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Sony Nex-6 w/ 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens- Sample HD Video and AutoFocus Testing & Real World Video

Sony Nex-6 Review

In this HD Video I put together various clips taken with the Sony Nex-6 and 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens (SEL1650).

The Sony Nex-6 is capable of taking full 1080 60/p AVCHD Codec Video as well as more web friendly .mp4 format which I often use.  The AVCHD™ codec delivers very good picture quality at the cost of much larger file sizes. However, the color, shadow, and highlight detail is noticeable better in the AVCHD format as I imported it to iMovie. As I write this article iMovie supports the AVCHD codec, but not in the 60fps modes. AVCHD 24p works fine though if you import the video directly from the camera via USB cable.

Sony Nex-6 Courtesy of Sony

Tracking Focus continuously tracks a user-designated subject and is now more effective at tracking people. If the subject turns away from the camera, face-detection tracking automatically switches to subject tracking and continues tracking.

The camera can automatically detect up to eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. Can prioritize children or adults.

  • Video Format : AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive), AVCHD, MP4
  • Video Mode : AVCHD: PS – 1920 x 1080/60p@28MbpsFX – 1920 x 1080/60i@24MbpsFH – 1920 x 1080/60i@17MbpsFX – 1920 x 1080/24p@24MbpsFH – 1920 x 1080/24p@17MbpsMP4: HD – 1440 x 1080/ 30fps@12MbpsVGA – 640 x 480/ 30fps@3Mbps
  • Audio Format : Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC, 2ch
  • Microphone/Speaker : Built-in stereo microphones / Built-in, monaural speaker (volume settings in 8 steps between 0 and 7)

Sony Nex-6 Camera Settings For HD Video Sample

I had the Sony Nex-6 with the 16-50mm power zoom lens set to Auto White Balance, Average Metering Mode, .mp4 format for most of the footage and 1080/24p AVCHD for the focus testing on the Mickey glass. I also was hand holding during the Layla footage and had the camera resting on the table for the focus testing of the glass. For the video of my face it was on my tri-pod all the way up!!
Be sure to select the 1080 HD Option in the player window, and then go Full Screen!! It make take a minute to load, but looks much sharper.

Closing Remarks

I have mixed reviews about the Sony 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens (SELP1650) for photography purposes, but for video it is great.!! The power zoom is smooth and somewhat predictable in my hands using the slider button on the lens itself. For video the Power Zoom makes a huge difference as manual zooming is very hard to keep smooth through out the entire zoom range. I always have to reset my grip and turn the lens zoom ring again for example. Not very good at all for video when the zoom stops suddenly and then restarts.
The Nex-6 Hybrid focus tracks faster than the older CDAF only AF system. Accuracy seems about the same and there is an initial delay before the focus changes from one object to another. Facial recognition works, and works well on the Sony Nex-6! The focus transitions have a smooth ease in/ease out effect that also makes for better video. It’s also one of the reasons I often recommend the Sony E-Mount lenses over the competition 😉

Thanks for checking out and be sure to visit the Forum when you get chance!! It’s slowly building with user Blogs, and lots of photo sharing.

Nex-6 ~$848 US@ BHPhotoVideo >> | Amazon >>

    1. Hi Joe,
      Great question and the answer really depends what you want and personally prefer. So far I’m finding the 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens to be a bit soft in the corners wide open and even stopped down. The distortion is also noticeable, but easily fixed in lightroom. The power zoom itself is pretty nice for video, but for photography I prefer the manual zoom for the precision. It’s harder to get the power zoom where you want it sometimes. For photography I would rather have the 16mm pancake lens and the 18-55mm kit lens. For video I would much prefer the 16-50mm power zoom lens. I’m more of a photographer, so I’m going to sell this lens most likely and get some primes and possible the kit lens as well. Mind you this is just my initial thoughts and I haven’t done any real lens testing on a brick wall for example yet. Stay tuned for some 100% crops of the corners at all focal lengths etc..
      I hope that helps,

      1. Interesting. I’ve been drooling over the size of it but didn’t realize it was power zoom ONLY. For some reason I just assumed it had a manual override. I’d love to see some comparison shots between the two. I haven’t received my 5r yet because I preordered with the 16-50 lens. Seemed like a good deal for only $100 over the body-only price.

        1. Joe,
          That is funny about the zoom lens, because I thought the same thing!! I figured it would also be manual for some reason 😉 It was a good deal and you are going to love the camera Joe. Please consider sharing some pics on the forum when you get up and running as I would love to see them!!

    1. Will Do 😉 Thanks!!
      You or anybody interested in trading my 16-50mm power zoom for your used mint 18-55mm kit lens, 16mm pancake, and some cash?? (reserved for Jason)

      1. Tell you what, if that 16-50 powerzoom behaves the same on the NEX-5n as it does on the NEX-6, I will make that trade.
        Can you test it out on your 5n, assuming you have one and let me know?

        1. Jason,
          Thanks for the consideration 😉 I really can’t guarantee the performance unfortunately as I don’t have a Nex-5n body handy. I’ll call my buddy Matt at the Sony Store and see if I can try it out quick on a Nex-5n in the store. I really don’t know how it will perform in comparison though due to the new PDAF on sensor performance of the Nex-6. It’s much better than the Nex-5n, so chances are the lens will hunt more and be slower overall to focus.
          That is what I’m thinking anyway, time will tell. I was also think about the trade, and it’s really not fair for you. Both the 18055mm kit lens and the 16mm was more $$ than I thought when I original typed that. For some reason I had the Sigma 19mm lens price in my head. If you still want to trade in the end I’ll through you some money or something else to make it more even. Sorry about that Jason.

          1. Can you see my email? If not let me know. I will think about it over the weekend and if you are up for it and I am too, let’s figure out how to make it happen.

  1. I tested this lens at a store and noticed that the Power Zoom is not Smooth throughout the range. What i mean by this is if? you start at 16mm and hold down the zoom rocker, it will have a slight shake or wobble around the 40mm mark just before it hits completely telephoto. This combined with the fact that its a Varibale aperture lens tells me its not good for Video Use AT ALL! Even though the power zoom feature is marketed for video use. just my .2cents
    This is the same issue that plagued the Cybershot HX9V and HX30V Super Zooms. The issues seem to be so similar that it leads me to believe they just hacked up the HX9’s Fixed lens and put it into a emount lens housing rather than build it from the ground up.? Classic Sony IMO (eg. VG Series camcorders) Cmon Sony!!

    1. TK,
      Thank you for your comments and sharing your testing at the store experience. I just tried this “test” over and over and I am not noticing any hick-up at ~40mm like you had. I tried while recording video also. Perhaps when the Nex-6 was switching to Clear Image Zoom mode at 50mm you noticed the change?? I notice the little live view of the lens focal length is often delayed.
      Again, I tested this about 20-30 times at a few different distances and did not notice any “wobble”. It’s possible I am just not seeing it depending on how slight it is, so I will import the video I took and check it more closely as well.
      Thanks again for the comments and pointing out a potential issue with the 16-50mm power zoom.

      1. Hi Jay, Thanks for posting your thoughts about the camera, I’ve got my nex-6 two weeks ago and had bit of mixed feelings about the 16-50 lens also but I’m really beginning to appreciate it qualities as it’s very versatile and compactness makes it well suited to travel.
        I just wanted pass on this tip if you want to import 60i/60p footage into iMovie. Look for the free app Media Converter and transcode the MTS file into a .MOV and then it can be imported into iMovie. I’ve found this method works but editing the 60p files really slow my Macbook Pro i7 down and it can cause some hang ups when trying to add effects like slow motion.

        1. Thanks Brandon for the comments and tips!! Sorry I missed your post some how 😉
          The 16-50mm certainly has some great aspects to it, no question!

  2. Hi, Jay. Did you finally keep it or let it go? I’m getting the NEX-6 with this lenses but I also bought the 35mm/1.8 and I’m debating if I really need this lens. Any ideas?

    1. Hello Cuba,
      I got rid of it and have the 18-55mm kit lens and the 16mm pancake 🙂 I also have the older Minolta lens I recently posted about which I am loving!! I just won a Minolta 50mm f/1.4 MC Rokkor PG lens! Oh yeah, really wanted this lens.
      I would skip on the power zoom and go for the higher quality primes when possible. Just my opinion though, as lots of people are loving the 16-50mm power zoom.

      1. Thank you Jay. I’m thinking on selling the 16-50mm to recover some of the 35mm investment. I got the 16mm pancake free from the current promotion.

        1. Thank you Jay. I’m thinking on selling the 16-50mm to recover some of the 35mm investment. I got the 16mm pancake free from the current promotion.

          Anytime YPA Cuba 😉

  3. I have a question, my brand-new Sony Alpha NEX-6, 16-50mm lens is sending this error message — cannot recognize lens, attach it properly. Of course it is attached, the mounts are clean and undamaged, I tried taking out the battery and I also tried enabling “release without lens” in the set up menu as many forums suggested. Nothing has worked. I am traveling now and in desperate need of a functioning camera. Can anyone help? Thanks very much!

    1. Hello Nancy,
      Your going to have to call Sony or bring your lens/ camera in. That is not supposed to behave that way and either the lens or camera is malfunctioning. Sorry for the bad news 🙁

    2. This error started occuring for me today too. The camera is in mint condition. All of a sudden I turned it on and the “Cannot recognize lens. Attach it properly.” error appears.
      This is with the kit SELP1650 lens.
      I’ve tried battery pull, charging, factory reset, toggling “release without lens”, and even a firmware update from 1.00 to 1.02, but that didn’t help.
      The mount’s contacts on the lens and camera both look fine. I’m screwed :-\

      1. Yeah, you will need to send your camera and lens to Sony for that issue Casey. Sorry, but it should be covered via warrenty!!

  4. Same thing happened to me yesterday. I’ve had my Sony alpha600 for about a month, everything is spotless and in mint condition. Turned it on and got an error: “Cannot recognize lens. Attach it properly.” Also tried pulling the battery, reset, toggling “release without lens” and a firmware update. No Luck.
    Fortunately, I sent it back yesterday and will get a full refund. I would like to purchase the same camera because I really enjoyed my time using it – however I am skeptical that this is a common issue with this camera, and that there might be additional technical issues.

  5. It is a common issue. It has happened 3 times so far, I have 3 SELP1650 lenses now (one with camera and I bought 2 more). The one that came with the camera was “fixed” under warranty. When I say “fixed” actually I was sent a refurbished one with scratches showing it had been dropped (mine was not).

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