Nex-6 ramblings

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Vidgamer
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Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby Vidgamer » Sat May 18, 2013 2:22 pm

I recently got a Nex-6, and I have some interesting observations. I've seen some negativity (mostly reading DPR) about the PDAF, but I'm finding it pretty responsive, even with the kit lens (16-50PZ, in the case of the Nex-6). In low light, it can still take up to a second to give the green confirmation, but it does feel much snappier in most use than my Nex-5; I'm plesantly surprised. But recently on DPR, someone mentioned getting good results not even bothering to half-press and wait for focus confirmation. In a couple of dimly lit rooms, I tried focusing on different objects and punching the shutter, and mostly things were in focus! Very fast. This makes me wonder if the PDAF works first to get the lens "close", and then it uses CDAF to fine-tune the results. But if the PDAF result is close enough, that may be good enough. Well, this is just conjecture, but maybe someone with more experience (such as David, hint, hint) could figure out what is going on. I imagine that the 5R must be similar.

So far, I've used the camera in various indoor events with not-great-lighting, as indoor events tend to be, and I'm pleased with the results. AF seemed to be the last thing most of us would miss about not lugging around a DSLR, and that advantage seems mostly gone. I guess the DSLR might still be better with huge tele lenses, but I'm much happier with a Nex-6 than a new DSLR/SLT camera.

The naysayers on DPR are still going on about "slow AF", but even the Nex-5 was only slow in direct comparison with a DSLR, and not all the time. (At least compared to my old A100, they were usually the same, as I recall, with the Nex-5 only sometimes needing more time to hunt.)

I think the big open question is "object tracking" and movement. I'm not sure how to best test this; it's not high on my list of requirements, which may be why I've been pretty much OK with the Nex-5. The Nex-6 has an "object tracking" feature in the menu but I have no idea how it works! It seems to be a one-shot deal. I think the more typical tough case is movement towards you, while rapidly taking photos. For movement, I just have to decide which I prefer -- AF-S or AF-C. You would think AF-C would be better, but I had cases where it would focus in the middle where there was background rather than my subjects which were to either side; it seemed effective when the subjects were more in the center, I think, as I only had a few photos which exhibited this mis-focus.

Overall, I'm pleased with the new camera. I'm still not used to the EVF, but I hope to find that useful one day. :) High-ISO is probably a bit better, which is always useful. I look forward to once again being able to use a BIG flash (have to get the Minolta-shoe adapter). The focusing is very responsive, and I suspect it's the PDAF, which I was hoping would be an advantage.

The 16-50PZ lens, I'm still reserving judgement. In general, I'd say it's pretty good in the middle focal lengths from 20mm on up. At wide angles, it suffers from corner smearing and curious bokeh, but the center still seems sharp; I'd rather use the 16mm prime. At the 50mm end, I'm not sure it's so bad as people like to indicate. Haven't done any back-to-back comparisons, but photos at 50mm look nice and sharp. Not sure what people are complaining about. It does have a "slow" aperture, though. No hood. Well, you have to live with some compromises in order to have a collapsible zoom. It's really compact for what it is.

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Birma
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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby Birma » Sat May 18, 2013 2:58 pm

Thanks for the Nex 6 thoughts Vidgamer. I'm really tempted by the 6 as an upgrade to my 5. If there wasn't a 7 I would have made the choice. Those extra Mega-pixels and the tri-navi are tempting, but then so is Wifi and apps :?
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.

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DrScottNicol
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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby DrScottNicol » Tue May 21, 2013 4:14 pm

I did a direct test of the 6 and a firmware upgraded 5n (but no PDAF on sensor), using a range of lenses lenses cycling through a range of indoor targets at different distances and found no difference in AF speed between the two cameras on static subjects in low to average light - thats not to say the results were bad (both were quite snappy, particularly on the wide end of the lens focal lengths). The on Sensor PDAF only really improves focus tracking of moving targets, not overal AF speed - others at DPR forums claim to see improvements in that over the older NEXes but as you say, creating a reproducible test for that is trickier, particularly if you are a lazy tester like me that does his tests sitting in an office.

That aside, I've found it to be a fine camera and a worthy upgrade - image quality is great and its a fun camera to use. Since purchasing the 6 and the 35mm / 1018 zoom, I've found myself picking up the 6 with a couple of lenses and slipping them into my bag rather than lugging around the a77 plus zooms.

Unfortunately mine developed a fault with the speaker (still at Sony's Service facility in Pencoed, 3 weeks and counting) and I've been trying to use the 5n, a camera I USED to love, and being constantly irritated its not quite as fun to use as the 6 :)

Scott
Sony NEX 5n (IR Conversion) / Nex 5r / a55 / NEX 6 / Dynax 7 / a77 user

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Tue May 21, 2013 5:58 pm

Good luck on the Pencoed repair I think a lack of spare parts is one reason for delays (least in my case)

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby agorabasta » Tue May 21, 2013 6:02 pm

The PDAF as found in the 6/5R does only work below f/6.3 (i.e. at apertures not smaller than).

That also means that the A-mode should not be used if you want some PDAF benefit to show at all. The problem is that the Nex sys tries to focus at the prescribed aperture as long as there is enough light.

You should use the P-mode with shift in the stead of A-mode. In that mode the body is completely free to control the aperture during the focusing/metering.

And the difference in focusing speeds is quite noticeable, especially with a SEL18200 and with the SELP1650.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby alphaomega » Tue May 21, 2013 10:28 pm

The PDAF as found in the 6/5R does only work below f/6.3 (i.e. at apertures not smaller than).
That also means that the A-mode should not be used if you want some PDAF benefit to show at all. The problem is that the Nex sys tries to focus at the prescribed aperture as long as there is enough light.
You should use the P-mode with shift in the stead of A-mode. In that mode the body is completely free to control the aperture during the focusing/metering.
And the difference in focusing speeds is quite noticeable, especially with a SEL18200 and with the SELP1650.

I must confess that I am lost Agorabasta.
First sentence means to me use up to F5.6 only to benefit from PDAF on NEX-6/5R. If you use F8 or higher you are on to CF only.
To that means using the A setting on F5.6 or below (F4 etc.) to use PDAF. Using P would mean not knowing if you use PDAF or not depending on the camera's choice of setting.
I admit that I may be wrong but I need some other way of having the PDAF intricacies explained.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby redsim74 » Tue May 21, 2013 10:35 pm

agorabasta wrote:That also means that the A-mode should not be used if you want some PDAF benefit to show at all. The problem is that the Nex sys tries to focus at the prescribed aperture as long as there is enough light.

You should use the P-mode with shift in the stead of A-mode. In that mode the body is completely free to control the aperture during the focusing/metering.


That is a very interesting piece of information.

I'm looking at upgrading my 5N to a 6 (if I decide not to get a Fuji X-E1) and I shoot A priority 98% of the time. I don't think I've ever used Program on the NEX.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby agorabasta » Wed May 22, 2013 8:29 am

alphaomega wrote:To that means using the A setting on F5.6 or below (F4 etc.) to use PDAF. Using P would mean not knowing if you use PDAF or not depending on the camera's choice of setting.

For a specific lens type there's an optimum aperture for the PDAF function. And in the P-mode the body uses that while focusing (if light permits).
Setting the A-mode aperture at or above f/6.3 enables PDAF, yet during the focusing routine the body cannot choose the optimum aperture for the PDAF function as that remains set as you've dialled it in (if light permits). And that clearly is a brain-dead firmware limitation.

But the P-shift on the Nex6 body is quite well organised - it is controlled by the large wheel under the mode dial, and it sticks and is not reset after each shot; it's only reset if shifted back to the automatic values. So the P-shift is almost as good as A-mode.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby Vidgamer » Thu May 23, 2013 12:21 pm

I agree, the way the Nex-6 handles P mode is fantastic. It's a feature found on some cameras, but sadly not the Nex-5: you can override the automatic selection and dial in more or less aperture and the shutter adjusts automatically. I agree, there's less reason to use A mode, now.

Anyway, I don't see the problem with using either P or A for PDAF, provided you select a wider aperture. And, I thought the cutoff was f6.3 not 5.6? Also, it's hard to tell whether or not it's using PDAF for sure.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby alphaomega » Fri May 24, 2013 7:52 am

Thanks for the explanation above on use of P versus A on NEX-6. Must try that but need to download the latest firmware update to my 55-210 to benefit from PDAF on that lens.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby DrScottNicol » Fri May 24, 2013 11:24 am

One my NEX 6 returns from repair I will give the P mode advice above a try and compare it to the 5n.

Scott
Sony NEX 5n (IR Conversion) / Nex 5r / a55 / NEX 6 / Dynax 7 / a77 user

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Vidgamer
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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby Vidgamer » Fri May 24, 2013 12:31 pm

OK, now I see what Agorabasta is saying.

I put the camera into P mode, and move the aperture to a large value (small opening). The camera holds the aperture OPEN until you half-press. Since there's a slight delay (I'm in a dimly lit room, forcing it to work harder), it is actually focusing while it's open. Then, I see it stop down to the proper aperture.

When I put it into A mode, it sticks at whatever I tell it.

A side effect of this behavior would be that the live view in the LCD/EVF may have more shallow DOF in P mode than your final result. I think this is fine.

I already was preferring P mode, but this cinches it.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby Vidgamer » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:49 am

I found something interesting, potentially. I set the LCD to the display that looks like a DSLR, without a live view. I don't think it (pre)focuses. Seems like my DSLR that has "eye start". I wave the camera around, and as soon as I look into the viewfinder, it is often out if focus and immediately focuses.

Am I onto something or am I imagining it? They don't believe me on DPR.

This Nex-6 has all sorts of neat features.

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby redsim74 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:23 pm

Vidgamer wrote:They don't believe me on DPR.


Then you're probably right! :wink:

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Re: Nex-6 ramblings

Unread postby Vidgamer » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:40 pm

redsim74 wrote:
Vidgamer wrote:They don't believe me on DPR.


Then you're probably right! :wink:


I'm afraid not. I tried it again, and it does pre-focus. It's a real lazy focus, though. I doubt that that's the huge power -waster


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