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John Mitchell

NEX-6 setup

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I'm currently setting up a Sony NEX-6 that I just purchased, wading through the myriad options and generally trying to unravel the mysterious of Sony's menus. Something that confuses me is the "electronic front curtain shutter" (usually called "electronic first curtain shutter") feature. This is on by default, and I'm wondering what its benefits/shortcomings might be.

 

The NEX-6 user's manual says that the electronic front curtain should not be used with lenses from other manufacturers, and at "high shutter speeds with wide diameter lens attached." I assume that by "wide diameter," they actually mean wide aperture -- i.e. don't use this function when the lens is wide open and you're using fast shutter speeds.

 

I think I understand the basics of how electronic first curtain shutters work, but that's about it. Is it a good idea just to leave this feature enabled since I'll be using Sony lenses most of the time? Why or why not?

 

Thanks.

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John, you have caused me to check the set up of my camera and I find that it is set to ON.

 

Digging in places more useful than the instruction manual it appears that this electronic shutter replaces the movement of the first curtain of the mechanical shutter with a progressive electronic activation of the pixels in the sensor. Apparently the pixels can't be turned off as rapidly, so, at this stage of development of the technology, you still need to use a mechanical blind to close the light off.

 

Surfing the issue, I get the impression that some non Sony auto focus lenses cannot respond sufficiently quickly to cope with the speed of the electronic shutter and that can lead to problems. My only non Sony auto focus lens is the Sigma 19mm, and I've not seen any problems that I can attribute to this. Similarly it doesn't appear to cause problems with my manual focus, manual stop down, lenses, that I use most of the time.

 

Very occasionally I  have had problems with gross under exposure, but taking the same shot again with the same settings all is well - very strange.

Edited by Bryan

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"My only non Sony auto focus lens is the Sigma 19mm, and I've not seen any problems that I can attribute to this." -- Bryan

 

​And I've not had any such problems with my Sigma 30mm. But the Sigma lenses were designed for the NEX cameras. I wonder if they are referring to third-party lenses that attach via convertors? I bought a cheap Nikon convertor to use with my older MF Nikkors . . . but now that I own the RX10 I have no use for that fiddly combo. 

 

I hope you are set free by your NEX-6, John. 

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As usual, the Sony manual is next to useless when it comes to explanations and reasons why. I've been doing some surfing as well and haven't come up with any horror stories about using non-Sony lenses with the electronic front/first curtain shutter turned on. However, the only benefit I've been able to find is that it can extend the life of the shutter, which I guess makes sense. I suppose that it could conceivably make the shutter a bit quieter as well. Guess I'll just leave EFCS activated and see what happens.

 

Ed, I haven't really done any photo-taking with the NEX-6 yet. I'm sure it will be liberating to actually have a viewfinder again. The NEX-6 certainly feels good in the hand, and it's great having a few extra dials and buttons to fiddle with. I plan to put the 16mm "pancake" on my faithful NEX-3 and keep it in my coat pocket (I'm still not liberated enough to carry a purse).

 

We have several cm of fresh white snow on the ground today in Vancouver. I'll try to get out and do some snapping before it melts, which won't take long, unfortunately.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Same here, my 5N and 6 have always been set to first curtain. I use The three Sigma lenses and the Zeiss 24. Haven't noticed any problems. I think I read somewhere that it was a recommended setting, so I just set it and never thought any more about it.

 

I think you will enjoy the 6 John, its a nice little camera. I certainly don't regret buying mine. Best of luck with it.

Edited by Richard Coombs
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Here is a video with our own David K talking about adopters and third-party lenses. It dates back a few year, before the 6 and 7 were out. 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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Thanks, Ed. I'll check out the video. I figured David must look like a movie star. This confirms it. ;)

Edited by John Mitchell

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The electronic first curtain shutter has been working without issues for me as well (NEX-7), with Sony E-mount lenses as well as A-mount lenses via the LA-EA1 adapter.

I only ever really go into the menus to format a memory card. On the 7 luckily most functions are directly accessible via one of the buttons or control wheels.

 

Good luck with that NEX-6, I think you'll like it. One tip regarding the EVF: I found it a bit too contrasty at first. Following a tip from Luminous Landscape I set the Creative Style to Portrait (the least contrasty) and Contrast to -3. This gives a much nicer image in the viewfinder but doesn't affect the RAW file. If you shoot JPEGs this won't work of course as you end up with dull looking images.

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The electronic first curtain shutter has been working without issues for me as well (NEX-7), with Sony E-mount lenses as well as A-mount lenses via the LA-EA1 adapter.

I only ever really go into the menus to format a memory card. On the 7 luckily most functions are directly accessible via one of the buttons or control wheels.

 

Good luck with that NEX-6, I think you'll like it. One tip regarding the EVF: I found it a bit too contrasty at first. Following a tip from Luminous Landscape I set the Creative Style to Portrait (the least contrasty) and Contrast to -3. This gives a much nicer image in the viewfinder but doesn't affect the RAW file. If you shoot JPEGs this won't work of course as you end up with dull looking images.

Thanks, Niels. Looks interesting. I guess if you use this fix in bright light, it's a good idea to shoot RAW+JPEG. Is that what you do?

 

UPDATE: Come to think of it, that's a pretty dumb question. Best just to shoot RAW if using the settings that you mentioned. No point in having a doctored JPEG. I've taken to shooting RAW+JPEG these days as the JPEGs sometimes look better than the processed RAW files. I like having the RAW file to play around with just in case, though. Will probably continue this with the NEX-6.

Edited by John Mitchell

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John, when you set the NEX-3 or 6 on RAW+jpeg, what is the quality of the jpeg? I'm looking at my NEX-6 and NEX-7 and the choice of jpeg alone is Standard or Fine. On my RX10 there is a choice of three jpeg qualities: Standard, Fine and Very Fine. 

 

As I said somewhere in the forum, I've been trying out some of the SCENES on the RX10 . . . and these settings only work on jpegs. I set the Scene in the menu and then go into Quality and set the jpeg at Very Fine.  I'm not sure I ever noticed Scenes on any of my NEX cameras, but they are there. 

 

About a year ago I adjusted my workflow. That is I still shoot RAW, edit and convert to tiff in LR, then finished up on the tiff in CS5, and convert to the Alamy jpeg.  I now keep the finished, edited jpegs and the edited RAW files . . . but I delete all the tiffs. I did a tiff hunt on my iMac's HD and freed up a lot of space. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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John, when you set the NEX-3 or 6 on RAW+jpeg, what is the quality of the jpeg? I'm looking at my NEX-6 and NEX-7 and the choice of jpeg alone is Standard or Fine. On my RX10 there is a choice of three jpeg qualities: Standard, Fine and Very Fine. 

 

As I said somewhere in the forum, I've been trying out some of the SCENES on the RX10 . . . and these settings only work on jpegs. I set the Scene in the menu and then go into Quality and set the jpeg at Very Fine.  I'm not sure I ever noticed Scenes on any of my NEX cameras, but they are there. 

 

About a year ago I adjusted my workflow. That is I still shoot RAW, edit and convert to tiff in LR, then finished up on the tiff in CS5, and convert to the Alamy jpeg.  I now keep the finished, edited jpegs and the edited RAW files . . . but I delete all the tiffs. I did a tiff hunt on my iMac's HD and freed up a lot of space. 

Ed, the JPEG accompanying the RAW file is "fine" with both cameras by the looks of it. I wonder what "extra fine" means -- not as much compression, I suppose(?).

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I've only got one complaint about the NEX-6 so far, the silly camera strap arrangement. The NEX-3 camera strap configuration is brilliant in that the camera hangs lens-down from your body. With the NEX-6 (and NEX-7, I believe) the camera hangs lens-forward with the LCD screen banging against your clothing where it can easily get scratched. Sony had a winner with the NEX-3/5 strap IMO. Wish they had left well enough alone.

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I use a leather wrist strap.

 

I looked through the wrist straps at both Adorama and B&H but could not find the one I bought. I see two leather straps for $69 . . . I paid nothing like that, more like $12 or so. The problem is most wrist straps just don't feel right or fit right. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I've only got one complaint about the NEX-6 so far, the silly camera strap arrangement. The NEX-3 camera strap configuration is brilliant in that the camera hangs lens-down from your body. With the NEX-6 (and NEX-7, I believe) the camera hangs lens-forward with the LCD screen banging against your clothing where it can easily get scratched. Sony had a winner with the NEX-3/5 strap IMO. Wish they had left well enough alone.

I've dropped my camera, lost the eyecup without realising it had gone, and generally given it all kinds of abuse. So far the cheap plastic screen protector has done just that - don't think that you will find this an issue.

 

I like this camera more than any other that I have owned in recent years, indeed almost as much as the Pentax ME Super that I used for ages. It's small, light, has a great viewfinder, and provides super IQ. Hopefully you will enjoy using your 6 as much as I have mine.

Edited by Bryan

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I've only got one complaint about the NEX-6 so far, the silly camera strap arrangement. The NEX-3 camera strap configuration is brilliant in that the camera hangs lens-down from your body. With the NEX-6 (and NEX-7, I believe) the camera hangs lens-forward with the LCD screen banging against your clothing where it can easily get scratched. Sony had a winner with the NEX-3/5 strap IMO. Wish they had left well enough alone.

I've dropped my camera, lost the eyecup without realising it had gone, and generally given it all kinds of abuse. So far the cheap plastic screen protector has done just that - don't think that you will find this an issue.

 

I like this camera more than any other that I have owned in recent years, indeed almost as much as the Pentax ME Super that I used for ages. It's small, light, has a great viewfinder, and provides super IQ. Hopefully you will enjoy using your 6 as much as I have mine.

 

Too bad the eyecup snaps on -- making it easy to lose -- rather than sliding on as is the case with most DSLRs. I think I've now got the camera more or less set up to my liking. Love the big, clear viewfinder. I'm almost intimidated by it, having spent so long squinting at a tiny screen. Now I'm just waiting to get an OK from the weather gods so I can go out and do some snapping. The NEX-6 certainly seems very solid and well made, much more so than my Sony DSLR, which no one apparently wants to buy. :(

 

Ed, I've got an ancient wrist strap that I sometimes use. I find that it can be very handy when I want to be as inconspicuous as possible. I like to use a camera strap most of the time, though, as I'm under the illusion that it is more secure.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I'm loving the NEX-6 so far. The ease-of-use and picture quality are a significant step up from the NEX-3. However, I have had one problem so far. A couple of nights ago, I went out and shot some Christmas light displays, and most of the results were unexpectedly blurry at 100%. I was using a tripod, so that was not the issue. I also remembered to turn "steady shot" off. Now I'm wondering if the culprit might be the electronic first curtain shutter. Is it a good idea to disable this feature when doing longer exposures? I haven't had any similar problems with the NEX-3, which doesn't have an electronic first curtain shutter. 

Edited by John Mitchell

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I'm loving the NEX-6 so far. The ease-of-use and picture quality are a significant step up from the NEX-3. However, I have had one problem so far. A couple of nights ago, I went out and shot some Christmas light displays, and most of the results were unexpectedly blurry at 100%. I was using a tripod, so that was not the issue. I also remembered to turn "steady shot" off. Now I'm wondering if the culprit might be the electronic first curtain shutter. Is it a good idea to disable this feature when doing longer exposures? I haven't had any similar problems with the NEX-3, which doesn't have an electronic first curtain shutter. 

I've not had any problems with blurry images and longer exposures John and I have never changed the shutter setting. Having said that I have never taken really long exposures - e.g. a minute or more.

 

This one involved a 5s exposure using the Sigma 19mm

 

DJGW2H.jpg

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I'm loving the NEX-6 so far. The ease-of-use and picture quality are a significant step up from the NEX-3. However, I have had one problem so far. A couple of nights ago, I went out and shot some Christmas light displays, and most of the results were unexpectedly blurry at 100%. I was using a tripod, so that was not the issue. I also remembered to turn "steady shot" off. Now I'm wondering if the culprit might be the electronic first curtain shutter. Is it a good idea to disable this feature when doing longer exposures? I haven't had any similar problems with the NEX-3, which doesn't have an electronic first curtain shutter. 

I've not had any problems with blurry images and longer exposures John and I have never changed the shutter setting. Having said that I have never taken really long exposures - e.g. a minute or more.

 

This one involved a 5s exposure using the Sigma 19mm

 

DJGW2H.jpg

 

Thanks, I probably just screwed up the focus since I'm not used to the camera yet. Shall try to get out tonight and retake some of the photos. BTW, do you use the self-timer or a remote control of some kind with the NEX-6? I was using the two-second setting with the self-timer (worked OK with the NEX-3). Perhaps 10 seconds is a better bet. Wish they had included a five-second option as well -- two seconds tends to be too short and 10 seconds too long.

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Thanks, I probably just screwed up the focus since I'm not used to the camera yet. Shall try to get out tonight and retake some of the photos. BTW, do you use the self-timer or a remote control of some kind with the NEX-6? I was using the two-second setting with the self-timer (worked OK with the NEX-3). Perhaps 10 seconds is a better bet. Wish they had included a five-second option as well -- two seconds tends to be too short and 10 seconds too long.

 

I bought a cheap remote, it works,  but I also use the 10 sec timer. The remote is handy when you need to take a shot at particular instant - to avoid traffic or similar in the frame. 

 

I have been thinking of buying a tablet and using that to control the camera - useful to take a series of exposures at different settings without touching the camera.  Couldn't justify the purchase for photography alone, but we need Internet access and a half decent screen while travelling.

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Thanks, I probably just screwed up the focus since I'm not used to the camera yet. Shall try to get out tonight and retake some of the photos. BTW, do you use the self-timer or a remote control of some kind with the NEX-6? I was using the two-second setting with the self-timer (worked OK with the NEX-3). Perhaps 10 seconds is a better bet. Wish they had included a five-second option as well -- two seconds tends to be too short and 10 seconds too long.

 

I bought a cheap remote, it works,  but I also use the 10 sec timer. The remote is handy when you need to take a shot at particular instant - to avoid traffic or similar in the frame. 

 

I have been thinking of buying a tablet and using that to control the camera - useful to take a series of exposures at different settings without touching the camera.  Couldn't justify the purchase for photography alone, but we need Internet access and a half decent screen while travelling.

 

I just ordered a cheap IR remote control on e-bay. For $1.98 (Hong Kong seller), I figure I don't have much to lose.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I'm wondering if either of you, Bryan or John or anyone with an NEX-6, think you would rather be working with the NEX-7? I have an NEX-7 but personally, I'm always reaching for the 6 . . . well, until I got the RX10, that is. I'm still very much in a learning curve with that camera.   :wacko:

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I'm wondering if either of you, Bryan or John or anyone with an NEX-6, think you would rather be working with the NEX-7? I have an NEX-7 but personally, I'm always reaching for the 6 . . . well, until I got the RX10, that is. I'm still very much in a learning curve with that camera.   :wacko:

I've never used the NEX-7, but the NEX-6's 16 MP sensor sounds less troublesome that the NEX-7's 24 MP one. From what I've seen so far of the results from the NEX-6, image quality looks excellent -- very low noise and plenty of detail. Also, I don't know why I would need/want larger files. Can't for the life of me understand why Alamy hasn't added the NEX-6 to its "recommended" list. It looks like a winner to me. I don't plan on buying another camera for a long time.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I'm wondering if either of you, Bryan or John or anyone with an NEX-6, think you would rather be working with the NEX-7? I have an NEX-7 but personally, I'm always reaching for the 6 . . . well, until I got the RX10, that is. I'm still very much in a learning curve with that camera.   :wacko:

The NEX 6 is very good providing excellent IQ in many circumstances, most certainly fit for purpose as far as stock is concerned. It's great to have a lightweight unobtrusive camera that can provide this level of IQ, while the EVF is a boon. I also have a Canon 5DII and I've hardly used it since buying the NEX. I really should sell it before it becomes worthless!

 

On the downside, when there is noise, for example if you attempt to pull up shadows too far in LR, it's there in bucketfuls, and impossible to deal with. I 'm thinking here of circumstances that would defeat most cameras, e.g. shooting people against the light without flash and wanting to lighten the faces etc. I have a few niggles about the controls, they're difficult to operate wearing gloves, particularly the rear control wheel, but I guess that's the price to pay for such a compact camera.

 

Would I swap for a NEX 7, probably not, having read the reviews. Would I like the extra MP that it provides, certainly. There is a rumour of a NEX 7 replacement due out early 2014, and I may be tempted, but only if it can provide NEX 6 IQ at higher ISOs, additional pixels, and maybe an even better EVF. The Canon 5D would go in that instance.

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I'm wondering if either of you, Bryan or John or anyone with an NEX-6, think you would rather be working with the NEX-7? I have an NEX-7 but personally, I'm always reaching for the 6 . . . well, until I got the RX10, that is. I'm still very much in a learning curve with that camera.   :wacko:

The NEX 6 is very good providing excellent IQ in many circumstances, most certainly fit for purpose as far as stock is concerned. It's great to have a lightweight unobtrusive camera that can provide this level of IQ, while the EVF is a boon. I also have a Canon 5DII and I've hardly used it since buying the NEX. I really should sell it before it becomes worthless!

 

On the downside, when there is noise, for example if you attempt to pull up shadows too far in LR, it's there in bucketfuls, and impossible to deal with. I 'm thinking here of circumstances that would defeat most cameras, e.g. shooting people against the light without flash and wanting to lighten the faces etc. I have a few niggles about the controls, they're difficult to operate wearing gloves, particularly the rear control wheel, but I guess that's the price to pay for such a compact camera.

 

Would I swap for a NEX 7, probably not, having read the reviews. Would I like the extra MP that it provides, certainly. There is a rumour of a NEX 7 replacement due out early 2014, and I may be tempted, but only if it can provide NEX 6 IQ at higher ISOs, additional pixels, and maybe an even better EVF. The Canon 5D would go in that instance.

 

I find the recessed buttons on the NEX-6 to be something of a pain, but no camera is perfect. I guess Sony wanted to keep the body as streamlined as possible. The popup flash -- same one as on the NEX-7, I believe -- looks really flimsy as well; but it works well, and I probably won't use it much. Real Men don't wear gloves BTW.

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I find the recessed buttons on the NEX-6 to be something of a pain, but no camera is perfect. I guess Sony wanted to keep the body as streamlined as possible. The popup flash -- same one as on the NEX-7, I believe -- looks really flimsy as well; but it works well, and I probably won't use it much. Real Men don't wear gloves BTW.

 

:)  Intending to go out at midnight tonight to shoot the firework display in Newcastle, and with the temperature forecast to be 3 to 4 degC, gloves will a necessity for me. Presumably you Canadian types don't bother unless the temp falls to less than 20 below?

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