Sony NEX-7 – 24-Megapixel Mirrorless Camera

Featured Mirrorless News Sony

Sony NEX-7 - 24-Megapixel Mirrorless CameraSony’s new top-of-the-line NEX-7 mirrorless camera is a departure both in design and pricing. A lot of the new features and specs are also in the new, less expensive Sony Alpha NEX-5N (improved auto focus, reaction time, etc.). But Sony has clearly built the NEX-7 for professional photographers and serious enthusiasts. It has a super-high-resolution 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, which seems kind of nuts for a compact system camera – or genius. Either way, that’s a lot of pixels for a compact system camera with a smaller, APS-C-sized sensor. The NEX-7 is larger than previous Sony NEX cameras to accommodate new features, including a customizable control interface designed to appeal to serious photographers and a rangefinder-style viewfinder – the new XGA OLED TruFinder electronic viewfinder (EVF). And then there’s the price – the $1200 MSRP (body-only) sets the Sony NEX-7 apart from other EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) cameras and entry-level digital SLRs and puts it in a class of its own.

Sony Alpha NEX-7 24-megapixel pro digital rangefinder

Sony Alpha NEX-5N Key Features and Specs:

  • 24.3-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
  • 1920 x 1080 full HD AVCHD video with stereo sound, capable of 60 FPS
  • Built-in XGA OLED TruFinder eye-level electronic viewfinder
  • 3-inch tilting Xtra Fine LCD display
  • Pop-up flash
  • Auto-lock Accessory Shoe
  • Manual exposure modes (M, A, S, P)

I’m going to gloss over most of the Sony Alpha NEX-7 features and specs. They basically speak for themselves. If you want to know more about the improved auto focus, speed, etc., please read my Sony Alpha-5N intro article. The 24-megapixel APS-C sensor is very interesting, though – especially in a compact system camera. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe that’s the highest resolution APS-C sensor yet. That’s some serious pixel density (more pixels crammed into a smaller space) and I can’t help but wonder about the image quality. Not to mention whether that much resolution is really necessary. I hope the camera has a lower resolution RAW setting for those of us who don’t need 24-megapixel files. I rarely want that much resolution – images that big take up too much space on memory cards and drives and they take more time to process. As far as I know there are no NEX-7 sample images out there yet but dpreview did have an early version of the new Sony Alpha SLT-A77, which appears to use the same 24-megapixel APS-C Exmor HD CMOS sensor. The image quality of those photos looks very, very good – even as high as ISO 3200 (click for sample photos).

The most interesting question for me is the positioning of the new NEX-7. The price sets it apart from previous NEX cameras as well as even the most expensive Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, which top out at $900. The high resolution and $1200 MSRP make it look like Sony is aiming the NEX-7 at pros and enthusiasts with Leica-envy – the same photographers who are all over the Fujifilm X100 ($1199). And that’s pretty interesting because the NEX-7 costs a hell of a lot less than the Leica M9 ($7750) and looks like a whole lot more camera than the fixed-lens Fujifilm X100. Of course, if it’s a stripped-down retro rangefinder you’re after, then the NEX-7 might not appeal to you. But if you want clean lines and high-quality photos and you’re willing to pay prosumer DSLR money for the privilege, then the NEX-7 is right on target. I confess – it’s the first Sony NEX camera that’s really caught my eye – looks-wise, anyway.

Sony also announced a new lens and lens adaptor to compliment the NEX-7. The Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm f/1.8 ZA is the first Zeiss glass made specifically for the NEX system and shows that Sony wants to expand the NEX user base to more serious photographers and pros. The new LA-EA2 Mount Adaptor is very interesting. It makes it possible to use Sony’s A-mount SLR lenses and adds a mirror and phase detect auto focus to the NEX-7 (or any other NEX camera). That means, with the addition of the LA-EA2 Mount Adaptor, you can have both a compact NEX mirrorless camera and an Alpha SLT camera – you can have your cake and eat it, too. The NEX-7 paired with the LA-EA2 could be the perfect, no- compromise camera kit for travel and backcountry photographers. It gives you the option of carrying just the Sony NEX-7 when space and weight are the top consideration, or carrying the adaptor when you need the best auto focus performance for stills and video. And right now, Sony’s transparent mirror auto focus is the best there is for video.

The Sony Alpha NEX-7 just went to the top of the list of cameras I want to test. Its digital rangefinder design, 24-megapixel sensor and the LA-EA2 Mount Adaptor make it possibly the most versatile camera yet – from any camera company. I’d say the NEX-7 is also a top contender for 2011 Camera Of The Year.

The Sony Alpha NEX-7 compact system camera will be available in November of 2011 for $1200 for just the body. It will also be available in a kit with an 18-55mm zoom lens for $1350. The LA-EA2 Mount Adaptor is also scheduled to be available in November and it should sell for $400.

Sony Alpha NEX-7 Press Release >>


Related Content:
Sony Digital Camera User Reviews
All Digital SLR User Reviews
EVIL & Micro Four Thirds Cameras Forum
Sony Cameras Forum
Sony Alpha NEX Cameras Web Site

Sony Alpha NEX-7 mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera

Sony  Alpha NEX-7 - rear LCD

Sony LA-EA2 Mount Adaptor adds transparent mirror technology and phase detect auto focus to NEX cameras

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

Related Articles

NOTE: There are two ways to comment on our articles: Facebook or Wordpress. Facebook uses your real name and can be posted on your wall while Wordpress uses our login system. Feel free to use either one.

Facebook Comments:

Wordpress Comments:

  • Greg McCary says:

    John I never thought I could go mirrorless but if DSLRs were to stop being made I would be all over the Sony system. It looks to me to be an a77 in a small package. I will get one of these as soon as I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *