NB: this is a repost of a note I wrote at http://www.GETDpi.com, with additions:
No doubt I am swimming against the tide here. I have put my hacked (“no adverse affects” (sic)) GH2 and LX7 up on evilbay. I now use the first pair of cameras that I’m actually happy with in quite some time, and have sold the RX-100, and all the other compacts.
After a great deal of experimenting, quite a bit of money, and a great deal of time and comparing like many of us do, I have settled on a pair of NEX 6 bodies.
I do not like the menu system (who could?), but now they are set up, I only need to go to the menu to format a card—nothing else.
The combination of direct manual focus (“DMF”) and focus peaking is extremely effective for any manual focus lens or even an autofocus lens when you’re focusing manually. Shooting portraits of a reluctant mother in the garden last week I was able to focus on her eyeballs with 100% reliability. I will add images here (to this post, hosted in WordPress) later today.
White Balance is on the function button. WB can be warmed or cooled with a single soft key press: now that’s flexibility. I use this all the time. Moving the focus square is on the bottom soft key (B) and this stays active if you do not press “OK”—great for moving portrait situations. Exposure compensation is on a rotary dial. ISO is on a point on the same dial.
The lens lineup looks like this: CV 12/5.6 on adapter; works perfectly, unlike the NEX 7. The Sigma twins, truly excellent lenses, especially the 45mm EFOV 30/2.8. I will be posting an image or two if anyone’s interested, over at the Fun with the NEX 6 thread, probably later today; updated a moment ago; that thread is live now.
Finally, I have pre-ordered the CV 50/1.5 ASPH and have bought an OM 50/3.5 macro (with $12 adapter!) for the tabletop work. And I can experiment with many of the legacy lenses we all like here.
Why the NEX 6? Because its 1080p/24 video is superb, and its AF and follow focus works in video mode (essential for solo pieces to camera); it can feed an external monitor like the iKan Field Monitor, both for critical focus on a RedRock micro shoulder rig as well as pieces to camera); its control of noise is excellent; the larger sensor (than µ4/3rds) is closer to the look I like (I shot MF and FF for many years, film and digital), and the excellent EVF. And this body is smaller in all dimensions than the OM-D, IIRC.
So, in sum: all manual controls for what I need; tremendous flexibility re. lens choice (and don’t forget the Sigma twins for $199!!!), the Sigma 50/2.8 preordered for those times when only AF will do, and excellent battery life. Four genuine batteries: they are reasonably priced and last very well.
The only ‘con’ is that I can’t see how to get 1/3 ƒ stops out of the ISO setting. I use M often, to get the shutter speed and aperture combo. I want, then use the ISO control for exposure—but would like a finer control over this.
This rig can shoot excellent stills in low light; excellent video in any light; and both bodies fit in a tiny bag (the Crumpler “Mild Enthusiast” bag; passports in the back!).
And I have owned all of the great µ4/3rds lenses (except the 75; I do not need this length) but I see no practical size advantage over the lineup I describe here compared to the µ4/3rds offerings. They are excellent, to be sure, but the real size advantage (the zooms, especially over FF) are not important for me (and I have the kit PZ zoom, tiny, slow, and compact for when that is absolutely necessary). The Sigmas are not as small as the Oly 12/2, but not far off, and they fit the NEX 6 body well.
The NEX grip is better than all the µ4/3rd’s ones, IMHO, including the aftermarket ones. And while not being in the same aesthetic ballpark as the OM-D, in the hand it works better, for me.
My last point is that, using Aperture, I do find the Sony files allow better shadow and highlight recovery than the GH2 and OMD raw files.
Last addition: ‘Display’ (top of rotary dial) activates a two-plane Level display, and Histogram (both so useful for landscapes); and the LHS of the same dial is Drive mode, by default. And I forgot to mention the new (and much improved) Mode dial (so no menus needed for any of these) AND the dial underneath it (and concentric with it) has a truly lovely tactile feel: the best dial control in the digital world, for me so far. This controls aperture (in A mode) or shutter (S). It feels lovely.
Personally, I feel the NEX 6 has been ignored in the plethora of new bodies released in the last year, but for me it is the best compromise.