SONY NEX-6 Camera - Good Value For Money (Part 1)

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With an excellent viewfinder, articulated LCD and wireless technology built in, what’s not to like about the NEX-6?

Sony’s success in the Compact System Camera market was perhaps something that could have been predicted from the off, given its established Cybershot compact range beneath it and a healthy range of DSLRs and SLTs above it. It seemed certain that any cameras between the two would be imbued with the some of the impressive functionality seen in both lines, and the NEX-6 serves as the latest testament to this.

Second only to the flagship NEX-7 model in the range, its feature set draws heavily from its stablemate. With the benefit of a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, an articulated LCD, a new compact kit lens and even Wi-Fi functionality, on paper it appears to strike an agreeable compromise between portability and dexterity. But is this actually the case?

Taken within seconds of each other, these images show the AWB to struggle with consistency under artificial light.


As with all other current NEX cameras save for the NEX-7, the NEX-6 features a 16.1MP APS-C sensor; this works across a broad sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600. The sensor is not stabilized to help prevent image blur, although the new E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS which comes as a kit option with the camera does incorporate Sony’s Optical Steady shot system for this reason. This PZ moniker denotes the lens can have its focal range adjusted with the Power Zoom control on its barrel, which simply requires a nudge to move the lens, although those wanting to zoom in a more conventional manner can do so with the lens ring.

Full HD video is recorded at 50p, while Raw images are output in the same .ARW format as on Sony’s Alpha range of SLT cameras. Although images and videos can be output via the usual USB and HDMI means, the camera’s wireless functionality renders cables unnecessary when connecting to internet-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The camera’s 3in LCD screen lacks the NEX-5R’s touchscreen functionality, and it cannot be adjusted around the same 180° angle, although it can be tilted to face upwards and still sports the 921k-dot resolution we expect on cameras of the level. That this is twinned with an electronic viewfinder is good in itself, but the fact that it's a 2.4million-dot OLED panel underlines the quite literal attention to detail.

Other features of interest include a Low fps continuous burst mode, a hot shoe for the mounting of external flashguns and other devices and of course, the Sweep Panorama capture mode which has inspired a range of similar functions in other manufacturers’ cameras.

The Sunset Creative Style has saturated these leaves while retaining neutrality over lighter areas.


The display effortlessly pulls away from the camera's body and falls back into place just as easily, while the menu pad dial on the rear and command dial on the top plate each move with a pleasing fluidity. The well-rubbered grip is large enough to please those used to the hold of a DSLR, although on such a small body this does have the consequence of leaving little over a centimeter between itself and the lens mount, which some may consider too small.

With the 16-50mm kit lens the camera can record high detail, but you need to stop down the aperture.

Indeed, while the 16-50mm lens’s dimensions makes the camera pocketable (at least in the average coat pocket), the proximity of the zoom/focus ring at the front to the user’s right hand when the camera is held conventionally makes it difficult to operate comfortably. Those who take to the Power Zoom control won’t find this to be an issue, as this control only needs to be gently nudged by the thumb, without any hand repositioning.

Also annoying is the design of some of the camera’s buttons, which sit flush against the body, and the memory card slot which is positioned right next to the door to its compartment, making card removal more difficult than it needs to be, but there’s little to fault with the rest of the camera’s design. Although much of the body and many of the controls are plastic, there appears to be little reason to doubt its solidity.

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