Movie Mode

The NEX-6 has the same movie mode as its big brother the NEX-7, which means that it's capable of recording full 1080/60p video with stereo sound. Sony's PlayMemories Home software allows for lossless editing of your movies, and can write your 60p movies directly to a Blu-ray disc. Do note that not all Blu-ray players support 1080/60p playback.

The default view when recording movies is cropped, leaving large margins around the area being filmed. Exposure data as well as a timer are displayed. To get rid of the margins and take advantage of the NEX's 16:9 LCD, switch the 'Wide Image' option to 'Full Screen'.

While the NEX-6's video button is hard to press accidentally in its position on the camera's right shoulder (accidental operation being a major criticism of the NEX-7), it is also much harder to press when you actually want to initiate movie recording. Placing the rec button at a 45 degree angle recessed into the camera's right edge requires a two handed hold of the camera, as it's an unwieldy stretch with your hand in the (stills) shooting position. While the movie record button on the NEX-7 is too easy to press by accident, the version on the NEX-6 is dangerously close to being too difficult to press on purpose.

The NEX-6's recessed movie record button is placed, somewhat awkwardly, along the camera's right edge at a 45 degree angle. While requiring a two handed hold of the camera, its location does prevent accidental operation, which is a serious problem on the NEX-7.

The NEX-6 will honor all of your exposure settings in movie mode (many cameras default to full auto the moment you press the record button). What's more, everything can be changed while you're recording - shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation, depending on the mode you're in. If you're using Flexible Spot AF then you'll be able to move the focus point around while you're recording, too. If using Multi AF, an object tracking option will be available. Do note that Hybrid AF is, sadly, not available for movie recording. There's also a wind filter for reducing background noise when recording video outdoors, which works well - there's an example further down this page.

In addition to manual controls, you can also throw the camera into either of the Auto modes and take advantage of the same Creative Styles or Picture Effects that are available for still shooting. Speaking of stills, you cannot take a photo while simultaneously recording a video, as you can with some of the NEX-6's competitors.

Below are the various video size and quality settings available on the NEX-6. Do note that the default setting is 1080/60i, and not the higher quality 1080/60p option.

Sizes • AVCHD
1920 x 1080 60i/50i Avg. 24 Mbps (high quality)
1920 x 1080 60i/50i Avg. 17 Mbps (standard quality)
1920 x 1080 60p Avg. 28 Mbps (highest quality)
1920 x 1080 24p/25p Avg. 24Mbps (high quality)
1920 x 1080 24p/25p Avg. 17Mbps (standard quality)

• MP4:
1440 x 1080, 1080p (30/25fps), Av. 12Mbps
640 x 480 (30/25fps), Av. 3Mbps
Audio • Dolby Digital Audio
• Stereo audio capture via built-in or optional external mic.
Format AVCHD / MPEG4
Recordable time Approx 29 minutes for AVCHD, 20 minutes for MPEG4 (1440 x 1080)

One thing we noticed about movie recording on the NEX-6 is that there's about 0.5 - 1.0 seconds of lag between the time you press the red button and when recording begins and ends. This can be hugely frustrating when it comes to 'grab shots' of fast-moving subjects.

As for quality, it's excellent in most respects. At 60p, videos are smooth and detailed. Motion is captured well, and there's very little moiré or artifacting (although footage is not completely free of these issues, as you can see in one of the videos below). In poor light, noise is kept under control, though the camera struggles to focus at times, leading to 'hunting' in low-light footage. Not unexpectedly, the autofocus illuminator does not operate during movie recording, only beforehand, for initial AF acquisition when you're composing the scene.

The NEX-6's front-mounted microphone picks up plenty of wind noise, so be sure to turn on the wind filter when shooting video outdoors. See sample video 4 for an idea of its effectiveness.

Sample 1

The NEX-6 produces a slightly soft video here, with a bit of aliasing, but motion is smooth. This video was shot handheld.

1920x1080 60p 28Mbps, MTS, 10 sec, 34.7 MB Click here to download original file

Sample 2

This video (also handheld) shows how well the camera handles motion at the 60p frame rate. While the camera's microphone picks up some of ambient noise, the subject can still be clearly heard.

1920x1080 60p 28Mbps, MTS, 13 sec, 42.5 MB Click here to download original file

Sample 3

This handheld video shows how the NEX-6 performs in relatively low light. While you'll spot some moiré here, you won't see any noise.

1920x1080 60p 28Mbps, MTS, 16 sec, 65.9 MB Click here to download original file

Sample 4

This tripod-mounted video shows outdoor sound quality (with wind filter on) and some artifacting on the water. You'll also see the focus system 'hunting' momentarily, for no apparent reason.

1920x1080 60p 28Mbps, MTS, 16 sec, 54.0 MB Click here to download original file

Sample 5

This final, handheld video shows quite a lot of artifacting in the water. Although it might not seem obvious in the abstract, ripples on water can form high-frequency patterns in the same way as roof tiles and fabric textures. As such, it's not uncommon to see moiré patterning in these areas in video footage (and occasionally in stills, too).

1920x1080 60p 28Mbps, MTS, 15 sec, 49.3 MB Click here to download original file