dramatic improvement over what else is available, but its a well put together package none the less. 

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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