Noobie struggles with NEX-6...no miracles...learn or give up

Started Nov 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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CosmoZooo
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Noobie struggles with NEX-6...no miracles...learn or give up
Nov 22, 2012

Got my NEX-6 yesterday with the 16-50mm kit lens...was still busy working, so I put it on a charge. Later in a day I began like a kid messing with it. My main goal was to see how well I can do in indoor lighting without using the flash. Boy was I in for a ride...I am a total noob upgrading from point and shoot and although I've learned a lot just by reading the forums and reading up on concepts, I had no real shooting experience.

After checking out the menus and options, which I must say can be difficult to find: even after finding something once I struggled in finding it again, which is unusual because I am an IT guy and used to dealing with GUIs. Sony's is nice but not super intuitive...anyway not that important and nothing one wouldn't get used to...

So I started shooting with Auto modes and Aperture priority. What I found is that in a dim to mid indoor lighting the camera tends to select rather high ISO levels (if auto); I was seeing 3200 a lot of the time with 1600 here and there. I found the images to be nosier and grainier then I was hoping for. Taking down ISO manually to 400-800 would slow the shutter down often more then I liked. I also found the colors to be off and tried to select different WB settings...some helped a bit.

But I couldn't say I was really happy with anything I could achieve in the indoor lighting and I also wish it was easy to bounce flash off the ceiling because I find it too bright (i haven't messed yet with flash much) I tried pulling it back while shooting but without propping it with something it's a bit painful.

Today I went to a restaurant and again got a chance to play indoors. I struggled jumping between A and M...often times finding an ideal combo of ISO and shutter takes too long especially when trying to shoot moments with people. The Auto modes really annoyed me because they will not let me control the focus points, they do as they please often missing the targets and I prefer center focus. I kept feeling the images I get (most) are darker and grainier then I like. I realize a lot of this comes with inexperience but I really thought it would be easier then this...I really thought I can make some darn good pictures with Auto and I really often can not...not indoors at least. One interesting thing I did though is I played with the newbie mode as I would call it where if you have the camera in Auto you can press down on the wheel and have options like Background Defocus, Brightness, Colors etc. more on that later.

After the restaurant we gathered at relatives' home and I got a chance to do some comparison shots between my brother's in-law Canon EOS Rebel T2i and NEX-6. Needless to say you can't get very scientific with two noobs, but we were essentially pinning both cameras auto modes against each other. To make the already long story shorter, the noise level and sharpness to my eyes looked about the same but my NEX looked grainier, or to be more accurate darker, much darker. His shots looked brighter and that brightness also made them look cleaner.

This was one of the most important discoveries of today because it led to another one which I believe I've read about here. I tried bringing up the brightness or as I perfectly realize is EV and that helped a lot...we didn't have time to compare on the PC again, but I could tell from the LCD mine started looking more like his. Later at home I did some more indoors shots similar to the ones I tried yesterday and came to the conclusion that the camera consistently underexposes. Just going +1 appears to be a lot better.

Is that consistent with what other folks see on the NEX-6, consistent underexposure? Only in low light maybe? This finding made me feel a bit better but I can't control the EV in auto modes so that kind of sucks too if I do need to shoot auto for something quick.

I can't help but wonder if there is enough benefit from a camera like NEX-6 costing a grand for a shooter like me. Maybe I would have been better off getting something like PEN E-PL5 and with an additional (possibly brighter lens). That's also another lesson I am learning, just how much larger apertures can help...it really makes sense now. Even with APS-C sensor I am finding it very difficult to get any shallow DOF with the kit lens indoors when the objects behind the people are not far enough...something that would have been likely easier achieved with a f1.8 and I could do better indoors with all that extra light too...anyway that's what I got so far

Canon EOS 550D (EOS Rebel T2i / EOS Kiss X4) Olympus PEN E-PL5 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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