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Sony Nex-6 Sample Photos – Dynamic Range and Highlight Detail!!

Sony Nex-6 Review

I’ve had the Sony Nex-6 for about 5 days now and have taken a lot more sample photos, and had a chance to test how fast the new hybrid PDAF/ CDAF actually is. To do that I simple let the dogs out back at my brothers house and played fetch for a bit. Sandy is a really fast dog, and getting shots with my Pro Grade equipment is not easy!! I honestly did not have the highest expectations about my keeper rate, and the results below my surprise you!!

I also took a bunch more Sample Photos today of a bright white Church to see how well the Sony Nex-6 would handle it!! The photos and 100% crops will speak for themselves on the Church photos, and I will explain exactly how I had the camera set for the running dog photos 😉

Sony Nex-6 Hybrid PDAF and CDAF Testing

Is the Sony Nex-6’s Hybrid AF System fast enough for running dogs??  No, but it’s not bad considering how fast the dog was!!

For this type of shooting your much better off using the LA-EA2 lens adapter and an A-Mount lens with a SSM focus motor. That will yield a much higher hit rate!! Next time I get a LA-EA2 in the Lab I will re-do this test and show you the difference.

I did still manage to get a few decent shots, but the camera did not accurately focus most of the time when the dog is running towards or away from the camera. This really is not a shock as it’s hard to get these photos with my Pro Gear !!

So how did I get any good shots you might wonder? Well, luck, timing, pre-focusing, etc… There are still ways to get tuff shots like this, but the point and shoot method will not yeild good results most of the time in my opinion. By the time the focus is locked the dog has moved feet in one direction or another. I was able to pan using speed priority mode (10fps) and get several sharp shots in a row, but panning is much easier on the focus system that moving towards or away from the camera.

Sony Nex-6 Settings for Test

Just so you know I had the Sony Nex-6 and the 16-50mm Power Zoom lens set to AV Mode, 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, ~1/500sec, Average Metering mode. I also used both auto focus modes – AF-Continuous, and AF-Single Shot. I was also using the Speed Priority Mode at 10fps. I have the original UN-cropped photo and then a 100% Cropped version so you can see the sharpness captured.

Note: I could have increased my aperture and ISO in order to get a deeper depth of field and maintain shutter speed, but that would have made the job easier on the lens and harder to judge accurate focus.

Sony Nex-6 Dynamic Range and Highlight Detail

Moving on to some more Sample Photos using the Nex-6, we have a few architecture genre shots with a brilliant blue sky and a super bright white Church lit by the sun. You may remember this Church from the Sony DSC-RX100 Review over Here >> a few months back.
It’s a great test subject with the columns, sheer height, and the way the sun lights it up in the afternoon is killer. I also like to use the bright white as an indicator of highlight detail retention. Note how much detail is in the siding!! Also note I used +2/3rds exposure comp to compensate for the bright white Church fooling the metering mode to under expose 😉

Be Sure to Click on these sample photos for the full size!!

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1600sec – +2/3 exp/comp
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - 100% Crop
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – 100% Crop

Here’s another sample photo taken with the same setting on the Nex-6, but zoomed in to 31mm this time.

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – 31mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1600sec – +2/3 exp/comp
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – 31mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1600sec – +2/3 exp/comp – 100% Crop

And finally a 50mm version.

Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1600sec – +2/3 exp/comp
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens - Sample Photo
Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Zoom Lens – 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1600sec – +2/3 exp/comp – 100% Crop

Closing Remarks

As you can see from the sample photos above, the Sony Nex-6 and the 16-50mm lens do a pretty solid job all around.

That is about it for now, be sure to check out the Sony Alpha Forum as there is a bunch of New Articles, and Threads of interest!! See below for a few of the most recent:

Have a goodnight everybody and I’ll catch up with you on the forum!

  1. The camera does not AF between shots in speed priority mode, only the SLT do that. You probably would’ve had more keepers if you had not used that mode.

    1. Thanks for the comments Zach!! I honestly wasn’t sure if the Nex-6 focused in speed priority mode in between shots or not when I took these. I didn’t think it could possible be fast enough to do that, but who knows with Sony technology!!
      I did try a few without runs without speed priority first, but I had not luck at all when the dog was running towards or away from me when the dog was relatively close. When the dog was far away the camera just grabbed something and took the photo. I don’t even think it used the dog for a focus point on most of those images.
      Seriously though, I would have gotten almost no shots if I didn’t use speed priority mode in my opinion. I’m telling you Sandy is incredible fast!!
      I was pretty much hoping the focus would be close and the depth of field would help me get maybe 3 shots per try. By the time the focus locked, the dog was feet closer or further away.
      I will do more testing with the dogs as I wanted to try the tracking feature as well!!
      Thanks again for the comments and your thoughts on the topic 🙂

    2. where did you get that? if you read the manual, sony says there is AF in speed priority mode on NEX5RnEX6, but using only DPAF, not PDAF.
      so the result is less precise than normal continuous shouting (bombining PDAG and CDAF), but allows faster shooting

  2. Hi Jay
    Thanks for the af speed tests. I am currently waiting on my Nex 6 to be delivered – should be tomorrow, so was very interested in your results. I wondered though whether the number of selected AF points would make a difference. That is did you have multi, centre of flexi-point set. If the camera is set to centre point only i am guessing it might make it easier for the camera to track but of course harder to keep what ever is moving centred 🙂 Did you notice any difference in this. cheers.

    1. Hi Justin,
      Thanks for the comments and questions.
      I only used the full multi-point simple because of how fast the dog is. It certainly in theory may have helped things for sure if I used just the center area, assuming I could keep the dog centered, but realistically the lens is not fast enough to keep up even if the AF could.
      The SSM focus motor on the lens is really key for this type of stuff. It makes a huge difference how fast the lens focuses!!! With the La-ea2 and a fast lens, I would have gotten tons of keepers. The new Hybrid AF is not a replacement for the LA-EA2 by any means. It’s leaps and bounds better than just the CDAF though!!
      Shots like this are incredible difficult for any camera and lens combo!! It’s also hard to track the dog as the photographer, but I’ve gotten pretty good with that over the years.

      1. Thanks Jay for your insights on the focussing. I had been hoping the new Hybrid focus would bring the camera closer to a DSLT for af speed. Seems its not there yet but getting better. But cant wait to get mine and try it out. Thanks, and give Sandy an extra pat for being a great model. 🙂

  3. Jay I’m even more confused now!
    Are you saying the NEX 6 is better than the NEX 7?
    I was having a hard time choosing between the X-Pro 1 and the 7……
    Image quality and handling are the most important for me (so I was going to order the X-Pro 1). I’m a Nikon FM2 user so I like aperture rings and shutter dials…
    However for the price of the X-Pro 1 body I can get the NEX 6 kit you have, also I like the way Sony are developing their web sites and apps as well as their sensors – the future is definitely sharp and bright with Sony.
    Maybe I should change tack and get an RX100 to use for 12-18 months while I save up for the RX1…
    See what you have done to me 🙂
    Please help.

    1. I think Getting the Sony RX100 and saving for the Sony RX1 is an excellent idea if your down with the fixed lens. The RX100 is an awesome camera and I highly recommend it.
      As far as the Nex-6 being better than the Nex-7?? Well it depends. It is better at focusing for sure, but build quality could be argued as the Nex-7 has a nice metal body. The resolution is drastically higher on the Nex-7 making it more valuable to some, and less valuable to others. It’s a tuff call, but the Nex-6 I think is a better value for the money at retail price. On Ebay the Nex-7 is going for some killer prices!!
      I would not recommend the Nex-6 w/ the 16-50mm lens (SELP1650). It’s not the sharpest lens and if best image quality is what your after the Zeiss 24mm is really the best optics. Between that and the Nex-6 or 7 your at ~$2000. The SOny RX100 has a Zeiss zoom lens on it, and it’s sharp!! I don’t think many cameras on the market are going to be able to match the image quality of the RX1 though. If your looking for best image quality possible? The Sony RX1 is the answer I’m predicting!!

      1. Thanks Jay,
        I didn’t realise the Nex-6 was made out of plastic – I thought it was magnesium alloy like the 7.
        This is a problem for me – for this money I expect a strong durable case. I’ll have to delve deeper into its construction to figure out how much of an issue it is…
        Well Nex 7 + Zeiss 24mm for $2,000 would be excellent I’m sure but the more I find out about the RX1 the more I want one and for $2,798 its no contest.
        So I’m going to wait until I can get my hands on one at the local Sony centre and see if I can stretch my budget.

        1. Hello Ivan,
          For Photography purposes I would recommend the 18-55mm OSS Kit lens over the 16-50mm Power Zoom. For Video I would go the other way 😉
          The 16-50mm is not as sharp from what I can tell, and I prefer the manual zoom precision control over the power zoom for Photography. The power zoom is awesome for video though!!

          1. Thank you. Do you think it’s worth choosing NEX 6 over NEX 7 for better autofocus if they are both the same price? I really like having 24 MP, but I don’t know how much better NEX 6’s autofocus is

          2. Ivan,

            Thank you. Do you think it’s worth choosing NEX 6 over NEX 7 for better autofocus if they are both the same price? I really like having 24 MP, but I don’t know how much better NEX 6?s autofocus is

            That is a tuff question! For the same price I would be hard pressed not to get the Nex-7 for the nice build quality few other features, but I would still go with the Nex-6 personally. For me, the PDAF and standard Hot shoe are enough to pay the current Nex-6 price. For a brand new Nex-6 or a used nex-7?? 😉

          3. Hi Ivan,
            Looks to me like that DXO Analyzer software >> they are using is quality equipment!! It also looks like the Nex-6 sensor is better than everything else, including the Nex-7, which does not surprise me at all consider the raw results I’ve been getting!
            At ISO 200 the Nex-7 seems to beat out the Nex-6, but other than that the Nex-6 is clearly better in this particular DXO Analyzer Signal to Noise Ratio Test.
            I would go with the Nex-6 over the Nex-7 I’m pretty sure. I really need to hold the Nex-7 again though to be certain. Mine is all apart, and I need to email a guy back who may want the sensor!!
            Thanks again for the questions and link,

  4. hey, thanks for the review!
    what i’ve been wondering is though: why do so few people (relatively) test a camera by testing the new camera and an older camera by using an older lens which we know how they perform (for example, the carl zeiss 24mm f/1.8 or even the sony e-mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6)?
    this way we can learn more about the camera, instead of basing our opinions and judgements on a new camera AND a new lens?
    i’m kind of a photography rookie/newbie, so maybe what i’m saying is completely untrue, so please don’t take this as some smart guy’s comment 🙂

    1. Hello Waldomarek,
      Your wondering is very good!! Your correct that this camera should be compared with the same lens as all the other Sony cameras in a perfect world. I don’t have any other E-Mount lenses on hand at the moment, so that is my issue and I assume most other reviewers are in the same boat when they receive equipment. I purchased this kit because the Body Only was not available and I wanted to review this lens anyway 😉
      I have a great solution to this issue though!! I’m going to mount up my Fotodiox E-Mount to Canon EF Mount Lens adapter and then try out some of my Canon L Glass. For starters I’m going to try one of the sharpest lenses out there; the Canon 135mm f/2 L Lens. Using a lens like this will show you what the Sony Nex-6 Sensor is really capable of!! Don’t worry, I’ll get some killer sample photos of something today or tomorrow.

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