I still use a DSLR. Unlike my colleague Dan Seifert (and a handful of other staffers at The Verge), I" never been willing to lớn sacrifice the speed and control of my Nikon D7000 khổng lồ get a smaller, lighter camera. It" really not an image chất lượng issue — Sony" NEX lineup typically takes excellent pictures, as vì chưng a number of Micro Four Thirds cameras. I carry the back-breakingly enormous D7000 around because it" so incredibly easy lớn control thanks to lớn myriad buttons, dials, và wheels.

I" the exact user Sony had in mind as it designed the latest round of NEX lineups, particularly the NEX-6. The company" successfully found a place between a point-and-shoot & a DSLR, but now its sights are phối squarely on the five-pound chunk of D7000 body and lenses in my backpack.

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That" why, in addition to the NEX-standard APS-C sensor, 18-55mm kit lens, roomy touchscreen, & lightweight body, the NEX-6 offers a level of manual control previously only available on the expensive NEX-7, & it might be even better. When my colleague Dan Seifert reviewed the NEX-5R, he found it lớn be a great option for people who just want lớn point, shoot, và take pictures. But this mã sản phẩm appears to finally be capable of replacing my DSLR — và at $1,000, it" surprisingly affordable if it can vì so. I couldn" wait to reviews the camera, và find out once and for all if it" time lớn sell my D7000 and get cozy with something smaller.


After all of two seconds of holding the NEX-6, my D7000 had already started to look fat and ugly. The same thing happens every time I nhận xét a mirrorless camera – they" designed lớn be comfortable to hold, carry, & use, while most DSLRs are all function & no form. The NEX-6 và its tiny 16-50mm kit lens weigh only a hair over a pound, và the camera itself is barely over an inch thick. The whole setup fits neatly into my jacket pocket, & I hardly noticed its heft.

Many smaller cameras are actually harder lớn handle, just because there" less to hold onto, but the NEX-6 has a big, leathery grip on its right side that makes it totally usable in one hand. On vị trí cao nhất of the grip are the nguồn switch, shutter release, và a programmable Function button (I used it for quickly changing between manual và automatic focus, which is pretty handy). There" a full-sized hotshoe on top of the camera, next to a flexible pop-up flash that you can point up or down rather than just blasting it at your subjects. It" the same flash as you" find on the NEX-7 or F3, và it" the only internal flash I find myself actually using.

The back of the camera is hard lớn tell apart from its brethren — there" a five-way dial, two menu buttons that correspond to lớn on-screen options, & a dedicated button for starting đoạn phim recording. I lượt thích that there" no separate mode for shooting video clip — you just hit the button & it starts recording with whatever settings you" already chosen. There aren" as many buttons here as on many DSLRs, but most of the key options are certainly within reach.

Really, though, the NEX-6 is all about a dial. The full-fledged PASM mode dial on the right side of the camera" vị trí cao nhất edge, on vị trí cao nhất of the scroll wheel (itself new khổng lồ the most recent NEX models) by itself transformed how I used the camera. I tend to lớn shoot either in Aperture priority mode or Manual mode, and on previous NEX models switching was a clumsy process that required digging into the camera" menu system each & every time. Having a physical dial means I can keep focused on what I" shooting, rather than what mode I" entering or leaving, or how to lớn find it — it also makes the NEX-6 a LOT easier to just hand lớn someone và have them use, since the dial" so familiar và you don" have to lớn teach them a series of taps and scrolls to get through the thực đơn system.





The scroll wheel encircles the mode dial, và its function is dependent on the mode you’re in. When the top wheel set khổng lồ Aperture priority mode, scrolling the bottom dial changes aperture; same goes for shutter in S. In Manual mode, the dial controls aperture, & shutter tốc độ is managed by the wheel on the back — that one can take a minute khổng lồ figure out, but is totally intuitive once you realize the back wheel spins. The mode dial itself is a little hard to lớn spin, and really requires two fingers to move properly, but that" for the best since changing shooting modes by accident can cause huge problems.

The control layout is the best Sony" ever put on a NEX model, full stop. It" better than the unmarked wheels on the NEX-7, which are remarkably powerful but occasionally confusing & unintuitive — having a mode dial và two control wheels is what most photographers are used to, and for good reason. Even some more advanced controls lượt thích ISO and exposure are accessible via the hardware buttons on the back, and I found myself almost never having to lớn go into the thực đơn system at all. If you ask me, that" the goal with a camera — the less I have to scroll through menus và options, the better. The UI is the same as it ever was, by the way, a functional camera interface that occasionally tries too hard to hold your hand và teach you how lớn use the device.

While Sony" figured out how lớn put DSLR-like controls on a much smaller camera, it unfortunately can" achieve the physics-bending required lớn get an optical viewfinder onto a mirrorless camera. (The mirror on a DSLR is used to deflect light into the viewfinder, và then it flips up when you hit the shutter so light can get to lớn the sensor — that" why the viewfinder goes dark while you" capturing a shot with a DSLR.) Instead the NEX-6 has an electronic viewfinder, made up of a 2,359,296-dot OLED display — the EVF is probably the most obvious differentiator between Sony" high- and low-end cameras. Sony" EVFs are easily among the best on the market, with sharp và clear screens, và electronic viewfinders are able to show information and options that an OVF can" — you can scroll through menus and change options without ever taking your eye off the viewfinder. But it" like looking at the world through a TV versus looking through a window: the picture looks nice, but it" not the real scene. The EVF makes pictures out to lớn be slightly brighter & higher-contrast than they actually are, và gives everything a slightly cartoony feel. I eventually learned lớn compensate, and could figure out what a shot would look like, but it" really hard for me khổng lồ get over the fact that what I" seeing in the viewfinder isn" what the scene looks like, or how the camera will capture it.

The sharp, 3-inch, 921,600-dot LCD on the back of the camera gives a much more accurate picture, & as with most NEX cameras it quickly became my mặc định way of using the camera — I" a die-hard viewfinder user in general, but I didn" mind it too much in this case. The screen articulates so you can hold it above your head or below your waist và still see the display, though it" not as versatile as the NEX-5R" 180-degree tilt that lets you take self-portraits. Also unlike the NEX-5R, it" not a touchscreen. That" mostly an insignificant loss, especially since the NEX-6" controls are so robust already, but I did miss being able khổng lồ tap khổng lồ focus — it" a handy way khổng lồ get more control without switching into fully manual focusing mode.

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Every camera manufacturer seems to lớn have decided on the importance of Wi-Fi at exactly the same time (except for Nikon, which has been slightly ahead of the curve), and each company is trying to lớn figure out how best khổng lồ integrate wireless connectivity into their products. It" still early days in that respect, but I already know one thing for sure: Sony hasn" cracked the code yet.

There are two basic pieces lớn Sony" wireless strategy. The first is a simple share-to-smartphone option, which connects with the PlayMemories Mobile tiện ích for Android and iOS. It works, technically, but it" a mess: you have lớn connect your phone khổng lồ the camera via a direct Wi-Fi network, using different passwords all the time, và then every time you want to send more pictures you have lớn re-engage the whole clunky process. It" a faster way to get your photos on Instagram, I suppose, but it" not nearly as good as it could be. There’s also no way to lớn wirelessly send photos lớn your computer, which strikes me as a huge oversight and a missed opportunity; I’d love lớn be able khổng lồ just put my camera down on my desk and have it send everything right to lớn my laptop.

The second piece is essentially an ứng dụng store that Sony built into the NEX-6. There are six apps available for the camera, all made by Sony, that địa chỉ cửa hàng bracketing features or direct uploading khổng lồ various services. The apps are okay — four are free, two cost $4.99 — and I really like the idea of an app store for a camera that lets you get new features without buying a new mã sản phẩm or dealing with clunky firmware upgrades. But six apps does not an tiện ích store make, and I" skeptical that Sony" going lớn be committed enough to make this really work.

Otherwise, you don’t get much outside of Sony’s standard Sweep Panorama mode, & a few scene modes và filters. There are two auto modes — Intelligent tự động hóa and Superior tự động hóa — though for the life of me I can’t tell why. Superior tự động is clearly, well, superior, since it’s able to lớn access more noise-reduction features and scene modes. The only other things I used frequently were HDR and the focusing peaking feature, which does a nice job of displaying exactly what’s in focus in your shot.

The NEX may not technically be the fastest NEX ever, though it feels like it to me. The camera can turn on & capture a photo in about three seconds, và takes about a half-second between shots in single-shot mode. It can shoot five or six per second in continuous mode — actually it can go even faster, up to about 10 per second, but for most people I" recommend sticking with the plain-vanilla continuous mode, which re-focuses before every shot & is still plenty fast. The NEX-6 is fast without being mind-blowingly so, but the intuitive & powerful controls make it feel zippier than any NEX I" used before. Moving through menus is smooth và fast, và since there" no touchscreen I didn" have any of the lag issues we experienced with the NEX-5R.

I was able lớn take about 250 photos và shoot 15 minutes of đoạn clip before the NEX-6" battery gave up the ghost, which is solid for a mirrorless camera but definitely behind a camera lượt thích the D7000, which I" pushed beyond 800 shots before it died. Fortunately, battery life is less of an issue than with most cameras because the NEX-6 charges via a Micro USB port. You won" need to carry around huge external chargers or constantly remove the battery — there" a good chance it" work with your phone charger, and even if not a Micro USB charger is always easy lớn find.



You" have lớn spend an awful lot more for notably better pictures
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The last NEX camera I tested was the NEX-F3, the low-end mã sản phẩm in the lineup. I generally liked the images it produced, but wasn" blown away, và given that the NEX-6 shares its 16.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, I was a little worried. But as Dan also found with the 5R, the NEX-6 takes excellent pictures – it" certainly on par with a similarly priced DSLR. It" not as good as a full-frame DSLR, of course, but pictures are every bit as good as most mid-range devices I" tested lượt thích the Canon T4i or the Pentax K-30. I" particularly impressed with its dynamic range, which was the F3" Achilles" heel — I" definitely seen cameras with more range between the brightest và darkest spots of an image, but the NEX-6 does a nice job of splitting the difference và giving you an image that" occasionally the slightest bit dark, but always looks good.

Even in low light, I" happy with the NEX-6" performance. Its ISO range technically goes up to ISO 25,600, though I never recommend shooting that high —you can actually see the software working in the moment after you shoot a photo at that level, & what it gives you is an incredibly soft, mushy image. ISO 3200 covers most situations, though, & photos shot at that level look great — it" the upper range for shooting in Auto, và having that kind of performance gives you a lot of freedom when you" shooting. Photos are pretty much noise-free up khổng lồ about ISO 1250, but unless you" printing billboards I wouldn" worry until at least ISO 3200.

Colors are accurate, details are crisp, and I" particularly impressed with how sharp images are throughout the picture. Part of that is definitely due khổng lồ the new 16-50mm kit lens Sony designed for this camera — it" much smaller than the giant 18-55mm lens that has come with older NEX cameras, và it also offers smooth and quiet power zooming. It" a really good, sharp lens, và feels impressively high-quality for a kit lens that" only a $150 premium over the body-only price. Speaking of lenses, Sony’s E-mount ecosystem definitely still lags behind the Micro Four Thirds lenses available khổng lồ Panasonic & Olympus owners. And, of course, all are positively dwarfed by what Canon and Nikon offer. But Sony’s ecosystem is growing, & with a kit lens this good many people may not need khổng lồ buy more lenses anyway.

NEX cameras have always been solid pint-sized camcorders, và the NEX-6 upholds the tradition. It shoots 1080p đoạn phim at 60 or 24 frames per second, in the AVCHD format that" kind of a pain to giảm giá with but is increasingly common in these cameras. You can also shoot MP4 footage, but the only HD option is 1440 x 1080 — your best bet is probably to lớn just khuyến mãi with managing AVCHD. đoạn clip generally looks great, but beware if either you or your subject is moving quickly — the NEX-6 shows a lot of the rolling shutter effect, turning solid objects into wavy, wobbly jello as you move quickly. But as long as you" not sprinting down the street, you should be okay.