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Conclusion - Pros

  • Very good image quality and high ISO performance
  • High resolution OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Articulating 920k dot LCD display
  • Built-in Wi-Fi allows for photo sharing to smartphones, computers, Facebook, and more; camera can be remotely controlled via smartphone app
  • PlayMemories App Store lets you add additional features to your camera
  • Finally a 'real' hot shoe and mode dial
  • Snappy focusing and shot-to-shot speeds
  • Hybrid AF system tracks subjects better than just contrast detection alone (at least in good light)
  • Lots of useful features, such as Auto HDR, focus peaking, Sweep Panorama, and Hand-held Twilight / Anti Motion Blur
  • Full HD video recording at 1080/60p with full exposure control (even while filming) and continuous AF
  • Fast continuous shooting performance, with ability to focus between each shot
  • Customizable function menu and soft buttons
  • Above average battery life
  • USB charging can be convenient

Conclusion - Cons

  • Best image quality obtained from RAW images (due to fairly strong noise reduction)
  • Many controls still accessed through clunky menu-driven interface
  • Movie recording button has gone from too-accessible (NEX-7) to inaccessible
  • Some apps (such as Multi-Frame NR and Time-Lapse) are free on previous Sony cameras or competitors; no e-mail app included
  • Apps take several seconds to load and can be laggy
  • In-camera raw conversion would add flexibility
  • Playback confusingly separated into stills, MP4 and AVCHD sections
  • 16:9 aspect ratio on LCD leaves margin when composing stills
  • Touchscreen LCD would've made camera easier to use, especially when typing on virtual keyboard
  • USB charging is slow and makes it awkward to use a spare battery
  • No 3.5mm external mic input (only proprietary Sony hot shoe mics are supported)

Overall conclusion

While it doesn't break a lot of new ground, the Sony Alpha NEX-6 provides two features that E-mount enthusiasts have been asking for: a physical mode dial, and an ISO standard hot shoe. Add the beautiful OLED electronic viewfinder from the NEX-7 and new Hybrid AF and Wi-Fi features from the NEX-5R to Sony's already impressive offerings, and you've got a pretty compelling product.

The NEX-6 offers solid build quality and generally easy handling. The camera has a good-sized grip for your right hand, with most of the controls in easy reach of your fingers. The one exception is the movie record button: starting and stopping recording has gone from too easy on the NEX-7 to too difficult on the NEX-6. While the 920k dot articulating LCD is pretty standard these days, the 2.4 million dot EVF is not, and it's among the best you'll find. However, the aspect ratios of the LCD and EVF - 16:9 and 4:3, respectively - mean that you'll always have margins surrounding the photo you're composing (this is especially noticeable on the LCD). The camera is very responsive, save for slightly sluggish startup times with the 16-50mm power zoom kit lens, and battery life is well above average. Despite the new mode dial, the NEX-6 remains largely menu-driven, and said menus can be very frustrating to navigate.

Feature-wise, the NEX-6 has all of the bells and whistles found on other Sony cameras -- such as Auto HDR, Hand-held Twilight, and Sweep Panorama -- plus a competent set of manual controls and customizable options. The NEX's new Hybrid AF system did a better job at tracking moving subjects in good light than on the NEX-3N (which is contrast detect only), though it doesn't improve overall autofocus speeds. The camera can shoot at 3 or 10 fps with continuous autofocus, which is something that most competitors can't match. Movie enthusiasts will be impressed with the camera's 1080/60p quality setting and the ability to adjust exposure, ISO, and focus while recording. They may, however, bemoan the lack of an external mic input.

Another big feature on the NEX-6 is its built-in Wi-Fi system, which is accompanied by a new PlayMemories App Store. Wi-Fi can be used to transmit photos to your smartphone, computer, or Facebook, and your phone can also be used to control the camera remotely. There are currently eight apps in Sony's store, ranging in price from free to $9.99. Many of the apps are for retouching images (though not RAW files), while others add features like time-lapse and Multi-Frame noise reduction that arguably could have been included in the first place. One rather glaring omission in the app store is something to e-mail your photos.

A few other issues are worth a mention. Sony has apparently decided that you can have an EVF or a touchscreen LCD, but not both. We think that the NEX-6 would be easier to use with a touchscreen display, and you'll probably agree when you're trying to type using the on-screen keyboard. Like the other NEX family members, the NEX-6 does not let you view stills and movies sequentially, for no real reason. Finally, some users may be frustrated by the in-camera battery charging, which is quite slow, and makes keeping a spare battery handy a bit difficult.

Image Quality

Like the other NEX models that share versions of its 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor, the NEX-6 produces very good quality images. Exposure is accurate, with the D-Range Optimizer providing just the right amount of contrast. Colors are vibrant and will be pleasing to the NEX-6's target audience. Photos don't display a lot of 'grainy' luminance noise, though that's at the expense of fine detail, such as hair or grass (even at low ISOs). For best results, you'll want to shoot RAW, which not only brings back some of that detail, but it also gives you access to shadows and highlights that were otherwise lost. The NEX-6 automatically reduces various lens issues, such as chromatic aberrations, distortion, and vignetting.

As far as its key systems are concerned, the NEX-6 chose the proper exposure in nearly all of our real-world samples, so we didn't need to reach for exposure compensation or bracketing mode very often. The camera's Auto DRO system, which is on by default, does an impressive job of brightening shadows and producing a nice, balanced image. If you want to bring back highlight detail, you can do so using the NEX's easy-to-use HDR function, or shoot RAW.

The Final Word

The NEX-6 is an very competent and fun-to-use mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It performs as well or better than other mirrorless cameras on the market, and offers some unique features that are genuinely useful. With the addition of Wi-Fi, the NEX's feature set is arguably the best in its class. The new mode dial and hot shoe have made it a bit more 'traditional' than its predecessors, though the clunky, menu-driven interface remains largely untouched. If you're comfortable with how the NEX-6 operates, then you won't be disappointed by its performance, photo and video quality, or features. The NEX-6 earns a very solid silver award and only just misses out on a gold. While some of our complaints could be resolved with a firmware update (such as app speed or movie/still separation in playback mode), others, such as the lack of direct controls and location of the movie mode button, will have to wait for the revision of the NEX-6.

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Sony Alpha NEX-6
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Good for
Enthusiasts who want great photo and video quality, fun-to-use features, and more traditional controls than other NEX models.
Not so good for
Not much - we'd like to see touchscreen interface though, and some people will resent paying for some of the 'apps'.
Overall score
78%
The NEX-6 offers a highly attractive combination of excellent image quality, enthusiast-friendly ergonomics (including a mode dial--a first for the NEX-series), a 'real' hot shoe, an OLED electronic viewfinder, and useful features like Sweep Panorama and Auto HDR. That said, the NEX's user interface isn't for everyone. Having to download (and sometimes pay for) apps can be frustrating, and for best results you'll need to shoot raw.

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Comments

Total comments: 30
Galbertson
By Galbertson (5 months ago)

Maybe an old subject...has anyome fhotshoe adapter to allow 3.5...or 2.5 mic jack other than sonys on
Y external microphone?

0 upvotes
RichMack55
By RichMack55 (5 months ago)

Which camera would compete well with the nex 6..?
Any opinions greatly appreciated.

I originally wanted to invest in a canon 700 d ( just missed out on a greal deal on the 600d ) but the fact tthat the viewfinder is optical swayed me.

Is there an all round dslr for amatuers coming from a bridge version with the following...
EVF.
Decent lens ( perhaps a Compact system type ) mid range 18-55mm or a little more
High ISO
Lighweight
Flip screen, preferably one which can actually swivel round to take portraits...
Touch screen is NOT necessary
And of course a decent battery which the camera makes tend to overlook...
I feel Canon have lost sight where Nikon is concerned whereas Sony and Lumix seem to have come a long way and are doing what Olympus did in the 70s and the 80s...
Again, any thoughts on the above..?

0 upvotes
RichMack55
By RichMack55 (5 months ago)

I am just about to purchase this camera on the basis that I can return it within 15 days if unhappy...
I thought I had done my homework when decidng on the nex 6 but I am unable to find out if it is possible to override the function of having the screen on.
It seems that the EVF switches on automatically when you place your eye close up to the corner of the camera ( thrus the screen goes off...) and the screen does the same when you move away from the EVF.

To my surprise there is quite a 'waste' of battery time...
Living in a sunny country means the use of an EVF is much more practical.

Can anyone give any tips on how to make the battery last longer.
Ideally, taking three on trips is practical. An external charger is wise too.
And the pc method when on the go is practical as well. Nevertheless, total control over the screeen makes sense nowadays.
I share your point too photosym. That does not make sense as a selling / marketing point. Is this the case with most sony cameras??

0 upvotes
photosym
By photosym (6 months ago)

I don't know who designed this camera, but it certainly wasn't an active photographer. It would be a superb machine, but there's a massive design flaw. You can't use the self timer or an electronic shutter release when in HDR or Auto bracketing modes. Absolutely crazy!!! I've been in touch with Sony and they don't have any plans for a firmware update. I'm not sure if this applies to other Nex or Sony models, but be aware. This is the last Sony camera I will buy, I'll stick to Canon or Fuji in the future.

1 upvote
GirusVirus
By GirusVirus (6 months ago)

I agree with you photosym. This would be a great camera, but it is really useless in the respect of remote control bracketed photography. The remote control is useless when you can't have timers, and other manual settings. It is a shame.

0 upvotes
Herbert001
By Herbert001 (3 months ago)

I just bought a Sony nex 6. What a amazing camera. Yes you can use HDR and Auto Bracketing with a remote. At list via wifi with my android phone and ipad. Better than the Leica M digital. With more options. As a reporter I love this camera.

0 upvotes
zblues
By zblues (6 months ago)

Appears from the manual no input jack for an external mic attached to the shoe for this camera. Will use the new mic on the Nikon 5100.

0 upvotes
zblues
By zblues (6 months ago)

I ordered the new SHURE VP83F LensHopper Camera-Mounted Condenser Microphone with Integrated Flash Recording for this camera and it's std size shoe mount to record and video shoot indoor stage Band performances.

Anybody else tried an external mic mounted to this camera.

0 upvotes
rodoki
By rodoki (8 months ago)

I just unboxed my Sony alpha Nex6 a few minutes ago.
I have several Panasonic Lumix's and a Canon Rebel.
The Sony, however, is the first camera I've encountered whereby I cannot simply recharge the battery in a compact charger!
Instead I have to connect a wire from the camera into the charger and thence into a wall socket meaning I cannot have second backup battery.
If I'm on vacation I can't simply leave a battery charging at a hotel room and go out and use my camera with a second battery.
I have to leave the WHOLE camera behind to charge!
Am I missing something here? It seems VERY odd.

1 upvote
ManInTheStars
By ManInTheStars (8 months ago)

you can buy original sony charger, I have it but i leave hotel with both batteries charged anyway :) in-camera charging is also great, do your all previous cameras have such feature?

1 upvote
jeremyclarke
By jeremyclarke (7 months ago)

+1, I wish Canon and others would add this feature. While external chargers are vital for certain uses (long trips with brief access to power for example) internal chargers are WAY more convenient. Just bring a USB cord and your iPhone's USB->power adapter and you can plug in your camera to suck some juice whenever you have the chance.

I certainly don't hear people complaining about how the batteries in their phones work these days, we just need to get used to the same thing with cameras (especially the "grab some juice while you can" part, don't wait for it to empty out!)

1 upvote
jeremyclarke
By jeremyclarke (7 months ago)

Just to update this, I didn't realize that you can't use the camera at all while it's charging (mentioned in an Amazon review). That's a very tedious element of this equation if it's true. I can imagine a LOT of situations where I'd want to review photos, make picks or just mess around with the camera while charging it.

It should "work like your phone" like I said in the comment above, if you can't use it while it's charging that's not like a phone. Of course, it IS like every camera previously if you only own one battery ;)

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
MotoP
By MotoP (6 months ago)

Any number of aftermarket and also (expensive but sure) Sony's spare battery and chargers will add external charging and spare batteries. Safe reliable aftermarket ones are not that expensive and will provide a much more convenient way to refresh the power than with having only one battery. I usually have up to 3-4 batteries always on hand for any primary cameras, two of which are always on the charger during vacations.

I guess in this market for consumer price wars, Sony can't include expensive batteries in the original bundles, at cut-rate prices, nor confuse the ever impatient general consumer who just wants things simple?

0 upvotes
photosym
By photosym (6 months ago)

You're correct, it's very odd and another fudge by Sony.

0 upvotes
Kurnia Lim
By Kurnia Lim (6 months ago)

LOL I love charging direct to camera, and yes we need to buy extra external charger, but you can just buy cheap chinese charger for around 10-15 USD, with that I can charge 2 battery at the same times, and also I can charge with powerbank when it need.

0 upvotes
coolboy
By coolboy (9 months ago)

Hi!
Can anyone please explain me if I can add an PANASONIC 20mm f1.7 II pancake to this camera? Is it fully compatible?

Thanks

0 upvotes
john Clinch
By john Clinch (9 months ago)

No that lens is microfour thirds only. This only takes NEX lenses. That is Sony E-mount

0 upvotes
MotoP
By MotoP (6 months ago)

Direct mounting is only with SONY E-Mount Lenses, however you have the option to add a LA-EA2 or LA-EA4 adapter to use any Sony A-mount lenses with full Auto Focus features intact. This is also true for all AF Minolta Lenses that use the A-mount as well.

Also, with aftermarket mounting adapter solutions, almost any SLR lenses can be used with MANUAL focus. Canon lenses can operate with some adapters with limited AF functions as well.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Flower girl
By Flower girl (2 months ago)

Can I use my canon 18-200 on the sony . Has anyone done it and how does it handle?

0 upvotes
kastaldi
By kastaldi (10 months ago)

I bought the RX100 and now I miss the viewfinder of my old P60. A movable screen would also be useful. What a pity...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
esad
By esad (10 months ago)

@dpreview.com: As you know, the performance of a camera depends very much on the quality of the lens. What lens did you use to test the NEX-6, please? I couldn´t find any hints in the article.

2 upvotes
LJS
By LJS (11 months ago)

I personally do not agree about adding a touchscreen to the NEX line of cameras. I simply don't like touchscreen and I know a lot of people that feel the same way.

2 upvotes
kreislauf
By kreislauf (10 months ago)

sure your do. sure you do.
but fact is, navigating is easier with a touchscreen.

4 upvotes
jeremyclarke
By jeremyclarke (7 months ago)

Seriously what an odd thing to be worried about. As long as you can disable it why deny it to those who would find it helpful?

1 upvote
MotoP
By MotoP (6 months ago)

Providing a touchscreen, with the ability to enable/disable will meet 100% of user preferences no? ;) Instead of battling opinions on if it should be there or not? I think that's what the review implies...

0 upvotes
Gabriel Yeo
By Gabriel Yeo (11 months ago)

Sony continues without fail, to make ugly-looking cameras.

2 upvotes
FRANCISCO ARAGAO
By FRANCISCO ARAGAO (11 months ago)

You are joking, right?

14 upvotes
Henderson May
By Henderson May (9 months ago)

this is subjective

2 upvotes
nanajan
By nanajan (Aug 9, 2013)

Just want to know if Sony Nex-6 had a time and date feature. I have looked through all the materials and have not seen it.

0 upvotes
A V Cole
By A V Cole (Aug 13, 2013)

As it takes RAW files all of these details will be on the file along with shutter speed, aperture used etc.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 30