Photography / News

The New Sony NEX-6 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera


The new 16-megapixel Sony NEX-6 compact interchangeable lens digital camera features an APS-C HD CMOS sensor and an advanced DSLR-style auto focusing system. You can take full-resolution stills at 10 fps, or shoot Full HD 1920 x 1080 video and compose your shots with its XGA OLED TruFinder electronic viewfinder or 3.0" LCD. The onboard Fast Hybrid AF system includes phase-detection autofocus and contrast detection, which enables you to quickly focus on and track fast-moving subjects. The NEX-6 available as a body only or with a 16-55mm retractable zoom lens.

Another feature that’s borrowed from DSLRs is the intuitive operational dials that make it easier to control the NEX-6. The top of the camera has a pop-up flash that can be used as a fill flash in direct sunlight, a catch light in portraits or for any dimly lit setting. There's also a new multi-interface smart shoe that expands the camera's video and still capabilities with separately available Handycam accessories. The NEX-6 is also Wi-Fi capable, making it easy to transfer photos to smart phones, tablets and computers.

Although the NEX-6 is roughly the same size as a point-and-shoot camera, its APS-C HD CMOS sensor has 13 times the area of the sensors found on typical point-and-shoot cameras. This makes it possible to shoot high-resolution images with high sensitivity, and achieve blurred backgrounds with selective-focusing techniques. The interchangeable-lens aspect of the NEX-6 makes it possible to attach a variety of E-mount lenses, and you can use Sony’s A-mount lenses with the separately available LA-EA2 and LA-EA1 Alpha NEX Camera Mount adapters. The Fast Hybrid AF capabilities of the NEX-6 are critical when shooting moving subjects at 10 fps, and its through-the-lens electronic viewfinder features a resolution of 2359K dots. The OLED viewfinder enables you to see the adjustments made to the camera’s settings in real time, and offers rich color and detail with minimal motion blur.

The Difference Between the NEX-6 and its Siblings

If you’re interested in the NEX line from Sony, you’re probably curious how the NEX-6 compares to the higher end NEX-7 and the recently announced NEX-5R. The new NEX-6 shares the same Fast Hybrid AF, large Exmor APS-C HD sensor and Wi-Fi capability as the NEX-5R; however, the NEX-5R doesn’t have an electronic viewfinder, and it also lacks the DSLR-style control dials found on the NEX-6. The NEX-7 features multiple dials for manual control, but they’re not as immediately familiar looking as the decidedly DSLR-style controls on the new NEX-6. The hot shoe on the NEX-7 is compatible with Sony system flashes and accessories, but it’s different from the new multi-interface shoe on the NEX-6. The NEX-7 also features a 24.3 megapixel sensor, which is a substantially higher resolution than the 16.1 megapixel sensor on the NEX-6.

HD Video and Wi-Fi

In regard to capturing moving images, the NEX-6 is capable of recording at 60p, which yields better results when filming scenes with a lot of motion and fast-moving subjects. It also records video at a standard 60i, and at a cinematic 24p. All of these modes are 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution, in the AVCHD codec for compatibility with popular non-linear video editing programs. If you want to shoot video that’s less demanding on memory and resources, the NEX-6 also captures video with the MP4 codec, which produces much smaller web-friendly files.

The built-in Wi-Fi capability on the NEX-6 makes it much easier to share your images on the Web. You can connect the NEX-6 wirelessly to a smart phone or tablet and transfer files to them through the air. With the Sony PlayMemories app loaded on a compatible Apple iOS or Android device, you can connect to the NEX-6 via Wi-Fi and send selected images and videos to the mobile device. You can then upload those files to the Web from your mobile gadget. If you have access to an active 802.11 Wi-Fi network, you can transfer files from the NEX-6 to computers and devices that share the network. With a separately available HDMI cable, you can also connect the NEX-6 directly to an HDTV with its built-in HDMI output.

Focus and Magnify

The NEX-6 features a Clear Image Zoom mode that will be handy if you don’t happen to have a tighter telephoto or zoom lens with you. Clear Image Zoom magnifies the center of an image by two times, doubling the effective focal length of your attached lens, while creating very little image degradation.

The NEX-6 also features a useful Peaking AF display mode which highlights the edges of your subjects that are in focus. It’s simply an additional visual tool that helps you determine if something is in focus. The highlight is graphically superimposed and will not be seen in the images that you capture. It is only visible when you’re composing shots. You can choose one of three highlight colors: white, red or yellow. Having multiple color options is useful because some colors may be easier to identify quickly, depending on what colors are in your shot. The NEX-6 also has a Manual Focus Assist feature which magnifies the viewfinder image when you touch the focus ring on an attached E-mount lens. This allows you to immediately see fine details and determine the sharpness of their focus.

Intelligent and Creative Features

When shooting photos in challenging conditions, such as still subjects with severe backlighting, you can utilize the HDR mode on the new NEX-6. This technology combines the best highlight details from two separate exposures into a single shot. Additionally, when you’re shooting handheld in really low light, you can utilize the 6-Image Layering mode on the NEX-6. This combines the data from six separate exposures into a single shot for sharper nighttime images at high ISOs, and it helps control blur when utilizing the camera’s Anti-Motion Blur mode. Both of these modes capture multiple images in a split second. The NEX-6 also has Sony’s Sweep Panorama Technology, which simplifies the act of taking vertical or horizontal panoramic shots.

When you want to experiment with effects like Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft Focus and Monochrome, the NEX-6 features a Picture Effect Mode that enables you to apply these effects to stills and video. There are 11 effects in all, which also include: Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High Key, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome and Miniature. If you want to tap into advanced DSLR effects without digging into the manual settings, you can enable the Photo Creativity interface on the NEX-6. This lets you quickly try out different effects like Background Defocus and Color Vividness without much effort. There are also six modes of Creative Styles that images can be processed with. These include: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W. You can also adjust contrast, saturation and sharpness to your liking.

Automated Features

There are a host of other capabilities in the NEX-6 that make it behave like an automated point-and-shoot camera as well. It has Intelligent Auto Focus that pre-focuses the camera as the shot is being composed, and Face Detection that detects up to eight faces and automatically adjusts focus, white balance, exposure and flash settings. The D-Range Optimizer helps to automatically correct the settings for backlit subjects, and its Smile Shutter technology can be set to automatically take a picture when your subject smiles. There is even an Auto Portrait Framing feature that will save an additional version of an image with the composition automatically optimized.

When you connect the NEX-6 to a computer or an AC outlet with the included USB cable, the battery will automatically charge. The CMOS sensor will automatically clean itself by vibrating, and a static-free coating on its low-pass filter also helps to keep the dust off and the images clear. All your images and video are stored to separately available Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC cards.

Sony NEX-6 Digital Camera
Camera Type Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
Lens Compatibility Sony E-mount lenses
Image Sensor Exmor APS HD CMOS (23.5 x 15.6mm)
Total Pixels 16.7MP
Effective Pixels 16.1MP
Anti-Dust Technology Static-free coating on sensor's low-pass filter and automatic vibration
Focal Length Conversion
(Crop) Factor
Still Image Size 16:9
L: 4912 x 2760 (14MP)
M: 3568 x 2000 (7.1MP)
S: 2448 x 1376 (3.4MP)
L: 4912 x 3264 (16MP)
M: 3568 x 2368 (8.4MP)
S: 2448 x 1624 (4MP)
Horizontal Wide: 12,416 x 1856 (23MP)
Vertical: 5536 x 2160 (12MP)
Horizontal Std: 8192 x 1856 (15MP)
Vertical Std: 3872 x 2160 (8.4MP)
Still Image File Format JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
Video Format AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive), AVCHD, MP4
Video Mode AVCHD
PS: 1920 x 1080/60p at 28Mbps
FX: 1920 x 1080/60i at 24Mbps
FH: 1920 x 1080/60i at 17Mbps
FX: 1920 x 1080/24p at 24Mbps
FH: 1920 x 1080/24p at 17Mbps
HD: 1440 x 1080/30fps at 12Mbps
VGA: 640 x 480/30fps at 3Mbps
Audio Format Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC, 2ch
Microphone/Speaker Built-in stereo microphone / Built-in monaural speaker
Continuous Shooting Up to 10 fps
Digital Zoom Approx. 4x
Clear Image Zoom Yes, increases focal length by 2x
Smart Zoom Technology M: Approx. 1.4x
S: Approx. 2x
Viewfinder Bright XGA OLED viewfinder, 2359K dots, 100% coverage
LCD Type 3.0" / 7.6cm TFT, 921,600-dot
LCD Angle Adjustment Up 90°, Down 45°
LCD Brightness Control Manual (5 steps, +/- 2), Sunny Weather mode
Peaking Settings Yes, level: High, Mid, Low, Off / color: White, Red, Yellow 
Focus System Fast Hybrid AF (phase and contrast-detection AF) with Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
Focus Points 99 points (phase-detection AF), 25 points (contrast-detection AF)
AF Modes AF-S (single-shot AF), AF-C (continuous AF)
Focus Area Multi-Point, Center-weighted, Flexible Spot
Focus Sensitivity 0-20 EV (at ISO 100 with f/2.8 lens)
Manual Focus Assist Yes; 4.8x, 9.6x
AF Illuminator Built-in LED type with 1-9.8' / 0.3-3m range
Picture Effects 11: Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow), Soft High-key, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera (Normal, Cool, Warm, Green, Magenta), Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, and Miniature
Creative Style Modes Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W, fine-tune contrast, saturation and sharpness
Exposure Bracketing 3 frames with 1/3, 2/3, 1, 2, and 3 EV increments
Exposure Compensation Still: +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps
Movie: +/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps
Exposure Settings iAUTO, Superior Auto, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Sweep Panorama, Scene Selection
ISO Sensitivity Still: Auto (ISO 100-3200), Selectable (ISO 100-25600)
Movie: Auto (ISO 100-3200), Selectable (ISO 100-6400)
Exposure Metering System 1200-zone evaluative metering
Exposure Metering Modes Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Metering Sensitivity 0-20 EV (at ISO 100 with f/2.8 lens)
Noise Reduction Long Exposure NR, High ISO NR
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Handheld Twilight, Anti-Motion Blur
White Balance Modes Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, C.Tem (2500 to 9900K), C.Filter (G7 to M7,A7 to B7), Custom
Drive Modes Single-shot, Continuous Shooting, Speed Priority Continuous Shooting, Self-timer, Bracketing, Remote Commander
Panorama Technology Sweep (up to 23MP / up to 202° sweep angle / 16mm focal length)
Self-Timer 2 or 10 sec. (single, continuous 3 or 5 frames)
Shutter Speeds Still: 30-1/4000 sec.
Movie: 1/4-1/4000 (in 1/3 steps) up to 1/60 in AUTO (1/30 in
Auto slow shutter)
Shutter Type Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal plane type
Optional Lens E-mount power zoom 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
Flash Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps
Flash Coverage Up to 16mm focal lengths
Flash Modes Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync., Slow sync., Flash Off, Wireless (with external flash sold separately)
Guide Number 19.7' / 6m (ISO 100)
Recycling Time Approx. 4 sec.
HD Output HDMI mini (Type C), BRAVIA Sync, Photo TV HD
Accessory Shoe Multi-Shoe Interface
Wi-Fi Yes (built in)
PlayMemories Camera Apps: Yes
Send to computer: Yes
View on Smart phone: Yes
View on TV: Yes
Connectivity USB, HDMI, BRAVIA Sync
Media Type SD, SDHC, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo
Power Supply InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (7.2V)
USB (via AC outlet or PC connection)
Battery Life Viewfinder: approx. 270 images
LCD Screen: approx. 360 images
Power Consumption Still Images: approx. 2.5W (with 16-50mm lens)
Movies: approx 3.9W (with 16-50mm lens)
Operating System Compatibility Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Mac OS X v10.3-10.8
Dimensions 4.72 x 2.63 x 1.68" (119.9 x 66.9 x 42.6 mm)
Weight With battery & media: 0.76 lb (345 g)

Discussion 15

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Hello there, SONY NEX users.
I am a satisfied owner of a NEX5N with its optional stellar external viewfinder (FDAEV1S). The system is being used with various adapters and lenses. One reason I went with the NEX5N as opposed to NEX7 is the tiltable viewfinder. In my book it is priceless. It would be even more priceless, had it been made fully articulated, or detachable, connected to the camera via a short ribbon cable. But, I can only dream of such flexible viewing option becoming available. Today, I am considering purchasing NEX5R or NEX6. The NEX6 has a hot shoe - a big plus. But, its viewfinder is fixed. It would be very convenient to be able to attach an external viewfinder, sometimes, and at other times to have it removed, to vacate the hot shoe. Looking at the new multi-interface shoe on the NEX-6 I think it may be the same as on the RX1. This makes me conclude that the upcoming new Electronic Viewfinder for Cyber-shot RX1 (FDA-EV1MK) will work with NEX6. Please, do not think this is an insane proposition - the OLYMPUS OM-D EM5 accepts their external electronic viewfinder, in addition to the built-in one. Am I correct about FDA-EV1MK working with SONY NEX6?


Currently, Sony is only showing compatibility for the FDA-EV1MK Sony Cyber-shot RX-1 electronic viewfinder with the RX-1. They do not list the NEX-6 as working with this accessory.

i want to know if the tracking follow focus work on video for the nex 6 and the nex 5r
and if is... does it do well ?

Is there any article, video, review that would show an image of what it look like through the viewfinder?

Can you charge the battery of the NEX 6 with a regular USB charger? or only through the USB port of the computer? I travel in remote places and i recharge all my batteries with a solar USB charger. Thanks

I've been shooting with the NEX-5 for a while, lost it. Replaced with a NEX-3, works just great and is my go-to camera for on the fly shooting, when I don't feel like cracking my Canon gear out.

I'm on the fence of buying the NEX-7, and definitely appreciate the idea of Wi-Fi being built into the NEX-6 - then again, I'd never shoot studio with the NEX, so WiFi tethering doesn't make as much sense as a GPS sensor would.

The price tag for the NEX-7 is up there, so I wonder what the price of the NEX-6 will be. If it's under $800, it could be an interesting proposition. Any more than that, and I'd pick up a used NEX-7 at some point. Since it's mirrorless, it shouldn't wear out on the mechanical parts, right?

One of the big complaints with the Nex-7 was that the built-in HDR function would ony capture in jpeg format, not RAW.

Does the Nex-6 support RAW in HDR mode (and, for that matter, in the 6-image layering mode)?


If you want to do in camera processing, the resulting file cannot be a RAW format because its been processed. Your only RAW option would be to bracket in RAW and then open and process the images files in Photoshop or another HDR program.

I beleive the in camera HDR can only be set to -7ev and +7ev. For better HDR results you are better off setting your exposure manually and processing thru your computer.

So is it a standard hot shoe on this one? Could I put a Pocketwizard on it or would I need an extra adaptor?


Yes, per Sony its a standard shoe size which can work with Pocket Wizards and manual shoe flashes.

Is there a battery with this camera? It only mentions charging with a USB cord but there is no mention of which battery it uses. I'd assume it takes the same battery as the NEX 5n and the NEX 7, but you can't assume too much!

Hmm. Interesting, very interesting. Alas, I still hold a grudge with Sony dating back to the "Betamax" debacle.

It wasn't really killed! It never really was fully embraced by consumers as was VHS. That is probably because Sony was not able to get most of the other manufacturers on board. Most companies joined JVC and Panasonc producing VHS hardware and media making that format much more widely available than Beta. Since more customers had VHS hardware, the video rental industry was dominated by VHS. For consumers, Beta never really left the ground while VHS was flying high! Having said that, the reason that Sony was unable to get support from other companies, probably was their own fault. Having worked for a Japanese consumer electronics company, the word from my Japanese colleagues was that Sony, for what ever reason, was not well liked by other Japanese companies. Don't know why -- don't know if that is was really true. Perhaps a regional thing -- Tokyo/Osaka? Anyway, Sony HQ's neighbor in Tokyo, Pioneer Electronics was one of the few companies with any cooperation with Sony.
The problem could also have been that Sony wanted too much money for the rights to produce Beta hardware and media!

Anyway, that is all way off topic. The NEX-6 seems like it will be a fabulous camera -- I've got it on my wish list and will likely purchase one! Don't think anyone looking for a small, mirror-less camera can go too wrong!

Oh please spare me the lecture. I own one, do you? Don't tell me about the technology of Beta vs VHS. Not even you all knowing one couldn't tell the difference on the televisions of the time. It was bought to record the programing of the time from the antenna on your roof. One and a half hours versus seven hours. You think Sony relied on "we have a better picture"? Then explain to me why the geniuses were going to build an adapter that would stack tapes on top of each other, thing was, how do you load and eject them in the existing units? And how ridiculous would that look, plus it was a great con job by Sony. I still have mine, I'll give it to you for free but you'll have to buy the $2000.00 in tapes I have. So please don't get your panties in a bunch. Some of you folks just have to get a sense of humor.

Ps A D, I still have and use my Tanberg 10xd, Pioneer Receiver, Pioneer rosewood speakers and Pioneer PL-10 Turntable. Not to mention 50+ vinyl albums and 80 or so 45's.