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A Digital Camera Sony NEX 6

Discussion in 'User Reviews' started by Wheelu, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    I bought the twin lens kit, 16-50 and 55-210.

    I already own a Canon 5DII with 24-105 and 70-200 lenses, but wanted something lighter and more compact, small enough to carry in a coat pocket.

    Of the two lenses the 55-210 is the better, indeed it is very good considering the price. The 16-50 is not as sharp and suffers more from distortion, which is automatically fixed in JPGs or using an appropriate raw converter. This comes at the cost of lost pixels and eats into the dynamic range to an extent. However the 16-50 is usable and does enable the camera to fit into that coat pocket, so allowing you to take shots that would otherwise not have been possible.

    I did consider buying body only, but I wanted the 55-210 lens and it was just about as cheap to get the two lens kit. Besides the 16-50 combo is the pocketable one.

    I also enjoy using my collection of heritage lenses and you can buy adapters quite cheaply for the major marques. The EVF with 5x and 10x (approx) magnification means that you can accurately focus this glass, but I am less impressed with the focus peaking feature, which can give false positives, mask important elements in the image, or fail to respond in low contrast situations. Using an adapter with ex SLR lenses does of course substantially increase the depth of the set up, it's no longer pocketable. I have found that old Pentax and Olympus primes comfortably outperform the 16-50 standard zoom.

    Exposure is generally accurate, with an optional see before you shoot histogram, although some tweaking is occasionally needed.

    I like the feel and handling of the camera and, for person who uses reading glasses, the dioptre corrected EVF is a boon. This is the first camera that I have used to have an optional pitch and horizontal level indicator, again a very useful feature.

    The packaged Sony raw converter is very limited in function, it will do the job, but you will need Lightroom or equivalent if you are a serious raw shooter.

    I don't shoot sports or do much action photography but doubt that it would too useful for that. I have tried a few street shots and it handles that well, while the tilting screen does enable surreptitious shooting, or firing above crowds of heads.

    The sensor is the tried and tested Sony 16MP job, varieties of which are alleged to be used by Nikon and Pentax, and which has a deservedly good reputation for an extended dynamic range and good high ISO performance. I have not been disappointed in it to date with hand held usable iso 3200 images taken at night or within public spaces.

    I also bought the Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens, and, as the various reports have indicated, that does out perform the standard lens and focuses quickly and accurately. It's rather large in comparison to the kit lens however.

    Battery life could be better, you need to legislate for a spare and charger; and don't forget the screen protector while logged into Amazon!

    Overall I am happy with this camera, although I've only had it a few weeks and time will tell......
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    What exposure modes and metering are available when using adapted lenses? Is there a live histogram, a sliding scale or other guidance available when using these lenses? For this purpose the lack of image stabilisation is a small concern but I know the sensor can cope with increased sensitivity for faster shutter speeds so possibly not a deal breaker. Many thanks.
  3. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Hi Zou

    Sitting with Zuiko 50mm f1.8 attached to camera. Have revolved mode dial and it did not hiccup at any setting. I guess that those that you would want to use in practice would be aperture priority and manual and they are both fine.

    Looking through the EVF you can choose to have the level indicator, the (small monochrome) live histogram or neither. Pressing the Display button cycles around these three options. However, I'm not convinced that the live histogram always tells the correct story in AP mode.

    In aperture priority mode and manual focus you can select multi point, centre or spot metering. You can of course dial in plus or minus 3 stops of compensation.

    It does not always provide perfect exposures first time around with manual lenses, but is a lot closer than the 450D that I have also used with old glass. With that camera my guesses at manual exposure were generally more accurate than the camera's efforts and I was far from being great at estimating!

    Using auto focus lenses the camera produces generally better exposures (fewer blown highlights) if you choose multiple point focus -when calculating exposure it appears to factor in the area(s) that you are focusing upon.

    I' still learning with this camera, hopefully I have given you the correct answers!
  4. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Very helpful, thanks. I'm toying with the idea of the standard kit, supplementing with my Pentax and Nikkor lenses. The Fuji X-E1 is also tempting, but I have decided the Olympus E-M5 is about £200 overpriced. However, I may yet settle for a high end compact if I can ever get my hands on the ones I want to!
  5. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    I have perhaps been a tad too negative about the 16-50 standard zoom.

    It's not terrible; I have not had any submissions to my stock agency fail when using it. The old primes and the Sigma auto focus primes are better, but there are occasions when an auto focus, image stabilised, zoom lens gets the shot that would otherwise be lost.
  6. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't expect miracles from any kit lens but what I have seen of the 16-50 has been more than acceptable. Usefully wide but still compact (cf Olympus 12-50 powerzoom) and decent performance. I'm quite keen to have a play with one.
  7. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    I've posted a comparative test between the kit zoom and the Sigma 19mm here. There are a couple more postings on my blog showing the results from the kit lens. It's quite usable.
  8. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Nice review, Im sure this will be quite helpfull to anyone considering one, have you used the wifi function yet? Comes in really handy when combining a smartphone as a remote viewfinder/ shutter :)
  9. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member


    Have to say that I don't have a phone clever enough to use it! So no. Given the option a GPS would have been more useful to me than the WIFI, but the features that really attracted me were: -

    Good image quality at high ISO
    Light weight and small volume
    Good EVF with dioptre correction
    Opportunity to use my collection of heritage lenses.
  10. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    Great stuff.

    My sister and her hubby have Nex5/3 and seem to get good JPEG's even in good light so I was pleased to be able to try a Nex 6 at a Sony centre.

    The main thing that worried me was the light output from the EVF in low light and sadly when moving to a less well lit part of the shop the Nex seemed to suffer from the same torch effect as my G1.

    Other than that I liked it but hated the kit power zoom. My fingers jammed between the grip and the lens and I personally found it impossible to control the zoom to get the framing I wanted. In this respect it seemed as bad as any compact with power zoom I've ever used and on a camera costing so much completely inexcusable.
  11. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Hi Alan

    You can set up the EVF to give a bright image rather than one representing the exposure you have chosen. I came across this problem using a third party manual flash gun and was told by a helpful contributor on another forum that I needed to set Live View Display to Setting Effect Off. Most of the time it pays to leave it on, but for those occasional dull venues it helps to brighten the view.

    Re the zoom control on the standard lens, provided that you have selected auto focus, you can use the focus ring to zoom the lens. In fact I have found that this gives more accurate control than the zoom slider. Probably a better solution if you have large fingers, or indeed in any circumstance!

    Having now used it and other lenses quite extensively, I do regard it as being a wonder of technology. How they managed to cram so much into so small a package is beyond me. I can carry the camera and zoom within a coat pocket.

    It's particularly useful for video or grab shots, but, to get the best out of the camera's excellent sensor, you do need to use primes, even heritage primes will outperform the standard zoom. Manual focusing is one of the camera's greatest strengths, with 5 or 10x magnification in the dioptre corrected EVF, it's a doddle.

    I do like this camera, my 5DII has sat virtually unused since buying the NEX 6. It's a go anywhere, any time, tool, rather than an albatross around your neck
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  12. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    A further couple of observations, with the benefit of experience.

    When shooting with manual focus glass you will want to use the 5 or 10 x zoom feature to get accurate focus, using the excellent EVF.

    The camera appears to base the exposure on the full frame view and lock to that value when zooming. Therefore if you select zoom when the camera is pointed at a shadow and then zoom into a highlight, the image will be totally burnt out and useless for purpose. Similarly, if you select zoom with the lens stopped down, and then open up to full aperture for focusing, the exposure does not adjust and you will again end up with a uselessly overexposed view.

    Once you are aware of this quirk, it's not a problem, but you may otherwise think that something is badly wrong!

    I have made a lot of use of an old Pentax 28mm f2.8 M lens (a very useful 42mm full frame equivalent). It produces images that are sharp corner to corner, with plenty of contrast, but it does suffer from chromatic aberration with the digital sensor. This is almost always fixed with a single click in Lightroom, but that needs to be a part of your work flow.
  13. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Further update on NEX 6.

    I have had the camera for few months now and have found that I am using it in preference to my Canon 5DII with its 24-105 and 70-200 lenses. In fact I have only taken a handful of shots with the Canon since buying the NEX.

    It doesn't focus as quickly as the Canon, but I make a great deal of use of older manual focus lenses, so, for the work that I do, that is not an issue for me. More important to me is portability and a more discreet camera. Others will take a different view.

    Sony has just announced a 16-70 constant f4 Zeiss badged lens for the NEX which is equivalent to the very useful 24-105 on the Canon, and assuming that it performs well, this really removes the last barrier to buying and using the NEX - i.e a quality zoom over the most useful range.

    Currently contemplating selling all of my Canon gear, buying the Zeiss 16-70 and maybe another E fit body. Need to see the reviews of the Zeiss lens first however!
  14. forestphoto

    forestphoto Member

    I have heard good thing about that camera. I have also seen some sample images and they looked pretty good. Sony has a good reputation and you can't go wrong.
  15. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Thought I would provide an update after using the camera for more than two years and taking several thousand photos.

    No bad news really, the paint has been abraded off the body where the strap rubs against it, I have lost the little plastic cover that used to sit in the flash shoe, but it continues to perform faultlessly.

    I am still using the original Sony battery, along with two cheap third party equivalents.

    I continue to use the the little Sony in preference to my Canon 5D II.

    A disappointment has been the reviews of the Zeiss 16-70 zoom, which appear to suggest considerable sample variation and indifferent edge performance. I haven't bought a copy.

    I am also waiting for a replacement for the NEX 6, but get the impression that Sony is putting its efforts into full frame development, and neglecting the APS sensor. The A6000 has an inferior viewfinder with more limited resolution and no level feature, while I am not convinced that its sensor is any real improvement over that in the 6. However the rumour mill has started to churn again recently, and a genuine upgrade may, or may not, be appearing shortly.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015

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