Sony NEX-6 Review

 
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Sony NEX-6 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally very good performance, though startup and mode switching are a little sluggish.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~2.0 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~1.6 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
7 seconds after 12 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
9 seconds after 10 RAW files*
12 seconds after 9 RAW+ L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Sony NEX-6's startup time is a little slower than most CSCs. Buffer clearing times are pretty good with a fast card, though buffer depths aren't very deep.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.1 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~2.1 seconds

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is a little sluggish, though displaying a previously captured image is fast.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.257 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All AF timing performed with Sony E16-50mm kit lens.)
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.261 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled
0.379 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, TTL Auto flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.389 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.126 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.023 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Sony NEX-6's full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) is about 0.26 second in both Single-area (center) and Multi-area AF modes with the 16-50mm kit lens. That's a little faster than average for a CSC these days, and just a bit slower than typical consumer DSLRs. With the flash enabled, the NEX-6's full AF shutter lag increases to 0.38s, to account for the preflash metering. Shutter lag is 0.389 second in continuous mode AF. When manually focused, the Sony NEX-6's shutter lag is 0.126s, which is pretty good, though not as fast as some competitors. The NEX-6's prefocused shutter lag is only 0.023 second, much faster than most CSCs and faster than any DSLR -- we have the camera's electronic front curtain shutter which is enabled by default to thank for that.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.61 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20+ shots*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.66 second

Time per shot, averaged over 13 shots*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG
0.64 second

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shots*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Standard
Continuous Mode

Large/Fine JPEG

0.63 second (1.58 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing.

Speed Priority Continuous Mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.10 second (9.73 frames per second);
12 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 12 shots, then slows to an average of about 0.46s or 2.15 fps when buffer is full.

Speed Priority Continuous Mode
RAW

0.10 second (9.78 frames per second);
10 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 10 frames, then slows to an average of about 0.89s or 1.13 fps when buffer is full.

Speed Priority Continuous Mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.10 second (9.76 frames per second);
9 frames total;
12 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 9 frames, then slows to 1.30s or 0.77 fps when buffer is full.

Flash Recycling

2.5 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times are good for a CSC, ranging from 0.61 second for JPEGs to 0.66 second for RAW files. Speed Priority Continuous mode performance is excellent at over 9.7 frames per second, just shy of Sony's 10 fps specification. In this mode, continuous AF is still available when enabled, but only functions if phase-detection AF is possible. Standard continuous mode is quite slow, though, at only 1.6 frames per second.

Buffer depth for large/fine JPEGs in Speed Priority mode is just okay, at 12 frames. Note, though, that our test target for this was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths should be longer with typical subjects. You may also be able to increase JPEG burst length by selecting Standard instead of Fine quality. When shooting RAW files, buffer depth drops to 10 frames, and only 9 frames with RAW+L/F JPEG files. Buffer clearing is fairly quick with a fast card, ranging between 2 seconds in standard continuous mode, to 12 seconds with RAW+ L/F JPEG files in Speed Priority Continuous mode.

The flash was able to recycle from a full discharge in 2.5 seconds, which is quite fast.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

12,029 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds are very fast, quick enough that you likely won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Sony NEX-6's performance is generally very good, with good AF speeds, extremely fast prefocused shutter lag and a very fast burst mode, though startup and mode switching are a little sluggish, and buffer depths are not very deep.

Battery

Battery Life
Slightly above average battery life with the LCD for a Compact System Camera, though using the EVF drops battery life significantly.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(EVF, CIPA standard)
270 shots
Still Capture,
(LCD, CIPA standard)
360 shots

The Sony NEX-6 uses a custom NP-FW50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and a USB charger. Battery is rated for 270 shots per charge when using the EVF, which is a bit low. However, battery life when using the LCD is slightly above average for a CSC, at 360 shots. As is usually the case, we recommend getting a second battery for your NEX-6 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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