Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
Thumbnail image for NEX-6_wSEL35F18_BK_1.jpg
  • 16-Megapixel APS-C sized Imaging Sensor
  • BIONZ Image Processor
  • 3.0-Inch, 920,000 dot LCD Screen
  • XGA Tru-Finder OLED
  • E-mount lens system
  • 16-50mm power zoom lens (when purchased as a kit)
  • Multi Interface Shoe
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • Superior Auto mode
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • 6 Image Layering
  • Auto HDR
  • Hybrid AF
  • WiFi
  • PlayMemories Apps
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • Superior Auto provides outstanding image quality
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Hybrid AF is lightning fast and accurate
  • Excellent overall image quality 
  • BIONZ processor allows for great burst rates and special shooting modes
  • High quality LCD is easy to see in all lighting conditions
  • EVF is accurate and very high resolution
  • Good Battery Life and detailed information
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Multi Interface shoe does not accept an external microphone
  • Higher ISO settings are very noisy
  • LCD screen tilts but does not rotate
  • Cannot use the ONE lens ring to focus and zoom at the same time
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.7 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 3/10 to 6/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.74 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.84 seconds
  • Continuous =  3.85fps 
  • Continuous Flash = 1.25fps
  • Speed Priority Continuous = 10fps, slowing after approx. 12 images
  • All tests were taken using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 95MB/s, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Sony NEX-6 is a compact and powerful ILC, featuring an APS-C sized 16-Megapixel CMOS image sensor, BIONZ image processor and more features and performance than you will find on a consumer dSLR. Combine that with the excellent image quality, a great selection of E-mount lenses and an ever-growing list of new apps, this camera will always have what you are looking for.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking to upgrade from an older dSLR or a point-n-shoot and would like to keep the camera small. Its performance and quality will not disappoint . 
Continuing with the great success that Sony has had with its NEX series of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the NEX-6 is proving to be both very powerful and versatile. Its APS-C sized sensor and BIONZ image processor give you quality that will match most consumer dSLRs, with just a fraction of the body size. Also built into this compact body is a new WiFi system allowing you to connect to a Smartphone with various control options, and the ability to log into the PlayMemories store to download new apps and shooting modes for the camera. Sony has also included the same innovative new XGA OLED electronic viewfinder first introduced on the NEX-7. Rounding out the best of the major features is the 3.0-inch tiltable LCD screen, Hybrid AF system, Sweep Panorama, 1080p HD video capture and an anti-dust sensor to keep the images clear.

The NEX-6's built-in WiFi will not connect you directly to the internet without an available wireless internet connection. It can however, put out a signal that will allow a Smartphone or tablet to connect to the camera. If one of these devices has internet capabilities, you can then use it to upload your images from the NEX-6 or just copy them to your phone. With an internet connection you may also access the PlayMemories store, much like the Android Play store or the Apple store, but strictly for apps for Sony digital cameras. Here you will find a collection of apps, ranging from free to $10, that can be downloaded and installed on your camera. There are apps for both creative shooting and editing as well as direct upload and others. New apps can be added any day.

For those looking for the ability to just point-n-shoot, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto allow you to do just that. Intelligent auto takes care of everything for you, including the shooting settings and choosing the appropriate scene modes when they are available. Superior Auto takes the auto mode to the next level. It gives the camera the ability to work a few more special shooting modes, such as Auto HDR and any other shooting modes that use multiple shots at once to create or select the best image. This mode excels in darker shooting situations and is capable of producing higher quality images than using the Intelligent Auto mode.

While it isn't the most compact ILC camera that we have used, it is not the biggest either. Unless you have very large hands, the camera is very easy to handle and operate. The grip on the right side gives you a comfortable hold on the camera that allows you to wield it freely without the worry of it slipping. Out of all of the controls on the camera, the video recording button was the only one that we found to be in somewhat of an awkward place, making it a little difficult to locate the button and press it without looking for it.

When using the command dials for control of the camera functions, they are both well placed and easily accessible, however, they move very easily and could be bumped and turned by accident. We see this more of an issue on a person to person basis depending on how they handle the camera. If you purchase the kit with the power zoom lens, you will have the pleasure of having the option to use the lever on the side of the lens to control the zoom. This provides steady and smooth zooming capabilities in both still image and video recording situations. 

You have two excellent framing options on the NEX-6. Sony's amazing new XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, the same that has been included on the A99, provides you with an incredibly high resolution, very bright image in all lighting situations and the ability to show you in the viewfinder exactly the way the camera will record the image. Compare this to an optical viewfinder where you see what you are shooting but not what is being recorded. A sensor next to the EVF automatically turns the LCD off and EVF on when the camera is put up to your face to shoot. If you prefer to shoot with the LCD screen you will not be disappointed. With an extra wide 3.0-inch LCD sporting a 920,000 dot resolution, you will see an incredible amount of detail and color reproduction on the screen. With several levels of manually adjusted brightness and an additional bright sunshine mode, the screen is easy to see in all lighting conditions. If you still have a problem with a glare or you find yourself in a shooting situation where there is something in your way, the screens ability to tilt will definitely help out. 

Testing the speed of the camera was a pleasure, as it was able to capture its first image just 2.6 seconds after it was turned on. The Hybrid AF system works incredibly fast, averaging around 3/10 of a second, but getting as high as 6/10 of a second in tough conditions. When the camera is pre-focused, the lag is less than 1/10 of a second. In single shot mode, the shot-to-shot delay was 0.74 seconds or 0.84 seconds if you are using the flash. Both of which are very fast. The NEX-6's continuous shooting modes are also very impressive, allowing the camera to capture continuously at a rate of almost 4fps (3.85fps), or 1.25fps while using the flash. When the camera is in speed priority continuous, it can capture approx. 12 images at a  rate of 10fps before it starts to slow. Our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 95MB/s, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults. 

Looking closely at our outdoor images shows us how far ILC cameras have come in the short time that they have been available. The NEX-6's image quality rivals that of most consumer level dSLR cameras and outdoes them in performance and features. All of our outdoor samples were taken in both Superior Auto and Program shooting modes. Both modes captured excellent images, but the Superior Auto gave us brighter, more vivid colors and a more pleasing overall image. The program mode museum shot was taken using the Auto HDR feature, allowing the camera to take 3 images quickly and combining them into what you see. It did as well as any other auto HDR function that we have seen. Throughout all of our outdoor images; exposure and colors were great and aberrations were kept in check. Framing and composing your images is accomplished with the 16-50mm power zoom lens, if you bought the kit. This lens is easy to operate and zooms incredibly smoothly and at different speeds. Its equivalent focal range is sufficient for most typical snapshots (landscapes, macro, portraits, etc.).

Our indoor images continue to show the incredibly high image quality from the NEX-6. Starting with the Auto modes, the camera is not afraid to raise the ISO to make sure that you capture a crisp image when shooting handheld without the flash. Both Auto modes went this high, and both gave us a useable image at ISO 3200. With the flash, the two Auto images came out much brighter than any of the other images. After these the only image that showed any variation in the exposure was the f/8, ISO 100 image with the flash, which shows the limitations of the built-in flash with an underexposed image. From ISO 100 - 800, you will see all of the fine details within the image. ISO 1600 - 3200 are still sharp and acceptable, and anything after that should be stayed away from if possible. The small pop-up flash unit assists greatly with your low-light shooting. With a GN6 at ISO 100 and the great image quality at the mid-range ISOs, it will greatly increase your capabilities in low light situations.

Shooting portraits with the NEX-6 can be as easy as any point-n-shoot camera thanks to the incredibly sensitive face detection software. It picks up faces quickly and follows them very well as they stay within the frame, even if they turn sideways. You do need to be careful as the camera will also pick up faces in photographs in the background. This may throw off the camera's focus if you do not notice. Our faces were well exposed and perfectly in focus. Even shooting with the flash, we did not see any redness in the eyes of our subjects. Some of samples were not taken with the face detection software turned. Any listed in aperture priority mode were NOT taken with face detection.

Thanks to the speed and power of the Bionz image processor, the camera is able to run several powerful shooting modes including the popular Sweep Panorama mode. This allows you to press the shutter once and pan the camera in any direction (that you set ahead of time), to capture vast landscapes. The NEX-6 provides us with some of the highest quality that we have seen on any camera for an automatic panoramic mode. Our sample was taken with the camera held on its side and set for a vertical pan. At no point in the image can we find where the images were stitched together. The Auto HDR, 6-image layering, handheld twilight and its continuous shooting modes also work in the same way, using the speed of the camera to create images that would have been not possible or taken much greater amounts of time shooting and working on a computer. 

Movies are also able to be captured at the touch of a button, thanks to the dedicated video recording button. Capturing full 1080p HD video with stereo sound, you will be very pleased with quality of the videos. If you have the power zoom lens, you will be able to zoom slowly and smoothly while the camera is recording. Continuous AF will keep your subject focused at all times, making sure you don't miss a thing. With the power lens, you may hear the motor when playing back your videos, especially if there is no other sound. The built-in stereo mic is very sensitive and will pick up all of the sounds closest to the camera first. Unfortunately there are no external mics available for the NEX-6, so if you want better sound, you will have to have another audio recording device. With an optional HDMI cable, your movies can be played back on any HDTV or any other TV with an optional A/V cable. Still images can also be viewed this way. 

Powering the NEX-6 is a powerful 7.2V, 1080mAH rechargeable InfoLithium battery. It provides enough power to capture 270 images using the LCD or 360 images if you use the EVF. We were very impressed with the batteries power gauge, as it tells you an exact percent of power remaining and it adjusts based on the way you are using the camera; whether you are using the LCD, EVF or shooting with or without the flash, the camera is always updating for the battery level for you. Since the battery charges inside the camera, it is a little harder to keep  a spare charged and on hand. It is still a recommendation of ours to pick up a spare pack, and you may also want to add the external charger to go along with a second battery.

Bottom Line - Sony's NEX-6 interchangeable lens camera is an outstanding option for anyone looking to upgrade from a point-n-shoot or from a much larger dSLR with less power and a smaller feature set. With the APS-C sized imaging sensor and BIONZ processor, this camera is more powerful and higher quality than many of the consumer model dSLR cameras on the market. Its burst shooting modes and creative features are enough to keep anyone entertained, no matter how much photography experience they have. WiFi capabilities and the PlayMemories store give it an edge over everyone else, as you can purchase and download new shooting modes and useful apps to your Android or iOS powered devices. With a MSRP of $999.99 (kit with 16-50mm power zoom lens),  it falls right in line with the other ILC cameras in its class.

You can check out the price of this camera on Adorama by clicking here

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