Sony NEX-6 Review
When it entered the mirrorless market with the NEX-3 and NEX-5 back in 2010, Sony, along with Panasonic and Olympus, saw vast potential to attract the millions of compact camera users who wanted better image quality but without the bulk of a DSLR. Today, however, as the smartphone market continues to erode compact camera sales we see camera makers increasingly turning their attention to a smaller - but potentially more eager - group. Namely, enthusiasts who want a lighter, more compact DSLR alternative, but still demand the level of customization and camera control to which they've grown accustomed.
Accordingly, the past couple of years have seen a rash of high-end interchangeable lens cameras like the Sony NEX-7, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic DMC-GX1 and Fujifilm X-E1, which in both price and feature set are aimed well beyond point and shoot upgraders (ironically, the constituency that was originally supposed to be most profitable for ILC manufacturers).
With the announcement of the NEX-6, Sony appears to be refining the high-end concept by merging much of the technology from the NEX-7 with the connectivity options of the NEX-5R. In essence, the NEX-6 combines the hallmarks of an enthusiast-oriented camera - control dials and a high-quality viewfinder - with Wi-Fi functionality and apps. Oddly though, considering it has created a camera that is obviously designed to appeal to smartphone owners, Sony has removed the touchscreen operation found in the NEX-5N and 5R.
Sony NEX-6 specification highlights
- 16.1MP APS-C format CMOS sensor
- 2.3 million dot resolution OLED EVF
- ISO 100-25600
- Control dial
- Customizable Fn button
- 'Quick Navi' interactive settings display
- Multi interface hotshoe (supports standard contacts and proprietary connector)
- Built-in Wi-Fi for connection to smartphones or computers, for photo sharing
- Proprietary in-camera apps
- Built-in flash (GN 6, ISO 100)
- Electronic First Curtain shutter
- 1080/60p HD movies in AVCHD (50p on PAL region models)
The NEX-6 and NEX-7 are so similar in both appearance and specification (save for the latter's 24MP sensor) that a lot of people might wonder whether the flagship model is still relevant. The NEX-6 offers the same stunning 2.3 million dot OLED EVF, a built-in flash, 1080/60p video, and even adds an exposure mode dial and (finally) an ISO standard hotshoe connection. It also gains the NEX-5R's hybrid phase/contrast-detection AF system. The NEX-6 is missing the NEX-7's Tri-Navi three-dial controls, but this seems unlikely to be a deal-breaker for most photographers. A few minor features from the NEX-7 have been chopped as well, such as 3D panoramas, automatic LCD brightness adjustment, and a handful of Creative Styles.
Now about that hybrid AF system. The NEX-6, like the NEX-5R, uses a modified CMOS sensor which accommodates pixels devoted to performing phase-detection to provide a hybrid autofocus system. The phase-detection pixels are used to determine depth information about the focus target, which means the camera has to perform less hunting to hit accurate focus. Sony is the fourth manufacturer (following Fujifilm, Nikon and Canon) to go down this route, with the potential of faster focus, improved continuous focus performance and better autofocus in movie shooting. The NEX-6 has 99 phase detection 'AF points', ranged in the middle of the frame.
And as with the NEX-5R, the NEX-6 has built-in DLNA-compliant Wi-Fi and on-camera apps. While the app collection is rather limited at the moment (currently only eight are are available), Sony has made clear it plans to expand offerings in the near future. And the possibility of enhancing your camera's current capabilities through user-friendly app downloads, as opposed to firmware updates is one that could be worth the wait.
The Wi-Fi capability allows you to push images from the NEX-6 to an iOS or Android smartphone, to your Mac or PC, or straight to Facebook (or Sony's PlayMemories site) across a Wi-Fi network. You can also use your smartphone as a remote viewfinder/trigger. We've covered the NEX-6's connectivity options in detail in these pages.
E-mount power zoom 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
Alongside the NEX-6, Sony introduced the E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS power zoom lens. The retractable zoom design collapses to just under 30mm when powered off, making it one of the smallest kit lenses on the market - and the most compact E-mount optic available outside of Sony's E 16mm F2.8 Pancake lens. Impressively, this new lens is only slightly deeper than Panasonic's PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS power zoom, while offering a usefully-wider field of view at the wide end (24mm versus 28mm equiv.) although settling for a bit less reach at the tele end (75mm versus 84mm equiv.).
|The Sony E-mount E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS power zoom lens, shown detached from the camera and attached to the NEX-6. When the camera is powered-up, the lens extends as you can see in the picture on the right.|
With an all-black finish that matches the NEX-6, the plastic and metal construction of the PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS feels pleasingly solid in hand. A long slider placed along the left side of the lens barrel offers an ample, knurled platform with which to easily zoom the lens. The throw of the slider is rather short though, offering no variable speed zoom capability. It does though make for smooth and relatively quiet zooming during video recording, one of the major benefits of a power zoom design.
What we really appreciate, however, is the dual-function control ring at the front of the lens barrel. In AF modes it is used to manually zoom the lens, providing behavior more like a conventional lens than most power zooms.. With a double-ridged platform, the ring is wide enough for a sure and comfortable hold and offers a pleasingly smooth action that allows for precise focal length adjustments. Unlike the single-speed zoom slider, you can increase the speed of the zoom by rotating the ring more quickly. This produces much more audible motor noise than using the power zoom slider, though.
|Here, we're showing two pictures taken at the wide (16mm) and telephoto (50mm) ends of the kit lens. Equivalent to a focal length range of 24-75mm, this is a useful lens for everyday photography with the NEX-6.|
Switch the camera to MF mode and this same ring automatically controls focus instead, with zoom control operated by the slider. After extended use we much prefer Sony's ring/slider design over the dual lever approach in the Panasonic 14-42 power zoom, where we can never tell by feel whether we're about to zoom or focus the lens. While the Sony lens is of a focus-by-wire design, the action is dampened just enough to approximate a 'feel' of connection to the lens elements with responsive operation. And with MF assist enabled, an initial turn of the control ring brings up a magnified scene view for focus confirmation.
As far as optical performance is concerned, the 16-50mm is consistent with what you'd expect of a complex, retractable yet affordable kit lens. Sharpness is relatively good but the corner performance at wide angle (where a lot of distortion correction is being conducted) isn't great. It performs fairly respectably for a kit zoom, and offers considerable convenience.
The only limiting factor is the maximum aperture range of F3.5-5.6 (standard for this type of lens), which isn't really bright enough for use in very poor light without flash. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization helps, but of course that won't do anything to prevent blur from subject movement.
|Abstract bokeh by Minas_Eye|
from Your City - Bokeh in the City (Rerun)
|Green Tree Frog by BruceRH|
|Custom Red Roadster by Mitchmeister|
from Car Shows 2018
At Sony's press conference at Photokina the company announced that 12 more E-mount lenses will be arriving over the next two years. In addition, the company is working to utilize artificial intelligence in its technologies, with one application being Eye AF trained to detect animal eyes.
Sigma has said it will create a full-frame Foveon camera and will adopt the Leica L mount for its system. It will be able to adapt or convert SA mount lenses to the L mount, for existing users.
Hasselblad is expanding their X System with their announcement of three new lenses: the XCD 80mm F1.9, XCD 65mm F2.8 and XCD 135mm F2.8, along with a teleconverter. The 80mm F1.9 is the fastest in the system. Get all the details and check out Hasselblad's official sample images here.
Sigma has announced the 56mm F1.4 DC DN lens for Micro Four Thirds and Sony E mounts. The compact 56mm lens becomes the sixth DN lens for mirrorless cameras and will make a handy portrait lens on both systems.
Sigma has announced the 28mm F1.4 Art, 40mm F1.4 Art, 70-200mm F2.8 Sport and 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 Sport lenses for several full frame lens mounts, including Canon, Nikon and, in the first two instances, Sony E.
ON1 has announced the impending launch of ON1 Photo RAW 2019. The new version, due out in November, brings a handful of new tools and features in a revamped interface.
Fujifilm has said it is developing a 100MP GFX medium format camera that will include both phase detection autofocus and in-body image stabilization. The 4K-capable camera will sell for around $10,000.
Leica has announced the S3 medium-format camera – an S2 successor with a 64MP sensor capable of 4K video.
The GFX 50R is a 50MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. It borrows heavily from the existing 50S model but in a smaller body and at a lower price. How does it differ?
Fujifilm has announced its GFX 50R, a rangefinder-styled version of the company's GFX 50S medium-format camera. The 'guts' of the two cameras are the same, with the difference being the design, weight and Bluetooth, all at a considerably lower price.
In this episode of DPReview TV, we get our hands on Fujifilm's GFX 50R which hides a medium-format sensor in a new, more compact body. Watch to get Chris and Jordan's first impressions on image quality, video and more.
Fujifilm is adding a trio of new medium-format lenses to its G-mount roadmap. GFX owners will soon be able to get their hands on 100-200mm F5.6, 45-100mm F4 and compact 50mm F3.5 lenses. Pricing and availability have not been announced.
Micro Four Thirds users will soon get a super fast, constant aperture wide angle zoom.
Panasonic has announced it is developing two full frame mirrorless cameras: the 47MP S1R and the 24MP S1. We've been shown fairly advanced-looking but non-functional prototype cameras, and have been able to squeeze a few details from Panasonic.
Panasonic is developing a pair of full-frame mirrorless cameras that use Leica's L-mount. The S1R will feature a 47MP sensor, while the S1 will be 24MP. Both cameras will support Dual IS shake reduction 4K/60p video capture and will have XQD and SD card slots.
Leica, Panasonic and Sigma are teaming up. Expect L-mount cameras from Panasonic as well as L-mount glass from Sigma.
Ricoh has announced the development of the GR III enthusiast compact, due to ship in early 2019. The camera gains sensor-shift image stabilization and an updated 24MP sensor with phase-detection. The 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens has also been redesigned and a touchscreen added.
The 'I'm Back' is now available for a range of old film-SLRs, such as Nikon's F-Series, the Olympus OM10 or the Canon AE-1.
IRIX has announced its latest lens, the 150mm F2.8 Macro 1:1. IRIX claims the lens features 'close to zero' distortion and stands out with its 150mm telephoto focal length.
The RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM is one of four lenses to launch with Canon's new full-frame mirrorless system, and it boasts the longest reach of the range. Take a look at some of the samples we've gathered thus far as our EOS R testing continues.
Nikon's Sendai factory in the Tōhoku region North of Japan has been churning out cameras and lenses since 1971. We had the opportunity recently to visit Sendai during events to mark the launch of Nikon's new Z mount.
There's no mistaking the Nikon Coolpix P1000 – with a 24-3000mm equivalent zoom, it really is in a class of its own. It's a conspicuous-looking superzoom with one main job: getting you really close to far away subjects. We've put together a gallery showing the kind of results you can expect from it.
A new report from The Verge claims Instagram is currently testing a feature that allows users to re-share posts to their own account feeds.
GoPro has announced its HERO7 camera lineup. The updated action cameras feature new HyperSmooth and TimeWarp modes, as well as improved video and photo specs.
The latest Samsung midrange smartphone offers a super-wide-angle lens in its triple-camera setup.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 is the latest lens to join the company's premium G Master lineup. We've been shooting with one for a couple of days - here's what you need to know.
Apple released iOS 12 a few days ago and some iPhone X users are less than happy with how the new operating system has made their phones look.
Camera bag manufacturer Lowepro has introduced mark II backpacks for its ProTactic AW range with models that are said to feature an improved handling experience as well as a collection of accessories that can be attached to the outside.
Canon has announced its latest superzoom camera, the PowerShot SX70 HS. Compared to the SX60 that came before it, the SX70 has the same lens but offers a higher resolution EVF, 4K video capture and support for Canon's new CR3 Raw format.
Cosina has announced its eighth lens designed specifically for Sony's E-mount system. The Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 lens is due out October 2018.