NEX-7 First Impressions (long post)

Started Apr 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
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mskad
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NEX-7 First Impressions (long post)
Apr 23, 2012

I have been playing with my newly purchased NEX-7 for the last few days and I still don't know if I like it or not!

The image quality is phenomenal, the build quality and features are great, but the user interface is the worst I have ever experienced. Also, AF is on the slow side: slightly better than the Olympus E-P1 but worse than my Panasonic GF1/G1 cameras (3 and 4 year old cameras, respectively).

Along with the kit lens (which performs admirably) I also bought the Sigma 19mm and 30mm lenses. I already like the 19mm very much (30mm should be delivered Tuesday).

I don't really understand why people are bashing the kit lens: it is nicely build, AF is almost silent, the image stabilization works great and sharpness is more than adequate. I might have low standards but frankly I don't expect this kind of kit lens to be sharp corner to corner wide open and over the entire focal range. What I expect is that the lens is sharp in the center when used wide open and reasonably sharp from corner to corner when generously stopped (f/8 or f/11). And this is exactly what I am getting with my copy of the kit lens.

  • Here is an image taken with the kit lens at f/8. It is sharp.

Another non issue for me is high ISO performance: it far exceeds my expectations. When properly exposed (and it seems that the camera under exposes by close to 2 stops in low light condition) it is almost as good as my Nikon D7000 up to ISO 3200.

  • Here is an image at ISO 1600 (image has been cropped before being re-sized).

Resolution and overall image quality at base ISO is fantastic (only commenting about raw format here).

As mentioned earlier, AF is OK, nothing to rave about. I found that even though I only use center point focus, AF is more precise and responsive when set to flexible spot .

I can't criticize the handling or the layout of the controls since I only had the camera for few days and still need to get use to it but although I like small cameras it seems a bit too small and too cramped to me. Also, I am not convinced that the two dials on the top of the camera are as convenient as the Panasonic GF1 clickable wheel .

As for the user interface and the menus... well, I don't know where to start. And apparently Sony doesn't know either I just hope that they will soon release a firmware that will streamline and simplify this illogical and over complicated piece of software.

Other things that I like very much so far:

  • EVF is very nice. Definitively nicer than the EVF of my Panasonic G1.

  • Having the EVF positioned on the top left corner is very nice too.

  • The tiltable LCD.

  • The manual focus assist / focus peaking features and the AF button.

Other things that I don't like:

  • Memory card and battery sharing the same compartment.

  • No memorisable custom settings

Below some snapshots taken with either the kit lens or the Sigma 19mm. Raw processed with Adobe ACR, calibrated with DNG Profile Editor to get rid of the cartoonish colors of the default profile.

  • This next one has been altered using Photoshop lens blur and vignetting filters. I usually don't do this kind of manipulation but the background was so ugly and the car so nice...

  • This one is handheld at 1/8s. I lifted the shadows in ACR.

  • And another one handheld at 1/10s. The image stabilization works

  • Sigma 19mm at f/2.8: plenty sharp and pleasant out of focus blur.

 mskad's gear list:mskad's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Nikon D600
Nikon D7000 Olympus PEN E-P1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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