Sony NEX-6 review
Otherwise, the controls are hard to fault. ISO speed, exposure compensation, drive mode, autofocus point and AE Lock all have dedicated buttons, and a Function button reveals another five (picked from a list of 15) on the screen. There are two dials for adjusting settings, giving direct control of shutter speed and aperture in manual exposure mode. There's no shortage of smart shooting modes, including automatic panorama stitching and high-dynamic-range shooting. Best of all, there's a physical mode dial – something that's been sorely lacking from previous NEX cameras, including the NEX-7.
Priority and manual exposure modes work exactly the same for photo and video capture. With Full-HD capture at 25p, 50i or 50p and clips up to 30 minutes, this is one of the most capable cameras around for video. Autofocus is smooth and silent, and the motorised zoom isn't too invasive on the stereo soundtrack.
Photo quality is hard to distinguish from the NEX-5N, which places it among the best CSCs available for noise levels and a strong contender for details too. However, direct comparisons revealed that the NEX-5N exhibited slightly lower noise at fast ISO speeds. This is a surprising and a little disappointing, but there wasn't much in it and it was only perceptible at ISO 6400 and above. The benefit of the NEX-6's sharper kit lens was much easier to spot.
We got a chance to try the NEX-6 out with Sony's new 35mm f/1.8 lens, the SEL35F18. This gives an effective focal length of 52mm, which is perfect for general snapping. It delivered seriously sharp focus at f/4 and – predictably – superb low-light performance at f/1.8. The only snag is that the NEX-6 limits the aperture to f/4 on automatic settings, only using wider apertures when the ISO speed is maxed out at 3200. We had to switch to aperture priority mode to make the most of its low-light capabilities.
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