XPro1 vs NEX-6 hands on review

Started Nov 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
Dennis
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Re: XPro1 vs NEX-6 hands on review
In reply to a l b e r t, Nov 9, 2012
- NEX-6 looks more like a modern consumer electronic device than a camera. XE-1, especially the silver version has the classic camera look.

More important than the classic look is the classic control layout.  The cameras are different in use due to the Fuji method (aperture ring & shutter speed dial versus NEX' control dials).  The aperture rings are fly by wire.  On the primes, there are f-stop markings that let you see the setting when you pick up the camera; on the variable aperture zoom, there are no markings so you have to look at the display to see what aperture you've set.  No need for a PASM dial as the combination of settings determines the mode (both the lens and the shutter speed dial have 'A' settings)

- The menu system of the NEX-6 is difficult to navigate. Sony uses non-photographic terms for the various settings and you simply have no idea where an item is located and I found myself needing to look through each submenu to find the item I want. Some of the submenu has a long list of items.

The menu's behavior is inconsistent. Sometimes you get back to the previous menu after setting an item, and sometimes it throws you completely out of the menu system after setting an item. Also, sometimes you press OK to get out, get back, and other times, you have to hit the soft key to return. The menu is one major weakness of the NEX system.

- Because of the menu system, trying to get some simple function can be rather difficult. For instance, there is no easy way to enable macro mode.


Generally, I agree that the menu on the NEX sucks.  Sony has been making changes to minimize how much you have to use the menu for most things.  (It would be better to just implement a decent menu ... even the RX100 uses the Alpha menus instead of the NEX menus).  In addition to programmable buttons, the big deal on the NEX-6 is the Quick Navi feature.  It calls up a display of settings and you can navigate through them and change any setting directly without having to go through the menu.

Annoyances with the NEX-5 for instance: no VF, so going inside to outside means changing LCD brightness from Auto to Sunny and back again.  This requires menu diving.  (Even my HX5 allows you to change LCD brightness directly from the controls on the back !)  And turning IS on/off requires menu diving.  I don't know if that's available through the Quick Navi menu or the programmable keys.

- The mechanical shutter sound is louder and has more vibration on NEX-6 than the XPro1. I've the beep turned off in either camera. NEX-6's beep is particular annoying, there is no way to turn down the volume. So it is either beep on or beep off.

It is loud.  But newer NEX models have an electronic front curtain shutter so there should be no vibration associated with the mechanical shutter.

- NEX-6's EVF has noticeably better resolution than the XPro1. But XPro1's EVF has better dynamic range. It is also much clearer/brighter/less noisy when viewing the EVF in the dark with the XPro1.

- The NEX-6's EVF brightness and LCD brightness are inconsistent. The LCD needs to be one notch brighter in order to match the EVF's default brightness.

I find the Sony EVFs to be less enjoyable to look through than the Fuji or Oly I tried. I'm not sure what it is about them, since they're supposed to be the best available.  As for matching brightness, the EVF is less influenced by ambient lighting; I'm not sure I'd care much about the relationship between them.  I'm more concerned that each is as usable as possible in whatever lighting I'm in.

In general, I found that PDAF on NEX-6 helps AF accuracy more than AF speed. AF speed on NEX-6 is very fast and accurate. This is one area that is much better than XPro1 even with fw 2.01.

That was my impression, though not exhaustive (I've only tried some of these cameras out at stores/shows ... the NEX-6 is much better than my NEX-5, but I don't get the sense that it's much faster than the 5n or 7, so hopefully more accurate.  The 18-55 on the XE1 focuses pretty quickly.  (I don't perceive it as a speed demon, but you certainly don't get the sense that it's slow, either).

- There is no Auto-ISO in M mode on NEX-6. And Auto ISO is limited to ISO 3200 max and you cannot set the max Auto-ISO value.

Thank you !  The more voices telling Sony this feature is useful, the better the chances that they'll smarten up about it.  (It's finally in the A99 ... only).

In any case, both camera systems have their strengths and weaknesses. XPro1's major weakness is AF speed and AF accuracy. I think AF will improve greatly once the new lenses start to use Fuji's LM AF motor. NEX-6's major weaknesses are the menu system and high ISO noise.

I have a different take on the summary.  As far as high ISO goes, it's not a weakness on Sony's part, it's only when compared to the exceptional Fuji that it doesn't shine.  Also, I'd need to do some side by side testing, but it's not my impression that there's a particularly significant difference in AF performance between the systems.  Basically, I think if you look at the different types of shots you'd want to shoot with AF, from static to motion to tracking, both systems are going to be fine for some, not so good for others, and the window where NEX might outperform Fuji (or vice versa if the zooms are really that good) is pretty small.  To me, Fuji's biggest downsides compared to NEX are compactness (if you're looking for a compact system, though that's primarily based on the body, not the lens), image stabilization (only in zooms, not primes), lack of a tilting LCD, and poor support to date for raw file processing.  Strengths are the IQ (both sensor and lens), lens selection (also a weakness, all depends on what lenses you're looking for) and quality (both IQ and build quality), control layout (at least for those who favor it).  Sony weaknesses are lens selection (it's also a strength - all depends on what lenses you're looking for), lens quality (IQ is inconsistent through the lineup, and build quality doesn't touch the Fuji's, with the possible exception of the CZ24 which I've never tried, and the original 18-200 which isn't quite as satisfying, but close enough), interface issues.  Strengths are tilting LCD, compactness, IS in most lenses.

NEX is what I'd choose as a compact 2nd system, Fuji is what I'd choose as a DSLR replacement.  That's not a generalization; it's based on my priorities.  NEX offers a more compact option while Fuji is more fun to use with lenses I like better.

- Dennis

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