Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sony NEX-6: Working with Manual Focus Lenses

The NEX-6 is my third NEX camera.  I started with the original NEX-5, then the 5N and now the NEX-6. The lack of a built-in viewfinder for the 5/5N was an issue for me.  I later acquired the external EVF for the 5N and was quite happy with it, except that it acted like a hook and often caught on to things.  Another issue for me was that there is no locking mechanism for the up/down movement and it often moved when I wanted it stayed put. As soon as I saw the NEX-6, I knew I had to upgrade.

The EVF on the NEX-6 is essentially the same as the external one for the 5N/5R/F3.  Very high resolution and eminently usable, particularly when using manual focus lenses. Now that it's built into the body of the NEX-6, it's even better.

Though the peeking function has been a blessing for using very long lenses on the NEX camera, it's unfortunately not precise enough when depth of field is thin.  Focus fine tuning is still required and I almost always do, and do it with MF Assist feature, which enlarges (zooms in) the area of focus.  On the 5/5N, this was an awkward thing to do, as the MF Assist is button "C" at the bottom.  Engaging it means shifting your thumb down.  On the NEX-6, the AEL button can be reprogrammed to MF Assist.  This button is much closer to the thumb and it takes no efforts at all to engage it.

The changes above have made using manual focus lenses a lot easier.  One feature I wish Sony would add as a firmware update, is to allow the wheel under the mode dial to be programmed as exposure compensation if an auto focus lens is not detected.

Overall, I am very impressed with the NEX-6.  It's by far the best NEX camera Sony has made.  I like it even more than the flagship NEX-7.  Well done, Sony.

Waiting for the bus - NEX-6 & Jupiter-9 85mm f2.


  1. Hi. Thanks for the details...

    I'd like to know if the MF assist on Nex6 is the same as on Nex3 (*4.8, and *9.6 on second click), and if it impacts both the LCD display and the viewfinder...

    Thanks for your help!

    Sylvain, France.

    1. Hi, I never used the NEX-3 so I can't comment on the MF assist, but I would expect they work the same as they are from the same family of firmware. MF assist can be displayed on the viewfinder and the LCD, but not at the same time.

    2. Thanks... :)
      Not sure about "not at the same time", but the main thing for me is that I can have MF assist (heavy zooming) in the viewfinder...

      So I think I'll give the Nex6 a try.

      Thank you very much for your help,