Sony Alpha Nex 6, in-depth analysis



A compact camera is not what it used to be . For a long time, photographers had two options: settle for a small compact with limited features, or go for a large and expensive SLR camera . However, times change, and small compacts are starting to count a lot more in the game.

The Sony NEX 6 is a good example of how far you can squeeze the possibilities of a compact camera. And it is not a compact to use, but one with interchangeable lenses. This characteristic, that of changing the lens, has been characteristic of SLR cameras for years, and made them the safest option for the interested amateur or professional.

And it is that different objectives mean different photos. As much as a camera lens has zoom, the photo will never be the same as with a telephoto lens built specifically for that function. And much more, fish eyes, wide angles or macro lenses were luxuries that only the owner of a mirror camera could afford.

The NEX 6 represents a relatively new concept of photography, in which the pocket camera has all kinds of possibilities . However, although recent in compact cameras, the interchangeable lens camera concept is old. Therefore, the commitment to the newest technologies comes more from the inclusion of the WiFi connection. With this you can carry out new activities such as downloading applications or wirelessly downloading photos to your computer.

Below we thoroughly review all the features of the Sony NEX 6



The camera features an APS-C size CMOS sensor. This sensor size corresponds to the previous step for a Full Frame sensor. It is a very common size for semi-professional mid-range SLR cameras. Yields a total of 16.1 megapixels effective. Although there are cameras that offer a higher number of megapixels, this value, around 16, is becoming one of the most common values.

With a number of megapixels like this we get some photos with a maximum resolution of 4912 x 3264 pixels . With an image size like this we will have very few problems when printing large photos. If we choose a print quality (300 dots per inch), we could get an impression of up to 41.5 x 27.6 centimeters . Unless we are thinking of wallpapering facades, it is a value more than enough.

Sensor sensitivity can go up to ISO 25,600 . This means taking photos without the need for a flash in very difficult lighting conditions, such as indoors or sunsets. It is important to have this help as the flash has a very limited range (usually just 3 meters). In addition, it does not respect the original colors at all and generates unwanted effects.

However, when using high sensitivities it must be taken into account that sooner or later image noise will appear. This effect makes the photo lose sharpness. For this, the Sony NEX 6 also has a noise reduction system at high sensitivities to mitigate, at least in part, this effect.



Auto Focus is one aspect that catches the attention of small NEX 6. It features hybrid system that uses two different technologies to find the most appropriate approach. On the one hand, it has a contrast focus system that locates 25 points. This is the most common system in compact cameras and usually works well, although it has problems when the contrast is low, that is, when there is little light.

For this it has a secondary focus system in phases of 99 points . With both systems, it is much easier and faster to find the ideal focus point for photography. However, these systems correspond to automatic focus. As with SLR cameras, with the NEX 6 you can also opt for manual focus . This is especially useful when looking for effects in photos, such as concentrating the focus far from the center of the photo, or when recording video.



The range of lenses that Sony makes available for these cameras is quite wide. On the one hand we find the lenses specially designed for the NEX series, which has about twenty models. Among them we can find fixed optics, telephoto lenses, wide angles, macro lenses or zoom lenses. It is a very extensive catalog, in which you can find lenses that provide solutions to all the most common problems a photographer faces.

On the other hand, the cameras of the NEX range are compatible with the lenses of the A series through an adapter. This means that Sony's professional lens catalog can be accessed. This is especially practical if we have a very specific need that we cannot cover with NEX lenses. It is also a very interesting option in the case that we own a SLR of the Japanese brand. Thus, we can use the same camera lenses in the "little sister".


The Sony Alpha NEX 6 can record video in Full HD quality (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) at 50 frames per second. This image quality is the maximum that we usually see in high-end cameras. Actually, taking into account the televisions on which we are going to play these videos, it would not make sense to have a larger image size. And it is that at this moment there are no more than a dozen televisions on the market that exceed Full HD quality and their prices are (for now) very high.


Video recording is another of the functions that gains a lot from the possibility of changing the camera lens. Some effects or camera movements are very difficult to control with a fixed lens. In addition, the refresh rate (50 frames per second) ensures that we will not have strange effects when watching the videos.

However, in this case its small size can play a trick on it. And it is that a small and lightweight body is very stable when recording video . If we do not use a tripod or support the camera somewhere it is possible that the image has that unpleasant rattling sensation that accompanies many home videos.

Formats and storage

The format in which the camera saves your photos is a very important factor, especially if we like photo editing. Many compact cameras save their photos in JPEG format. This is a compression format, which is created after the camera's image processor chooses the most suitable lighting and compresses the photo so that it takes up less space on the card.

The Sony Alpha NEX 6 saves photos in JPEG, but you also have the option to store them in RAW . RAW is not a format in itself, but precisely the absence of any format. RAW is the file that is generated with the compilation of all the data that comes out of the sensor, without going through the camera's processor or compressing. This causes the resulting file to be somewhat poorly lit, or to take up a lot of space on the card. However, it has all the data that has come out of the sensor. For this reason, when retouching a photo afterwards, it is essential to have it, otherwise we would have lost a large amount of information that could be very useful to give the photo the appearance we want.

For storing photos, Sony has long relied on its own standard, the Memory Stick , which has passed through different generations. For this camera, you do not give up the Memory Stick, but you can also use SD / SDHC / SDXC cards . These are the most used cards today; they are cheap and can be found anywhere.


Autonomy, price and conclusions

The Sony Alpha NEX has a autonomy of 360 shots, approximately two days of continuous use. Fortunately, photo camera users do not have the same concerns with the camera as with the mobile, and the battery does not usually give many scares anymore.

The price of the Sony Alpha amounts to 800 euros just for the body. It is the normal price for a mid-range SLR camera, and the performance is very similar. However, it offers in return a much smaller and lighter body, and some extra features such as the WiFi connection .

This camera is a very accomplished set of technologies and represents very well the spirit of the latest cameras. That is why has decided to award the Sony Alpha NEX 6 with the award for the hybrid camera of the year 2012.

Data sheet

TypeCompact mirrorless interchangeable lens
Weight and measurements119.9 x 66.9 x 42.6 millimeters.

287 grams (body only)


Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo

screen 3 inch widescreen TFT

921,600 pixels / adjustable brightness

Sensor23.5 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor (APS-C size)

16.7 total megapixels

16.1 effective megapixels

FormatsJPEG. RAW
Controls and connectionsHybrid contrast / phase AF

HD / HDM output

Hi-Speed ​​USB 2.0

Autonomy360 shots
Price800 body only
+ info

On November 22, we presented Jorge Juan Gallego, Sony's Corporate Communication Director for Spain and Portugal , with the Best Hybrid Camera of the Year Award for the Sony NEX 6 .

Original text award 2012 Sony NEX-6

From left. to right: David Readman (, Jorge Juan Gallego (Sony) and Chema Lapuente (