Sony NEX-5R vs NEX-6 – In Depth Comparison

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Ed from theDigitalDigest is back, this time with an in depth comparison of the Sony NEX 5R and Sony NEX 6.  These are the newest additions to Sony’s NEX lineup, and in my opinion, they’re the best NEX Cameras yet.  But just how do they stack up against each other?

How they’re alike…

Both the NEX 5R and NEX 6 feature the same 16mp CMOS Sensor, Sony’s new Hybrid Autofocus system and Sony’s new Wi-Fi and Apps system.  Each camera delivers superb image quality in both photo and video (even better than the 24mp NEX 7 IMO), as well as stellar low light performance.  With the NEX 5R and NEX 6, Sony have gone a long way towards addressing (although not completely eliminating) overheating issues in video mode that sometimes plagued earlier models.  Each are compatible with Sony’s small, but growing line of E-Mount Lenses and are easily adaptable to accept Sony A-Mount or other legacy lenses.

How they’re different…

The Sony NEX 6 borrows much of it’s design from the flagship NEX 7, but although the Sony NEX 6 technically takes it’s place in the lineup below NEX 7, in my opinion the NEX 6 is the most advanced NEX camera to date – and it’s hybrid AF, Wi-Fi capability, and the superior performance of it’s 16mp sensor take it a notch above the NEX 7.  It has a mode dial, more on body controls, an integrated EVF (Electronic Viewfinder), a standard hotshoe and a much more rugged build quality than the NEX 5R.

Although each camera has a tilting screen, the NEX 5R’s screen can flip a full 180 degrees to face forward (where the EVF on the NEX 6 prevents this) – great for self portraits. It’s a tiny bit smaller and lighter than the NEX 6, but it lacks the NEX 6’s on body controls, so be prepared to do more menu diving and to use the touch screen to frame your shots and control the camera.

In the end, you’ll get the same great image quality and performance from either camera, so it’s just a matter of which features you decide that you can’t live without.

Should I go for one of these, or grab a deal on a previous model?

That’s entirely up to you.  There won’t be a discernible difference in image quality between an NEX 5N and an NEX 5R or 6, but in my opinion the advancements on the newest models tip the balance in their favor and it’s worth the investment to get the advanced AF, enhanced resistance to overheating in video, and especially the Wi-Fi functionality on these cameras.  With Wi-Fi, each of these cameras has the potential to become better than it was on the day you purchase it, and that’s something that you simply won’t get on an older model.

Buy the Sony NEX 5R and Sony NEX 6 on Amazon Here


Flav' Bee says:

best review of cameras i ever seen . Beautiful comparison!
Great job done man, even if it’s 20 min long i think for people that are about to buy it is brilliant!
Have a nice day
Cheers mate

rcjensen02 says:

Some people here commented on the NEX 5R lacking the proper hot shoe, or the viewfinder etc. .. The universal / Nikon, Canon style hot shoe “made for this camera” can be bought on Amazon, or E-Bay for less than 15 USD, as can be various lens adapters, remote flash sensors etc. The Sony FDA-EV1S viewfinder can be bought for much less than the Sony RRP of 300 USD. And last week I have bought the twin lens kit (inclusive of pancake lens) NEX 5N new from PC World for 300 USD.

rcjensen02 says:

The NEX 6 is obviously a better choice if you are opting for one camera only and you really need the electronic viewfinder. However, If like me, you are primarily going to use the screen for most of the travel photography and portraiture … than, you can easily buy two NEX 5R bodies and the new 16-50 kit lens for the price of one NEX 6 with the same lens.  I generally use the NEX 5Ns and 5Rs with my numerous Nikkor AiS manual lenses in Aperture preference mode …

rcjensen02 says:

A poor assessment of differences between NEX 5N and 5R. The NEX 5R has much faster focus, better functionality, far better screen, better metering + Wi-Fi function, that enables it to be controlled from Android tab, or smart phone. Most people with NEX 5N cameras were routinely switching the touch function off. The NEX 5N screens used to delaminate after few months of usage and even the slight accidental touch, would reshuffle the settings. The resistive screen on 5R has no such problems.

Chad Johnson says:

I cant find anything about how the new 16-50 compares to the older 16mm pancake, both being at 16mm. Can you help me out? And will the 16-50mm work with the 5n?

king suk says:

Hello, are you familiar with “photo SFX art” (just do a Google search for it…)? On their website you will find a good free video demonstrating how to make outstanding pictures. It made it easier for Joe to take pictures which leave you with a wow-effect after you take a look at them. Hopefully it works for you also…

berguezinho says:

Wonderful voice pitch for foreigner listeners !

alf786 says:

which would you choose if both nex 7 and 6 at the mo were the same price as 7 is dropping in price? thanks. with 18-55mm but the nex 6 comes with 16-50mm, thanks.
Also would you get the 18-55 r 16-50mm for a one lens camera. Also if it you were sticking with one lens which camera nex or the rx100 thanks

Gatcho03 says:

I bought the 5R around 2 weeks ago with the PZ lens from an online merchant here in our country (Philippines) for around $750. I’m not sure how they acquired this kit since it isn’t being offered yet with most (if not all) other merchants like Amazon etc.

I’ve thought about purchasing the NEX 6 because of the flash hotshoe and the mode dial but I decided to purchase the 5R and purchase the Sony f1.8 50mm prime lens with the amount of money that I saved instead.

H Chava says:

thanks for the review. I should have bought the 5R during the BFD but decided to wait for 5R with power zoon lens kit. Looks like that kit is not going to come any time soon.

okayplayer31 says:

pretty great review. I plan to get this camera thanks to your review. huge credits for that. I want to get it for holidays, sports photo sea (kitesurfing), to zoom capabilities is key 🙂
I’m wondering if I should get the stock Compact NEX 6B + 16-50 + 55-210 mm (both NEX lens) or get another combo (naked NEX6 + other lenses) ? Many thanks mate.

Rationalific says:

What a great summation of these cameras! Thanks!

okayplayer31 says:

great review

kawai922 says:

Nice video. I’m in the market for the 5R but not really for the NEX-6. What about a comparison between the 5R and the F3??

FlyLifeFilms says:

NEX-6 NEX-5R Users: I started a thread on the Sony Community discussion board to help speed up the process of getting Sony to enable Video Recording on all WiFi compatible cameras using the PlayMemories Mobile or Smart Remote Apps.
Please post all your comments and complaints here:­ware-Update/PlayMemories-Mobil­e-Smart-Remote-No-Video-Record­ing-Why-does/m-p/43843

FlyLifeFilms says:

Great comparison as always. IMO i think the NEX-6 is a better buy over the 5R because of 3 main features:
1.EVF – It costs up to 350$ if you want to buy it seperately for the 5N/5R
2.Hotshoe – The 5R/5N/6 all suffer from the lack of an audio input so external audio will be neccessary for pro’s. Having a hotshoe to mount these accessories is a major plus.
3.Mode Dial – Amazed how much more i love this feature than i initially thought. Great for switching on the fly and less menu diving a la 5R

Chris Data says:

I got the NEX-6 and loving it!

jadel says:

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dave says:

those toy-like smooth dial buttons on the nex7 make it look and feel cheap.

the nex6 takes better pics and has a much better auto focus than nex 7 and the ability to

download apps, (a few of them are amazing), make this the only choice.

Creative picture taking is what this camera does and the others don’t compare!

Plus, you can add an external mic to the hot show, and the smart shoe will have other

connectability soon.

Dave says:

Correction: The NEX-6 doesn’t have a touch screen

Right you are. Good catch!

Thanks for the correction.

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