|The Fuji X-E1 is the second highest camera in the X series lineup, after the X-Pro1.|
Although the dimensions of the two cameras are very close on paper, the Nex-6 does appear to be smaller when you are comparing the two in hand. I think one reason for this is the narrow part of the body that then juts out to serve as a hand grip. This is a good example of industrial design that is both appealing and practical. By keeping part of the camera body narrow the over all package is smaller when a lens is mounted on it.
At the time of this writing prices were around $800 for the X-E1 and $750 for the Nex-6 with special offers available.
|The Sony Nex-6 camera shown with a 16-50mm medium zoom lens.|
|The Nex-6 is a more compact body, but does not have nearly as many menu buttons available because of its small size.|
Battery life on both of these cameras is very limited and far below reports I had read, although the X-E1 battery performance was better during my practical usage tests. Electronic finders use up a lot of battery juice. In both cases, you should be prepared to carry at least one spare battery with you.
|On the left is the main menu of the Fuji X-E1. It is clear and easily navigated. On the right is the Sony Nex-6 menu, which is less intuitive and more cumbersome to navigate.|
The Fuji X-E1 clearly delivers better results in these noise tests. In extended mode above 6400 it shifts from RAW to smaller jpg resolution file. So the comparison between it and the Nex-6 is not exactly apples to apples at ISO 12800 and 25600. Nonetheless, Fuji has managed to accomplish acceptable results from extended high ISO ranges by accepting the practical conclusion that pushing cameras to these extreme ranges is going to seriously compromise image quality, and making allowances that take this into consideration.
|High Res ISO tests for each camera are available below for downloading.|
High Res ISO tests for the Fuji X-E1:
High Res ISO tests for the Sony Nex-6:
The electronic finders on these two cameras deliver different visual experiences from similar OLED finders. Nex-6 finder is very good. It presents a large, colorful image that is very appealing. The image on the X-E1 is smaller and more contrasty in comparison. However, it is easier to take in the complete frame on the X-E1 without having to move your eye around. Eyeglass wearers may have a more difficult time seeing the whole Nex-6 viewfinder.
|The Nex-6 has an articulating LCD screen, whereas the X-E1 has not.|
Resulting images taken under normal exposure circumstances are going to be very close in terms of quality with the main difference coming from the lens you are using rather than from the camera itself. I have included some sample images here, all of which show good results. There is no doubt in my mind that both of these cameras produce excellent results to a very high professional standard.
|The X-E1 does not have a kit zoom lens that is as small as the 16-50mm Sony zoom. This lens mounted on the Nex-6 makes for a very compact, transportable package as you can see in the photo above.|
|A natural window light scene taken with the Sony Nex-6|
Sample images from the Sony Nex-6:
|In this shot of the Intrepid the Nex-6 shows good dynamic range on a very sunny day with plenty of shadow detail and no blown out highlights.|
Sample images from the Fuji X-E1:
|One area where the Fuji X series cameras shine is in low light capability making dark interior, ISO 1600 shot like this a breeze.|
|The Fuji X-E1 shows even better dynamic range in this sunny day photo with excellent shadow and highlight detail.|
Bottom line on this comparison is that I don't think anyone is going to be disappointed from the results of either of these cameras. With the exception of low light capability where the X-E1 out performs the Nex-6, the ultimate choice between them is more a matter of features than image quality.
If compact size is a prime consideration, then the Nex-6 is clearly the winner, especially when outfitted with its smaller kit zoom lens. When it came down to actually using the cameras, however, I found myself always preferring the handling quality of the X-E1. Its controls and menus are more extensive, more intuitive, and extremely well thought out, something an experienced photographer will appreciate. I would have no trouble taking along a Fuji X-E1 as my only camera on a travel shoot. Plus, as Fuji and other manufacturers expand the quality lens lineup, this camera system is going to get even better.
In the end I found myself constantly gravitating towards using the X-E1. It was such a comfortable and impressive camera to use that I decided to add it to my already too large assortment of camera systems. I suppose that sums it up best.