Sony Nex-6 Review: Mirrorless DSLR?

Would you care to take a snap? This is not something I am asking you. This is what a very pretty lady who was doubling as a presenter for a photography business platform at a recently concluded music festival approached me with. She would probably have gauged me as a prospective customer by looking at the point and shoot camera I was carrying which in most cases would not give the uber cool image quality one of the DSLRs the photographers from the company were brandishing. That set me thinking on when can we actually get a popular camera that isn’t a pain to carry around and also delivers upon that picture perfect moment with a memorable photograph. Well if this camera from Sony is any indication, then along with me, many other people would be finding their answers soon. To actually speculate more on whether this camera is the answer to the neutral point between a point and shoot camera and a DSLR or not, check out this review of the Sony Nex-6

SPECS SPEAK

DESIGN: The Sony Nex-6 is designed to be the perfect crossover camera. It is handy as a point and shoot camera and has the functionality of a DSLR. Without saying much about it, if I was to simply point at the best design feature on the Sony Nex-6, it would undoubtedly be the manual and simple control funtionality that is available via the systematic knobs on the device. The Nex-6 is as slim as your average point and shoot camera at around one inch thickness and it weighs along with its 16-50 mm kit lens just a tad above a pound. The Nex-6 also comes with a flash thats designed to be pointed up or down based on subject location of photography. Furthermore the most handy design feature that sets it apart is the addition of the function key at the top which makes it very easy to access the best of the camera options without having to search deep into the menus and sub-menus. Another design aspect that I am really happy about is the leather side-grip not much unlike the old photo film based cameras which make holding and actually retaining a grip on a small camera a very easy affair. All said and seen, the designing preview of the Sony Nex-6 gets a definite thumbs up from me.

Best Design Speak: For your benefit let me scope out the best design aspects that stand out for the Sony Nex-6

  • The Grip: The leather emboss grip gives a good hold over the camera, which is a feature that’s lacking in most mirrorless cameras making them devoid of a proper hold which most people hate.
  • Functional Controls: The functional manual controls which have been embedded into the design of the Nex-6 give it the needed push towards functionality rivaling that of a DSLR.

HARDWARE: To deliver the hardware specifications lets again take a look from the top end controls that we saw while going over the design specs. The top of the leather hold area houses the power switch, shutter release, and a programmable function button. The back of the camera houses the following:

  • 5 way dial
  • Two Menu buttons for on screen options
  • Dedicated video recording button
  • Full Fledged PASM mode dial on top right edge above the scroll wheel

The best part of the hardware on the Sony Nex-6 is the ability to move between modes of capture just by using the PASM mode dial which is on the top edge on the right side above the scroll wheel. This particular feature makes the selection of shooting modes very swift and effortless and removes the clumsiness associated to earlier point and shoot cameras. The Sony Nex-6 also features a flexible flash as mentioned in the design specs. This flexible flash allows for the training of the flash on the desired subject spot allowing better illumination. All in all again hardware too is a thumbs up experience from my end. And before I close off on the hardware section of the Sony Nex-6 let me take you through how to use the PASM dial in tandem with the scroll wheel.

How To ?

Since I am going on and about how the PASM dial stands out as the most intriguing hardware feature on the Sony Nex-6, let me give a how to use run through on the utility of the same.

  • When the PASM dial is set to Aperture mode, the scroll wheel adjustments adjusts the aperture.
  • Similarly when using the shutter mode, the scroll wheel adjusts the shutter.
  • When the mode is set to manual, the mode dial controls the aperture and the shutter can be controlled via the wheel on the back of the camera.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY SPEAK: The basic reason we would like to take a camera in our hands is so that we can focus upon taking memorable pictures that last. Instead if we were to focus and spend more time on moving inside the controls, that would be a disaster trip rather then photography. I am happy with the Sony Nex-6, on this count because it takes a more focused approach on the subject of photography rather then just add multiple layers of controls and mechanism jargon to it.

The Sony Nex-6 has many things going for it. A few point outs in our lenses are:

  • DSLR controls on a small camera
  • Lighter and better kit lens in the form of the 16-50 mm kit
  • 16.1 MP APS-C sensor
A combination of these two features make sure that photography is what we focus on while using this camera. Apart from these viewfinder is an important feature on any camera that influences how the images come out post shooting. Since the Sony Nex-6 is a mirrorless camera the difficulty in it is the same as in any other mirrorless camera, i.e, fitting in an optical viewfinder into the camera. In a DSLR the light streams in via the mirror and is deflected into the viewfinder so that upon hitting the shutter, the light illuminates the sensor. In the absence of this particular optical accessory the photographs with a mirrorless camera lacks the finesse attached with a DSLR. To overcome this issue, Sony has utilized an electronic viewfinder which is actuated by a 2,359,296-dot OLED display.
The screen on the back is another way of taking pictures. The screen which is a 3 inch, 921,600 dot LCD on the back gives a better picture in terms of accuracy definition and also articulates so that the camera can be used from different positions for clicking images. The only thing that is missed slightly on this screen is the touchscreen which is not supported.
MACHINEHAPPY CUT:
Looking at other cameras both in the DSLR and point and shoot segments I will have to say the Sony Nex-6 far surpasses any other camera in the point and shoot segment.

With specific add ons like the WiFi on it and other features the Sony Nex-6 is small,smart and and is definitely a threat to the bigger DSLR boys.

In a roundup I rate it in:

Design: 4.5/5

Performance: 4/5

Value: Priced at $1000, it is a 4.5/5