As much as I liked the NEX-5R, after about a month of shooting with it, I decided to replace it with an NEX-6 instead. They both shoot pretty much exactly the same pictures, but the 6 offers a number of things I didn’t realize I’d care about until I was getting serious about photography.
- ISO Hotshoe – this lets you use pretty much any off-the shelf flash unit or remote flash trigger, albeit in manual mode. The trade-off is that if you want to use any of the Sony Alpha “smart” flashes with TTL, you have to use an adapter. Since I don’t have any Sony smart flashes (although I do have an adapter), this was fine with me — I’ve successfully fired some generic Yongnuo flashes with it, as well as remote studio strobes using Pocket Wizards. By contrast the 5R has a new connector (shared on a couple of the NEX cameras) that still requires an adapter to use with anything but the small included flash unit or one of the smaller Sony “smart” flashes. This connector also requires screwing whatever you’re attaching down, making putting on or taking off even the small included flash a pain in the ass.
- Pop-Up Flash – Instead of the 5R’s little screw-on flash unit. the 6 has a built-in pop-up flash which can be deployed with a single button. It also isn’t back home on the table (like my 5R’s flash usually was) when I decide I could use a bit of fill flash. You’re not going to light the grand canyon (or a whole room) with it, but it works and it’s handy.
- Electronic Viewfinder -My vision isn’t what it used to be (I’m wearing progressive lenses these days), so I had my doubts about how well I could use the EVF; fortunately it only took me 30 seconds or so to adjust the diopter adjustment to where everything in the EVF was clear and sharp. And bright and fast — the EVF uses a high resolution OLED display, and it’s gorgeous. I can now compose images in bright sunlight (which washes out the LCD on the back panel), plus this (once again) makes this little unit feel and handle like a real, full-sized camera.
- 16-50 Power Zoom – Despite having a fair selection of both adapted legacy lenses and a growing variety of native E-mount NEX lenses handy, I really liked the 18-55 kit zoom on the 5R. I like the shots I’ve been getting from the 16-50 Power Zoom on the 6 just as much, and I like its small size even more — with the kit lens on you’ve got a nice compact and inconspicuous camera while still having a lot of flexibility in framing shots.
All in all, I like the NEX 6 a whole lot. It takes great shots, it’s tiny (I was on a photowalk last week, and I could have hid my camera in the lens hoods of most of the other cameras), and it uses the same size APS-C sensor that pretty much all of the non-Full-Frame DSLRs use.