"SLR Quality with Minimal Baggage"5.0 starson by Informed_Buyer
Pros: See Pros in My Summary
Cons: See Cons in My Summary
Summary: The NEX-6 is small, lightweight, ideal when space is at a premium and doesn't compromise on the quality of still or video footage shots that you can capture (I have been able to put the camera in a pocket without feeling bulked out). The camera is equally strong across both media and avoids the need to double up with kit.Edit:
Automatic options enable the snapshot amateur to produce excellent results without needing to delve into features in depth and a host of shooting options are available via on screen menus for the more exacting or professional photographer. On screen help menus offer the opportunity to become proficient on the fly rather than constantly consulting a printed manual.
* At a glance
Pros: High quality across still shots and video. Compact. Built in viewfinder. Simplified ergonomics for snapshots. Integral flash. Motorised zoom.
Cons: Unlike the NEX-5N the menu is not 'touch screen'. Charging is 'within camera' - no external battery charger is supplied.
* In the box
The camera body with 18-50mm power zoom lens attached (no body or rear lens caps included), strap, battery, in-camera charger, detachable cup for the viewfinder, software and a handbook.
IMPORTANT NOTE: No memory card is included as part of the package so you may wish to consider purchasing one, particularly if this is intended as a gift to avoid disappointment. I use a class 10 card, which offers sufficient speed to ensure video footage can be copied down without errors, as well as a reasonably fast turn-around for individual shots without missing the action.
* Ease of Operation
A few camera operations have been simplified for the first time user, such as transfer of some of the menu options to on-body dials. However, I found the overall feel of the NEX-6 slightly strange after using the NEX-5N and it took me a couple of weeks to break 'learnt' habits but someone coming fresh to the range may find it easier. I confess that even the on/off switch was a mystery until I had consulted the manual - it is back to where it always had been in the days when I had used an SLR, neatly housed around the base of the shutter release.
The LCD screen can be tilted up to sit at 90 degrees to the camera body, which makes it much easier to monitor what you are taking when the camera is on a tripod or held at low level. The screen can then also be tilted to face down (sitting in a v-shape at about 30 degrees to the camera), which would make it easier to take shots above the head, for example.
There are two automatic shooting modes that mean you can practise taking shots with the camera without needing to wade through the entire manual first, which will probably be a relief given the manual is an inch thick, although 'only' 63 pages are in English. A far more comprehensive manual running to 247 pages (all in English) can be downloaded from the supplied CD. Once you start to feel familiar with the camera, this is well worth a look as it will help ensure you get the most out of what is a fantastic camera.
I missed the touch screen of the NEX-5N to start with but (after initially feeling slightly at sea) the built in viewfinder and flash combined with more menu features that are laid out on dials actually work out very well in the NEX-6 and I do prefer it. For instance, the panoramic photograph feature is something I was increasingly using; it has to be turned on/off via the menu system on the NEX-5N whereas the NEX-6 has this option on a dial offering this style of shooting at the flick of a switch (well, turn of a dial, but you know what I mean).
* Picture and Video Quality
These are both superb. When new to the camera, the automatic options will enable you to immediately take great images without very much effort, even in very low light levels. Your skills can be honed via the host of shooting options accessed via the menu or dial but I know that, even if I have to grab the camera to catch something unexpected, the resultant shot will be good.
* Battery charger
I was a little disappointed to find that the battery (and any spares) can only be charged whilst in the camera with the supplied accessory. It isn't a deal breaker, minor overall and if you only use one battery you'll wonder why I even mention it. I do take a lot of photographs and film and, although the battery life is good, I always have at least one spare battery for fear of running out on a long day out. An external charger makes life easier and is one accessory I'd recommend as an optional extra.
* Interchangeable Lenses
The camera is supplied with a 16-50mm power zoom lens. It provides a good, albeit basic range of framing possibilities, aided by the digital zoom automatically kicking in after a slight pause at the 50mm level. By magnifying the existing image, the digital zoom will reduce the resolution of the result. It is worth noting that this quality reduction is not so apparent through the viewfinder and may result in a disparity between the quality of what you see on camera and the end result.
The supplied 16-50mm lens is ideal when it comes to movie footage as it is possible to zoom in or out on your subject matter with less risk of camera shake than is the case if you manually operate via the ring.
Sony offer a range of fully compatible lenses to purchase separately, including an 18-200mm zoom that allows you to get much closer to some action and a fisheye convertor for ultra wide angle shots.
One area where I do still hanker a little after the touch screen facility of the NEX-5N. Focusing on objects is more tricky (in the early days anyway) with the NEX-6. I used the NEX-5N screen to notify the camera of the focus subject and this enabled me to obtain perfectly focussed shots of a young Blackbird fledgling hiding within thick foliage. This was a tricky shot (for me) but the NEX-5N made capturing the young bird a relatively easy feat thanks to the touch screen subject identification. The absence of a touch screen meant that I had to consult the manual to learn how to identify a focus subject in a busy scene.
* Viewfinder and Flash
The NEX-6 incorporates both a viewfinder and flash within the camera body. This has been achieved with a few compromises (probably the loss of the touch LCD screen and also ease of access to the SD card, which is slightly tight against the hinge), but they are well worth it.
I was always slightly concerned I might lose the separate flash for the NEX-5N (housed in a case on the strap) and the viewfinder was an expensive extra. The fact that both are now incorporated within the camera body enables one to choose between viewfinder and LCD screen or opt for flash without having to switch kit.
The flip-up/push down flash operates well within a 20 foot space, automatically exposing shots to ensure they are neither under nor over exposed. It adds life to a shot taken in poor light, although the camera is as good as the NEX-5N in poor light conditions in the event that flash is not feasible.
I had grown accustomed to using an LCD screen in isolation for framing shots, focusing and so on but the integrated viewfinder adds the flexibility that a simple move of the camera to the eye 'activates' the viewfinder and makes things significantly easier when strong sunlight can otherwise render the LCD screen image difficult to see.
I love the motorised zoom offered by this lens; it makes zooming in on the subject a much smoother option than it has been with the NEX-5N, albeit the range of the supplied lens is a little limited at 18-50mm. The quality of the footage is superb - I haven't carried a separate camcorder since I started to use an NEX-5 camera a few years ago; there just isn't any need to have a separate video camera anymore.
It can be very easy to get bogged down in technicalities, particularly when faced with such a comprehensive manual. The camera produces good quality movie and still images with very little user input on the automatic settings and I doubt the results would disappoint most users. For the aficionado the NEX-6 offers a treasure trove of features and the CD manual offers enough material to keep any techie happy for months. This is a lovely camera that offers the portability and convenience of a compact without compromising the results. You don't need to be an expert to achieve good results and it does a lot of the hard work for you. The only thing it doesn't do is find the subject material for you.
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I hope this review is helpful.
Updated on Dec 30, 2013
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