During testing the NEX-6’s metering system proved consistently reliable. In especially bright scenes or in high-contrast scenes we were occasionally required to dial in a dab of positive exposure compensation in order to lift shadow details. Alternatively, the NEX-6’s Dynamic Range Optimizer feature has a noticeable effect on these kinds of images too.
The Automatic White Balance (AWB) setting behaves well in natural light, although we found performance to be mixed when shooting under artificial sources, with images not always retaining the true character of the lighting source.
While the new powered zoom kit lens proves flexible in use, we did find that it was a little soft when used at its maximum aperture. Nudging it down a couple of stops visibly improves sharpness and fine detail. Distortion at 16mm is pronounced, although the in-camera processing does manage to rectify this to a reasonable degree. Some chromatic aberration is also visible in both Raw and JPEG images.
JPEGs are processed effectively enough to elevate them over the standard of Raw files, although not so harshly that artefacts appear. Typically they receive a slight contrast boost over Raw files, and noise is also effectively removed, but the combination of noise reduction and sharpening can leave images with a watercolour-like effect.
The Sony NEX-6 bridges the gap between the flagship NEX-7 and the more consumer-orientated NEX-5R, borrowing features from both models. From the NEX-7 it takes the bright and highly detailed electronic viewfinder, while from the NEX-5R it takes the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Coming in around £140 cheaper than the NEX-7 and yet sporting a similar feature set, the NEX-6 certainly represents good value for money. If, however, an EVF isn’t a ‘must-have’ feature for you then the NEX-5R probably represents a better investment. Image quality from the NEX-6 can be excellent at times, although minor white balance inconsistencies and poor corner sharpness with the 16-50mm kit zoom can conspire to put a slight dampener on things. Still, with prompt write and shot-to-shot times, as well as a competent AF system, the NEX-6 remains a solid – if not quite outstanding – performer.