D5100 user considering NEX-6

Started Mar 17, 2013 | Discussions
mgn2
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D5100 user considering NEX-6
Mar 17, 2013

I'm sure this is the n-th time somebody has asked this question, but everyone has slightly different specifics. I believe it that the IQ of the NEX-6 will be as good or better than the D5100. My main concern is AF speed and low light focussing performance. I am used to decent speed with the combination of the Nikon D5100 + Nikkor 35mm 1.8, and pretty close with the Nikon 18-55mm VR lens as well. I can literally pick up the camera with the power switched ON previously, look through the viewfinder and click instantaneously and catch the action (moving people and small child in low/medium light indoors) and get good results with a wide aperture and high(ish) ISO. How will this compare on the NEX-6? If the kit lens won't be satisfactory, which lens would get me close/equal/better and at what cost? Also, how do the wide/ultra-wide lenses for the NEX-6 compare to the Nikon wide-angle zooms (Nikkor/Tokina 12-24mm)? I'm looking for realistic answers from someone who has switched over, or currently using both systems. Cheers.

Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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blue_skies
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 17, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

I'm sure this is the n-th time somebody has asked this question, but everyone has slightly different specifics. I believe it that the IQ of the NEX-6 will be as good or better than the D5100. My main concern is AF speed and low light focussing performance. I am used to decent speed with the combination of the Nikon D5100 + Nikkor 35mm 1.8, and pretty close with the Nikon 18-55mm VR lens as well. I can literally pick up the camera with the power switched ON previously, look through the viewfinder and click instantaneously and catch the action (moving people and small child in low/medium light indoors) and get good results with a wide aperture and high(ish) ISO. How will this compare on the NEX-6? If the kit lens won't be satisfactory, which lens would get me close/equal/better and at what cost? Also, how do the wide/ultra-wide lenses for the NEX-6 compare to the Nikon wide-angle zooms (Nikkor/Tokina 12-24mm)? I'm looking for realistic answers from someone who has switched over, or currently using both systems. Cheers.

If "catch the action (moving people and small child in low/medium light indoors)" is the objective, any current mirror less will disappoint you.

For this you may want to consider the LA-EA2 - it brings the Nex to DSRL focusing speeds.

But it is not all that bad. Indoor shutter times can be reasonable, given a fast lens and a decent (higher) ISO.

The new PDAF will definitely focus on your action, better than the non-PDAF CDAF cameras did.

However, the focus lag is still long enough for a subject to leave the critical focus field and give you soft images.

Outdoors, this is less of an issue, as you can stop down, and increase the DOF.

Indoors, there is a limit as to how fast a person can move, and you may want to stop down or pre-focus. If your subjects move sideways (in focus plane) you will be fine. Worst is when they approach you. You'll find that it is a lighting/lens FL/aperture/subject distance/subject speed & trajectory gamble. Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it is just outside the DOF area.

The LA-EA2 essentially removes this focus lag.

.

The kit lens on the Nex-6 will not be your friend indoors - outdoors it will be great - for moving subjects, you will do much better with the SEL35F18. The IQ of the Nex-6 + E35 will trump that of the 5100 + Nikkor 35, I am sure, except for indoor keepers.

The Nex-6 can be hit or miss, depending on circumstances. The E35 has OSS and will let you shoot at very long shutter speeds, but this does not help with moving subjects.

Also, the Nex' iAuto, and even the P,A,S programming modes, are not geared towards shooting people at low light. You are better off controlling ISO, aperture and shutter speeds manually. This enables you to shoot at higher ISO, but faster (than 1/60th) shutter speeds.

As to ultra-wide zooms, there is only the SEL1018, which is improved from the SAL1118. It is considered a top notch wide-angle zoom lens, but it has its quirks.

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PDine
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 17, 2013

I would keep the d5100 myself. You wouldn't much if anything in IQ, but would notice the loss of speed in AF and manual controls. AF will be better in video on the nex because of the stepper motor lenses, but for stills they are some way off a decent pdaf SLR. You'll pay a lot of money to make the jump and you'll probably regret it.

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malch
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 18, 2013

D5100 to NEX-6 doesn't make a lot of sense to me unless you absolutely need to reduce size and weight.

I went from a D200 to a NEX-6 and I'm very happy. But some shoulder/back injuries made a serious reduction in size and weight imperative. The NEX gave me much better high ISO performance and video as well.

You already have video and a very decent modern sensor.

I love my NEX-6 but it's hard to see what you would gain from this relatively costly change change in camera (and system).

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mgn2
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to malch, Mar 18, 2013

The D5100 is not yet a sunk cost as it is within the return period so it would cost me nothing to get rid of the body. Still seems like an expensive setup:

$1000 for body + kit lens

$800 for 10-18mm

$250 for 16mm

$300 for 50mm

$1000 for Zeiss 24mm

$450 for 35mm

$350 for 55-210mm

Cheapest combination would be body + kit lens + 35mm + 16mm + 55-210mm ~ $2000. More like $3k if I want the 10-18mm. Usually I would buy used, but not much is available with the Sony NEX system.

My Nikon gear (D40+18-55mm+35mm+55-200mm) might fetch me about $400ish. So yes agreed, is an expensive move. Keeping my Nikon D5100 and buying a wide angle zoom costs me $1000 so in the end I would be spending an extra $1k more than I would with the SLR setup - is it worth it?

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lmtfa
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 18, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

The D5100 is not yet a sunk cost as it is within the return period so it would cost me nothing to get rid of the body. Still seems like an expensive setup:

$1000 for body + kit lens

$800 for 10-18mm

$250 for 16mm

$300 for 50mm

$1000 for Zeiss 24mm

$450 for 35mm

$350 for 55-210mm

Recheck your prices. The NEX 6 was and may still be on sale with a discount of $100-150 off the original price of $999.99. Why go crazy with so many lenses so soon. What shooting style are you most into. Portrait, distance, macro, street and so on. The 16-50 is a gem of a lens, you could stop their until you learn the camera. Some of the combinations you made are redundant. Plus the fact you left out Tamron and Sigma. Sigma has a 60mm coming out (95mm) in 35 format which looks to be nice for street shooting. Then go with a wide prime, 16 or even the 10-18 wide zoom. If you can get $400 for the Nikon then do it, more like $325. You asked is it worth it? Not if your intending to buy all that glass at once. Over time then yes. Look at my gear list, way too much and now I'm selling some items. In your case I'd go for the Sony over the Nikon. The cameras awesome and much more in the way of lenses will be produced.

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wb2trf
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You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to mgn2, Mar 18, 2013

I don't think you should switch.  All cameras are tradeoffs between different objectives.  You don't give any indication that you want any of things the Nex offers or that you have any interest in changing what you can do with a camera in which the relationship of subject camera and you can be radically different than with a camera like the 5100.  From this, I think you will be unhappy. As if you asked us whether you will be homesick.

I shoot moving children in indoor light with the Nex 5R and the Sel5018.  A hard test for the new PDAF, but it is fine.   AF was marginal with CDAF only, but still ok.   On the other hand the way you can relate to a child when the camera is away from your face and much much smaller is where the big win is, far better than even losing a few shots to AF, which I used to do before the PDAF hybrid came along.  That is the new home, but if you don't feel that, don't do it.  You'll be homesick for the old big thing.

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mgn2
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Re: You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to wb2trf, Mar 18, 2013

wb2trf wrote:

I don't think you should switch. All cameras are tradeoffs between different objectives. You don't give any indication that you want any of things the Nex offers or that you have any interest in changing what you can do with a camera in which the relationship of subject camera and you can be radically different than with a camera like the 5100. From this, I think you will be unhappy. As if you asked us whether you will be homesick.

I shoot moving children in indoor light with the Nex 5R and the Sel5018. A hard test for the new PDAF, but it is fine. AF was marginal with CDAF only, but still ok. On the other hand the way you can relate to a child when the camera is away from your face and much much smaller is where the big win is, far better than even losing a few shots to AF, which I used to do before the PDAF hybrid came along. That is the new home, but if you don't feel that, don't do it. You'll be homesick for the old big thing.

You are right that I don't really want to change much in what I get out of my current gear, except for a wide angle zoom or prime. I am very satisfied with the fast response and results I get from my  D5100 (more recently D40) with the 35mm prime and 18-55mm zoom (I rarely use my third lens - the 55-200mm zoom). In addition the X100 gets a lot of use - although there are a lot of deleted pictures the keepers I really love. Since I was going to add a Nikon wide angle lens (approx. $500 used) and can still return the D5100 I was curious about whether either the Sony NEX-6/Olympus OM-D/Fujifilm XPRO-1/X-E1 could work for me as they come in a significant less bulky package and with a small/pancake lens are pocketable and unnoticeable to the subject being photographed. My shooting interests are moving children, people/portraits, macro, landscape, street. My DSLR gets uses indoors and on vacation (last vacation I used the X100 and left the SLR stuff in the room, usually I carry the SLR with no more than 1 less on and it is usually the 35mm prime). There are some things I don't want to give up, like an OVF/EVF, reasonably fast AF and startup times, good IQ, and the ability to use quick/manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, ISO, dynamic range, exposure compensation, AF/MF. The smaller package and feel does really appeal to me more so than the Nikon SLR as I am more likely to be carrying my camera or more likely to use it without feeling like obtrusive in certain places/situations the way my SLR makes me feel sometimes. I don't like to draw eyes toward myself and look like a pro (thats what some people say!) and would rather just be inconspicuous.

I agree it makes no sense to buy all the glass right away and that my list above has plenty of overlap. I don't intend to own more than 2-3 lenses, ideally the 16-50, a wide-angle pancake/zoom and a long zoom. As for primes, I am covered with the X100 for now.

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mgn2
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to lmtfa, Mar 18, 2013

lmtfa wrote:

mgn2 wrote:

The D5100 is not yet a sunk cost as it is within the return period so it would cost me nothing to get rid of the body. Still seems like an expensive setup:

$1000 for body + kit lens

$800 for 10-18mm

$250 for 16mm

$300 for 50mm

$1000 for Zeiss 24mm

$450 for 35mm

$350 for 55-210mm

Recheck your prices. The NEX 6 was and may still be on sale with a discount of $100-150 off the original price of $999.99. Why go crazy with so many lenses so soon. What shooting style are you most into. Portrait, distance, macro, street and so on. The 16-50 is a gem of a lens, you could stop their until you learn the camera. Some of the combinations you made are redundant. Plus the fact you left out Tamron and Sigma. Sigma has a 60mm coming out (95mm) in 35 format which looks to be nice for street shooting. Then go with a wide prime, 16 or even the 10-18 wide zoom. If you can get $400 for the Nikon then do it, more like $325. You asked is it worth it? Not if your intending to buy all that glass at once. Over time then yes. Look at my gear list, way too much and now I'm selling some items. In your case I'd go for the Sony over the Nikon. The cameras awesome and much more in the way of lenses will be produced.

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The prices are not that off. Perhaps it will become cheaper going forward. If did get rid of the D5100 I would consider the Olympus and Fuji options in addition to the NEX. Time to head to the store.

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malch
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Re: You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to mgn2, Mar 19, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

You are right that I don't really want to change much in what I get out of my current gear, except for a wide angle zoom or prime.

Nikon DX users are blessed with some really nice ultra-wide zooms at reasonable prices. The Nikon 14-24 will cost an arm and leg but Tamron and Sigma have some terrific options for those on less of a budget.

I would start studying those options and then pick one!

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mgn2
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Re: You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to malch, Mar 19, 2013

malch wrote:

mgn2 wrote:

You are right that I don't really want to change much in what I get out of my current gear, except for a wide angle zoom or prime.

Nikon DX users are blessed with some really nice ultra-wide zooms at reasonable prices. The Nikon 14-24 will cost an arm and leg but Tamron and Sigma have some terrific options for those on less of a budget.

I would start studying those options and then pick one!

Yes there are some nice lenses. I am just trying to figure out if I can similar or better lenses in mirror-less cameras like the NEX-6 and whether the switch is worth it. I see myself moving over to a mirrorless system from Nikon DSLR eventually and just want to make sure I pick the most appropriate one - Sony / Olympus / Fujifillm. Once i buy a lens or two in any system (not cheap) it won't make sense to switch again.

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win39
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 19, 2013

Speaking as a NEX 7 user as well as a Nikon and a collection of lenses.

Buy a D5200 body. $200 cheaper than a NEX6. Better physical camera. You know how to use it. You already have superb lenses for it. You will not be faced with buying a Sony lens that is not as good as what you have and as a result you will make better images.

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mgn2
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to win39, Mar 19, 2013

Speaking as a NEX 7 user as well as a Nikon and a collection of lenses.

Buy a D5200 body. $200 cheaper than a NEX6. Better physical camera. You know how to use it. You already have superb lenses for it. You will not be faced with buying a Sony lens that is not as good as what you have and as a result you will make better images.

I have a D5100 - would you still recommend getting a 5200 instead? I figured it wasn't worth the extra $300. I realize the Nikon SLR + lenses are a great combo, but the reason for considering mirrorless in my case is size and convenience which translate to carrying the camera around more often. My main concern about mirrorless given my limited experience with the Fuji X100 is autofocus speed and accuracy in low light and shooting moving children and action, and not so much IQ or manual controls (both excellent in today's mirrorless).

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neo_nights
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 20, 2013

I'm going with everyone else and say that unless you HAVE to use a smaller/lighter kit, I see no sense in substituting the D5100.

I have a Pentax K5 and decided to *add* a NEX6 because I wanted a 'travel light kit' (Nex + 16-50mm PZ and the 50mm F1.8. And I found the 16-50mm to have good image quality).

The focusing speed is reasonable within good conditions (i.e. outdoors) but can be a bit irritating on a low light environment or a not too contrasty situation. If you NEED fast AF, then mirrorless is still not for you (well, people say wonders about Oly and Panny m43 cams.... but I've never used any of them so can't tell how fast their focus system is).

Another thing that I find worth mentioning: battery life! If you plan a whole day of shooting I'd recommend at least one spare battery.
(I don't know how much the battery last for the D5100 but I reckon you may get around 600 shots or more [without using liveview, of course].With the K5 I can get about a 1000 shots)

It all boils down to this, IMHO: if you take the NEX for what it's worth -a small, capable and fun camera- you'll be VERY pleased with it. Otherwise you may want to look around a bit more

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f8BeThereToo
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Re: You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to mgn2, Mar 20, 2013

My shooting interests are moving children, people/portraits, macro, landscape, street. My DSLR gets uses indoors and on vacation (last vacation I used the X100 and left the SLR stuff in the room, usually I carry the SLR with no more than 1 less on and it is usually the 35mm prime). There are some things I don't want to give up, like an OVF/EVF, reasonably fast AF and startup times, good IQ, and the ability to use quick/manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, ISO, dynamic range, exposure compensation, AF/MF. The smaller package and feel does really appeal to me more so than the Nikon SLR as I am more likely to be carrying my camera or more likely to use it without feeling like obtrusive in certain places/situations the way my SLR makes me feel sometimes. I don't like to draw eyes toward myself and look like a pro (thats what some people say!) and would rather just be inconspicuous.

I'm a pro who likes to do travel/street photography in my leisure time. I've also been looking at the NEX 6 and similar cameras strictly for the smaller size. But I've decided that I cannot give up the superior handling and other features of DSLRs that have been mentioned in this thread.

The D5100 is already a diminutive camera compared to a lot of DSLRs. I suggest trying an R Strap: it's the best thing that I've ever done for my travel photography. My gear is out of the way and out of sight so I am relatively inconspicuous. I can spend time with people and gain their trust before they even realize that I am carrying a camera. And since the R strap is so much faster to use than most straps, I can get a shot and return the camera to its resting place without anyone noticing that I have taken a picture. (And my camera/lenses are larger than your D5100 with a kit lens.)

I like the R Strap with the tiny pocket that holds two memory cards. I can shoot all day with a 12-24 Tokina and my 35-70 Nikkor and hardly notice the camera. (I don't carry a camera bag; I use a tiny unpadded fanny pack and/or an equally tiny unpadded ergonomic cross-shoulder bag. I've discovered that I take more pics with more keepers in a lot less time, leaving more time for enjoying my surroundings and companion(s) if I'm not alone.

With a thirty-day money back guarantee you can give it a good work-out and see if it works for you without risking any money if it doesn't suit you. At around $50 the R Strap may wind up addressing some of your concerns and for a lot less $$$ than a new camera system.

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mustafa604
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Re: You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to f8BeThereToo, Mar 20, 2013

My shooting interests are moving children, people/portraits, macro, landscape, street. My DSLR gets uses indoors and on vacation (last vacation I used the X100 and left the SLR stuff in the room, usually I carry the SLR with no more than 1 less on and it is usually the 35mm prime). There are some things I don't want to give up, like an OVF/EVF, reasonably fast AF and startup times, good IQ, and the ability to use quick/manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, ISO, dynamic range, exposure compensation, AF/MF. The smaller package and feel does really appeal to me more so than the Nikon SLR as I am more likely to be carrying my camera or more likely to use it without feeling like obtrusive in certain places/situations the way my SLR makes me feel sometimes. I don't like to draw eyes toward myself and look like a pro (thats what some people say!) and would rather just be inconspicuous.

I'm a pro who likes to do travel/street photography in my leisure time. I've also been looking at the NEX 6 and similar cameras strictly for the smaller size. But I've decided that I cannot give up the superior handling and other features of DSLRs that have been mentioned in this thread.

The D5100 is already a diminutive camera compared to a lot of DSLRs. I suggest trying an R Strap: it's the best thing that I've ever done for my travel photography. My gear is out of the way and out of sight so I am relatively inconspicuous. I can spend time with people and gain their trust before they even realize that I am carrying a camera. And since the R strap is so much faster to use than most straps, I can get a shot and return the camera to its resting place without anyone noticing that I have taken a picture. (And my camera/lenses are larger than your D5100 with a kit lens.)

I like the R Strap with the tiny pocket that holds two memory cards. I can shoot all day with a 12-24 Tokina and my 35-70 Nikkor and hardly notice the camera. (I don't carry a camera bag; I use a tiny unpadded fanny pack and/or an equally tiny unpadded ergonomic cross-shoulder bag. I've discovered that I take more pics with more keepers in a lot less time, leaving more time for enjoying my surroundings and companion(s) if I'm not alone.

With a thirty-day money back guarantee you can give it a good work-out and see if it works for you without risking any money if it doesn't suit you. At around $50 the R Strap may wind up addressing some of your concerns and for a lot less $$$ than a new camera system.

Do you have the direct link by any chance for this R strap? Sounds Kool. If I like it with my d90 I wouldn't need nex 6

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mgn2
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Re: You don't say why you want to switch. So, I don't think you should.
In reply to mustafa604, Mar 20, 2013

I'm going to check out this r-strap - is it the one made by blackrapid? Also like the idea of the wrist strap.

I've done quite a bit more reading on the different inter changable lens mirrorless cameras, and I agree that the AF will be nothing like I am used to. What that translates into for me is a whole lot of blurry and out of focus shots and basically missing the moment I am trying to photograph. I am most likely going to wait for a new Fujifilm X-PRO type camera with better phase detection AF or perhaps a newer NEX from Sony with faster AF. I am certain these cameras will be vastly improved in the next 1-2 years at most and hopefully sooner. I don't want to pay the price for being an early adopter, there are plenty of people on sites like this for that, and I am grateful to them for trying out and reviewing the products.

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f8BeThereToo
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Black Rapid R Strap URL
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wb2trf
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to neo_nights, Mar 22, 2013

My sense was that mgn2 didn't want to change, just wanted to justify his 5100.  Which is why I advised that he not change.  On the other hand most of the subsequent conversation misses the point.

I shot 500 pictures of a 2 and 4 year old running around inside a house last week.  They never stopped. Using the 50mm SEL and a 5R with PDAF firmware in both, I got not one, not one, blurry picture. I think the AF is up to that task.  I'm not sure I'd claim tracking waterfowl flying at me, but that's not what I do with this camera and not the topic of this thread.

The larger point, in my view, is to get out from behind the camera and also get the camera at the kids height when taking pictures of kids. This requires that you use the lcd, not the evf when they are moving around.  Liveview performance on dslr's generally won't support that with decent AF speeds.  Also the smaller the camera the less the child reacts to the camera.  These are the real issues in child photography, in my view. But, addressing these issues requires rethinking the physical relationship of photographer camera and subject.  Not something I thought the op was up to.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: D5100 user considering NEX-6
In reply to mgn2, Mar 22, 2013

If you want a camera that can do what your current camera can do, you can relax because you've already got one.

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