Why I'm choosing the NEX-6 and Zeiss combo over the RX-1

Started Feb 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
sean lancaster
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Re: Why I'm choosing the NEX-6 and Zeiss combo over the RX-1
In reply to jpark1982, Feb 1, 2013

jpark1982 wrote:

Long time lurker, not too long time poster here on the DP forums.

Let me start by saying that I suffer from buying/selling cameras too often. I started with a D600, then went up to a 5DIII, then to a NEX-6. I was happy with the NEX-6 and Zeiss combo but decided that I wanted to give the RX-1 a chance. I was fully ready to list my NEX-6 and Zeiss for sale and make the RX-1 my choice.

I was in a similar boat, only I had the 5N and the Zeiss 24 so I'll provide my perspective since I reached a similar conclusion.

So what did I like about the RX-1?

1. The high ISO perfomance rocks. I felt that up to ISO 6400 was fully usable and higher under certain situations.

It really is pretty incredible. If I am shooting color then I try and not go above ISO 800 (1600 tops) on my NEX 5N and I will regularly go to ISO 6400 on the RX1. I found it pretty incredible.

2. Having an aperture ring was a nice additon.

The RX1 made shooting manual a breeze with that ring.

3. The macro capability proved to be useful.

I didn't think this feature was better on the RX1. The Zeiss 24 already focuses at 6" and it requires no macro ring. The RX1 also focuses at about 6" but you need to turn the macro ring. I found this a nuisance when I'd forget it was in macro mode when trying to shoot a regular scene. But still, most fast 35 primes have an 11" or 12" minimum focusing distance, so the RX1 was still doing swell here.

So what didn't I like about the RX-1?

1. The lack of a solid grip. With the NEX-6, I feel confident about just walking around for hours just holding the camera by the grip and felt secure that even with a $1000 Zeiss on the lens that I wouldn't drop it. That's not to say that the RX-1 is slippery, just I don't feel confident holding it.

I didn't like the lack of a real grip on the RX1 either. It was okay, but not great for just walking around and holding the camera.

2. The strap lugs feel uncomfortable. Maybe it was because I didn't have a strap or anything on it, but I felt like because of the lack of a natural holding position, the lugs were in an uncomfortable place between my thumb and index finger.

I had no idea that this was a problem. I put a Gordy's strap on a lug and never thought about the lug(s) again.

3. The noise that the lens makes when hunting. The shutter is super silent but the whirring of the lens to focus and the mechanical feeling that I get while it's locking focus felt unnatural to me. The NEX-6 it it's shutter sounds more camera-like if that's a word to me.

The shutter is extremely quiet. But I don't recall ever hearing the lens hunting for focus so it couldn't have been too loud. I was more annoyed with the effectiveness of the AF . . . it certainly wasn't better than my 5N and Zeiss 24.

4. I don't know if it was just me, but the rear dial felt like it didn't stick out enough. Also while I appreciate that the mode dial and the exposure compensation dials are solid that they prevent accidental rotations, they felt too stiff and uncomfortable to rotate. 4. I don't know if it was just me, but the rear dial felt like it didn't stick out enough. Also while I appreciate that the mode dial and the exposure compensation dials are solid that they prevent accidental rotations, they felt too stiff and uncomfortable to rotate.

I actually liked these controls you're complaining about. I really liked them.

What I appreciate in the NEX-6 over the RX-1

1. The grip

I don't know the 6, but the grip on my 5N is perfect.

2. The ability to manually bounce the flash makes indoor shots much easier to get.

The RX1 flash is built in. On my 5N it's a screw on proprietary flash and I never screw it on. So it was nice to have it built in on the 6, but you're right in that it won't bounce (angle up).

3. The right about of customized options. The RX-1 has a done of buttons that you can configure, which is good, but sometimes it seems like there are too man icons on the screen at once. Hitting the Fn button to scroll through the options seems much at times, though I'm sure that I could get used to it.

I had the camera 2 months. I thought it had the right amount of external buttons and I though the menu system was very intuitive. I don't know how it is on the NEX 6, but it really sucks on the NEX 5N. It's just pathetic. So I found the RX1 to be intuitive and easy to navigate. But I rarely needed the Fn button after customizing the other buttons to what I needed for manual shooting.

4. While I don't swap lenses because of the Zeiss, I do like that later on if I do get into MF lenses that I have the option to.

Not a problem for me as I wasn't going to sell my 5N if I had kept the RX1.

What I'm looking for in my true NEX-6 replacement

1. GPS

I'd like that as well (e.g., the A99), but it does eat up battery and that's not a compromise I need.

2. Touchscreen, even if just for menus, but a touch focus would be amazing.

Touchscreen is one of the things I like most about my NEX 5N. I can't understand why Sony wouldn't have made the RX1 screen a touchscreen like the 5N if they weren't going to include an EVF. Sigh. This was one of my biggest gripes about the RX1, but it applies to ever full frame camera. The touch LCD on the 5N is nearly perfect. I want to focus on the eye of a subject and I touch the eye to set the focus point and it works. I can zoom in and it will magnify the eye for focus tweaking (with focus peaking). It's beautiful.

3. Improved high ISO performance, possible 24MP sensor.

I'll be interested in seeing what the update to the NEX 7 brings in this regard. After seeing the NEX 5R and 6 not improve on the NEX 5N ISO performance, I am not too hopeful about the update to the NEX 7.

4. I don't even need a FF sensor, it would take too much time to develop a solid stable of lenses. The biggest knock on the NEX system was the lack of lenses which I think they're starting to build on now, having to start from the beginning would be frustrating. But a clean APS-C sensor with improved low light performance and usable ISO6400 would be amazing.

Sorry if this seems like I'm rambling on, but I just wanted to voice why I'm sticking with the NEX-6 and Zeiss over the RX-1.

Honestly, the only complaint I had about the RX1 had to do with the AF implementation. I didn't think it improved on my NEX 5N and there were times when I thought the 5N and Zeiss 24 were better in this regard. This was my biggest disappointment with the RX1.

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