Sony's E-mount lens system was created for their interchangeable lens series of mirror-less still image cameras and video cameras. This is not the same mount as the Alpha series, and the lenses are not interchangeable between the two without an adapter. There is a very nice selection of E-mount lenses currently available, and with the popularity of the NEX cameras, there will be plenty more to come. For those looking to use their existing Minolta and Alph series A-bayonet lenses, Sony offers their LA-EA2 lens mount adapter. This unit allows you to use all of your A-bayonet mount lenses with the NEX-6, while also offering Phase detection AF thanks to the Translucent Mirror technology included in the adapter (which can be had for $399 from Sony).
Hiding behind the E-mount you will find Sony's APS-C sized imaging sensor. The 16.1-megapixel Exmor HD CMOS imaging sensor is the main reason for the NEX 6's outstanding image quality. At 13 times larger than a standard point-n-shoot camera with the same number of pixels, this sensor is much more sensitive and accurate, creating the much higher quality final product. UltraSonic vibrations keep the sensor clean so you don't have to worry about cleaning it or it getting dirt while changing the lenses.
Equipped as the kit lens with the NEX 6 is a 16-50mm power zoom lens, with a 35mm equivalent of 24-75mm. Made up of 8 groups and 9 elements and a maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6, it handles low light situations very well. This power zoom lens works a little differently than a standard zoom lens. Turning the zoom ring lets the lens zoom with the assistance of a motor, making it smooth and steady. It does feel a little different while you are using it, but takes almost no time at all to adjust to.
On the left side of the lens you will see the zoom lever. This is an alternative to turning the zoom ring. While shooting and recording video, this can be an easier and smoother option. The zoom is speed sensitive based on how far you press the lever or how fast you turn the zoom ring.
Hidden in the top of the camera is a small but somewhat powerful pop-up flash unit. It will work well for small to medium sized rooms or as a fill from closer ranges. Flash compensation can be adjusted from ±2 from its normal power. This unit must be opened by hand, it will not pop up itself when needed. If this flash unit is not enough, the hot shoe on the NEX 6 has been designed to accept and fully function with all of Sony's new and incredibly powerful flash units.
Controls on Back: Starting at the top left is the Flash release button, allowing the flash to pop up. To the right comes the Playback button, AEL (exposure lock) button, and to the far right is the dedicated video recording button. Down the middle you will find the 4-way controller, providing shortcuts to change the LCD display, ISO, Exposure Compensation and Burst/Self Timer modes. Turning the dial allows you to make quick selections in the menu system and quick adjustments to manual settings. Pressing the center button makes your selections. Above and below the 4-way controller are two unmarked buttons. Depending on the camera mode that you are in, they will be assigned functions which will show on the LCD.
The top of the camera is very simple, giving you the power switch, shutter release, Fn button and the mode dial. The Fn button brings up a quick menu of commonly used settings, so you don't have to spend shooting time looking through the menu system for them. Finally there is the mode dial that we will take a closer look at below.
The mode dial provides the user with a very quick way to access the camera's main shooting modes. This dial is very firm and hard to move on accident. However, the command dial underneath moves much easier and could be bumped by your thumb.
Sony's XGA Tru-Finder is an outstanding electronic viewfinder (EVF). With a resolution and contrast ratio that puts most other EVFs to shame, you may find yourself using it more than the LCD screen. Its image comes directly through the lens, shows all of the information that you will see on the LCD and you get to see the changes with your exposure settings as they happen; no waiting to see the captured image. Diopter adjustment makes it easy to see by anyone anytime, and Sony includes a comfortable eye-cup.
If the EVF is not for you, the 3.0-inch, 921,000 dot LCD is for you. It is very easy to see in all lighting conditions with 5 levels of manual adjustment and a sunny weather mode for very bright situations. For difficult shooting situations, the screen can tilt a total of 135° to remove glare or see over, under or around other objects. Its brightness and contrast make it easy to view and look over your images in the field.
Located on the left hand side of the NEX-6 are the input/output ports. At the top we have a standard USB connector for transferring files to your PC/MAC, or direct printing when connected to a compatible printer. This is also the way you will charge your camera out of the box. Extra batteries and portable chargers are accessories that may be helpful and available from Sony.
At the bottom we have a Mini HDMI port for connecting the NEX-6 to your PC/Mac or HDTV for viewing the camera's 1080i movies.
With no internal memory, you have to have either a SD/SDHC/SDXC or Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo/Pro-HG Duo/PRO-HG HX Duo media card. This is a great option if you have invested previously in either type, since they will both work. A class 4 or higher memory card is recommended. Here the camera is shown with the SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SDHC card that the NEX-6 was tested with.
Powering the NEX-6 is a 7.2V, 1080mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. With a full charge, the NEX-6 is capable of capturing 270 images using the LCD or 360 images using the EVF. For convenience Sony has included a USB charging adapter and cable that allows you to keep the battery in the camera and charge it by either any standard outlet or USB connection.