Photography and Art

Preview: Sony NEX 5R and NEX 6 System Cameras

14 October 2012

Hands-on with the New NEX cameras

The NEX 5R and 6 system cameras

The new Sony NEX cameras, the NEX 5R and NEX 6, represent Sony's step into the connected mobile world. Both cameras features wifi connectivity for added versatility.


The NEX 5R, is very reminiscent of the old NEX 5N in terms of its design and build. It is light weight and a very solid construction that gives the impression it is designed to last. NEX 5R's LCD monitor can flip upwards so that it is easy to do self portraits.


The NEX 6 sits nicely between the 5R and the 7 with an advancement on the features of the 5R but in a body similar to the NEX 7. In fact it feels very similar in the hand to the NEX 7 but minus the Tri-Navi. The high resolution OLED viewfinder is maintained along with the built-in pop-up flash unit.


The NEX 6 has Sony's new hot-shoe which means older Sony (and Konica Minolta) flashguns are no longer compatible and will require an adapter.


The hybrid AF system in both cameras allowed for responsive focusing in the indoor lighting conditions in-which the cameras were tested. It should provide a significant improvement in auto focusing compared to models using only contrast based AF.


While the NEX 5R and 6 do not have Tri-Navi for easy adjustment of exposure parameters they do have a single control dial (in addition to the one on the back) for straightforward exposure adjustment. This makes the 5R a better camera for the enthusiast photographer. Some may prefer the control dial implementation on the NEX 6 to that of the NEX 7 as it feels more traditional.


Unlike some of the Cyber-shot or Alpha series cameras, none of the NEX cameras features GPS tagging. Not everyone needs this feature but the NEX series seem well adept as travel cameras and having GPS tagging built in would make the camera feel more complete.


Some may prefer the NEX 6 over the NEX 7 not only due to its lower price but the fact that the lower resolution image sensor (16mp as opposed to 24mp) should bring lower image noise especially at the higher ISOs.


WiFi and Apps

Wifi connectivity is put to good use firstly by allowing the scene viewed by the camera to be seen remotely on a smartphone (iOS and Android) with the shutter triggered remotely too. When a photo is taken it is stored on the cameras memory card and a smaller picture file is transferred to the connected smartphone. As the cameras are DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certified photos can be remotely viewed on any DLNA compliant device.


Applications can be downloaded to NEX 5R and NEX 6 cameras to extend the feature set. It was nice to see that there will be a time lapse app which will be very useful for movie makers. Hopefully, Sony will get many application developers on board so there can be a rich selection of useful apps.


16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Power Zoom Lens

The 16-50mm power zoom lens makes a nice addition to the NEX system providing the 35mm format equivalent of 24-75mm which in time may prove the preferred standard zoom lens amongst NEX owners. The lens has an optical speed similar the to 18-55mm (28-70mm) kit lens but is a more compact design when powered down.


The lens provides power zooming via either the control ring towards the front of the lens or via the control on the side of the lens. With a camera body set to manual focus focusing is carried out with the control ring. The control ring proved very responsive for both zooming and focusing during a hands on test. The lens seemed to operate very quietly during zooming which should make it very handy for movie use.


Mini News

22 November 2012: Sigma 18-250mm now available in Sony's A-Mount

Sigma Imaging UK Ltd has announced that the 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM lens is now available at a suggested retail price of £499.99. Sigma's APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens will shortly be available in Sony's A-Mount for a suggested retail price of £1499.99.


17 October 2012: Firmware update for Sony NEX 7 v1.01

Sony NEX firmware update provides the following;

  • Addition of capability to enable or disable the MOVIE button
  • Addition of exposure settings of bracket shooting (three frames /1.0EV,2.0EV, 3.0EV)
  • Improvement of response for showing auto review image.
  • Improvement of image quality when using a wide angle lens
  • Improvement of indication when setting “Flexible Spot”.

Visit the link: http://www.sony.co.uk/support/en/product/NEX-7/updates

Firmware updates are also available for the a77, a65, and a57.


15 October 2012: Purchase Sigma's 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM ultra wide angle lens and claim FREE 77mm UV DG filter

From Monday 15th October 2012, Sigma Imaging UK Ltd are introducing a short term special offer that enables anyone who purchases Sigma’s multi-award winning 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM ultra-wide angle lens to claim a FREE Sigma 77mm UV DG filter worth over £60!

A Sigma Ultra Violet filter is the perfect accessory to protect your lens from damage to the front element. Sigma’s DG filters benefit from a special multi-layer lens coating, developed to counteract the highly reflective characteristic of image sensors.

Terms and Conditions apply. Visit www.sigma-imaging-uk.com or ask your local photographic retailer for more details of this offer and how to claim your FREE Sigma 77mm UV DG filter.