Using NEX-5, concerned about feel of a6000

Started May 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Helen Veteran Member • Posts: 4,372
Re: Using NEX-5, concerned about feel of a6000

I agree with most of what has been posted here.  I own or have owned the NEX-5, 5N, F3, 5R, 6 and a6000; I'd say the "perceived build quality" is highest on the 5N since it has a metal top cap as well as the front half (it's wise to remember, though, that the back panel of all 5-series models is actually polycarbonate, not metal - check the temperature differential at the bottom seam some time).  The 5R replaced the top cap with polycarbonate.  The NEX-6 has a polycarbonate front and rear, combined with a metal top cap, all of which is covered with a unique-to-the-model matte sputter paint job; the a6000 has an all-polycarbonate exterior sprayed in smooth satin finish paint (black or "titanium", according to choice).  Both the NEX-6 and a6000 benefit from a generous front-and-rear rubber handgrip layer, which is nicer-feeling than the "rubber paint" on the F3 and 5 series (which is itself absent on some of the later models according to their colour).

To the OP: bear in mind, if you happen to like charging batteries outside the camera, that the charger ceased to be supplied from the F3 onwards in my list above, so you may want to hang onto your charger or get another.

Functionally, I feel (though others may differ) that the biggest functional improvements came with the 5N and then again recently with the a6000 (with a smaller step up between the 5N and 5R/6, though some aspects of the 5R were seen as a step down by some; the 6 does not necessarily share these, since one was the downgrade of the touchscreen from capacitive to resistive on the 5R, and the 6 doesn't have a touchscreen anyway).

It always seemed to me that the 5N was a revelation compared with the 5 - so much faster, quieter, EVF compatibility, higher-resolution sensor, touchscreen if you like those, and so on, and it was more configurable than even the final firmware version of the NEX-5.  The 5R and the 6 of course introduced wifi and apps, plus the nice (but slightly underused) thumb dial on top, and the initial type of on-sensor PDAF (which doesn't make a huge difference to focusing speed).  Touchscreen shooting was also added in the case of the 5R [the 5N only has touch to focus, not touch to shoot, but the latter feature isn't popular with everyone in any case] plus a fully flip-forward screen which is nicely implemented.  The NEX-6 has neither of these touchscreen features, but offers the built-in EVF, built-in flash, physical mode dial, a few extra rear physical controls and the interactive data-only mode on the LCD, intended for use when using the EVF.  Everything I pointed out about the 5R also applies to the 5T which replaced it, and only differs by adding NFC and an airplane [i.e. all communications off in one step] mode.

A small point - the NEX-5N was the last model to include the automatic light sensor for the LCD.

To me, at least, the a6000 seems another big step functionally from the NEX-6 - a new, much more configurable and arguably more straightforward menu system, more physical controls which are also more configurable, a much-improved PDAF system which is now fast and effective (and doesn't get in the way like the 5R/5T/6 PDAF points display does if you enable it) - the camera lets me set a lot of controls the way I'd always wanted to on the NEX line but couldn't (someone else mentioned that the AF illuminator is now less destructive to focusing accuracy; there are many other nice improvements such as the ability to set maximum and minimum ISO in Auto ISO - including Auto ISO for the built-in multi-frame noise reduction (MFNR) - MFNR was previously only available as an add-on app for the 5R, 5T and 6, which slowed down the interface and was not quite as configurable as when the camera wasn't using apps), configurable auto ISO in manual exposure mode (I like this feature - good for shooting wildlife when I want the shutter speed and aperture kept at certain settings - the auto ISO then keeps the exposure correct) and so forth.  Yes, the a6000 does feel light (which can be an advantage, too) and arguably a bit hollow but I personally wouldn't want to drop any of them!  The half-case can quickly sort this out without adding too much weight, if required.  Compared with the NEX-6, the a6000's LCD moves more easily (or is less reassuringly stiff, according to your preferences!), I don't think the quality of the actual panel used is quite as nice as the previous NEX one (although still as high a resolution, I can see the vertical rows of pixels and a slight "sizzle" of refreshing, but my eyesight is ultra-sensitive to this stuff) - on the other hand, it doesn't have an Ultrablack antireflection coating to wear off (or do good antireflection work, again according to your preference!), whilst the EVF, though smaller and lower resolution, is actually nicer for my particular eyesight (others may differ).

So all the above is my personal preferences and findings, which may well not be true for others.  As other posters have said, the only way is to try them and work out one's own feelings.  But there's an awful lot to like on the a6000 and all the recent models have some very big improvements from the original NEX-5 which the OP appears to have.

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