Sony NEX-6 and NEX-5R coming….plus my Sigma DP2 Merrill review soon!

Sony NEX-6 and NEX-5R coming…

So as you may have all seen by now there is a rumored (but 99% solid) leak of the new upcoming Sony NEX-6 and to me, it appears that it may be a little better than the Sony NEX-7. Why? Well for starters, it has the same body style just minus the “Tri-Navi” control system. The sensor will be 16MP, which is what I wished for from the get go with the NEX-7. I feel 16-18MP is the sweet spot for digital and supposedly this new NEX-6 will feature a new 16MP sensor. The cool thing is that these are rumored to have Phase Detect and Contrast Detect AF much like the super speed Nikon V1.

If true, it will not only be a faster camera to AF and use than the NEX-7 but it will also give better IQ with wide-angle Leica lenses (like the 5n does now). So how much will the NEX-7 come in at? Well no one knows anything just yet as this is a RUMOR but usually these rumors are controlled leaks so I am sure that the NEX-6 and 5R is for real.

These cameras are also going to be wireless (or so the rumors say) and this opens up the cameras to WiFi sharing, app’s and more. Imagine Instagram on your NEX-6. Yep, this is the way things are going my friends so it will not be long until our cameras are turned into computers like our phones. Could be amazing though!

My guess is under $999 for the 6 as that would place it below the flagship NEX-7 and give Sony a chance to release a NEX-8 with much better specs. The NEX-6 sounds like a winner already to me, if Sony can just create some kick ass glass for this system there really would be nothing to complain about at all.

There are also rumors of a full frame NEX but I will believe it when I see it. You can read more about Sony Rumors at

C’Mon Sony, give us a couple high quality “Pro” NEX lenses and take this system to the next level!

Sigma DP2 Merrill in hand and review soon…

Ahhhh. Sigma has done it again. Sigma was actually one of the very 1st to release a large sensor in a compact body with their DP1 series of camera. The only problem with that camera was the cheap build, slow as molasses operation and AF and  the fact that it was actually sort of low resolution. I hated the DP1 though I did enjoy the rich image quality and color of the Foveon sensor.

To honor the man who created the Foveon Sensor technology, Dick Merrill, Sigma has created a line of cameras that feature exceptional quality to showcase this sensor design. One of them was the failed (in comparison to almost every other DSLR, sales wise) and ridiculously crazy overpriced at launch SD1 (which has now PLUMMETED in cost) and the others are the DP1 and DP2 Merrill. I had my doubts due to the sluggishness and slow rep of the DP1 cameras but “what the hell” I said! Why not try out their latest and greatest compact large sensor camera?

Yesterday I received the DP2 Merrill, the 46MP Foveon sensor compact. Yep, the same sensor as the big gun “SD1”..all in a $1000 compact-ish body. While not so compact and VERY brick and box like it is a step above the old DP1 I reviewed years ago in build (though still FEELS  a little light and plasticky even though it is a metal body). This camera is BASIC. No gimmicks. Just a gorgeous sensor and fantastic lens attached to a plastic box and let me  tell you, this lens is AMAZING as is the sensor.

My 1st impression was “the slow AF is still here but much better than the 1st gen DP1″…then my 2nd impression was “Damn the write times are awful”…third impression was “Hmmm. I sort of like this simpleness” and my 4th impression was “WOW, even the JPEGS are amazingly gorgeous”!!

So far so good. I am not posting any images here besides a couple quick backyard test shots in JPEG mode. Straight from camera BTW but while the IQ appears to be gorgeous, I am worried the slowness of the camera may kill my enthusiasm for it in real use. I will be taking it out to San Diego this weekend with the Nokia 808 so will be giving it a spin there and will post my review in a couple of weeks. I noticed Sigma shipped 2 batteries with the DP2 Merrill which tells me the battery life must be pretty bad.

So stay tuned for the review and check back daily!

BTW, the lens on the DP2 Merrill has a 45mm equivalent with an aperture of 2.8 – so basically like shooting a 50. The sensor is an APS-C sized Foveon chip which is known for their beautiful colors and crazy detail. The JPEGS look good so far and the color is gorgeous.

Click this out of camera JPEG to see the image larger and full 100% crop embedded – Wide open at 2.8…

…and a full size shot, JPEG wide open at 2.8 – sharp for an OOC JPEG!

another showing the color and detail…

and another – all of these are JPEGS right from camera!


  1. Incredible, it took Sony SEVEN cameras to finally put a mode dial on top of a nex camera. Next year they’ll take it away in keeping with the Minolta ” Fix something if it aint broke” tradition.

  2. I own the DP1 and the DP2. Love them very much. Use them in daylight mostly at 50 iso. AF speed is no issue and you can really use manual focus. These camera’s are compacts, nicely build, beautiful to look at, light. Never broke down on me. Put them in a pouch and they are a delight to take with you on long walks. Prints of 30 by 40 cm blow you away.

    The new DP2 M is bigger, not so nice. More like a Fuji x100, without the very special viewfinder that is. From what I hear no pouch any more. I am not sure I will like the manual focus as much as I like it on the non M. I surely shall buy one in time. Still very happy with the “old” ones, do not forget they perform outstanding. They do not perform less when a new camera comes out.

  3. Yesterday i was at Selfridges in Bond Street London.

    Tried out Leicas S2, X2, Pentax 645D, J1 + 30-110.
    Just the day before tested out EPM1 + 40-150.

    Well the J1 is just sooooo dandy.
    That 30-110 is tiny even when extended love it 🙂
    Tracking AF works !
    VR works.
    Quiet shutter.

    (Im not even entertaining E-PM1 + largish when fully extended 45-150
    with wonky image stabilisation & hopeless af tracking & loudish shutter).

  4. You can’t count on me, because I’m just going “anti” (almost) these days. Thinking of a time, perhaps back to the first camera, only one lens. And you weren’t aware of other options at all. You just created with the only thing you was able to have, and you didn’t think at all that other things existed. So you were just running around taken “unlimited” pictures, without thinking at all, that there was these and that picture that I couldn’t take, and if only I had..,..or had that….or perhaps that gear. No it didn’t exist and you were happy, and perhaps more creative. Options, alternatives are perhaps not always the best. Unless one is pro perhaps, all the modern options might be limitations instead of freedom. Perhaps are limitations, simplicity, the way to freedom, the way to setting the mind free. But what do I know….. and so, there will be pictures you then can’t take. But there will be others you can….and those will perhaps draw your outmost attentions…perhaps.
    My future gear could look like:
    – The DP1 Merrill when light is good enough
    – My existing Ricoh GXR 28 + M-module + some existing M-lenses, to the more bad light-situations
    – And then the upcoming Ricoh GRD V, just to have in my pocket all the time, for silly things, street and other pictures, and for just being a nice companion.

  5. Hurry up Steve 🙂 !
    Can’t wait to get a closer look at the upcoming DP1 Merrill too. And I might sell my D800E and go for this + a smaller P&S camera. But I’m amased by this one. A sort of new era has begun, and I’m convinced and on.

    • Hi Thorkil

      Im in londond been catching up on olympics soon paralympics and many free cultural events of london 2012.

      Had my NEX5 which was my favourite take anywhere. Before that EP1.
      Well my NEX5 has gone to a good home because i really really could use the blazing AF & tracking of J1 (+ 10-30 & 30-110).

      I thought after ditching my bulky dslrs (1D, D1H, E1, S1 & S2 Pro, SLRc)
      EP1 & Nex5 were the cherry.
      But not anymore.

      Nex5 too big with legacy long focal length lenses which some places barring entry as lenses too big
      slooow tracking AF on Nex5 + SEL18200 many blurred sots of people moving.
      (Even EMP1 + II R lens is hopless at tracking. & with 40-150mm Digital Zuiko is quite a large lens when fully extended =
      blurry at long end even with EMP1 image stabilisation).

      Im getting J1 this week (+ 10-30 & 30-110) for paralympics.

      I can see myself also getting
      Sony RX100 for out n about in town.
      Fuji XE1 for legacy glass : this will be my creative camera & shallow dof.
      Sigma DP1M nature landscapes.


      • dgd, the nex cameras are probably better than the Fuji cameras for using legacy glass due to focus peaking and magnification. I would probably pick up native Fuji X-mount lenses if you’re getting a XE1. I’ve seen fantastic results from Fuji’s 35mm f1.4 lens.

  6. 😀

    Prepare your blog to be flooded by Epic trolls, anger and battles dear Steve.

    Speaking about foveon unleash passions !

    The war has begun.

    ( I do own a Dp2m and it is a wonderful tool 😉 )

  7. It is of course possible to take great photos with any Sigma and the 3 layer sensor technology is interesting, but after having seen numerous full size pictures from new and older Sigmas, my conclusion is that there is nothing a camera with a Bayer sensor (be it CCD or CMOS) can’t do as good or better within the same price range.

    Btw. Sony is really stepping up the pace with some great cameras – first the RX100 and soon the NEX 6. Wow.

    Still looking forward to the Nokia review.

    • Not my experience. First of all there is a noticable and obvious difference between files from sensors without or with AA filter, Foveon or Bayer. I do prefer files form the M9, Sigma DP, Ricoh GXR over the ones from cameras with AA filter. And among the AA filter free sensor camera’s, the Foveon files again are standing out for its film like and 3d rendering. In good light, I have yet to see another sensor which can match the Foveon’s unique way of rendering.
      Steve shows jpegs from the DP2 Merrill. To really see the potential of the Foveon sensor, shooting raw is a must.

      • Sorry Retow, but I don’t see any special film like or 3D effect
        from Sigmas that can’t be produced by other cameras.

        • Hi Anders

          Foveon depth richness of rendering compared to Bayer isnt immediate in every photo. For instance in the photos Steve has shown above they are not, perhaps except in the tree.

          Bayer sensors have increased in resolution to give more detail,
          and this resolution detail is supposed to substitute for subtle changes in light, subtle tonal gradations.

          Yet because Bayer colour sensors are guessing (calculating) 2/3 of colour info they cant do this subtletly.
          They also due to their one layer & calculations flatten out subtle undulations.
          Which they try to compensate by having lots of detail resolution.

          Thats the difference between Foveon & Bayer.

          Nex7, D800e, M9 Bayer at 100%200% give as much detail as latest Sigma Merrill.

          Yet Foveon gives these sutblte changes in light & tonal gradation which on certain photos give it a depth & richness (as film)
          as well as certain roundedness (as film).

          • I try to use my eyes and even though I have seen very good and also great images from Sigmas there is really nothing that can’t be done as good with other cameras.

            Generally it has a lot more to do with the photographer and post processing than the equipment in my opinion.

            But it is of course also a matter of taste because different cameras render differently and if you think Sigma rendering is great (I do too sometimes) then it is fine, but this talk about a special 3D-effect, “film like” etc. I don’t get all. It is not even close to look like film in my opinion.

  8. Only current 35mm digital that can match DP2 Merrill for fine detail is Nikon D800E with top top Nikon glass.
    (All others including NEX7 in comparison turn to mush when viewing 100-200% fine detail).

    However D800E flattens out an image due to its one layer sensor and calculating 2/3 of colour info
    whilst DP2M has that subtle tonal gradations, subtle changes in light n shade that as film gives it a richness and dimensionality.

    (This isnt apparent in all photos but when you see it its pretty obvious).

  9. If that’s the new nex6 design than what I usually tell my customers will be confirmed, which is get the model you like the bes and dont wait for the next model, cause the next one is likely to be uglier than the current or previous model. Sony Minolta have a history of making one decent looking camera in 5 and then change it completely and make it uglier for the next. It boggles my mind and is the reason why I never bought an nex camera. To go from a NEX 7 to this POS? Jesus, it must be an easy job to get, as a designe for Sony cameras these days.I dont even know why Sony even bothers having a designer, or do they? They all [ NEX] look like a pack of cards with a grip. One of the reasons I don;t mind the ep1,2,3, camera despite the smaller sensor is that they look pretty good, even in reflection, well designed. Not important for taking pics of course but when you ask someone to shell out almost a grand you better have something that looks like a camera at least. Sorry Sony, big time fail on the asthetics department, and I’m even willing to bet the rumored Samsung nx r retro camera is going to make the NEX 6 look like dog turd. The camera is so plain and ugly not even the bean counters over at Samsung nx dep can do worse. Or maybe I’m not aware of the latest trends? Can anyone tell me if there is an UGLY competition going on amongst CSC camera makers?

  10. To be fair, the Sigma DP2 needs to shot in RAW and then develope the files from there.

    As to slow write speeds, it has a big buffer and you can change settings and take new photo while it is writing.

    It is all about image quality at low ISO, not about camera features. 🙂

    • Yep, you are correct. All DP series have been about IQ at low ISO for still subjects and not speed, features, gimmicks or speed 🙂 IQ is gorgeous. If Sigma could make this camera a but more responsive and speedy it would be drool worthy. It’s VERY slow to focus and high ISO is not good. But low ISO…astonishing quality.

  11. I hope you do a comparison between the DP2 and the already awesome RX100, cause Im craving for these type of camera now.

  12. I’m really excited that you’re reviewing the DP2M Steve! This is a camera that I really want to add to my collection, yes it does lots of things not very well, but it seems to do one thing very well, one thing no other camera can really do. But I do get kind of get the feeling it will be put to better use in the DP1M with it’s 19mm (28mm equiv) lens, for very slow deliberate shooting. This isn’t going to replace an OMD or NEX or X100 or X-Pro1 or DSLR any time soon, but it will be a very interesting tool in the toolkit.

    NEX-6 looks like the coming together of the majority of things I have wanted from a NEX since they launched, also a few decent sounding lenses seem to be being launched around the same time.

  13. I see severe banding in the shadows of the Foveon jpgs. This is very similar to what I know from the original Sigma DP2 with 14 Mpix sensor. I sold it because of this, and the new camera will be a no-go zone for me.

    • I am very disappointed to see the banding. It’s not just in shadow areas, either. Look at the out of focus areas around the tree. Banding everywhere. That is a huge disappointment, and totally unacceptable at $1000 regardless of the other features of this camera. If I wanted retarded images like that, I’d buy one of those pinhole cams for $15.

      The banding is like a sensor fingerprint, and it seems to be straightforward to subtract it from the image in photoshop. From what I’ve read, not all cameras are affected. So, it’s probably not as big of a problem as it looks like. Still, I really hope this camera was not the best Sigma had available.

      Steve, can you tell us if you purchased this camera, or if Sigma provided it for the review? If you bought it yourself, then I bet you just got one of the lemons. None of Sigma’s sample photos show any hint of banding that I could find:

      By the way, there are 6 earlier models of the DP series:

      * DP1
      * DP2
      * DP1s
      * DP2s
      * DP1x
      * DP2x

      The only difference between the DP1 and DP2 (blank, s, x, and Merrill) is the focal length. The DP1 is a wider 28mm equivalent. The DP2 is a 45mm equivalent. People seem to be quite a lot happier with the s models than the clunky originals. The x models almost never get sold used, so I suppose it’s safe to assume people like them even more than the s models.

      Also, they all do video. It’s just so pathetic that it’s even worse than a typical useless Sony feature list item. It does function, though. Sigma lovers sometimes film their other Sigmas with Sigmas for YouTube instructional videos. It’s adequate for that kind of thing.

  14. You would expect write times to be awful with 46mp equivalent. Although it is “really” about 15.3MP with full RGB on each pixel, in terms of the total amount of data to be processed it is like a Bayer 46mp.

    I have been thinking about something like this myself — a very high-resolution camera with about a 40mm “perfect normal” lens, for slow landscapey-type work. Basically a digital version of my Fuji GW690. I was going to go with a Nikon D3200 with a 28mm Nikon manual focus lens, but this might be better …

    • When you get the camera, be sure to get 3 extra batteries and the lens hood with polarizer 46mm.

      The DP2m writes big files.. so that can’t help with battery life.

      I find using the dp2 with LCD turned to just text and the sigma viewfinder expends battery life.

      The camera has “wow” factor- but it’s like a Beagle- hard headed and often doesn’t listen.

  15. “One of them was the failed and ridiculously crazy overpriced at launch DP1 (which has now PLUMMETED incost) ”

    You are talking about t he SD1 here..!

    btw… the camera has not failed, but was overpriced…

  16. definitely an improvement over the previous one, whose output was arguably too low even if beautiful for the size. I am also glad Sigma are not trying to introduce this up in Leica territory, though €1K is pretty pricey.

  17. Wow, the full size picture of that tree is the closest thing I’ve seen to a 3D photo coming from a 2D camera. And I’ve been doing 3d photography for decades now… I’m anxious to know how it will perform in low light though.

  18. Great news Steve – I am in particular looking forward to your DP2 Merrill review – I hope that a comparison to Leica X2 will be included 🙂

    • I saw that.. B&H has them for $1999 and Sigma Outlet has refurbs for a mere $1799!

      I think the B&W conversions will give the Monochrom a run for the money.. crazy comparison, huh!

  19. DP(1,2 and now 2-M) images always are super in ideal light, e.g. sunlight or open shade, but up the ISO ladder and with poorer lighting situations they tend to poop out. How about some pics and testing of the new DP2-M in a wider variety of light?

  20. I wish Sigma had introduced DP2 Merrill as an interchangeable lens camera. Using Leica M lenses via an adapter would make Foveon sensor available to so many people who are keen on an alternative to Bayer sensor. Sigma’s Marketing Department! hope you guys are reading this. Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Nikon all saw the opportunities in the interchangeable mirrorless camera segment so cleverly, why can’t Sigma do this?

    • The lens on the new DP2 Merrill is world class. Honestly, I don’t think I would want to replace it for a Leica. I could not find a Leica lens that would be worth the hassle of switching the lens, let alone the cost. There really isn’t much to improve as far as the lens goes.

      Despite my complaints about the banding, when those problems are fixed, I’m probably going to be buying both the DP1 Merrill and the DP2 Merrill (hopefully at cheaper prices too). Both of those cameras are lighter and smaller than a Nikon D800E. When you factor in price, I think I can deal with some quirkiness out of the Sigmas. To beat them in image quality, I’d have to use a $6000 Nikon D800E kit with phenomenal lenses. Nothing beats the Sigmas when you factor in size and weight.

      …if you can deal with their quirks.

    • The new 1.5x Foveon sensor has trouble using older lens designs, especially wide angle ones, as they tend to cause some color vignetting in the corners. Plus, I’ve shot Leica M and R and Contax lenses and none of them are as sharp as the DP2M lens is wide open.

      • Thanks for that info Mike, sounds like it too has the sensor cover glass issue like the Nex7 has with WA Leica M lenses.

  21. Does anyone know if the NEX6 will have at least one control dial in the back?
    I’d hate to see Sony follow the stupid design cues of the Nikon V1.

  22. There really is something special about those Foveon images, very natural and realistic looking, especially now that the resolution is high enough in the latest generation of cameras to really appreciate them. Still, there can be some weird purple and green blotching in shadow areas, even at base ISO from the looks of it, and the lack of Lightroom/ACR support is a nuisance. Hopefully Sigma comes to its senses and starts cooperating with Adobe on that.

    • It has been reported/rumored that Sony is switching to standard hot shoe for their cameras and ditching the proprietary minolta shoe.

    • To me it looks like something cobbled together. The hotshoe doesn’t look right, and that dial looks totally out of proportion and not something that Sony would have designed.

    • I said feels light and plasticky but I corrected the statement to avoid confusion. It is metal but feels a but plasticky. AF is slow..write times are dog slow. Output is gorgeous.

      • Sounds like all Sigma DP 1+ 2 series so far 🙁
        The Output is really special and nice but the camera itself is like using a Commodore C64 with Datasette…..

      • Hi Steve,

        Wonderful site, I love it and your post about your dog today was so touching, I have a 2 years old Yorkshire and love dogs. How come you never spoke about the Samsung NX20?


  23. Steve, a guy named Vivek on another forum took apart both his NEX-5N and NEX-7, and he found that the NEX-7 has an extra layer of glass over the sensor that seems to be a blur filter of some kind. The 5N doesn’t have this extra piece of glass. My guess is that it improves video aliasing, but causes astigmatism issues with highly angled light rays at the edge of the sensor.

    My point is simply that, it is very possible that it isn’t so much the NEX-7’s sensor itself, but rather the sensor toppings causing issues with Leica wide angles. It is entirely possible that the NEX-6 will have this extra piece of glass, too, and it may not behave well with Leica wides, either.

    If this extra blur filter on the NEX-7 is intended to improve video, it’s a good indicator as to why the convergence of stills and video isn’t always the best idea.

    • Very good point. Thank you for informing us!
      Reminds me the videotest I saw between Nikon D800, D4 and Canon 5D III.
      D800 that has a very weak anti-alaising filter was best in daylight, but only after a filter was added in front of the sensor!

      It all depends on Sony’s priorities for the camera. With 24MP maybe Sony thought it was worth the potential sacrifice in resolution to improve video. On the other hand with “only” 16MP it seems better to try get as much resolution as possible from the sensor for photography.

      As usual it is best to read what Steve and other testers say before buying if one intend to use the camera with rangefinder lenses!

    • Is there a way of getting this AA filter removed from NEX-7 does anyone know? I would like to have mine to become a NEX-7E.

  24. Nice picture quality, the best price in europe for this camera is 1000 euros. for this amount of money i can buy a sony nex and a voigländer 40/1,4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.