The Good A fine shooting design, great photo and good video quality, and excellent performance number among the Sony Alpha NEX-6's strengths.
The Bad The camera lacks the option to save groups of custom settings, a real irritation, and we wish it had a neutral color preset. Plus Sony's wireless implementation is awkward, and the app system is annoying.
The Bottom Line The Sony Alpha NEX-6 delivers a great package of image quality, performance, and design.
A really, really nice camera
Editors' note, July 2, 2014: After evaluating subsequent products in this class, I've replaced the NEX-6 as Editors' Choice for consumer mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras with its successor, the Alpha A6000.
Maybe I'm just getting easier to please as I get older, but Sony's been winning me over recently with its enthusiast-targeted models. The Sony Alpha NEX-6 delivers an arguably better design and speedier performance than its Editors' Choice Award-winning but more expensive sibling, the NEX-7, and equally excellent photo quality. Its only real weaknesses are the wireless implementation and annoying apps architecture. But as a camera for advanced photographers who want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, it hits all the right notes. And as such, it replaced its older linemate as our Editors' Choice for this market segment at the time we originally reviewed it.
The NEX-6 produces excellent photos. As I said, in photo quality it matches the NEX-7 and, despite using the same sensor, is better than the NEX-5R at midrange ISO sensitivities. Sony's image processing is extremely good, and images shot though ISO 400 look very clean; depending upon content they can be usable and printed large (13x19) as high as ISO 6400, and ISO 12800 when scaled down. While shooting raw still helps when you need to perform exposure corrections, above ISO 800 you're just exchanging one type of artifact for another.