Sony NEX-6 review

Another NEX with Wi-Fi and apps

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Sony has employed its now familiar flat body and deep grip styling, making the Sony NEX-6 instantly recognisable as a Sony NEX camera.

There's also the high-quality feel that we have come to expect from this level of camera.

The textured covering of the grip and the back of the camera is very effective and it, plus the deep finger-hold, makes the Sony NEX-6 extremely comfortable to hold one-handed. In fact, we carried the camera by the grip for a few hours during one stage of this test, and had no use for the strap.

Sony NEX 6 review

Unlike the Sony NEX-5R, the Sony NEX-6 has a mode dial on its top-plate for selecting the exposure mode. This dial has a high quality feel, and although it doesn't have a lock, its action is stiff enough to prevent it from being knocked too easily between settings.

Beneath the mode dial is another dial for adjusting settings such as aperture and shutter speed. This falls conveniently within reach of your right thumb and has click-stops that make it clear when you have made a setting change, but some people may find that their thumb rubs on the mode dial when they are using it.

As well as the 3-inch 921,600-dot LCD display, there's a 2,359,000-dot electronic viewfinder. Although its colour and contrast doesn't always match the main screen's, it provides a pretty decent view in most situations, and is very useful in bright sunlight.

Sony NEX 6 review

That said, we found that the 3-inch screen provides a clear view, and when set to its brightest or to its Sunny Weather option, it is even possible to see images on it in direct sunlight (at least in UK October sunlight).

However, we struggled to see the active AF point on several occasions, since it doesn't stand out very well on the display in bright light.

It's worth noting that as well as brightening the screen, the Sunny Weather setting increases the LCD's local contrast, boosts its saturation and warms the image to the extent that we had to double check that there wasn't a Picture Effect selected.

Sony NEX 6 review

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Helpfully, there is a sensor that detects when the camera is held to the eye, and the EVF is turned on while the LCD is switched off. Sony says that it has worked on the speed of switching between the two, and we found it very quick.

Despite this, it doesn't switch to the EVF too easily, which is good when you want to shoot from the hip and the camera is close to the body.

There are three disappointments with the Sony NEX-6's LCD screen. Firstly, it's a tilting unit rather than a fully articulating device, so it's no help when shooting upright images from awkward angles.

Sony NEX 6 review

Also, it can't flip right up over the camera like the Sony NEX-5R's screen, so it doesn't enable you to compose self-portraits (although there is a remote viewfinder app available if you have a smartphone).

The final issue is that it's not touch-sensitive. This seems very odd given that the Sony NEX-5R's screen is touch-sensitive. It would be very useful for inputting Wi-Fi and Facebook passwords and so on, as well as for setting the focus point.

Sony's new 16-50mm powerzoom kit lens gives the Sony NEX-6 a nice, neat profile, and is perfectly sized for the camera. However, we found that we accidentally zoomed in on a few occasions because the zoom switch falls under the natural resting place for the thumb.

Sony NEX 6 review

There's also a lens ring that can be used for zooming in or out and adjusting manual focus. Perhaps it would have been better to have a push-pull arrangement with this ring to avoid the accidental focal length adjustments.

The menu is typical Sony NEX and pretty extensive, so it takes some getting to grips with, but it is generally logically arranged.

The metering, white balance, dynamic range optimisation, Creative Styles and Picture Effect settings (to name just a few), are all found in the Brightness and Color section.

Sony NEX 6 review

There's a separate Image Size area for aspect ratio and image quality, and controls over things like the focusing and drive mode are found in the Camera section.

Apps can be downloaded and accessed via the Application section of the menu.

If you want to change the brightness of the LCD screen or the information it displays, you need to look in the Set-up menu.

Sony NEX 6 review

A Function (Fn) button adjacent to the camera's shutter release button can be used to access up to six of the commonly used settings.

Since it's not possible to use the picture effects when shooting raw files, we assigned the Picture Effects and Image Quality options to the function menu so that we could quickly make the necessary changes. We also accessed the HDR and DRO options via this route.

Two buttons on the back of the Sony NEX-6 are also customisable, but we've found that the lower one defaults back to the AF point selection mode in some AF modes.

Sony NEX 6 review

Sony's PlayMemories camera app service is now up and running, and we found it easy to access and download apps. There aren't many available yet, but there should be more coming over time.

Direct Upload is useful for uploading images to Facebook direct from the camera, while the Remote Control app enables you to compose images on your smartphone screen and adjust exposure compensation remotely.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
Product Familyalpha NEX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesNoise Reduction, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Face Detection, Live View, External Flash Shoe, Smile Detection
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)287 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4912 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height66.9 mm
Width119.9 mm
Depth42.6 mm
Product SeriesNEX
Focal Length16 mm to 50 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNEX-6
Product NameAlpha NEX-6 Camera with 16-50mm Lens
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Programmed AE
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter-Speed Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNEX6LB.CE
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Get it all with the Sony Alpha NEX-6 camera and included 16-50mm retractable zoom lens (SELP-1650). This powerful little shooter will fit in your jacket pocket yet still boasts a wish list of incredible features. Like an XGA OLED TruFinder™ electronic viewfinder and DSLR-like dials for intuitive, hands-on control of camera functions. Focus and track fast-moving subjects with the speed and accuracy of phase and contrast detection thanks to Fast Hybrid AF, then shoot 16.1MP photos at a blistering 10 fps so you never miss a moment of the action. The NEX-6 comes complete with a built-in pop-up flash and a large Exmor APS-C HD CMOS image sensor for superb image quality. Plus, Wi-Fi capability means you can transfer photos directly to your smartphone or tablet with the PlayMemories Mobile™ app for instant sharing of your photos and videos. The included retractable zoom lens collapses to just 3/16" making it the perfect choice for on-the-go shooting when a compact, lightweight lens is ideal.

Package Contents
  • Alpha NEX-6 Camera with 16-50mm Lens
  • 16-50mm SELP-1650 E-Mount Power Zoom Lens
  • NP-FW50 Rechargeable Battery
  • AC-UB10 AC Adaptor
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Body Cap
  • Eyepiece Cup
  • CD-ROM
  • Micro USB Cable
Limited Warranty1 Year