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Sony NEX-6: Image Quality Summary and Verdict

By Paul Nuttall


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Review Price £820.00

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.

Sony NEX-6 sample image

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.

Sony NEX-6 sample image

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.

Sony NEX-6: Verdict

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.

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December 2, 2012, 9:59 pm

Why no mention of the ISO standard hotshoe? Along with the EVF, for many that is also a big reason to go for 6 over the 5R.

Scott 2

December 3, 2012, 3:19 pm

Good review as usual. Couple of points/questions. The phrase "JPEGs are processed effectively enough to elevate them over the standard of Raw files" doesn't make sense. Possibly worth a sentence of explanation in future reviews if you're going to mention raw files, or leave out completely.

Separate but related point, White Balance accuracy is irrelevant for a lot of raw shooters.

Also, probably unfair to base the view of camera quality on the kit lens. They're not usually that good are they? Apart from rare examples in more expensive kits (when you could argue they're not really "kit lenses"). I know lots of people stick with the kit lens (yes yes, why buy an ILC etc etc) but the shouldn't the point be "the kit lens isn't great so that's your first upgrade"?

Martin Daler

December 3, 2012, 4:56 pm

I'm happy with the camera being judged as sold, with maybe a caveat that IQ improvements are available to those who wish to spend more money on replacement lenses. But if so, then the total cost of achieving the higher IQ needs to be shown in contention with alternative solutions at the higher price.

In other words, if I want to realise the camera's maximum potential IQ over the focal lengths covered by the kit lens, how much extra will I need to spend on replacing the kit lens, and what else could I buy at that higher total price?


January 3, 2013, 6:13 pm

Really 7 out of 10? BS review and one website to take off my list...trusted reviews my A

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