Previews

November 11, 2012

First Day with the Sony Nex-6, Sample Photos, PDAF On Sensor Performance, Build Quality and Design Improvements

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - NEX6L/B

I have some Sony Nex-6 sample photos, a few thoughts about the PDAF on sensor performance, and a few build quality and design improvements!! I got the Sony Nex-6 on Friday and it’s now early Sunday morning as I type this, so it’s actually been two days the Sony camera technically.

Michele, Layla, and I went to Loews yesterday to get a few things for the new lab downstairs! I need to get the based board heat registers, and a few Pex to Copper  3/4″ fittings to make up the necessary connections with the existing system. While we were there I took a few snapshots in the store as it offers so much detail and visual interest! I also took a few photos of Layla outside and some random things here and there.

First thoughts on the Nex-6 Build Quality and Design Improvements

The Build Quality on the Sony Nex-6 is very similar and on par with the Sony A57 in my opinion. I would rate it at a confident Semi-Pro Build Quality!! It’s not metal like the Nex-7, but it’s not that smooth cheaper feeling plastic found on the Sony Nex-F3 Reviewed Here >>. It has a strong texture to it and much more rigidity than the Nex-F3 camera body for comparison.

The Tri-pod mount point unfortunately looks pretty similar to the Nex-7 which got ripped off on my camera when I knocked it over. I was hoping Sony would address this, which in fairness may be beefed up somehow inside the camera body.  My Naked Nex-7 is over here >> if you haven’t seen it yet.  If I mount my Gitzo Quick release plate to the Nex-6 tri-pod mount it locks the screen if I don’t have it pulled open a little bit. The Plate is wider than the camera body and has a rubber on it to keep things tight. With the screen in the locked position it is at the same exact plane as the tri-pod mount point and will hold on it basically. This really isn’t a big deal at all, but worth noting and I will show you a photo of what I’m talking about in Nex-6 review.

The 3″ LCD screen is nice and pretty easy to see in the daylight, and the Nex-6 EVF seems to work pretty good although I haven’t used it much at all. I really enjoy the ability of swiveling the screen upward so I can photograph stuff in front of me with the camera at my waist line! Know body knows your taking a picture and just assumes your looking at the screen it seems. A few of my Sony Nex user friends often use the term shooting from the hip I believe ;) It really is fun!!

The New Quick Navi control knobs up top are excellent and very effective alternative to the Nex-7 tri-nav design. In manual mode, the default set-up is Aperture being on the top side horizontal wheel, and the other wheel on the back next to the LCD screen becomes the Shutter Speed. ISO is the right hand side Push activated part of the wheel. It actual spins clockwise and counter clockwise, but also acts as a 4-way button (up,down,left,right). ISO = Right default.

The Sony SEL16F28 Lens works well, but was a bit odd zooming in and out with the lens slide button to be honest. I found it easier to use the lens ring itself for zooming. It was much faster and seemed easier to get where I wanted faster. It seems to work exactly like the RX100′s lens zoom ring from what I can tell so far. Check out the Sony DSC-RX100 Review Here >>

PDAF On Sensor AF Performance

First impressions of the new Fast Hybrid AF on the Nex-6 is very good!

Sony’s advanced Fast Hybrid AF combines two technologies for outstanding performance: Phase detection AF for quick response that is ideal when tracking fast-moving subjects and contrast-detection AF for added precision. A perfect match that delivers optimal Auto Focus for fast, precise focusing in any scene

What the Nex-6 16mp Sensor has exactly is 99 points (phase-detection AF), 25 points (contrast-detection AF) which work together as said above.

The PDAF points are used for speed and telling lens where to start focusing from.

Then the CDAF points take over to pin point the focus. Overall focus to shutter release time is noticeable faster in pretty much all situations I tried so far with the hybrid System. I will show you this on video at some point ;)

 

Sony Nex-6 – Day One Sample Photos

I have a few Nex-6 Sample Photos to show you guys and I swear Layla was eating chocolate cookies in the first photo!!  You can see it in her hand ;) I was shooting in Jpeg mode fine, and I had the portrait skin smoothing feature enabled. It really works awesome for in camera I have to say!

As Always, be sure to Click on the Photos for the 1200PX Gallery Style Version!!

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Layla – Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo – 100% Crop

 

It was pretty bright outside just before we left for Lowes, so the eyes are dark, but the background separation, focus, and sharpness are there.

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Layla – Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo – 100% Crop

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo

 

Perspective – Nex-6  Sample Photos

Some isle photos at the store for perspective, depth, and testing purposes. Note some pretty noticeable barrel distortion at 16mm. This is on auto for in camera correction by default, perhaps fixable set to another setting, I will find out. Corner sharpness detail on the 100 % Crop looks corner pics also looks pretty good. Hand held of course.

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo 100% Crop

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo – 100% Crop Top Left

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo – 100% Crop Center

 

Illustration Mode is Back!!

Illustration Mode is back!! Thanks to the Wi-Fi on the Nex-6 I opened the PlayMemories Camera Apps program and was able to download the Free Picture Effect+ and Smart Remote Control Apps.  I first connected the Sony Nex-6 to my wifi network which was pretty really simple, just like a PC or smart phone it found the network and I entered the password. More detailed info on this later!!

Using Illustration Mode set to High, I took a few pics around the house. First looking off the deck at the mossy roof on the shed with a stack of bricks in front, a tree stump, and a roll up carpet on it’s way to trash on the very bottom.

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the 1200PX Gallery Style Version!!

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo - Illustration Mode

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo- Illustration Mode

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo - Illustration Mode

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo – Illustration Mode

That is me in the mirror :) Hello!!

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo - Illustration Mode

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Sample Photo – Illustration Mode

 

Using the Smart Remote Control App

Using the Smart Remote Control App I was able to take a picture of myself with the camera on the deck railing and me in the house looking at my iPhone looking at what the camera sees on my screen!! Pretty awesome, but I was having a few connection issues for whatever reason.

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Smart Remote Control App

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – Smart Remote Control App

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Smart Remote Control App

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – 100% Crop – Smart Remote Control App


 

Closing Remarks

Well as you can see from the day one sample photos, the Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens is fun to use, takes a great picture set to full auto and using a few of the features like the Apps, and Skin Smoothing. I have not shot any raw photos yet just to let you know, but I did take a short video clip of Layla that came out decent. I’ll probably upload it and share it on the Sony Alpha Forum at some point later today.

Not having to send the Nex-6 back, like a normal review camera, is providing a different perspective on the upcoming review if you can’t tell ;) My Passion for photography and excitement about my New Sony Camera is off the charts!! It’s actually my camera is the obvious difference, but all I’m saying is it feels great and I have a super itchy shutter release finger!! Stay tuned as I’m going to cover every aspect of the Sony Nex-6 from the AF Performance in Video, On Camera Flash Performance and Best Practices, Studio Flash Photography, and Balancing Directional Studio Flash with Ambient Light Outside for killer Professional Grade Portraits!! I also have plans for High ISO noise testing, long exposure photos for fun, and what ever else I feel like doing in the upcoming weeks!!

That is about it for now, and I will catch up with you on the Sony Forum!! Please feel free to request specific testing for the Nex-6, I have a request for a overheating test so far for a reader that I have yet to do, but I’m happy to try and accommodate anything if possible.

Jay

Nex-6 Price: ~$848 US (body Only)
Nex-6 (body only) ~$848 US @ BHPhotoVideo >> | Amazon >> | Adorama >> | Ebay
Nex-6 w/16-50mm lens ~$998 US @ BHPhotoVideo >> | Amazon >> | Adorama >>


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Thanks,
Jay

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!




20 Comments


  1. Hey Jay,

    I’m wondering if you are able to use the AEL button in a similar way as you can with the nex 7 – as a focus button. I have my nex 7 setup up such that when it is in manual focus mode, i’m able to push and hold the AF button on the back to launch autofocus while I hold down the button. Can you set the AEL button, such that, when in manual focus mode, it can be used to activate auto focus and continue focusing until you let go of the button? That’s a key feature I cannot do without and fortunately the nex 7 has it..


    • Jay

      Hello Rishio,

      Thanks for the comments and questions!!

      As far as I can tell it does not have that ability. It is custom programmable, but the only features on the Nex-6 menu that apply are AF/MF Select and MF Assist which zooms in for you, but does not autoFocus. The Nex-7 appears to have the same exact options in the menu so I’m not sure how you have yours set?? Is the rocker in the AEL position or MF/AF position?? Do you have some other option in the menu I don’t see perhaps?

      Thanks,
      Jay


      • Woops – I just noticed your reply. On the nex 7 I have:

        Camera -> AF/MF -> Manual Focus
        Settings -> AEL -> Hold
        Settings ->AF/MF Control -> Hold
        Brightness/Color -> Metering Mode -> spot

        This allows me to set my camera to Manual Focus mode and press the af/mf button to activate autofocus. I set the metering mode to spot only because it puts a small circle in the center of the screen so I can see where the central autofocus point is (which disappears when you put the camera to manual focus mode unless you have it set this way).

        Is this possible with the nex 6?


      • Jay

        Rishio,

        All those settings are on the Nex-6, but the af/mf does not have a physical button assignment. You can change the AEL button to af.mf toggle, but that appears to be about it. I have the mf/af in my Fn menu, so it’s sorta convenient, but not fully button controlled.

        I hope this helps?

        Jay


      • CB

        Jay,
        regarding the dedicated button for focus. I am still confused what it can and cannot do. I have a Canon dslr and ONLY use back button focusing and it makes such a huge difference that I would not buy a camera without this capability. I was out looking tonight and thought I had settled on the nex-6. This is a deal breaker for me. I found this discussion searching for answer to this question specifically. On another site a person wrote that he was able to set it by doing the following; (I have not tried the settings or menu so cannot verify what he says

        “Set the AF/MF to “hold” instead of switch. Set the focus to MF. Whenever you press AF/MF button now, you will engage AF. As soon as you release it – you will stop focusing and being in MF mode, shutter button will not engage AF. Voilá.”


      • Jay

        Hi CB,

        This feature is not an option on the Nex-6 as far as I can tell. I just played with it again for about 10 minutes. No AF/MF button, but the AEL is custom programmable to mf/af. No toggle though, just a selection of af, mf, or dmf.

        The Nex-7 has this feature though and so does the RX100. Very odd that Sony decided to leave this out as several people have wanted it.

        Sorry for the bad news,
        Jay


  2. Jack

    Jay,
    Been shooting with the NEX-6 for a couple of days and share your general sentiment about the camera.

    One area which do concern me is battery life. I have seen a substantial difference (worse) vs. my NEX-5n (with EVF attached). I am trying find out why. WiFi? maybe. Have you found a way to shut it off? Is it on/stand by?

    thanks

    Jack


    • Jay

      I’m not sure Jack. I did notice the battery was going pretty quick, but I was in the menus playing around so much I didn’t pay any mind. Now I’m using the camera more normal, so I will pay closer attention to battery life. Could be the WiFi I suppose, have not tried anything with that other than initial connecting to the web etc.. It’s possible it’s roaming, but I doubt it.

      I’ll get back to ya on this asap, and thanks for sharing your experience and concern ;)

      Jay


      • Jay

        Hey Jack,

        Just wanted to let you know I was reading in the Sony Nex-6 Manual and found this:

        Number of still images recordable with a single charge of the battery pack

        When using the LCD Screen Approx. 360 images
        When using the viewfinder Approx. 270 images!!

        Wow!!
        Jay


  3. Lee Booth

    Hi Jay,

    I have had my nex 6 for about a week now and enjoying the small size and lightweight of the whole set-up. I was looking for this camera to replace my 7D and as much as I like the camera I don’t seem to be getting the same IQ as the 7D which I was kind of expecting to see or am I being unrealistic?

    I have the 15-85mm on my 7D most of the time so guess this is a much better lens than the 16-50mm so that could be the reason.

    I think I can live with the slightly lower IQ as it’s so much easier to carry around.

    The video at 50p is very sharp and very similar to my RX100 which is an awesome camera with F1.8 lens so at the moment until I get some fast glass for the nex it’s actually a better low light camera and video camera.

    One thing I am not sure if it does which I can do on my 7D in video mode is use the autofocus to get focus but then just adjust manually from there without the autofocus kicking back in, I find this a very quick way to get a starting point.

    I see rishio has asked the same question above as me regarding this and it seems the nex 7 has this feature, I hope this can be added in a firmware update and it’s makes things so much quicker in video mode.

    Things I do like about the nex 6 is the viewfinder, it’s very clear and switches from the lcd to evf very quickly. The flip out screen is great although it would have been nice if it came all the way out like the 60D.

    The menu is very complex and took me a few days to find my way around but once I got used to the layout I can pretty much find my way to all the features but if you use the Function button + Display you don’t really need to go in to the menu to change much.

    Love your site and enjoy the review, was just reading about the 18-200mm Sony E-mount old and new and it sounds like the older one is better for video but a bit heavier.


    • Jay

      Hi Lee,

      “I have had my nex 6 for about a week now and enjoying the small size and lightweight of the whole set-up. I was looking for this camera to replace my 7D and as much as I like the camera I don’t seem to be getting the same IQ as the 7D which I was kind of expecting to see or am I being unrealistic?

      I have the 15-85mm on my 7D most of the time so guess this is a much better lens than the 16-50mm so that could be the reason.”

      Yes it is unrealistic to think the Sony Nex-6 will have the same IQ performance as the 7D. The PDAF sensors on the Nex-6 are incredible small and embedded in the actual 16mp image sensor. The Canon 7D has a much larger PDAF Module located above the mirror dedicated for focus with gigantic sensors. Gigantic in comparison to the ones on the Nex-6 sensor. The way it’s explained in the documentation, the PDAF sensors on the Nex-6 will simple find the highest contrast area and then tell the CDAF focus system where to start focusing from. So the fine tuning is still done by the CDAF, but overall focus speed is significantly improved.

      “Love your site and enjoy the review, was just reading about the 18-200mm Sony E-mount old and new and it sounds like the older one is better for video but a bit heavier.”

      Thanks, and yes the new Sony 18-200mm is much closer to the Tarmron 18-200mm in quality and the original Sony 18-200mm is best of the three at the cost of size and weight.

      As for the MF/AF issue, I think it might be the DMF feature possible, but I still need to mess with it as I never really used it. It seems that must be the feature you guys are talking about as the menus are identical in that regard as far as I can tell. I’ll try it as soon as my extended video test is done!! As of now I’m up to 70 minutes or so at 1080/60P and the battery is at 25% with no over heating issues and one memory card format so far. 8gig filled up at about 38 minutes I think.

      When the battery is almost dead I’ll stop the video and try the DMF quick. Stay tuned for the results!!

      Talk to ya later.

      Jay


      • Jay

        Lee and Rishio,

        The AF/MF issue: I cannot duplicate what you guys are describing with the Nex-6 and 16-50mm lens. It sounds awesome, but I think it might just be a Nex-7 featur or DMF doesn’t seem to work correctly with the 16-50mm power zoom lens. The lens ring only seems to zoom with dmf enabled. I might need a lens with a real focus ring to know for sure or I’m missing a setting somewhere.

        Sry about that!! Perhaps another Nex-6 owner can test this quick with another lens please and reply here?? Otherwise, stay tuned as I will find out asap.

        Best,
        Jay


      • Lee Booth

        Hi Jay and Rishio,

        Thanks for the comments and explaining about the 7D sensor, I also looked at the EOS M before I brought the Nex 6 and loved the image quality but the slow AF put me off the IQ looked very similar to the 7d.

        Anyway I made a very interesting find tonight while playing with my RX100, you are able to set the function of the center button to AF/MF toggle so you can focus using the AF and then press the center button to switch to MF and boom it’s locked, work great and makes things much quicker, I hope the nex 6 can do this as well.

        Cheers

        Lee


      • Lee Booth

        Gutted, just had a play around with the menu and can’t find this feature anywhere, very disappointed, can’t believe my RX100 has this and the nex 6 doesn’t, come on Sony get your act together and give us this feature!!!!


    • Rich

      I believe IQ will be better on the nex-6 compared to the 7D given comparable lenses –

      I think the difference you are seeing is down lenses you have on the respective bodies. The Nex-6 sensor is the same sensor as the Nikon d7000 and Pentax K-5 which is widely regarded as the best performing low light APS-C sensor to date.
      Clearly the 7d is superior in other areas though, especially af performance.


  4. Jay

    You can set the AEL button to AF/MF on the Nex-6 as well. I tried that last night, but it wasn’t really doing what you guys were describing. Now it makes sense to me. You using AF and then actually switching back to MF. I thought you were using some kind of combo mode or something.

    Custom Key settings!! It’s there!

    Jay


    • Lee Booth

      Hi Jay,

      Sort off, on the RX100 you just press the button once and it switches between AF and MF but on the nex 6 it’s brings up the focus menu and then you have to select AF / MF / DMF so not as fast but I guess it’s better than nothing at this point.

      Cheers

      Lee


      • Jay

        Lee,

        Yeah, I just confirmed it on my Nex-6. It’s AF/MF Select, not Toggle. Oh well, seems like a cool feature anyways. Hopefully it will come with a firmware, but I doubt it.

        Best,
        Jay


  5. Marco

    Hello, Jay
    I think to buy the nex6, but i’m wandering if I can see deep of field in wiewfinder before I shot?
    I want to use nex for macro photography and I need to see exactly out of focus areas.

    Thanks


    • Jay

      Hi Marco,

      I sincerely apologize for missing your question!!

      Yes, it does change the actual aperture on the fly, so depth of field is always represented!!

      Best,
      Jay



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