SONY NEX-6 LCD AND VIEWFINDER
LCD unit has 3 inch diagonal and 921,000 dots. It is as good as any one used on NEX cameras (as far as I saw, they are all the same). It is detailed with nice colors and has the option to boost the brightness for use under direct sunlight. What I didn’t like – it’s not possible to attach plastic protection cover on it. This way, it is a magnet for fingerprints and smudges which dramatically lower visibility in daylight. It is tilt-able up to 90° up and 45° down.
Just like NEX-7, NEX-6 has an electronic viewfinder. It is placed on the very edge of camera (rangefinder style) and this is a very good thing. Not only my other eye can scan the surroundings, but my nose will not leave smudges on LCD. Everything that’s shown on LCD can be shown in EVF – playback, menus etc, which makes the camera very usable.
There is an option in menu system to use only EVF, LCD or choose an automatic setting that switches between them with the help of proximity sensor. Sadly there is no direct button for LCD/EVF switch and external cannot be reassigned.
SONY NEX-6 SENSOR
Sony NEX-6 uses a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor, probably a version of the famous one used in more than 10 Sony, Nikon and Pentax cameras… The new characteristic are phase detection AF points on the sensor itself, but more on that later.
Sensor performance is magnificent; only full frame cameras can deliver better results. High ISO noise is perfectly under control. I found ISO 6400 RAW files to be perfectly usable. Highest setting is ISO 25,600, but I think it’s a bit above sensor capabilities.
Shutter sound is rather quiet thanks to first electronic curtain. All the NEX cameras released after (and including) NEX-7 have this option.
MEMORY AND BATTERY
Battery is a classic NP-FW50 unit used in all NEX bodies and in many SLT cameras. It is good for around 300 shots what is an average for mirrorless cameras. Keep in mind, if you intent to use the new motorized E 16-50mm lens, it will last even less. 16-50 is very power-hungry and in my experience will suck the battery dry after around 200 shots.
The one thing I really hated about NEX-6 is USB charging. By itself, it is a good option but many users will probably have more than just one battery. There is no external charger in retail package, so no possibility to leave the battery charging at home/hotel room/anywhere and go out shooting with the camera.
Memory compartment shares the space with the battery. NEX-6 works both with SDHC and MemoryStick cards. My advice – buy the MemoryStick, the high-speed version (red colored ones). Practically all Sony cameras work noticeably faster with MemorySick than even fastest SDHC cards. I don’t know exactly why, it’s just the way it is.
SONY NEX-6 AUTOFOCUS
Auto-focus was supposed to be much faster due to previously mentioned phase AF points on sensor. Sadly, it’s not the case. It is faster than my old NEX-5, but still slower than Olympus OM-D E-M5. When the light dims, AF becomes even slower.
Peaking function is also included for all of legacy manual lens aficionados.
Sony NEX-6 is a very capable camera. Further upgrades are definitely wanted… faster AF, normal menu system… But judged where it matters most – image quality and overall handling, NEX-6 is a joy to use. The camera just felt natural in my hand, and rangefinder-styled EVF position proved once again to be ergonomically best solution. Sensor performance is splendid, amongst the best available from APS-C size. In fact, I would go as far to say this is the best NEX ever.
- Sensor and image quality
- Build quality
- Rangefinder-style EVF position
- Built-in flash + standard hot-shoe
- Extensive range of advanced features
- External shooting mode dial (finally!)
- Movie button position (no accidental videos)
- Menu system
- Playback divided into still, MP4 and AVCHD files
- AF still slower than the one in Olympus OMD
- USB charging
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