Sony Alpha NEX-6 offers DSLR-like controls, Wi-Fi, and apps

The Alpha NEX-6 has built-in Wi-Fi and downloadable apps, and it also comes with a powered zoom lens.

Amid the smorgasbord of recently announced Sony cameras is a brand-new addition to the company's mirrorless NEX lineup. The Sony Alpha NEX-6 combines the built-in Wi-Fi and downloadable app features of the new NEX-5R with the eye-level OLED viewfinder and physical knobs and buttons of the Sony Alpha NEX-7.

The NEX-6 packs an eye-level OLED viewfinder and an adjustable 3-inch touchscreen.

Sony is positioning this camera as an alternative to an entry-level to mid-range DSLR, with a $1000 kit price to match. The NEX-6 has the same 16-megapixel APS-C sensor found in the NEX-5R, as well as 1080p video recording at 60fps and ISO settings that reach up to ISO 25,600.

Like the NEX-5R, the NEX-6 will be one of Sony's first interchangeable-lens cameras with the ability to run camera-specific apps built and distributed by Sony. The NEX-6 will be able to connect to Wi-Fi access points to download apps and upload and share photos, but the camera will also have a few sidecar mobile apps that allow users to control it from a smartphone or tablet and offload images to those devices.

The NEX-6's physical control scheme should benefit seasoned shooters.

The NEX-6 also has the same 3-inch adjustable touchscreen as the NEX-5R, which can be used for touch-to-focus and subject-tracking autofocus, among other things. Unlike the NEX-5R, however, it augments that control scheme with physical buttons for selecting shooting modes, dialing in manual settings, and accessing in-camera functions. For example, this will be the first NEX camera to offer a physical mode dial.

The NEX-6's mode dial is surrounded by a concentric ring that can be used for quick adjustments, and there's also a scroll wheel on the back of the camera for accessing other settings. The control layout is notably different than the NEX-7's "Tri-Navi" interface.

The NEX-6 has a pop-up flash, and it's the first NEX camera with an honest-to-goodness mode dial.

Like many of Sony's recent cameras, the NEX-6 also features a range of in-camera creative settings for optimizing portraits and applying filters. It also has a very fast burst mode, which clocks in at 10fps at full resolution with the camera's contrast-detection autofocus system enabled. The NEX-6 has a built-in pop-up flash in addition to a standard ISO hot shoe for external flashes and other accessories rather than Sony's proprietary accessory shoe.

Due in November, the Sony Alpha NEX-6 is priced at $1000 as a kit with a new optically stabilized 16mm-55mm F3.5-5.6 powered zoom lens, which you can control via a zoom lever mounted on the side of the lens barrel. The lens also features a twistable control ring that can be used for zoom or focus adjustments.

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