- Sensor: 23.5 x 15.6mm 16.1MP Exmor APS-C CMOS
- Processor: BIONZ
- Mount: Sony E-Mount
- Dimensions: 119.9 (W) x 66.9 (H) x 42.6 (D) mm
- Weight: Approx. 345 g with battery and memory card
- Approx. battery life: 270 frames (viewfinder); 360 frames(LCD screen)
- Storage: Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, SD/SDHC/SDXC
• Good build quality
• Suitable image quality for web and small prints
• Long battery life
• Quick Navi menu
• Inefficient wireless features
• Slow AF
• Noticeable noise at ISO 3200
- The NEX-6 may not be much of a game-changer, but it packs features and functions for the mobile user who is still keen on quality.
Think of it as the lovechild of the NEX-7 and the NEX-5R. Sony decided to take the enthusiast-oriented functionality of the former, mesh it with the wireless capabilities of the latter, and pack them into just one nifty camera—the NEX-6.
Inside the NEX-6 is a 16.1-megapixel Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor and a BIONZ image processor. It features a hybrid autofocus (AF) system that combines phase detection AF and contrast detection AF to achieve more speed and precision. The NEX-6 has an ISO range of 100-25600.
In terms of build quality, the NEX-6 looks and feels solid and durable. I accidentally dropped it from waist-level once, and I was incredibly relieved to know that no harm came upon the camera. It is, however, heavier than I expected. The NEX-6 has a polycarbonate body, unlike the NEX-7, which in enclosed in a metal shell.
Like the NEX-7 and unlike the NEX-5, the NEX-6 hosts an electronic viewfinder touted as the XGA OLED Tru-Finder. It has a 2,359K-dot resolution and has a very good level of contrast and saturation—not overly vivid, but not too pale as well. What’s great about the device is that it allows you to frame your shots, instantly see the effects of changes in the exposure setting, shoot images, view them, and scroll through the menu without taking your eye off the viewfinder. The LCD screen, which measures 3.0 inches and features a 921,600-dot resolution, fares just as well. It’s not a touchscreen, but it still is roomy, and the great thing about it is it’s tiltable. You can’t swivel it, though. You can only tilt it upward or down so that you can see the screen at low or high angles.
The power switch/shutter release and function buttons are placed a top the protruding grip. The grip fits in my hand just fine; it isn’t too deep nor is it too shallow. Not only does the camera have a flexible pop-up flash on top; it also hosts a multi-interface hot shoe. A dedicated mode dial sits on top, making the NEX-6 the first camera in the Sony’s mirrorless line to have one. If you look closer, you’ll see that another dial is placed underneath it. This secondary dial controls the aperture in Manual Mode. The shutter speed can be adjusted using the dial/navigation pad on the back of the device.
The dedicated video recording button can be found at the right edge—yes, the edge—of the body. I appreciate this because I didn’t have to switch modes just to shift from taking stills to taking videos. However, I find the placement of the button a bit odd, especially since thumbs don’t normally rest on that part of the camera’s body.
Mounted on the NEX-6 is an E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS power zoom lens that wields a collapsible barrel design that makes it compact and convenient when not in use. The NEX-6 is also compatible with other Sony E-Mount lenses.
Additionally, the NEX-6 can record images in JPEG, RAW, or both at the same time.
Although I was generally happy with image quality, I couldn’t help
but notice after zooming into the images using Photoshop that some noticeably lacked detail. This is, however, expected of the camera’s sensor size, and I’m also guessing that Sony wasn’t after the market that prints hard copies when they made the device. The camera is meant for today’s mobile users, and when you upload the photo on the web, you’ll hardly notice any lack of detail. Noise is also prominent in images shot using a sensitivity level as low as ISO 3200, which is why I would never (ever) recommend shooting at as high as ISO 25,600.
Low light performance was a bit of a drag. Even at higher ISO settings, I had some trouble with the AF as I was shooting events in dark conditions.
Video and audio quality are good, but unremarkable. The NEX-6 can shoot in Full HD at 60 or 24 fps, but the file format of which is AVCHD. When recording in MP4, the maximum resolution is 1440 x 1080 at 30fps.
The wireless function of the NEX-6 is not as efficient as the ones we have already tried in other cameras. For one thing, you’d have to go through the tedious process of connecting to the network and entering the password (if applicable) each time you boot the device. Second, there is no option for social network sharing built into the camera. Third, you would need to install the PlayMemories app on your iOS or Android device to be able to use in tandem with the camera. Fourth, users will only be able to use the service if they have a Sony Entertainment account. Sign-up’s free, but it’s still another layer to pass through before you get to the meat of the wireless feature. Lastly, the wireless services offered by the camera’s PlayMemories app aren’t offered in our country. Hence, we weren’t able to try it out. Honestly, using Instagram is way faster, but of course, it’s never going to beat the quality of a full-fledged Wi-Fi capable camera like the NEX-6. In the end, it’s just a matter of priority: quality or convenience.
Battery life is superb for a mirrorless camera. You can have it running for an entire day of moderate use without having to use the charger.
The NEX-6 retails at PHP 40,999. That’s a big investment for such a camera, considering that it’s even more expensive than smaller DSLRs with just the same sensor size. If you pit it against such DSLRs, the chances don’t look too good for the NEX-6. It’s still agreat camera, though. Suitable photo quality, easy operation, a lightweight body, and wireless functions still make a stellar combo.
First Published in Gadgets Magazine, April 2013
Words by Racine Anne Castro