Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6

Started Aug 27, 2013 | Discussions
Har L
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Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
Aug 27, 2013

Hi,

I am new user here, but have been reading the forum the last few weeks since I am getting interested in getting a better camera than a Fuji f40fd point and shoot. It is time to update it to a camera that can give better image quality and also more versatile to shoot in various conditions. I will be using it as general purpose camera to take pictures such as of a 2 years old indoor and outdoor, and also take it along during vacation trip, and also occasional video clips.

I have narrowed it down to Nikon D5200 and Sony NEX6 from reading various reviews and also forums. I played around with both camera in store, but not side by side. So far they both perform equally well in store, but I can only do limited test, ie. can't do low light situation, fast moving object, etc.

Based on review, the Nikon D5200 appeal to me are 24MP sensor that reviews slightly better than 16MP of NEX6, supposedly better autofocus speed and accuracy, appear to be easier/direct control with more buttons, and probably cheaper lens options. Sony NEX6 appeal is lighter which is nice for traveling, and record better video.

Although, my own interpretation of the test results from reviews are not necessarily the same. The sensor, visually looking at test shots comparison, I don't find the 24MP sensor in D5200 is better than 16MP in NEX6. Sometime I felt that the 16MP appears sharper in test shots. I wonder if I am interpreting these results wrongly. On shutter lag from imaging-resource.com review, which I associate with autofocus speed, I found they are comparable across the all test performed. But many reviews sometime says NEX6 is not as fast as consumer DSLR (which I assume D5200 belong to this), and this again contradict my own interpretation (and the hard number on the imaging-resource.com review). Since, I never really pay attentions to such details in the past, I trust reviews where I expect they have dealt with many products.

My questions, based on your experience with D5200 or equivalent DSLR (eg. D5100, etc) and also NEX6 or equivalent, are:

1. Does NEX6 really have worse sensor than D5200? Noticeably more noise, less sharp, etc.

2. Does NEX6 have worse autofocus speed and accuracy? Will the difference make a difference in shooting moving objects, in low-light, both, etc?

Right now I am leaning to D5200 to start because I found both perform comparably in store, D5200 reviews slightly better in sensor performance and autofocus, considering lens option are potentially cheaper for D5200, and I don't mind carrying the D5200 if it is really better than NEX6. However, if sensor and autofocus performance does not make a significant enough difference between the two, then I lean towards NEX6 since it is more portable. I know that I probably won't reach either camera limitation today with my skills, but as I improve my skills, then I would get a camera that has less limitation. Any comments/suggestions?

Thanks!

wb2trf
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to Har L, Aug 28, 2013

I don't shoot with the Nikon 5200, only the Nex. I have shot with older dslr/slrs.

You are not going to see a consistent difference in image quality between these. They are both too good. Spec differences in this case are far too tiny for real world.

The difference is camera size and perhaps autofocus speed, depending on your use and skill.

I shoot mostly young children, more indoors than out, but both. There are two factors in shooting young children that to my mind favor the Nex. First they change position a lot, not just movement along the axis of focus, which affects AF speed, but more turning and bobbing constantly. They are never still. For this I find it extremely useful to be able to move the camera and shoot at arms length, framing roughly, with the lcd to keep the lens pointed at the subject's face. For that, weight and bulk makes a big difference. Secondly kids react to you and to the camera, so viewfinder is not so good as it puts you behind a mask to them. I feel again smaller is better to keep your face in front of them and camera less of a big thing. Size also tends to catch up with some users. At first they say they don't care, then they later wish their camera were smaller, but not everyone feels that way. I've never heard someone say, "I've had this camera for two years and now that I've carried it around a lot, I wish it were bigger and heavier."  So weigh these things.

As for autofocus speed, you might need a little longer to develop some skill with the Nex since it is a little slower, probably, but remember that all sports were shot with manual focus camera before AF existed. It's not as if there were no sports photos before 1988, or whenever. On the other hand the 5200 may be easier to master in that way with less skill required. For some people that should decide the question.

In summary the size is the thing. If you think you'll never care about the size, go with the Nikon but realize it may be a long term commitment. If you are in this for the long term you will probably collect lenses that last through several bodies. During that time the AF gap will probably go away and you may have a bunch of NIkon lenses that forever require the long space between the back of the lens and the sensor. That means your camera+lens for those cameras will always be larger. Many people are fine with that. Many people on the Nex site are refugees from that. I'm not a refugee, I just prefer the handling and social dynamics of small, particularly with children as subjects.

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RonFrank
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to Har L, Aug 28, 2013

If size is a major issue the Nex is a smart choice.

If AF is a driving factor than the DSLR is the way to go.

If you like shooting birds or sports which require big glass the Nex size advantage becomes pointless with the weight of lenses, and the DSLR advantage of continuous focus tracking.

The AF on the Nex 5R/6 works well under good light, but in poor light can have problems.  The AF also fails to track subjects in some situations.  Some feel the AF works well, others do not.

If you spend much time around 4/3 cameras and mirrorless you quickly realize that the down side is AF.  The AF is bad enough to create a MF lens market.  Yes folks purchase MF lenses and use them vs the AF lenses made by Sony or whoever.  Part of this is the cost of MF, but the AF is also a big factor as very few DSLR users are out buying up MF lenses.

The Nex 5R and 6 both have PDAF which works well in most situations, but it is not equal to a DSLR at this point.  Your best option may be to go to a store and try them both.  If the Nex AF is acceptable in a store you may find that is the way to go.

Take a memory card and have a friend start 40 feet away walking towards you.  Shoot a burst of shots at 3fps, focus set to C.  Do this a few times to attempt to determine if the AF is acceptable for your use.  You should get four of six shots in focus but that is dependent on the lighting.  You will have a feel for how well the AF works on the Nex as AF is the weak link on the Nex.

I am betting that many never use the AF tracking found in a DSLR.  OTOH I found the mirrorless 4/3 system completely lacking because of focus issues.  The Nex has improved AF so you need to make up your own mind.

Good Luck

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lmtfa
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to RonFrank, Aug 28, 2013

Do you want the feel of a dslr? Nikons pletura of fine and expensive lenses, then the D5200 is for you. I am a fan of Nikon, even with regret bought into the system 1. I ten went with the Olympus 4/3rds, again mistake. Thankfully sold both brands and broke even.

I could no longer carry my D700 with my 70-200 VRII. On a tripod great but being older adding a tripod and my gear, I just don't have the strength. Anyway it draws a lot of unwanted attention. Basically you would draw public attention even with the smaller D5200 plus lens. Then last year or so Sony introduces the Nex 7 and it set the benchmark for mirrorless cameras, IMHO. Still I did not want to sink $1300 plus lens into something I could only rely on reviewer and dpreview forums.

The Nex 7 was out a year or so and enthusiasts loved it. Magically Sony in June of 2012 puts out a little brother that fit between the Nex 5 and 7, ala the Nex 6. A tad pricy but with the 16-50 lens $1k. I lucked out and it went on sale and thru my military exchange privileges I scooped it up for $700. This is 3 months after it was in stores  The reviews were pouring in. All good. It was just what the doctor ordered. Portable, quality and fine pictures. The difference between 16mg and 24mg is 8. Many of the good reviewers feel 16 mgs is a happy medium. The 6 is on sale below what I paid and that's compelling. I saw it for $650 body only. Get the new 50mm that just came out  and learn. Fast lens, fine easy to use camera with all the goodies inside and $900 or so you will be happy. Then the new mid or long range lenses Introduced a few days ago will make a great system.

Excuse me for this long essay and ill leave you to the photographers delema, which one? There both nice. Good luck and either way you will make the right decision.

.--
III Corps - I Must Go

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hyenadog
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to Har L, Aug 28, 2013

in your situation I would get a dslr rather than a nex .. The only reason for a nex is compactness, and once you get outside the limited ois primes (<50mm)  you are in to big bulky n heavy dark zooms that fill the e-mount range So really you loose the size advantage over a small dslr

when you get in to low light, indoors without flash or fast moving kids then the poor nex AF is an issue dslrs don't have

once you get in to other areas -shooting kids in theatre, sport etc then the lack of bright tele lenses really kills the e-mount .. same with macro .. Same with bright medium tele. .. Same with long tele  etc and the nex to alpha adapter has no OIS so limits its usefulness.

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Mark K
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to Har L, Aug 28, 2013

Har L wrote:

Hi,

I am new user here, but have been reading the forum the last few weeks since I am getting interested in getting a better camera than a Fuji f40fd point and shoot. It is time to update it to a camera that can give better image quality and also more versatile to shoot in various conditions. I will be using it as general purpose camera to take pictures such as of a 2 years old indoor and outdoor, and also take it along during vacation trip, and also occasional video clips.

I have narrowed it down to Nikon D5200 and Sony NEX6 from reading various reviews and also forums. I played around with both camera in store, but not side by side. So far they both perform equally well in store, but I can only do limited test, ie. can't do low light situation, fast moving object, etc.

Based on review, the Nikon D5200 appeal to me are 24MP sensor that reviews slightly better than 16MP of NEX6, supposedly better autofocus speed and accuracy, appear to be easier/direct control with more buttons, and probably cheaper lens options. Sony NEX6 appeal is lighter which is nice for traveling, and record better video.

Although, my own interpretation of the test results from reviews are not necessarily the same. The sensor, visually looking at test shots comparison, I don't find the 24MP sensor in D5200 is better than 16MP in NEX6. Sometime I felt that the 16MP appears sharper in test shots. I wonder if I am interpreting these results wrongly. On shutter lag from imaging-resource.com review, which I associate with autofocus speed, I found they are comparable across the all test performed. But many reviews sometime says NEX6 is not as fast as consumer DSLR (which I assume D5200 belong to this), and this again contradict my own interpretation (and the hard number on the imaging-resource.com review). Since, I never really pay attentions to such details in the past, I trust reviews where I expect they have dealt with many products.

My questions, based on your experience with D5200 or equivalent DSLR (eg. D5100, etc) and also NEX6 or equivalent, are:

1. Does NEX6 really have worse sensor than D5200? Noticeably more noise, less sharp, etc.

2. Does NEX6 have worse autofocus speed and accuracy? Will the difference make a difference in shooting moving objects, in low-light, both, etc?

Right now I am leaning to D5200 to start because I found both perform comparably in store, D5200 reviews slightly better in sensor performance and autofocus, considering lens option are potentially cheaper for D5200, and I don't mind carrying the D5200 if it is really better than NEX6. However, if sensor and autofocus performance does not make a significant enough difference between the two, then I lean towards NEX6 since it is more portable. I know that I probably won't reach either camera limitation today with my skills, but as I improve my skills, then I would get a camera that has less limitation. Any comments/suggestions?

Thanks!

Although I don't shoot D5200, I have other dSLRs so I can make the judgement

1. Sensor difference: D5200 uses a 24MP sensor from Toshiba, one generation newer than 16MP sensor found in Nex6. My knowledgeable guess is that D5200 is better than Nex 6 and my guess was supported by DxOmark lab tests.

2. D5200 uses mainly phase detection for still images so autofocus should be faster. I use Nex6 which is faster than older Nex bodies but not the same league comparing to my other cameras.

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Mark K

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chromnd
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Go for the D5200
In reply to Har L, Aug 28, 2013

I don't own a D5200 but a NEX-6

Based on review, the Nikon D5200 appeal to me are 24MP sensor that reviews slightly better than 16MP of NEX6, supposedly better autofocus speed and accuracy, appear to be easier/direct control with more buttons, and probably cheaper lens options. Sony NEX6 appeal is lighter which is nice for traveling, and record better video.

I think the sensor performance will be not so much different in real life images, the NEX-6 performs pretty good.

2. Does NEX6 have worse autofocus speed and accuracy? Will the difference make a difference in shooting moving objects, in low-light, both, etc?

AF is still a mess with the NEX system. The on sensor PDAF of the NEX is not really improving things a lot, it might be slightly better under certain conditions, but in general AF is one of the weak points in my opinion. I have a 4-year-old son and I shot him a lot with my NEX-6 (and earlier with my NEX-3) but AF is always a challenge.

So if fast AF is very important to you, then go for the D5200.

I don't mind carrying the D5200 if it is really better than NEX6.

If size and weight is not a priority, then the decision is pretty easy: D5200 - no-brainer.

The only reason I stick to the NEX system is compactness, otherwise I would have switched to a DSLR. I have my NEX always with me - always. Sometimes I put one or two additional lenses in my bag and this is something, I could not do with a DSLR. I have a messenger bag (also for my other stuff like phone, keys, etc.) and bought a small compartment insert, that fits my NEX-6 with lens, and optionally up to 2 additional lenses.

The best camera is the one that's with you.

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crsantin
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Re: Go for the D5200
In reply to chromnd, Aug 28, 2013

I'll repeat what everyone else has said.  I own a D5100 and a few other Nikon DSLR's, and a handful of nice lenses.  Two weeks ago I bought the Nex-6 with the kit zoom, wanting a smaller system.

Image quality you won't have to worry about.  The 6 gets the same image quality as the Nikon D7000 and D5100, it is terrific and high ISO is very good as well.  The 6 feels nice in my hands and once I got used to the menus and layout, I have it set up now where I don't need to go into the menus very often and I'm already able to use the camera fairly smoothly and quickly.   That part just takes a bit of time and practice.

AF is the problem.  I've gotten out of focus shots with the Nex-6, even after getting the green focus confirmation.  There are also times when the 6 wouldn't focus.  I've never had a single focus issue with any of my Nikon DSLR's that wasn't user error.  The D5100 focuses very fast and very accurately, I imagine the D5200 is at least as good.  Heck, my old Nikon D50 still focuses very quickly and accurately, never an error. Nikon has a number of really good, really affordable lens options as well, something Sony is lacking.

I would try both cameras, hold them and use them, see how they feel.  Pay attention to the autofocus speed on both.  Is focus tracking important?  If so, I would get the D5200.  Nikon's focusing system even on their lower-end cameras is very good.  Can you live with a larger camera or do you absolutely want a smaller footprint?  If so, get the Nex-6 and be prepared to live with some focus issues.

I really like my Nex-6, it's comfortable to hold and use, IQ is terrific, it's a great travel camera and one that I can always have around.  I can carry it all day, not get tired and not get noticed.  I'm not quite ready to give up my Nikon gear just yet though, it works very well.

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nevercat
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The zooms are not dark hyenadog!
In reply to hyenadog, Aug 28, 2013

Sony offers a nice range of zoom lenses for the Nex, only th 55-210mm you could call dark, but it is a cheap lens.

The 18-200 lenses start at f/3.5, less then a stop away from the "bright" zooms.

The kit zoom 18-55 and 16-50 start both at f/3.5 and are again less then 1 stop away from the bright zooms

The new Zeiss lens is with a constant f/4 just 1 stop away from the bright f/2.8, the same goes for the 18-105mm lens.

So stop this nonsense and come with some new stuff.

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hyenadog
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Re: The zooms are not dark hyenadog!
In reply to nevercat, Aug 28, 2013

nevercat wrote:

Sony offers a nice range of zoom lenses for the Nex, only th 55-210mm you could call dark, but it is a cheap lens.

The 18-200 lenses start at f/3.5, less then a stop away from the "bright" zooms.

The kit zoom 18-55 and 16-50 start both at f/3.5 and are again less then 1 stop away from the bright zooms

The new Zeiss lens is with a constant f/4 just 1 stop away from the bright f/2.8, the same goes for the 18-105mm lens.

So stop this nonsense and come with some new stuff.

hhmmm ...

my critique of the Zeiss "kit range" zoom is the price & at this price its irrelevant to the vast majority of NEX owners (and more importantly for Sony the NEX in a dslr owners), and it is a "dark zoom" perhaps not in "nexworld" but certainly on the e-mounts competing platforms - nikon/canon .. lets take a real world example of what a canon or nikon entry level dslr owner can expect .. just a quick google without any optimisation

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 street price GBP 320 (incl VAT) or on the nex we have the GBP 850 (plus VAT) Zeiss 16-70

knocking out lenses that are irrelevant to the vast majority of the nex owners may make fan boys swoon but is why the NEx (thats the NEX model likes the 3/5/6 that havnt been canned yet) is one step away from being canned (that step is the success or failure of the bargain basement "nex in a dslr" and in particular in the US markets) .. tell me how many Zeiss 16-70 f4 will be bought in total by the purchasors of a $350 camera (with kitzoom) 1, 2 .. 3 ?

nonsense is Sony's strategy which drives nex owners in to the OIS/AF less fungus ridden ripoff world of 30 year old manual primes, nonsense is thinking the vast majority of NEX or "NEX in a dslr" will ever buy anything like this ..

Now dont get me wrong I am not slagging off the 55-210 - its decent zoom performance for a decent price (>2x the price of equivalents on the nikon or canon platforms) but a decent price/performance - and that zoom is relevant to the vast majority of nex owners and sells (primarily because its in kit form and theres no bright emount tele prime choice and of course its price) .. its relatively light which is good as well .. especially when big bulky heavy emount zooms cause problems over time pulling the connectors apart on the emount.

Problem with this lens (and the other monster price/size/weight nex zooms) is that they are useless indoors in low light - eg for theatre stage shots - common if you have a young family

I bitch and complain becuase I love my NEX camera but hate the restricive lens range which forces me to maintain a dslr/bright tele prime just so I can make sure i can get decent shots of my kids/nieces on stage, playing sport etc

the NEX's comparatively slow and innacurate AF and its screw on flash i can live with as a compromise for its size, the crap lens range i cant .. and releasing mega expensive zoom after zoom for the now 7'less NEX range is just "nonsense" .. but let the numbers decide - lets see how many sell = <1% of the SEL50 definately or <1% of the 55-210 probably definately as well

Let me help you Sony - dont stick up 2 fingers at the majority of NEX owners with a black paint job on the best selling SEL50 .. give us a cheap to design/make OIS/AF SEL85mmf2ish bright short tele prime (in black please) priced around the SEL 50 and be relevant to the majority of NEX owners

Personally I believe Sony's new management has to release most of the the crap the crazy previous incumbants planned, which is why i have some optimism for the NEX ... recognising the NEX lens QC is crap and getting jiggy with Olympus is a good move and i just hope that this leads to a set of SEL value decent performing lens releases relevant to the majority of NEX owners.

For Sony's benefit - think about who buys the vast majority of the NEX's and what they are used for .. then look at the gaps in your emount lens range for what they need - then fill them with what the customer wants at the price they are prepared to pay .. you know for example that a bright SEL priced 85mmf2 OIS/AF short tele prime the majority of NEX owners want - so whats the problem

Do it ! and let the "G"/Zeiss price fanboys go the FF route - thats your plan after all - and finally a jolly rational plan

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paulcraig
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Re: The zooms are not dark hyenadog!
In reply to hyenadog, Aug 28, 2013

I am a third generation NEX user, now happy with my NEX-6 and still long for the accurate focus of my old Nikon. The NEX is perfect-small, lightweight, small lenses, outstanding image quality-until you get to focusing. I've just accepted that I will have to manual focus sometimes with the NEX, and that is the price to pay for such a compact system.

I am into travel photography, and thus size and weight are paramount. I travel internationally for my job, and for fun every spring we try to take a cruise around the Mediterranean. What really gets to me is coming home from Italy or some other beautiful exotic place and finding many of my photos are out of focus, or focused on the wrong thing in the frame. Yes I could slow down and use DMF, yes I used the EVF, but all that is hard to do from a pitching boat in the canals of Venice, for example. With the cheapest Nikon DSLR I suspect I would have 99% keepers. The NEX-6 did better this year than my NEX-7 did last year, but next year it might just be a Nikon. I go back and forth whether to keep the NEX system or sell it all and get a Nikon. I really like Sony cameras and their features, and I had high hopes for the new a3000. I hope there will be a a5000 or a6000.

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ohcello
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In the same boat - Leaning towards NEX3N / D5200 solution
In reply to Har L, Aug 28, 2013

I'd like a decent video and travel cam as well as camera that can do action/sports, etc.  I was considering the RX100 / D5200 combo, but it's a little too much.  Then I see the 3N for $200 cheaper (if you find a deal) and if I can get the 3N for $350 (just missed the Adorama deal of $329 the other day), well I can also afford the D5200.

So yes, I give up the EVF, 60p video, and PDAF, but I have the D5200 for when I need great AF and I think I can live with the 30P video the 3n produces.

I still might just get the NEX6 and be done with it, but I'm seriously considering the 3N / D5200 instead....

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Puddleglum
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to wb2trf, Aug 28, 2013

wb2trf wrote:

I don't shoot with the Nikon 5200, only the Nex. I have shot with older dslr/slrs.

You are not going to see a consistent difference in image quality between these. They are both too good. Spec differences in this case are far too tiny for real world.

The difference is camera size and perhaps autofocus speed, depending on your use and skill.

I shoot mostly young children, more indoors than out, but both. There are two factors in shooting young children that to my mind favor the Nex. First they change position a lot, not just movement along the axis of focus, which affects AF speed, but more turning and bobbing constantly. They are never still. For this I find it extremely useful to be able to move the camera and shoot at arms length, framing roughly, with the lcd to keep the lens pointed at the subject's face. For that, weight and bulk makes a big difference. Secondly kids react to you and to the camera, so viewfinder is not so good as it puts you behind a mask to them. I feel again smaller is better to keep your face in front of them and camera less of a big thing. Size also tends to catch up with some users. At first they say they don't care, then they later wish their camera were smaller, but not everyone feels that way. I've never heard someone say, "I've had this camera for two years and now that I've carried it around a lot, I wish it were bigger and heavier." So weigh these things.

As for autofocus speed, you might need a little longer to develop some skill with the Nex since it is a little slower, probably, but remember that all sports were shot with manual focus camera before AF existed. It's not as if there were no sports photos before 1988, or whenever. On the other hand the 5200 may be easier to master in that way with less skill required. For some people that should decide the question.

In summary the size is the thing. If you think you'll never care about the size, go with the Nikon but realize it may be a long term commitment. If you are in this for the long term you will probably collect lenses that last through several bodies. During that time the AF gap will probably go away and you may have a bunch of NIkon lenses that forever require the long space between the back of the lens and the sensor. That means your camera+lens for those cameras will always be larger. Many people are fine with that. Many people on the Nex site are refugees from that. I'm not a refugee, I just prefer the handling and social dynamics of small, particularly with children as subjects.

Some great points. As you said, the focus speeds of e-mount cameras is only going to improve, but the registration distance of Nikon DX lenses will never change.

For my part, I wanted a DSLR for a long time, but I knew I would loath taking anywhere, so I never pulled the trigger. I watched with interest when mirrorless cameras came on the scene, and finally bought an NEX last winter.

Are there times when I wish the AF speed were better? Yes. But the reality, for me, is that most of those times I wouldn't have taken a DSLR along anyways.

As for cost, yes, the NEX lenses are generally more expensive than equivalent APS-C lenses from Canon or Nikon. But! With the NEX you also have the option to experiment with legacy lenses. For less than $100 I got some old Minolta lenses, a 30mm f/2.8, 50mm/f1.4, and a 200mm f/3.5. These obviously increase the size of the camera, but they are also filling the gap for me while I save up for some e-mount lenses.

So for me, the *flexibility* of an NEX camera won out over DSLR AF performance.

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Har L
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Re: Go for the D5200
In reply to crsantin, Aug 28, 2013

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for giving your suggestions and brought up good points.

For example, from wb2trf, It's interesting point of view how NEX size and weight would be beneficial for taking pictures of children, and also how using viewfinder can distract them that much. I would never think that using viewfinder will distract them. However, at least in my case, my 2 years old is paying attention to my tiny cell phone camera when I take picture discreetly, I guess using live view on NEX would not help much, especially when using the 10fps burst mode Although size and weight definitely can help move around the camera easier.

Here is what I gathered from so far:

1.The NEX6 image quality is on par with DSLR comparable to D5200. Confirming my own observation (this means I don't interpret the review facts wrongly, ie. the test shots results). Of course test such as from DxOmark lab the truly quantitative comparison, but qualitatively by looking at pictures taken, I would say they belong to the same category.

2.Auto focus on NEX6 is worse than DSLR comparable to D5200, but this is situational, in some case they can be equal. I also realize this camera is not only for taking pictures small children, thus NEX6 disadvantage is situational. Unfortunately my own test in store could not test the difficult situation with either cameras because it is always bright, ideal condition in store.

3.Size and weight can be a big factor. This is actually important in my case because currently when I travel with my 2 years old, I carry a lot of stuff. Although I expect it will get better overtime.

4.Lens choices, Nikon have much more options, NEX is more limited if I want to stay with e-mount, although the available options may be sufficient.

5.Cost, starting, ie. body+kit lens is about the same. But it appears generally the e-mount lens is more expensive than the equivalent Nikon lens. For example, I just found out the 35mm f1.8 e-mount is about 2x the price for the Nikon.

Thus so far, I felt point 1 is definitely non-issue. Point 2, can be an issue and in some cases important, but is not as important as 3,4, and 5. Beside, it appears that skill in many case can overcome the autofocus shortcoming, and this is what I should be focus and worry most once I get a camera. Thus, I am weighing the option based on 3,4,5, and lean towards D5200 because I don't mind the size/weight now, and I like the options available and the potential cost with the D5200 if I decided to do more. I will sit one more night and pull the trigger, then I can move one on more important stuff like taking pictures and improving my skills.

Again, thanks everyone for your input. It's been very helpful.

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Har L
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Re: In the same boat - Leaning towards NEX3N / D5200 solution
In reply to ohcello, Aug 28, 2013

ohcello wrote:

I'd like a decent video and travel cam as well as camera that can do action/sports, etc. I was considering the RX100 / D5200 combo, but it's a little too much. Then I see the 3N for $200 cheaper (if you find a deal) and if I can get the 3N for $350 (just missed the Adorama deal of $329 the other day), well I can also afford the D5200.

So yes, I give up the EVF, 60p video, and PDAF, but I have the D5200 for when I need great AF and I think I can live with the 30P video the 3n produces.

I still might just get the NEX6 and be done with it, but I'm seriously considering the 3N / D5200 instead....

As appealing as it sound with having 2 camera combo with D5200/NEX or RX100, I tried not to go down combo path for now, at least not with getting 2 new cameras. Too much to learn, and can be too costly with RX100. The closest combo I can have now is just D5200 or NEX6/cell phone/my existing point and shoot camera, if this count as combo

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120 to 35
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Re: The zooms are not dark hyenadog!
In reply to hyenadog, Aug 28, 2013

Let me help you Sony - dont stick up 2 fingers at the majority of NEX owners with a black paint job on the best selling SEL50 .. give us a cheap to design/make OIS/AF SEL85mmf2ish bright short tele prime (in black please) priced around the SEL 50 and be relevant to the majority of NEX owners

If you mean a SEL 2/85, then due to the much larger diaphragm the diameter would be over 60 mm (not very compact) and the price quite a bit higher than the SEL 1.8/50.  Perhaps a Sigma 2.8/85 at the next price level from their 2.8/60 is what we can expect for a reasonably-priced short telephoto.

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Caerolle
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Re: The zooms are not dark hyenadog!
In reply to 120 to 35, Aug 28, 2013

I wonder how many people know that f is focal length divided by aperture diameter?

 Caerolle's gear list:Caerolle's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro
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Har L
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to Puddleglum, Aug 28, 2013

Puddleglum wrote:

wb2trf wrote:

I don't shoot with the Nikon 5200, only the Nex. I have shot with older dslr/slrs.

You are not going to see a consistent difference in image quality between these. They are both too good. Spec differences in this case are far too tiny for real world.

The difference is camera size and perhaps autofocus speed, depending on your use and skill.

I shoot mostly young children, more indoors than out, but both. There are two factors in shooting young children that to my mind favor the Nex. First they change position a lot, not just movement along the axis of focus, which affects AF speed, but more turning and bobbing constantly. They are never still. For this I find it extremely useful to be able to move the camera and shoot at arms length, framing roughly, with the lcd to keep the lens pointed at the subject's face. For that, weight and bulk makes a big difference. Secondly kids react to you and to the camera, so viewfinder is not so good as it puts you behind a mask to them. I feel again smaller is better to keep your face in front of them and camera less of a big thing. Size also tends to catch up with some users. At first they say they don't care, then they later wish their camera were smaller, but not everyone feels that way. I've never heard someone say, "I've had this camera for two years and now that I've carried it around a lot, I wish it were bigger and heavier." So weigh these things.

As for autofocus speed, you might need a little longer to develop some skill with the Nex since it is a little slower, probably, but remember that all sports were shot with manual focus camera before AF existed. It's not as if there were no sports photos before 1988, or whenever. On the other hand the 5200 may be easier to master in that way with less skill required. For some people that should decide the question.

In summary the size is the thing. If you think you'll never care about the size, go with the Nikon but realize it may be a long term commitment. If you are in this for the long term you will probably collect lenses that last through several bodies. During that time the AF gap will probably go away and you may have a bunch of NIkon lenses that forever require the long space between the back of the lens and the sensor. That means your camera+lens for those cameras will always be larger. Many people are fine with that. Many people on the Nex site are refugees from that. I'm not a refugee, I just prefer the handling and social dynamics of small, particularly with children as subjects.

Some great points. As you said, the focus speeds of e-mount cameras is only going to improve, but the registration distance of Nikon DX lenses will never change.

For my part, I wanted a DSLR for a long time, but I knew I would loath taking anywhere, so I never pulled the trigger. I watched with interest when mirrorless cameras came on the scene, and finally bought an NEX last winter.

Are there times when I wish the AF speed were better? Yes. But the reality, for me, is that most of those times I wouldn't have taken a DSLR along anyways.

As for cost, yes, the NEX lenses are generally more expensive than equivalent APS-C lenses from Canon or Nikon. But! With the NEX you also have the option to experiment with legacy lenses. For less than $100 I got some old Minolta lenses, a 30mm f/2.8, 50mm/f1.4, and a 200mm f/3.5. These obviously increase the size of the camera, but they are also filling the gap for me while I save up for some e-mount lenses.

So for me, the *flexibility* of an NEX camera won out over DSLR AF performance.

Yes, I also like the NEX "flexibility" considering it can use legacy lenses. Also, it's AF performance may improve over time. I like having the option to go light/small with some compromise with NEX but still get better image quality than point and shoot alternative. Hopefully this e-mount remains popular and Sony is committed to support and improve it for a long time, this means supporting both NEX type body and the DSLR type body like the new DSLR like e-mount for those who like this style.

Even if I ended up with D5200, which I lean towards now because it appears to fit my current situation better, I will certainly pay attention closely to this mirrorless APS-C format like the NEX. If I get tired with the size/weight of DSLR or if I am looking for a second lighter option, NEX will definitely be a strong candidate.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: The zooms are not dark hyenadog!
In reply to paulcraig, Aug 28, 2013

paulcraig wrote:

I am a third generation NEX user, now happy with my NEX-6 and still long for the accurate focus of my old Nikon. The NEX is perfect-small, lightweight, small lenses, outstanding image quality-until you get to focusing. I've just accepted that I will have to manual focus sometimes with the NEX, and that is the price to pay for such a compact system.

I am into travel photography, and thus size and weight are paramount. I travel internationally for my job, and for fun every spring we try to take a cruise around the Mediterranean. What really gets to me is coming home from Italy or some other beautiful exotic place and finding many of my photos are out of focus, or focused on the wrong thing in the frame. Yes I could slow down and use DMF, yes I used the EVF, but all that is hard to do from a pitching boat in the canals of Venice, for example. With the cheapest Nikon DSLR I suspect I would have 99% keepers. The NEX-6 did better this year than my NEX-7 did last year, but next year it might just be a Nikon. I go back and forth whether to keep the NEX system or sell it all and get a Nikon. I really like Sony cameras and their features, and I had high hopes for the new a3000. I hope there will be a a5000 or a6000.

Paul...

I think you raise some valid points. I shoot with both an NEX-6 and a pair of D7000s for business. The NEX-6 does require some additional "focus" - but the past two weekends, I was shooting with the 55-210 and 16-50 from a pitching 38-foot sloop sailing in 20-25 knot winds and beam/following seas of 2-3 feet - and still got shot after shot:

Read the GPS for the speed - 6.7 knots over the bottom - hull (max) speed is 7.2 knots - and note the pitched angle.

It's all practice, no matter the system or lenses.

 Mel Snyder's gear list:Mel Snyder's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha 7 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 +13 more
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CosmoZooo
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Re: Choosing between Nikon D5200 or Sony NEX6
In reply to wb2trf, Aug 28, 2013

Very interesting to see this type of thinking on the NEX in a scenario where I would consider the D5200 to be a clear winner, video aside.

I've owned the NEX-6 for a while now and while I've never used a DSLR, but if I had to do this again I'd either rent or buy one and try it out.

I went back and forth on the NEX-6 finally keeping it (I've bought it twice, returning it the first time) but at the end of the day I should have tried a DSLR. I tried a Panny GX1 m43 and that made me want to sprint back to NEX but again I should have tried a DSLR too.

Shooting kids in low light is exactly where NEX shows it's weakest side - the focusing is just not fast enough. Yes, I make it work...I've found ways to rely on AF-C to take decent shots, but there are plenty of misses and those misses often would have been better shots then the ones that succeed. And if I hand a camera over to my wife in those situations - forget it. I remember trying to shoot this event at my house before I learned how to better utilize the camera, dim dining room lights - I relied on multi-focus and missed almost all of the shots

With NEX-6 it's not about how many good low-light moving kids shots you can keep - it's about how many you're going to have to throw away or simply miss due to slow focus and I've missed plenty.

Here's my advice TRY THEM BOTH! I strongly recommend you follow that advice even if you don't feel like it. There are plenty of retailers, Amazon being one, where you can return the product if you don't like it. Start with a DSLR.

From what I understand the D5200 has an awesome sensor, as good as NEX if not better but you do get more MP which will make larger prints better or give you more room for down sampling for cleaner results or cropping.

The NEX will likely do better in video - D5200 might hunt more and you will likely get lens noises in the audio recording. With NEX you just have a tiny bit of noise with a power zoom lens like 16-50 during zooming.

If video is important to you, as it was to me, I am really excited about the Canon Dual pixel AF - it is worth taking a peak at the Canon 70D although I think the tech will end up in the rest of the lineup soon. It is also the tech that has the potential to place the Canon at the top of the mirrorless market.

Good luck with your decision - try them both - trust me, it's the best thing you can do. AF speed in low light is the Achilles heel of the NEX-6 and the Hybrid AF doesn't help enough.

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