Was Ready to Buy a NEX 6 but DP Review Leaves Me Cold.

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
chillgreg
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Re: Was Ready to Buy a NEX 6 but DP Review Leaves Me Cold.
In reply to blue_skies, Mar 27, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

Spitze wrote:

Really need a new travel camera as my Canon G12 is long in the tooth. I was thinking the Sony NEX 6 might be the best compact APS-C camera to buy for travel purposes. At home, I use a Canon 5D II but don't want to lug this to Europe. The JPEG images at the DP Review comparing the NEX 6 to the Olympus seem to strongly favor the Olympus PM-D E-M5 even though it has a smaller sensor. Any advice strongly appreciated. Any other choices to consider?. Cost not a major factor.

Yes, there seems to be a bias towards the OM-D on dpreview, not sure what or why this is.

OM-D scores high in three areas: ISO is one stop above the 'true' ISO, NR is applied to RAW, and the smaller sensor increases DOF. And add to this the faster AF algorithms.

The result is that for the casual shooter, OM-D is a more satisfactory experience. Where it fails is if you are a more advanced user and are comparing the results from your post flow, and notice that the OM-D does not have as much headroom left, and that the increased DOF is not always the best image.

Not to harp on the OM-D, the sensor is smaller, a stop slower and has more DOF, resulting in 'flatter' images. The APS-C sensor is very different, and should be compared as a class by itself.

Sony hasn't helped with the Nex-7, because of its high ISO limitations. Essentially, the Nex-7 has similar pixel sites as the OM-D, and hence similar ISO response. You can down-sample the Nex-7 to overcome this, but it means that images must be compared post, not as OOC JPG at 100%.

In this context, the Nex-6 is a high-note, and an improvement over the Nex-5N, if you care about EVF and OSPDAF. I really don't see why the Nex-6 gets a silver rating whereas the Nex-5N gets a gold rating. Same as to the scoring, the OM-D gets 80% and the Nex-7 81%. So, at 78% the Nex-6 is maxed out?

The Nex-6, imo, is very equivalent to the 5N in terms of sensor IQ. The results are nearly identical. Add the EVF and the OSPDAF, which does get high marks from dpreview, the Nex-6 definitely improves on the 5N in terms of versatily. It also has the pop-up flash (that the OM-D lacks), and the WiFi apps. (And you don't need to purchase to MFNR app, you still have HHT and AMB built-in).

Comparing the Nex-6 to the Fuji X-E1 and Samsung NX-200 would be more relevant, and the Nex-6 holds its own. Where issues emerge, it hints at JPG defaults being less aggressive in the Nex, and the standard (kit zoom) lens being of acceptable, but not stunning IQ. Fuji is definitely aiming a more discerning user, but it comes at a price.

Once you mate the Nex-6 with a proper lens, including the E primes, the results are stunning and amazing. This doesn't show up in the review, as it is comparing a camera-package, not a best-of mix Yes, there are differences between the OM-D, the XE-1 and the Nex-6, but I would argue that at this level they are very minor, not major. You can't go wrong with any choice, really, as long as you understand the trade-offs.

Imo, the Nex-7 should have been the Nex-6, and the Nex-7N the true Nex-7, but it is what it is. The Nex-7 has higher resolution, which amazes, and dissapoints at the same time. It amazes because you have more detail than your are used too, kind of FF DLSR like, but it also shows IQ limitations of lenses at the pixel peeping level. Put a high IQ lens in front of the Nex-7, and it trumps every other mirror less camera, at least at low ISO.

Unless you need the 24Mp resolution, and the Nex-7 should be your choice, out of the 16Mp choices I woul consider only the XE-1 and Nex-6, simply because of the creativity (DOF) of the APS-C. Ymmv, if you like sharper pictures, do consider the OM-D, given the extra DOF at same exposure settings. In low-light, the Nex-6 is also a lot better.  Given cost, lens availability, including legacy RF lenses, I would pick the Nex-6 first, even today, and the XE-1 second. The XE-1 gets great reviews, but the lack of PDAF and the complex sensor structure would still steer me away from it. And add in the higher prices for Fuji.

I do like the PDAF, especially when handing the camera off to others - the keeper rate has gone way up for those not familiar with the focus-reframe-shoot method.

I find the Nex-6 more than satisfactory. I don't see a reason to upgrade from the 5N (add the EVF instead) or downgrade from the Nex-7 (add the PDAF), for existing Nex users. For new Nex users, it is simply a matter of budget versus features - pay more and get more.

I still have the 5N, 6 and 7, and the 6 is my all around goto camera. I like the compactness of the 5N (without EVF), and the higher detail results of the Nex-7, but I need this only a minority of times. I also use the LA-EA2 less, now that the PDAF has somewhat address the subject-in-front-of-background issue, albeit not the AF speed itself.

Anyways, I am hitting the posting limit soon, I figure. I would recommend the Nex-6, do your own review and hands-on tests if you want. I would also argue that all mention cameras will fit the bill, I would not declare one that much better over another. Not sure that I take away your fears, but I am comfortable shooting neutral JPG with the Nex-6 and process this in Lightroom, instead of using RAW. (I shoot RAW but seldom find the need to process the RAW itself). The results are very, very good. If I take the Nex-7 images downsampled to 16Mp, the results are nearly identical. There is one difference: the Nex-7 has more DR and picks a better color tone at times, usually under lower lighting.

I was satisfied with the Nex-5N, and am definitely satisfied with the Nex-6.

Do however consider the 7N if you are still deciding - it should be announced shortly. But unless you need 24Mp, I would not wait for it.

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Cheers,
Henry

As always Henry, your posts are illustrative, interesting and very well written. Agreed with your summary, and adding my vote for the all-but-ignored 5R.

Thanks

Greg

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Gidday
Greg

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