Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?

Started Sep 1, 2013 | Questions
justincarlson
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Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
Sep 1, 2013

I've got a Sony NEX-6 with the 16-50mm kit lens, and I've really been having difficulty getting good quality shots from it. I know the 1650 isn't the sharpest of lenses in the least, but my photos seem to be coming out with way more blur (I'm not sure if blur is the right word) than you should expect with an $800 camera. If I'm working with a lot of light I seem to be able to get o.k. shots.

I'm wondering if there is some sort of benchmark at standardized focal length/aperture/ISO that DPreview has to test if I have a bad lens copy or if there is even possibly something wrong with my camera's sensor. It seems more likely that it would be the lens. I've had the camera for about a month and a half, purchased from Amazon.

I've attached an image I shot today, perhaps it's not the best sample image because of the low light and high ISO, but it seems like the lower-lit areas are just not as clear as they should be. I can provide other samples as well if it's helpful.

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mtwo
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 1, 2013

Well, I am new to the Nex 6 also but I am not new to making photos.  I don't see a lot wrong with your photo.  It is a nice shot but I am not sure it is one to have on the wall at 16x24.  I don't know what you may have done to it by way of post processing but there are possibilities here. The shadows could be lifted some and a bit of clarity added if you use Adobe Camera Raw. Looks as if a bit of sharpening would not hurt either, not a lot.  Your shot seems adequately sharp and I assume your focus was on the water.

I have some Nex stuff which I am not very proud of either and until I get a better handle on this thing my stuff is likely to stay in the aw crap category for a while.  Some of it gives glimmers of hope though.  This was taken at ISO 400 with a 28-105 Nikkor  but I do not find the kit lens to be a bad one.

After all it is a small package.  You can get ultimate control with a DSLR.  I bought this as a sort of pocket camera.  Otherwise be prepared to lug some weight around.

I really don't think you have a problem the lens may not be stellar but it is plenty capable.

John

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justincarlson
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to mtwo, Sep 2, 2013

Thanks for the feedback. This photo hasn't been post-processed, just a JPEG straight from the camera.

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wfektar
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

justincarlson wrote:

I've attached an image I shot today, perhaps it's not the best sample image because of the low light and high ISO, but it seems like the lower-lit areas are just not as clear as they should be. I can provide other samples as well if it's helpful.

Think of it this way -- light is information. At 1/4000 sec exposure time you're getting very little data in the shadows -- there's practically nothing there to work with. At 37mm focal length you should be able to handhold that at 1/125th easily and you'd have 32 times more data in the shadows to work with.

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nevada5
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

justincarlson wrote:

I've got a Sony NEX-6 with the 16-50mm kit lens, and I've really been having difficulty getting good quality shots from it. I know the 1650 isn't the sharpest of lenses in the least, but my photos seem to be coming out with way more blur (I'm not sure if blur is the right word) than you should expect with an $800 camera. If I'm working with a lot of light I seem to be able to get o.k. shots.

I'm wondering if there is some sort of benchmark at standardized focal length/aperture/ISO that DPreview has to test if I have a bad lens copy or if there is even possibly something wrong with my camera's sensor. It seems more likely that it would be the lens. I've had the camera for about a month and a half, purchased from Amazon.

I've attached an image I shot today, perhaps it's not the best sample image because of the low light and high ISO, but it seems like the lower-lit areas are just not as clear as they should be. I can provide other samples as well if it's helpful.

Some people have posted some very nice images from the SELP1650. Others, like me, have not had positive experiences with the lens.  I've come to believe there are serious fluctuations between various copies. Mt experience was that I purchased two NEX-6/SELP1650 kits.  In both instances the lens performed very poorly and I sent back/sold the lens.

I decided to go with the SEL1855 for the times that I want a standard zoom.  The first one I bought was no better than the 1650's I had.  The second one is a very good copy - images taken with it are as sharp and contrasty as any kit zoom I've had.  Again I was taught first hand that with Sony's inexpensive lenses, quality control is lacking.

I would not be pleased with the image you posted either.  If you are within a return period, I might suggest putting the lens through some more testing, especially at lower ISO settings.  I don't shoot JPEG so I can't say that the camera isn't using some heavy-handed noise-reduction at ISO 3200.

If you can't get substantially better IQ from the lens, it's quite possible you have a poor copy and you might think about returning it.  You may or may not get a better one in an exchange.

Good luck.

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justincarlson
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

This is a bit off-topic but I just noticed that Sony bumped the price of the NEX-6 up by $100.

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PDavis
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to nevada5, Sep 2, 2013

From the EXIF info you have the camera set to ISO 3200, aperture f/5.6 and shutter speed of 1/4000 and the reason for the relatively poor IQ.

For shots like this you need lower ISO and a smaller aperture.  Shutter can vary depending on the water effect you want.  But definitely lower that ISO, and think about shooting raw for really pulling out the dynamic range.

I think the Nex 6 is a great camera and I'm surprisingly pleased with my 16-50.

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justincarlson
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to wfektar, Sep 2, 2013

That's a good point. I used that shutter speed so I wouldn't have blur with the waterfall. I didn't have an ND filter or I would have used a very slow shutter speed.

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justincarlson
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to nevada5, Sep 2, 2013

I'm about half a month out of the return period for Amazon, but I've emailed Sony to see if they have any sort of warranty for these lenses.

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justincarlson
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to PDavis, Sep 2, 2013

Here's a shot I took at a smaller aperture and ISO-100. Once again with this shot I was not happy with the sharpness, but maybe I'm being too critical.

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fishon
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

justincarlson wrote:

Here's a shot I took at a smaller aperture and ISO-100. Once again with this shot I was not happy with the sharpness, but maybe I'm being too critical.

I viewed your photo on my tablet as large as I could, it looked sharp to me.

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mtwo
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

I have no interest in flogging a dead horse. However I find the comment about short shutter speed and high ISO to be questionable.  My copy of the 16-50 is more than adequate.  If you need an excuse to buy lenses this is not one.  Are there better lenses, of course.  However you need to consider the flexibility the 16-50 provides.  From 24 to 75 in real terms is pretty good stuff.  Most of these kit lenses start at 18mm and that is not very wide but 16 equates to 24mm and that is a very nice wide starting point.  Primes are great but not suitable for every occasion.  Moreover, you can stick that whole thing, camera and lens, in a jacket pocket.  Great thing, that.  You might not take a APS-C DSLR with you but this little guy is a piece of cake to haul along and that kit lens provides a lot of flexibility.

The sensor is one of the better 16Mp ones out there.  Colors are very nice.

If you want another lens then go buy one but the one you have is pretty good.  Changes to your technique may pay greater dividends than another lens.  I don't wish to start an acrimonious match here but please don't be swayed by lens envy till you have taken a lot more photos.

Go out and have some fun.  Perfection is not always possible but decent images are within reach of most of us.

John

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wfektar
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

It's not bad but I agree, it's not critically sharp. But before you write the lens off as a bad copy (or a bad design) try it at around f/5.6 or f/8. Ideally on a tripod or at least well-braced. At f/13 you're well in diffraction territory (although it seems to me it's still a bit soft even so.) That's not to say f/13 is never a good idea, but it's a bad one for assessing lens sharpness.

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Marky boy
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

justincarlson wrote:

I've got a Sony NEX-6 with the 16-50mm kit lens, and I've really been having difficulty getting good quality shots from it. I know the 1650 isn't the sharpest of lenses in the least, but my photos seem to be coming out with way more blur (I'm not sure if blur is the right word) than you should expect with an $800 camera. If I'm working with a lot of light I seem to be able to get o.k. shots.

I'm wondering if there is some sort of benchmark at standardized focal length/aperture/ISO that DPreview has to test if I have a bad lens copy or if there is even possibly something wrong with my camera's sensor. It seems more likely that it would be the lens. I've had the camera for about a month and a half, purchased from Amazon.

I've attached an image I shot today, perhaps it's not the best sample image because of the low light and high ISO, but it seems like the lower-lit areas are just not as clear as they should be. I can provide other samples as well if it's helpful.

From experience with the NEX 6, I would suggest a couple of things.

Firstly if you intend in shooting jpeg only, you may find that the in camera noise reduction is set quite high, hence the sample posted looking soft in the details. Put it at its lowest setting as 3200iso is going to end up looking mushy otherwise. Equally you don't need a 1/4000 shutter speed to freeze the water if that was the intention. So reduce the ISO or bracket the ISO setting to give a range of slower shutter speeds at lower ISO to get the perfect balance between low ISO (less noise reduction on jpeg) and a shutter speed that gives the desired effect to the water.

How do your images look in normal light with ISO of say 200? Have you tried shooting RAW and jpeg together and comparing?

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D Cox
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to justincarlson, Sep 2, 2013

justincarlson wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. This photo hasn't been post-processed, just a JPEG straight from the camera.

I see heavy noise reduction and JPG compression artefacts in the darker areas. Almost like the Oil Paint filter in Photoshop.

At a setting of ISO 3200, there will be a lot of noise in the shadows, from any camera. Looks like the NEX has gone a bit overboard in trying to reduce it.

Try setting the JPG quality to Fine, and shooting RAW+JPG. Use ISO 800 rather than 3200.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to wfektar, Sep 2, 2013

wfektar wrote:

justincarlson wrote:

I've attached an image I shot today, perhaps it's not the best sample image because of the low light and high ISO, but it seems like the lower-lit areas are just not as clear as they should be. I can provide other samples as well if it's helpful.

Think of it this way -- light is information. At 1/4000 sec exposure time you're getting very little data in the shadows -- there's practically nothing there to work with. At 37mm focal length you should be able to handhold that at 1/125th easily and you'd have 32 times more data in the shadows to work with.

Brilliant response! You can see the noise reduction artifacts clearly in the grass just to the right of the top of the waterfall - what Henry ("blue skies") would call a failure of the "fur test."

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to nevada5, Sep 2, 2013

nevada5 wrote:

justincarlson wrote:

I've got a Sony NEX-6 with the 16-50mm kit lens, and I've really been having difficulty getting good quality shots from it. I know the 1650 isn't the sharpest of lenses in the least, but my photos seem to be coming out with way more blur (I'm not sure if blur is the right word) than you should expect with an $800 camera. If I'm working with a lot of light I seem to be able to get o.k. shots.

I'm wondering if there is some sort of benchmark at standardized focal length/aperture/ISO that DPreview has to test if I have a bad lens copy or if there is even possibly something wrong with my camera's sensor. It seems more likely that it would be the lens. I've had the camera for about a month and a half, purchased from Amazon.

I've attached an image I shot today, perhaps it's not the best sample image because of the low light and high ISO, but it seems like the lower-lit areas are just not as clear as they should be. I can provide other samples as well if it's helpful.

Some people have posted some very nice images from the SELP1650. Others, like me, have not had positive experiences with the lens. I've come to believe there are serious fluctuations between various copies. Mt experience was that I purchased two NEX-6/SELP1650 kits. In both instances the lens performed very poorly and I sent back/sold the lens.

I decided to go with the SEL1855 for the times that I want a standard zoom. The first one I bought was no better than the 1650's I had. The second one is a very good copy - images taken with it are as sharp and contrasty as any kit zoom I've had. Again I was taught first hand that with Sony's inexpensive lenses, quality control is lacking.

I would not be pleased with the image you posted either. If you are within a return period, I might suggest putting the lens through some more testing, especially at lower ISO settings. I don't shoot JPEG so I can't say that the camera isn't using some heavy-handed noise-reduction at ISO 3200.

If you can't get substantially better IQ from the lens, it's quite possible you have a poor copy and you might think about returning it. You may or may not get a better one in an exchange.

Good luck.

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Life is short - drive a convertible.
Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society. Aristotle

There's nothing wrong with his lens, and possibly, nothing was really wrong with yours. In his case, as an earlier poster pointed out, he shot at too high an ISO and the in-camera noise reduction killed the image.

This poster actually showed an image that he thought demonstrated a lens issue, and we were able to analyze it and save him a snipe hunt for a better copy.

What too many people fail to realize is that modern lenses are designed by computers and matched to in-camera software. They aren't turned out like souffles, where one made with the same recipe can be different from the ones made before and after. I know it's comforting to many to believe that myth, but like so much on this forum, it's pretty easy to slay some beautiful hypotheses with an ugly fact, if we're just shown the images.

Which few posters who complain about a "bad copy" rarely do.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to mtwo, Sep 2, 2013

mtwo wrote:

I have no interest in flogging a dead horse. However I find the comment about short shutter speed and high ISO to be questionable. My copy of the 16-50 is more than adequate. If you need an excuse to buy lenses this is not one. Are there better lenses, of course. However you need to consider the flexibility the 16-50 provides. From 24 to 75 in real terms is pretty good stuff. Most of these kit lenses start at 18mm and that is not very wide but 16 equates to 24mm and that is a very nice wide starting point. Primes are great but not suitable for every occasion. Moreover, you can stick that whole thing, camera and lens, in a jacket pocket. Great thing, that. You might not take a APS-C DSLR with you but this little guy is a piece of cake to haul along and that kit lens provides a lot of flexibility.

The sensor is one of the better 16Mp ones out there. Colors are very nice.

If you want another lens then go buy one but the one you have is pretty good. Changes to your technique may pay greater dividends than another lens. I don't wish to start an acrimonious match here but please don't be swayed by lens envy till you have taken a lot more photos.

Go out and have some fun. Perfection is not always possible but decent images are within reach of most of us.

John

John, that's my thumbs up for your post! However, I do see characteristic noise suppression artifacts in the grass just to the right of the top of the waterfall. It's why I rarely go above ISO 800 unless forced to, or over ISO 200 if I have a shot in hell of handholding for the subject.

Maybe if people would stop pixel-peeping waterfalls and flowers, and just go out and shoot the most wondrous of God's creations, their families and fellow man, we'd have more happy photographers and memories.

I don't know if the EXIF will pass the DPREVIEW filter, but this was shot on May 28, 2001 with my Olympus C2100 - a pioneering camera with a 2.1mp sensor. It looks great as an 11x14 on my wall.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to mtwo, Sep 2, 2013

mtwo wrote:

Well, I am new to the Nex 6 also but I am not new to making photos. I don't see a lot wrong with your photo. It is a nice shot but I am not sure it is one to have on the wall at 16x24. I don't know what you may have done to it by way of post processing but there are possibilities here. The shadows could be lifted some and a bit of clarity added if you use Adobe Camera Raw. Looks as if a bit of sharpening would not hurt either, not a lot. Your shot seems adequately sharp and I assume your focus was on the water.

I have some Nex stuff which I am not very proud of either and until I get a better handle on this thing my stuff is likely to stay in the aw crap category for a while. Some of it gives glimmers of hope though. This was taken at ISO 400 with a 28-105 Nikkor but I do not find the kit lens to be a bad one.

After all it is a small package. You can get ultimate control with a DSLR. I bought this as a sort of pocket camera. Otherwise be prepared to lug some weight around.

I really don't think you have a problem the lens may not be stellar but it is plenty capable.

John

Great comment, great image. You're way beyond "aw crap."

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Sony NEX-6 Benchmark Test?
In reply to wfektar, Sep 2, 2013

wfektar wrote:

It's not bad but I agree, it's not critically sharp. But before you write the lens off as a bad copy (or a bad design) try it at around f/5.6 or f/8. Ideally on a tripod or at least well-braced. At f/13 you're well in diffraction territory (although it seems to me it's still a bit soft even so.) That's not to say f/13 is never a good idea, but it's a bad one for assessing lens sharpness.

I agree. I think he also needs to check his camera settings.

Also, shooting long range in diffraction territory over water is a BAD way to judge a lens. Even on a cloudless day, the water vapor acts to kill sharpness unless the wind is really strong, which this image suggests it isn't.

The best way to test a lens in on a good day with good lighting and subject about 15-50 feet away, with the lens set just a few stops past wide open. Here's a lens-test example under better conditions than his tests - deliberately composed to reveal any evidence of the edge distortion, unsharpness, vignetting and CA claimed by detractors of this lens:

This OOC jpeg sort of slays the lousy-lens arguments for me.

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