Tue, 19 Feb 2013 Sony NEX-6 review
Affordable alternative to semi-pro NEX-7 comes with viewfinder, touch screen, Wi-Fi
- Manufacturer: Sony
- Pros: Compact yet with a rock solid construction, APS-C sensor is larger than that found in most CSC’s, body integral viewfinder, touch screen control provides best-of-both-worlds operation when used in conjunction with manual controls, tilting high resolution backscreen
- Cons: Bland design that is more functional than inspirational, costs as much as a very good digital SLR which would offer marginally better picture quality, some will prefer to twin this with a manual zoom for more precise control
- Price: £829 with 16-50mm ‘Power Zoom’ lens or £709 body only
- Star rating:
One of a pair of Sony’s latest compact system cameras (CSC’s) – the other being the previously reviewed NEX-5R – the NEX-6 is the more senior model to come with Wi-Fi and access to online apps and updates. As it also adds an electronic viewfinder – for those who prefer holding a camera up to their eye to take a shot – plus tilting touch screen at the rear and a vacant hotshoe up top for accessory flashgun, it could be said to offer a more affordable alternative to the range topping £1,000+ NEX-7.
Whilst that describes where it sits in the series, the fact that a 16.1-megapixel APS-C sensor the match of any DSLR’s rests at the NEX-6’s heart may be reason enough for purchase. Our review sample also came bundled with a removable 16-50mm ‘Power Zoom’, its mechanised operation controlled by a sliding switch on the lens barrel, so there’s no need (or ability) to manually twist left or right to zoom in or out. This made for smoother adjustments during video recording, whilst the profile of the lens and camera is also narrower in combination than when twinned with a more conventional manual zoom. If you do prefer the more hands on approach, then go for the body-only option minus the lens at £120 less and choose just such a lens.
At £829 all-in however, the NEX-6 isn’t the cheapest CSC. It shares a space towards the top-end of the market with Nikon’s equally new and robust V2 as well as Canon’s slightly over-priced EOS M. Unlike the latter, which is smaller, this Sony comes with a comfortably rounded handgrip which should aid its use with longer and heavier lenses. If buying an adapter, a greater variety of optics from Sony’s Alpha DSLR range can additionally be attached, so the potential to expand is here. But if you’re not a photo enthusiast particularly bothered about an eye-level viewfinder, then there are certainly cheaper options, not least from Sony’s own NEX-5 with the same sensor plus regular 18-55mm manual zoom for around £669.
We’re not fans of the flat fronted minimalist design that defines the Sony NEX range – remove the lens and it’s blandly monolithic – but the image quality here speaks for itself, being one of the closest matches for the kind of sharpness, colour and clarity that can be achieved with a conventional digital SLR.
The NEX-6 should draw in photo enthusiast thanks to high-resolution eye level viewfinder with built-in sensor for near immediate activation