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Just posted: Sony Alpha NEX-6 Review

By dpreview staff on Mar 26, 2013 at 18:58 GMT
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We've just posted our review of Sony's NEX-6 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The NEX-6 brings a much-requested mode dial and ISO standard hot shoe to Sony's mirrorless lineup, and also adds a Hybrid AF system, Wi-Fi, and downloadable 'apps'.  The NEX-6 also features a 16MP CMOS sensor, articulating LCD, XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, and fun point-and-shoot features like Sweep Panorama and various automatic modes. Is the NEX-6 the most rounded NEX yet? Read our full review to find out. 

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Sony Alpha NEX-6

Comments

Total comments: 330
12
Onur Otlu
By Onur Otlu (Mar 26, 2013)

Thanks for the detailed review. I had my eyes on the NEX cameras for a long time, with their small size and low weight, and the NEX-6 looked like the perfect blend of features and convenience so I purchased one. It's much better than my aging 5D Classic to carry all day, and fits well inside a LowePro Event Messenger 100 with a Nexus 7 or iPad mini. I take the bag out with me almost everyday - compared to 2-3 times a month with the 5D.

The review reflects my experience with using the camera:
- The menus are very long and confusing, but I don't have to visit them now after setting up to my taste.
- It should have had a touchscreen.
- AutoISO should have gone up to 6400.
- The eyecup is too deep for use with glasses.
- Having to press "down" for Exposure Compensation is quite unnecessary.
- It definitely needs automatic LCD brightness.
- Startup time is poor with the power zoom.
- The power zoom has extreme distortion and vignetting at 16 mm. Badly needs software correction.

2 upvotes
Onur Otlu
By Onur Otlu (Mar 26, 2013)

Continuing:

- Battery life is positively surprising, easily gets me through the day.
- Autofocus speed is better than I expected.
- Lightroom 4 does a very good job at Lens Corrections. Tried the demo and switched from Aperture.
- I wish WiFi transfers could be more convenient - having to manually connect to the camera hotspot each time is annoying - but I'm not sure how it could be done.
- On-camera RAW conversion would have been useful.
- ISO performance is quite acceptable. High-ISO noise is dominated by luminance - instead of chroma - noise, which is easier to fix and arguably looks better.
- I wish the SD card had a separate slot on the side of the camera.

Overall, I'm very happy with the camera. Very easy to carry, a pleasure to use, impressive photo quality.

The review also has a very positive tone, so I was expecting a Gold award. I was surprised to see Silver, and would be a bit happier/more satisfied with Gold - but then, I know it wouldn't magically improve my camera. ;)

2 upvotes
byhyew
By byhyew (Mar 26, 2013)

Pretty much agree with the above, though I'll leave my 2 cents.
- JPG engine should be better. Skin tones tend to have a slight purple cast in the shadows outside and a yellowish green cast in the shadows indoors, while landscape shots have too much green and orange.

- PLEASE fix the stupid mechanism of having to press "down" for Exposure Compensation, or at least assign it elsewhere. Because it's simply too painful a place to reach with the thumb when using the EVF!

Though in my use,
- I find the startup time a non-issue in real life, since it usually takes me about 1 second or 2 to turn on the camera and place it infront of my eye. By then, the Power Zoom is already exteneded and ready to go.
- Glass wearers can simply remove the eyecup. It also makes a more compact package.

Yeah this camera definitely deserves a Gold Award, it's certainly better than the NEX-5n that did get a Gold. But I guess DPReview is waiting to give the Gold Award to the upcoming NEX-7n.

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Krislord
By Krislord (Mar 26, 2013)

@byhyew what do you have the lower soft button set as? pretty sure it can be exposure comp if you want it to.

0 upvotes
Hannu108
By Hannu108 (Mar 26, 2013)

Great and detailed review!

3 upvotes
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (Mar 26, 2013)

I was trying to say, the king of APS-C is Nex-5N,,,clearly better than nex-6 in jpeg, and surprisingly in Raws...

2 upvotes
austin design
By austin design (Mar 26, 2013)

Clearly better?! -- you need to learn how to use the comparison tool, and evaluate multiple points. Consider the spool of silver thread, or the circled C/Y/M letters in Kodak's Gray Scale...these and other points "clearly" favor the NEX-6 over the NEX-5N.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (Mar 26, 2013)

How can the 5N be clearly better when it uses the same sensor? I suspect you are a 5N owner trying to convince yourself your camera is better.

1 upvote
Paul_B Midlands UK
By Paul_B Midlands UK (Mar 26, 2013)

I to LOVE my NEX5N - even with the slightly painful menus and especially with the viewfinder option. The one thing the 6 has I would love to have had is they viewfinder and little flash all in. I was thinking of going for a 7, but after I left an orange in the same pocket as my 5N I killed the screen with OJ and now its worthless to sell / trade in! Mortified!!!

0 upvotes
Tahir Hashmi
By Tahir Hashmi (Mar 26, 2013)

I was trying to compare the build quality score for this camera against others, and it seems like the widget is not showing the difference against other cameras.

The build quality rating of this camera is shown as 10/15, which is even less than that of NEX-3 (11/15) and PEN EPM-1 (11/15). I'm wondering if it's a bug in the score widget.

Can someone qualitatively compare the build quality against cameras like Fujifilm XE-1, NEX-5, etc.?

1 upvote
Onur Otlu
By Onur Otlu (Mar 26, 2013)

Hello,

I do not own the XE-1 or NEX-5, but spent some time using the latter. The NEX-6 feels just as good, in fact a bit better, than the 5 did. The body is plastic but very solid, free of flexes or creaks, and the texture on the plastic - similar to Nikon mid-level dSLR's - augments the sense of quaility. Parts join cleanly and without gaps. The USB and HDMI port cover on the left is rigid and spring-loaded, gives a much higher sense of quality than rubber "flaps".
I would give the camera something like 12/15, but I'm not a professional reviewer..

0 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (Mar 26, 2013)

"Build quality" is a bit overrated. I've NEVER had a camera fail because of less than top build quality.

5 upvotes
Achirra
By Achirra (Mar 26, 2013)

In some places (e.g., noise and noise reduction on page 18), comparison is made to the Fuji E-X1, but the E-X1 is not included in the comparison. Is this an error or am I missing something?

0 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (Mar 26, 2013)

You're missing something. It is listed there clear as a bell!!!

0 upvotes
Achirra
By Achirra (Mar 26, 2013)

Page 18: "The NEX-6's noise levels are essentially identical to those of the NEX-5N, which uses a similar 16MP CMOS sensor. At higher sensitivities this sensor easily out-classes the Micro Four Thirds-based Panasonic GX1, though the Fujifilm E-X1 has the most detail and least noise out of the four cameras shown above."

The four cameras shown above, however, are the NEX-6, Samsung NX200, Olympus OM-D E-M5 and NEX 5N. No Fuji. Two different computers, two different locations, same result.

Yes, I can use the drop down menu and select the Fuji, but it seems odd that I have to.

0 upvotes
J Parker
By J Parker (Mar 26, 2013)

Thanks for another great review. I don't mind waiting for the reviews from this site -- it's worth the wait, as very few sites do it better. I learn more about a camera from the reviews here than I do from the camera manual.

1 upvote
ageha
By ageha (Mar 26, 2013)

The review comes a bit too late...

12 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 26, 2013)

We did publish a full set of studio data on this lens quite some time ago (we added it to the preview - you may not have seen it). We recently expanded our editorial team, so we're hoping to get more cameras reviewed, more quickly as we move further into 2013.

21 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 26, 2013)

Too late for what? Is it a race? Also does your comment account for any delay from the manufacturer to give DPR a review unit?

I bet not.

5 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Mar 26, 2013)

It would only be too late if the camera was discontinued, which it clearly is not.

0 upvotes
psn
By psn (Mar 26, 2013)

I would really love to see Sigma SD1 studio samples to compare with all these other cameras. Would have bought an SD1 if Sigma wasn't so stupid and greedy. Anyway, I still think the image quality of that sensor is the one to beat. Not Fuji, Olympus, Sony, or those other guys.

Damn it, Sigma, why do you have to suck! There are many more dumb@ss photographers like me out there. You can make money, just don't try to cheat us.

For now, I might get another NEX.

0 upvotes
Dianoda
By Dianoda (Mar 26, 2013)

You can compare them from this page:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sigmasd1/19

Dpreview really needs to fix this bug.

Edit - the SD1's pixel level sharpness is really something to behold.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
kemal erdogan
By kemal erdogan (Mar 26, 2013)

wow!, at base iso SD1 outresolves even D800

0 upvotes
mbrobich
By mbrobich (Mar 26, 2013)

Price on body only ???

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Mar 26, 2013)

"Best image quality obtained from RAW images (due to fairly strong noise reduction)" One deal breaker...

2 upvotes
psn
By psn (Mar 26, 2013)

C'mon, just say you don't like Sony or pretty much anything that isn't Canon. Here's an advice from a fellow Minnesotan: Open your mind, the world is bigger and more colorful than you think.

7 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (Mar 26, 2013)

Agreed. The biggest problem with DPR is the noise made by Fanboys of all brands, Sony included. I don't post here much any more because of both the Fan Boys and the knee jerk negative anti fan boys. It makes clear headed honest discussion difficult. Another problem is the number of high iso pixel peepers who think 100% viewing of high iso shots is all that matters in photography.

2 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Mar 26, 2013)

I am open minded enough that, in the past, I considered buying an NEX. Reviewers seem to agree that they have a poorly designed menu system, and past models didn't have Automatic Exposure Bracketing. (I don't know if this one does.) Some reviews say that some models have extremely aggressive noise reduction, and some reviews say that they have mediocre lenses. The kit lens of the 6 is said by some to be particularly bad. In addition, I am not an uncritical Canon fanboy. I would not buy a Canon EOS M or a Canon G1 X.

1 upvote
cinemascope
By cinemascope (Mar 26, 2013)

I like the quality of your work, but seriously, isnt it all too late?
It's like a movie review 6 months too late...
Or popcorn from the day before...

18 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Mar 26, 2013)

This camera badly wants touchscreen.

12 upvotes
iceccream
By iceccream (Mar 26, 2013)

the review is spot on about the control dial issues. needing to push 'down' is a big pain.

i've left a message on the sony support forums, and they are suggesting it might be a hardware limitation, and not fixable via firmware. seems crazy.

1 upvote
Underdog 3000
By Underdog 3000 (Mar 26, 2013)

I thought about buying this a long time ago (late November '12). The reviews from other web sites (again - months ago) said similar statments regarding just about everything. This website is superslow but mostly accurate and more detailed than the rest but come on guys, act like you care. Many of us goof balls love this "stuff" the next NEX6n? is 1/2 way through the desighn phase and you just now get out a review of a camera that has been on sale for close to 6 months.
Did Sony request you to knowing they put out a 1/2 ass consumer product?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 26, 2013)

"This website is superslow but mostly accurate and more detailed than the rest"

'superslow' is overstating it a bit, I think, but you basically just answered your own (implied) question.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 26, 2013)

And FYI, we did add something like 6 (maybe 7..?) pages of studio test data and analysis to our pre-review content on the NEX-6 some time ago so you could have checked the site and seen that it was not a "1/2 ass consumer product" [sic] well before now.

3 upvotes
Underdog 3000
By Underdog 3000 (Mar 26, 2013)

When there is such a long pause between the studio shots and the final verdict many of us think you found a glich and are waiting for a promised firmware update.
The GH3 is another example of this.
I clearly ruffled your feathers Barney in regards to "superslow". Let us look at the facts shall we? This camera was anounced before Photokina and IR posted a review on 9/12.
Photography blog posted a review on 12/19/12.
DPR posted on 3/26/13. If not "superslow" than let me know what decription would you prefer and I will surely use that from now on.

Normally I would not compare you to other web sites but I was not crazy about your response.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 27, 2013)

"mostly accurate and more detailed than the rest"

This takes time. That was my point. And our 10+ page preview contained more test data than most of the 'full reviews' on the web at the time.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 26, 2013)

Why couldn't the good video quality filter down to the NEX-3N? I'm still seeing spots from the moire/aliasing in the AVCHD 1080p24 / 24 mbps files I took earlier.

My very first NEX camera without the typically high-quality Sony video, which is puzzling since one of the main selling points of the 16-50 PZ is video.

Should have just purchased an RX100 as I know it has excellent video.

0 upvotes
Kirk Tuck
By Kirk Tuck (Mar 26, 2013)

So, the handling is great, the images are great, the video is great, the feature set is great, it leads its category....but it only earns a "silver"? Wow. Must have been a big party weekend to get that screwed up.

2 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Mar 26, 2013)

I understand the "Silver Award" as a "It's a great camera, but 'only' because it does the basics right. There's no true innovation". And, in fact, there isn't.

2 upvotes
Terry Cioni
By Terry Cioni (Mar 26, 2013)

Did you just make that up or is it written somewhere on dpreview related to the gold/silver review awards.

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Mar 26, 2013)

Omitting touch screen was a blunder. With the touch screen, it would have made the Gold.

4 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 26, 2013)

The menu sucks, it takes 3-6 seconds just to turn on most of the time, it has handling issues, and competitors have features and AF better and faster.

So yeah, it gets a silver Kirk. Not hard to understand. Just because everything Sony makes you think is gold and worth worship, doesn't mean DPR think like you.

I agree with DPR.

C

1 upvote
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Mar 26, 2013)

"The menu sucks, it takes 3-6 seconds just to turn on most of the time"

Please elaborate on what takes 3-6 seconds. I'm not seeing this.

A while ago you also claimed a 5sec delay before being able to take a picture after switching on the camera. That has been debunked by DPR in this review. You are the master (or not) of smoke and mirrors, but you very rarely backup your claims, for obvious reasons.

1 upvote
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 27, 2013)

I already did elaborate.

And nothing debunks the fact that I have to wait 3-6 seconds to get full information to show on the LCD screen in order to properly expose a photograph.

Might want to use one sometime, I doubt I have a lemon. Maybe Jeff can chime in here on this subject.

C

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 27, 2013)

Anyone try turning an NEX 6 off, then back on, and let me know how many seconds it takes to fire a photograph.

And way to pick out one thing out of the comment I made to argue about, and ignore the fact that DPR pointed out some very irritating issues with the NEX6 that others, like myself as well, have also complained about.

No the camera isn't ever frustrating to use, you and Kirk are right- silly us for calling it like it is.

C

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Mar 27, 2013)

You didn't elaborate, Carl. And your timings are way off.

"Might want to use one sometime" - I do.

"No the camera isn't ever frustrating to use, you and Kirk are right- silly us for calling it like it is." - Are you mental? Because I asked you to backup one of your claims, that must mean I think the camera is flawless. Get some help.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 27, 2013)

In order to back up what I say I'd need to sit down and provide you a video showing exactly what I'm talking about. Considering your attitude here, I'm not motivated to do so. That would take too much of my time. I did however pull out the NEX6 and repeat the process I used before and indeed, it does EXACTLY as I claim. No need to go any further because I know others have the exact same issue in those circumstances, and will until Sony does a FW update to address that issue.

And I did elaborate. You asked me what takes 3-6 seconds and this was my original statement: " it takes 3-6 seconds just to turn on most of the time,". Nuff said.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Mar 27, 2013)

"I'm Carl Garrard. I make unsubstantiated claims. I don't back them up, because I don't need to, I'm Carl Garrard."

Stick to making up false rumours. That fits your character better.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 27, 2013)

So because you personally say I should prove it and I don't that means the above is true? Tell me, do you live by the same standards you bestow on others? So if a person descides you should prove any of your claims you are willing to take the time, no matter how much time it takes, to yeild to their request?

If so, thats amazing. I don't have the time to do your bidding.

Just do a search on the net, you'll see plenty of others discussing the slow laggy turn on time.

0 upvotes
Fuzzyfelt
By Fuzzyfelt (Mar 27, 2013)

I have to agree with Kirk here. I've just timed the start up and found the following: Cold start (after charging) 4-5 secs to display screen, warm stat (after >10 secs off): 2-3 secs, restart: 7-8 secs. Apart from the restart time, I find the start times acceptable and no slower than my 5D MK II. The restart time is noticeably laggy but it's a corner use-case and not worthy of critique.

I also agree that the silver rating is also odd. Suddenly we're picking fault with a 700 quid enthusiast camera for not having touchscreens, free apps or complaining the JPEGs are poor. I'd like to know who spends £700 on a camera who would be put off by those shortcomings. The Canon G15 doesn't seem to come close in terms of features (I wish it had so I could've stayed in the Canon family) yet it gains a gold award.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 28, 2013)

Your timings are very similar to mine, hence my 3-6 seconds comment.

I'll add that the neck strap lug digs into the right hand, the control dial under the mode dial is seriously under used, almost crippled, and the Jpeg engine is mushy with nasty sharpening artifacts at higher ISO's. Raws are very nice up to 12,800 ISO.

It's got the form, but I don't like the menu or other items I've mentioned. It's a silver award camera until Sony cleans it up more. Put in the Alpha DSLR style menu system, flush strap lugs, nearly instant on and off, and this would be one tight and fun camera to use.

C

0 upvotes
io_bg
By io_bg (Mar 26, 2013)

Sony seem to be on the right direction.
On a personal tone: I'd love them to make a bigger body with a better hand grip. Coming from a mid-sized DSLR all these NEXes feel just too small.

0 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Mar 26, 2013)

I don't know if you've handled the Nex6 already but I've found it surprisingly comfortable to hold and shoot with.

MUCH better than the Nex3, for exemple.

And this is coming from someone who never liked Canon Rebel series for being too small.

3 upvotes
forsakenbliss
By forsakenbliss (Mar 26, 2013)

when it is small, you can add grips, brackets to make it big to fit your hand.

if it is too big, you cannot make it smaller to fit your hand.

so smaller is better.

2 upvotes
psn
By psn (Mar 26, 2013)

It's one of those things where you can't please everyone... Small hands, big hands, short stubby fingers, long skinny ones. It comes down just getting used to it.

I use Minoltas, Sonys, and Canons. While I prefer the Sony/Minolta grips, I don't really have a problem with the Canons either. But then again, I don't own the little Canons. I do have the original NEX-5 and I don't have a problem with it either.

1 upvote
flipmac
By flipmac (Mar 26, 2013)

Sony still makes mid-size DSLRs.

1 upvote
Burbclaver
By Burbclaver (Mar 26, 2013)

We will soon see an FF Nex.

3 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Mar 26, 2013)

Not until 2014, and it will be even more expensive than A99 and RX1 (at least $3000!), if the rumors are true.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Mar 26, 2013)

Nothing to wait for. Expensive camera that looses it's major advantage - portability. And has no lenses to go with (actually: some speculate it might even not have an E-mount at all but rather an adapter of sorts to use E-mount glass in APS-C mode)

It's kinda like with GH3 - nice idea, but in the end - idiotic execution, cause if you can have a camera of that size- you'd end up better with the real thing: DSLR.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Mar 26, 2013)

Sony has caught the Canon and Nikon virus...

Relentless Upgrade Camera Model Syndrome.

.

2 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Mar 26, 2013)

If they hadn't you'd still be using a Mavica...

17 upvotes
jdu_sg
By jdu_sg (Mar 26, 2013)

That floppy storage device was genius

4 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 26, 2013)

Wow, how terrible to relentlessly try to improve and upgrade a product. I'd rather have that than have to wait a few years between model upgrades.

By all accounts, the NEX 6 really would benefit from a touchscreen. That's one upgrade that I'm sure many people would gladly see on an upgraded NEX 6. I'm sure that at the time of the NEX 6's development, a touchscreen didn't seem like a high priority. These days, touchscreens are everywhere, and people are increasingly coming to see their advantages on cameras.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
flipmac
By flipmac (Mar 26, 2013)

This camera isn't an evidence of that. The NEX-6 occupies a space that hasn't been filled by Sony before. It is between the EVF-less, cheaper NEX5R and the more expensive, tri-navi, 24MP NEX7. It is nothing like the T5i in that sense.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Abaregi
By Abaregi (Mar 26, 2013)

I want to complain because i can't use my brain properly, is it here i do that?
Ok here it goes: I don't like how it wasn't canikon that made it. Fine?

0 upvotes
privater
By privater (Mar 26, 2013)

I was on the edge to sell my NEX-6 for NEX-7n and saw this, NEX-6 is great, but I prefer NEX-7/n's Tri-nav control style.

2 upvotes
RobertSigmund
By RobertSigmund (Mar 26, 2013)

NEX 6 is good, NEX 7n will be even better.

1 upvote
mjdundee
By mjdundee (Mar 26, 2013)

And what comes next to NEX 3/n, 5/n, 6, 7/7n...xyz?
Canon Rebel SL1.
How many trials will Sony still need to build a own proper housing and sense making software for its great sensors?

0 upvotes
Abaregi
By Abaregi (Mar 26, 2013)

So you don't want them to make any more NEX?
Yeah that sounds like expert advice as usual here on dpreview.

Everyone should stop improving stuff!

0 upvotes
mjdundee
By mjdundee (Mar 26, 2013)

Hi - yyou are wrong. I appreciate the former leadership of Sony in inventing great devices like TVs, Walkman etc but they never suceeded to launch really serious alternatives to Nikon/Canon SLR or SLR like cameras. The NEX format is fascinating but the engineers at Sony and the marketing 'experts' there treat it like a toy. Who cares for all the menues and gimmics involved in the late models. After all it is a camera. If they want to grap marketshares from the DSLR leaders they should start making the NEX more functional and logical instead of testing more gimmicks on one model, reducing them on the next and at the same time introducing similar models with new and more gimmicks.

And yes - I like the professional input and reviews here on dpreview, although I am neither a computer expert nor a everyone. I simply love taking photographs (for 35 years now)and enjoy trying to find out which is the best tool for doing that.

0 upvotes
dieseltojo
By dieseltojo (Mar 27, 2013)

Great review as usual dpreview. This Aussie appreciates the good work

1 upvote
Total comments: 330
12