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Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact System Cameras
The 24-megapixel Sony Alpha NEX-7 is their top-of-the-line NEX mirrorless, compact system camera. It has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, a 2.3-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, a 3-inch tilting LCD display and it captures full HD AVCHD video with stereo sound. Sony also gave it full manual exposure controls and a new customizable control interface. And the new LA-EA2 Mount Adaptor adds Sony's transparent mirror technology and superior phase detect auto focus.
Submitted by Greg McCary a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: January 11, 2012
Strengths: Great IQ, low noise at high ISOs, better build quality. Beautiful EVF. Thumb wheels for manual shooting. Sony hot shoe for Sony flashes, tilting screen, button lay out for easy shooting, faster auto focus and those nice Sony warm colors.
Weaknesses: low battery life, no touch screen, no off camera flash mode and complicated menu.
Also I wish it had a built in ND grad. It seems to me that would be an easy firmware addition.
I remember when the NEX series first came out and everyone was commenting on what an ugly camera it was and now it's a very popular series. I liked the looks of it then and now as well. The grip is a huge advantage and makes the camera very easy to hold.
I started out shooting the NEX series of cameras with the NEX3. Then I moved up to the 5n. Looking back I would have waited on getting the 5n since the NEX-7 was announced only a few days after I got the 5n. But after I pre ordered the NEX-7 the floods hit Japan and threw back release dates. Calmly I waited but even at that there was couple of times I almost canceled the order and picked up a new lens for my a77. Thinking I would just get the EVF for the 5n. But eventually it arrived.
The first thing I noticed out of the box was the more rugged build quality than the 5n. Also the built-in finder. Plus the Sony hot shoe. Now I could use my Sony flash.
The EVF seems as good as the one on the a77. When I first got the a77 I had to double check the specs to make sure I was looking through an EVF and not an OVF. But in low light you can tell. The image gets grainy but still usable in very low light. Also the LCD screen is nice and bright. I haven't had any issues with viewing it. The focus peaking feature shows up well in the EVF. But the touch screen is gone. I'll miss that. I just had got use to it. The LCD and EVF both will flicker some if the lens has to hunt focus. But the focus speed is much faster than former NEX cameras. Only with a slow lens in low light will it hunt some. But still that isn't a real complaint. It hasn't stopped me from getting the shot. I have shot in very low light with the 55-210 lens. It can't keep up with the a77 but still this is a non-issue with me. It does better than any other camera I have used in its class.
The programmable thumb wheels are a dream. I have shot manual so many years this has been my biggest complaint with all of the EVIL compacts - the complicated way about shooting manual. But now I have it set up with the left wheel adjusting shutter speed and the right wheel aperture. It can't get any better than that for me.
Other buttons I have set up for ISO, focus mode and shooting mode. Once you get the camera set up it is much easier to use. It will overwhelm you before you do.
The menu itself is very confusing. Unlike the Sony a77 - the a77 is a breeze. I don't understand why the NEX cameras menu has to be this way.
Under the settings in the menu it shows a setting for a wireless flash. But I can't activate it with my Sony F58. I use flash gels for night photography and have to use a wireless trigger. Maybe this is something to be added later with a firmware upgrade. The f58 works very well on camera.
Power. Well if you get a NEX-7 or a 5n for that matter you need a couple of spare batteries. The NEX-7 uses a lot of juice. I don't snap a lot of pictures at once and the battery drops to 50% in a hurry.
There is also no GPS on the NEX-7 unlike its big brother the a77.
I have used my A mount lenses on the NEX-7 using the LA-EA1 adapter but don't think you will do any fast auto focusing with it. But since I shoot landscapes the 11-18mm 4.5/5.6 gets a lot of use. Focus peaking really helps with the manual focusing and it works well in the EVF too.
In conclusion the NEX-7 has met almost all of my expectations. Hopefully between the a77 and the NEX-7 I am set for a long time without having to upgrade to get better IQ. The IQ of the NEX-7 matches the a77 and they both deliver the IQ they claim. I don't hesitate to push the ISO up to get the shot I want. Coming from another brand I was slow to trust its high ISO capability but I have learned to trust it. So now I can concentrate on bringing home the shot and not worry about draw backs and waiting for the next upgrade to give me what I want. I am very happy with this camera and plan to use it for a long time.
Sony delivered the goods on this one.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $1299.00
Purchased At: Amazon
Similar Products Used: NEX 3, NEX 5n, E-PL1, and EP-1,
Type of photography: Outdoor
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