Nex-6 to A7: is the transition worth it?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by NickCyprus, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    First of all, I know that this question is subjective - just trying to get some different opinions.
    Secondly, I know I'm beating a dead horse here with this topic, since its something that has been discussed a lot (here and on other forums). Honestly, I was contemplating for 2 days whether to start this topic or not, but after reading about it for many many days, I still can't figure out if the transiton is worth it for me. So, I'm posting this and hope you can help me with my decision :)

    Here's the story:
    I bought the Nex-6 new (body-only) less than a year ago and I was super happy as an upgrade from my 1st gen Nex-5 (I actually traded the 5 with the 16mm and 18-55mm for the 6 and paid the difference, so the 6 came cheap). I choose the 6 over the 5 cause of the EVF, built-in flash, better image quality, more customization (lots of menu diving on the 5), better grip and.....looks :D

    From the moment I saw and held the A7, I always had a desire to get one (the A7R is way out of my budget). I couldn't really afford it at the time so instead I decided to invest to a new lens for the Nex-6 to ease my "pain" :D. Got the G 18-105mm f/4 new for 550 euros. I love that lens! It became my everyday lens since until then I only had and used MF legacy lenses and sometimes I felt I needed something with AF.

    Now, an opportunity has presented to get an A7 BODY-ONLY for 200 euros on top of my gear (Nex-6/18-105mm combo).

    I know with this deal again I won't have an AF lens but the way I thought about it is that I'll be patient for a few months with using MF legacy lenses (pretty much covered there since I have from 24mm to 210mm) and after that I'll buy a native AF lens.

    I'm not a pro or anything, just a hobbyist but sometimes I feel like I might be to gear concentrated (G.A.S.) :D I'm always finding myself reading on new models, comparing specs and desiring the newest, the best etc.

    So, what I like about the A7 compared to the NEX-6:
    1) More customization and much better menu layout
    I think I can have it setup a way that I won't even go to the menu. The Nex-6 is still very customizable but sometimes I still have to dive into the menu to find/change stuff and the menu is not very easy to navigate...

    2) Better grip, bigger body
    I have rather large hands so while the 6 is much better than the 5, the grip isn't 100% satisfying for me. 2 fingers on the Nex-6's grip while the larger grip of the A7 can accomodate my 3 fingers. I might be of the minority that actually prefers a slightly larger camera overall and not something very compact.

    3) Better EVF

    4) Better resolution, image quality and crop capabilities coming with the bigger sensor.
    Don't really need it since I don't print big and don't really need the extra resolution either - 16MP is quite enough.

    5) Supposedly better low light capabilities
    I take lots of low light/indoor photos and I find that the NEX-6's limit is ISO800 (quite a lot of noise at ISO1600 and on)

    6) Weather-sealed body

    What I don't like about the A7 and what's making me having 2nd thoughts:
    1) No built-in flash.
    I guess I could live with that since in theory the A7 is better at low light and thus won't require a flash that often
    A7 onwers please confirm better low light specs

    2) Shoots slower.
    Half the fps than the NEX-6. Don't really shoot in burst mode so I don't know...

    3) Right now, I'm pretty much covered with my FLs speaking of AF lenses (from wide angle 18mm to tele 105mm). I've invested quite a lot of money FOR ME on the Nex-6 with the purchase of the 18-105 lens so I will be losing a significant amount of $$$ into a possible trade+cash. But on the other hand 200 euros is quite a bargain!!!
    How much do you think its a fair price for my combo? I know prices differ from continent to continent...

    4) Shutter button location
    I don't know, it kinda feels weird located further back and on top of the body (or different would be a better term). I prefer it (or have gotten used to it) mounted further forward on the NEX-6 but this might be something that I just need to get used to it...
    I feel like maybe the shutter button on the A7 forces you to hold the camera more "professionally" and work with your hands but for the few times I've hold an A7 on my hands it feels kinda weird...

    Unknown facts:
    1) AF speed and accuracy
    Dont know how it compares with the Nex-6 so please comment

    Looking forward hearing your thoughts and specifically from members that had the NEX-6 and went to an A7
    TIA :)
    • Like Like x 2
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    One other thing I forgot to mention is that I loved shooting with my MF legacy lenses. When I had the NEX-5 I rarely used my AF lenses and that's really what made me fall in love with the NEX line.
    After I bought the 18-105 I don't use them that often. Only for specific circumstances. Sometimes I feel like the purchase of an AF lens made me a little more lazy...
  3. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA

    I am somewhat in the same boat with my NEX-7. I've tossed it around over and over and have come to the conclusion that I appreciate the size and portability of an APS-C camera. Yes, the A7's are the smallest FF cameras but physics dictates that the lenses will be large. Plus the shutter button placement bugs me as well. :)

    this is also the first generation of these cameras (A7's) - I'm waiting to see what's next and in the meantime I still have ( as do you ) a camera that can produce professional grade shots. I think the ISO capabilities of your camera is higher than you think. Have you looking into DXO processing software? DXO Prime Noise Reductions works very well with Sony RAW files.

    Have you considered the A6000? I think that is enough of an improvement over the NEX-6 to be worthwhile and a much lower financial commitment.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. GabrielPhoto

    GabrielPhoto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Jul 3, 2013
    We are thinking about the same thing so I cant really offer much advice as I just tested the A7 at the store for my sample shots I took at ISO 6400 from one of my posts here.

    That indeed is one nice plus from what I have seen..not to mention Auto ISO when in Manual mode.

    Cant comment on it but I would love if the EVF was on the left though...still I was fine using it.

    That I was not expecting but it does look better, like when magnifying for focusing, I could see clearer if I was getting a perfect focus or not.

    4) Better resolution, image quality and crop capabilities coming with the bigger sensor.
    Don't really need it since I don't print big and don't really need the extra resolution either - 16MP is quite enough.

    If you feel that its gets noisy at 800 then I think you are going to be disappointed to be honest. From my other test, I was expecting a lot better from the A7 but I do understand my test was not Apples to Apples as I was using a speed booster (even though I did use the same ISO for both) and it was A7 JPG vs NEX-6 RAW processed with DXO Prime.
    Still, I think my images are pretty clean with my NEX-6 at pretty high ISOs but I always try to PTTR and then DXO Prime completes the cleaning for what I see as darn good high ISO images from an APS-C sensor. :)

    So from my research you are supposed to gain about a stop of light but I wouldnt set my expections in night and day difference in ISO to be honest.

    That is cool although I only shoot FD lenses so do not apply to me lol

    One thing I like is that while it is slower FPS for burst the buffer seems to go on forever so to me that is more valuable than the faster NEX-6 FPS.
    Also, legacy lenses seem to perform better on edges and corners than on APS-C even with the speed boosters which is one of main reasons I am looking at the A7 as a possible upgrade still. The extra dynamic range is nice to have too.
    I will miss the bounce flash option but I think I can mange.

    Hope you get more feedback and likely you will get to update before I do so then I will be asking you! :D
    • Like Like x 1
  5. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Thanks Chris!

    That's the thing right there - I do not appreciate the size of the Nex. And just talking about the body (handling/grip) here. I always wanted something slightly bigger/"grippier". I even bought an Ownuser battery grip for the 6 yesterday, lol :D
    The lenses don't mind me personally. I mean I'll mostly use my MF lenses and also I wouldn't really describe my Nex-6/18-105 combo small or "pocketable" :D
    Speaking of portability, I find my current combo and say an A7/24-70 pretty much the same (both inside a small messenger bag)

    Glad I'm not the only one that felt weird/different with the shutter button location - I thought I was weird, lol :D

    I thought about waiting for the next generation of FF mirrorless but then I couldn't afford them when they come out...
    I use LR but not getting such great results in noise reduction as what I've seen from DXO...Still FOR ME anything over ISO800 on the Nex-6 is very noisy out of the box
    Regarding the A6000, its a great camera BUT if I do the transition it will only be to go to FF style body
    • Like Like x 1
  6. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Legend

    Oct 8, 2013
    I guess one benefit of being in retirement age...I don't have all these tough decisions.
    I'm working on a 5-6 year plan...if I'm still around by then that will be great.
    But meanwhile, as far as I can reasonably see into the future, the NEX-7's and my sack of Canon FD lenses operate for all the world like my Canon A1 35mm cameras back in the 80's...(only better)...and will be plenty of equipment to keep me challenged and enjoy photography until I burn out...figuratively or literally, LOL.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. hodad66

    hodad66 Sony Guru

    Feb 8, 2012
    Indialantic, Fl
    Ok, I'll be brief...... ;-) I have an OMD & had a NEX 7. I never felt as though the extra
    megapixels made much difference. I was using a Pany GF2 & I liked the NEX better.
    THEN I got the OMD with the IBIS and all of my legacy glass got new life!

    I had been eying the A7R since the beginning but it cost way too much! I only play around
    with all of this photography. Finally I picked up an A7R just a few days ago and I love it.
    For faster shooting I carry the OMD but when I can take time, I simply love the dynamic
    range & resolution of the A7R. This coming from a guy that NEVER makes prints.

    Now I have only had it for a few days but I have used it with legacy glass from 500mm to
    20mm. Used it with an 8mm (NEX) Rokinon and was amazed with the detail after the crop.
    Now I feel as though I have two, vastly, different tools which I enjoy. IMHO
    • Like Like x 3
  8. mcvu

    mcvu TalkEmount Regular

    Sep 24, 2014
    Bay Area, CA
    I went the other way around. I got A7r first, then bought A6000 and I preferred A6000.
    I think you should seriously consider A6000 over A7.

    Here are my thoughts comparing A6000 vs A7:
    • Same 24MP resolution but A6000 has higher pixel density so it should be sharper, giving enough light.
    • Noise: Does 1 or 2 stops noise advantages matter to you? as long as you can get good pics @ 6400? Personally, I don't care much about noise, so if I have to, I'll happily use the A6000 at whatever ISO required, even 25,600.
    • A6000 has lower resolution EVF. In use, you'll hardly notice it.
    • A6000 has superior AF tracking ability. If you shoot kids or moving objects, A6000 will slaughter A7/A7r. There's no comparison. I haven't tried, but A6000 would probably be fast enough for street without the need to use zone focusing.
    • A7 has shallower DOF. Is the APS-C DOF good enough for you with fast lenses? if yes, the point is moot.
    • FF lenses are generally more expensive and right now, there're not that many native FE selections.
    • If you shoot mainly MF with legacy lenses, they'll work on both bodies. But if you used FF lenses on A6000, you have the 1.5x focal length multiplier effect and you'll get better sharpness uniformity (across the frame sharpness) because you only use the best middle region of the lenses.
    • If you shoot portraits outdoor, the built-in flash on A6000 will be indispensable for fill-flash. Better low light capability (A7) can be advantage in situations where flashes are not allowed or you don't want to use flash, but it can't be a substitution for flash.
    • A6000 has smaller body, smaller grip. I use an L bracket base (w/o the side part) on A6000 and it makes the grip much better.
    • The 18-105mm/4 lens is probably the most versatile lens out there; and it has good enough quality. To get the same FE 28-135/4 lens, you'll have to pay $2500 USD!. If I had only A6000, then my whole kit would probably be: 10-18/4, 50/1.8 OSS and 18-105/4.

    If it's for sentimental reasons, ignore everything and get the A7 :biggrin:

    Hope that helps.
    • Like Like x 3
  9. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    Honestly, I love my A7r but that's largely because of the awesome native Zeiss/Sony FE primes and the more awesome sensor. As a camera it's still slightly in beta in many ways (overall and AF speed in particular), particularly compared to something like the Oly E-M1.

    Honestly, if we're shooting legacy glass more I would weigh up the cost/benefit of a focal reducer for the NEX-6 versus the pure IQ advantages of a FF body. For me, the FE 55/1.8 is the primary reason to own and shoot the Sony. The only MF lens I really like on it is the Voightlander 35/1.2, but it may well get sold once the FE S/Z 35/1.4 shows up.

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkEmount
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Clearly, you have a handle of the merits of the two cameras. If having done our own weightings the case for the move is not compelling, then don't. The NEX-6 is a great camera; milk it for all the experience and photos you can. Then, when you're ready to move on you can buy the successor to the A7 that will probably address your concerns about the current model.

    Unless, of course, you're rich, then have both.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 4, 2013
    I think the cost of actually buying an A7 is actually a relatively insignificant part of the total cost of swapping to full frame.

    That's what gives me pause, more than anything.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. hodad66

    hodad66 Sony Guru

    Feb 8, 2012
    Indialantic, Fl
    My view was that I already had a great collection of full frame, lenses
    just waiting to be used as they were designed. I did invest in the 55mm
    for auto focus but (as in the NEX) I rarely choose the auto lens when
    going out to shoot......
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Nick, I moved from NEX 7 to A7.

    Transition was alright. The depth of field took a some time getting used to.

    Initial combination of A7 + FE 35 felt like it lacked something compared to NEX 7 + CZ 24. Can't figure out exactly what. I felt more impressed by the performance of the latter.

    FE 55 is a stunner and has hardly left my camera. I went thru a fair bit of lenses to find a suitable wide angle. Currently have the Rokinon/Samyang 14mm. It's a little wider than I want. But between cropping or setting the camera in crop mode, I found it to be a useful lens. I'd love to get the FE 16-35, but unsure if I can afford the price. I don't want to sell the 55 either.. still waiting on that 85mm.

    Focus speed vs NEX 7 seemed like an improvement. No complaints about the accuracy either. I keep focus peaking on and use the camera in DMF mode most of the time.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Going to digital full frame would just make my costs increase considerably...

    I do not need high iso any ways and I do not understand all this discussion about how good iso 6400 can be. It is part of my "job" to create light when I do not have it.
    And by the way I am shooting full frame two years now and is fun.. but my camera costed 30 euros and I had the lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    May 5, 2014
    I crave ownership of an A7 (or more specifically an a7s) but funds do not permit this unfortunately. I saw the other day that I could get a grey import a7s for a fraction over two grand and my heart wept. But as much as I want it I know it will not improve my pictures, and I also know deep down that I haven't nearly outgrown my nex-6 with my current photographic abilities. I think that if you feel you will find more enjoyment with the a7 than with the 6 then go for it, after all we do this for pleasure.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    I'd like to thank you all and everyone individually for some nice thoughts you shared. All your opinions have been taken into consideration. I can't say that I 100% made up my mind but through this discussion I can say that my desire to get an A7 has became bigger.

    The way I see it (since my biggest "fear" was not having an AF native lens), the purchase of an A7 will force me to go back to shooting MF with the Minolta lenses that I so much fell in love with in the past :)

    Also, like I've mention before, I think the A6000 is a fantastic camera! But for me, I would only change my Nex-6 for a A7 FF mirrorless body style and definately would never consider a Micro Four Thirds camera like the E-M1 mentioned here :)
    • Like Like x 1
  17. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    do you sell the nex-6? I know a guy that is looking for it
  18. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    While I haven't tried it, I am sure you are correct and you must remember you are not going to get a nice long zoom for A7 at least until the 24-240 comes out, and it may not be cheap. Especially since it'll be Sony's first native E mount lens that pushes past the 315mm barrier on APS-C. If this is your everyday lens, you are going to miss it.
    That is a pretty nice deal though, especially if your NEX-6 is quite old!
    I moved from 5N to 7 and the menu difference is night and day. While it's not quite as painful with the NEX-6 because it has better manual controls than the 5N, I am sure you will immediately notice the difference too. EV dial + auto ISO + M is amazing to have. I don't think I'll buy another camera that doesn't have this combination.
    I don't think the A7's grip is significantly larger than the NEX-6's. I agree that the larger size is actually an advantage (but would not want it much larger than that) - I actually have a half case on mine, though it makes the fit with the fingers quite tight, it gives the grip a bit more depth and I don't really notice the heavier body (even though I'm sure the half case weighs at least 100g).
    It is nice, slightly better but not actually all that much better. My standards might be low, though, since I already liked the 5N's external EVF very much and didn't really notice much difference moving "up" to the 7's.
    I used to think the same, but 24 MP is something else. The croppability of this resolution is amazing. The files do start to get kind of large though, especially if you shoot RAW or XFine JPEG, so a new Class 10 SD card has to be on your shopping list.
    Well my tolerance of the 5N's stopped at ISO 1,600. With the A7, I'll take SOOC JPEGs (NR set to low) up to 6,400 (1 stop is down to the better JPEG engine, and the other stop down to the larger sensor), and RAW ISO 12,800 is quite acceptable with some tweaking in post. You will find all that ISO flexibility luxurious.
    Bear in mind you need to have at least 1 FE lens for this to make sense. The overall system cost of FF is much higher than APS-C, especially if you want to get the "top" lenses. But meanwhile, the FE 28-70 is an amazing everyday lens to have. The harsh early reviews were unwarranted, but it does mean there are some very nice ones going around 2nd hand in like-new condition. ;-)
    As I said, ISO 6,400 SOOC is great. But I still want a flash but that's mostly due to wanting to learn to take studio-like shots with off-camera flash. I am thinking of getting the HVL-F20M for a master and Nissin i40 for slave. Or maybe the HVL-F32M + Nissin i40. I haven't yet decided.
    It is slower, but I don't particularly care either.
    Yes this is the big question. Rebuilding the system is not going to be easy or cheap. This is really the biggest consideration I think a non-pro (who is not earning money from their gear) with a "normal" budget (i.e. not with money flowing out his ears) has to consider. I don't regret the decision I took, but I do sometimes miss the flexibility I had with the 5N and a huge number of lenses, which will take me at least 3 times as long to reach the same level again (partly due to the FE lens rollout, but mostly my budget).
    I worried about this before I bought the A7. After a couple weeks I had completely stopped noticing it. But if I hand the camera to someone else, they always fumble on it. It is a matter of getting used to! The other thing is that there is no click at the half-press. Again, takes getting used to but I actually now prefer it this way - less chance for camera shake as you go in.
    It was like night and day between the 5N and 7 for me, and everything I've read says it's faster than the NEX-6. But maybe not as dramatic a difference. It will start to struggle in low light, though I swear there was a marginal improvement with firmware 1.02.
    • Like Like x 2
  19. mcvu

    mcvu TalkEmount Regular

    Sep 24, 2014
    Bay Area, CA
    Money can be re-earned, but not your lost time. Follow your heart :)
    • Like Like x 2
  20. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    I am...but not for the (cheap) price you are looking for (as per your other thread), lol :D
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