Previous page Next page


Electronic front-curtain shutter

As well as its high pixel count and 60fps 1080 output, the latest EXMOR CMOS sensor also has the ability to act as the first curtain of the shutter. It's something we've seen on Canon DSLRs dating back to the EOS 40D - the idea that you start with the physical shutter fully open, and begin the exposure by activating the sensor electronically, one line at a time. The exposure is then ended when the physical shutter travels down across the sensor, blocking off the light. The advantage of such a system is that you don't need to cock the shutter or wait for it to mechanically trigger, which improves its response time.

This video shows the NEX-7's shutter's behavior with electronic first curtain shutter turned off, then turned on. There are four exposures in total, two taken in each shutter mode. (The AF illuminator lights briefly for each exposure because they're triggered using the IR remote control.)

The video above demonstrates the difference as you experience it. With the electronic first curtain shutter turned off, you hear the shutter make two movements, and with it turned on, the shutter only makes one movement, to end the exposure. (Note that the menu setting for this - 'Front Curtain Shutter' - is ambiguously named, although the Help Guide display explains it means electronic, not mechanical.)

In our shooting, we see no reason not to keep Front Curtain Shutter enabled at all times. It makes no discernible difference to the image quality, and we prefer the more responsive feel of the single shutter movement. It also provides a more fluid Live View output in Continuous Shooting mode, and reduces the camera's operational noise. What's not to like?

Object Tracking AF

Like other recent Sonys, the NEX-7 gets an object-tracking AF option that's designed to maintain focus on a subject as it moves across the frame. It's enabled in the camera menu, and then co-opts the lower soft key to engage and disengage the feature (overriding any custom option you may have set).

If Tracking AF is enabled then the lower soft-key is used to control the feature. This will override any function you've previously assigned to it, until you turn tracking off again.
Pressing the lower soft key brings up this activation screen. Pressing the 'OK' button selects the object in the center of the frame for tracking, based upon its colour.
The target then dances around the screen, attempting to track the subject (but often lagging just a little behind).

In use, Object Tracking AF is (usually) capable of following a subject around the frame, assuming that it is of a significantly different color/tonal makeup to the background, but it isn't capable of keeping track of fast or erratic subjects. Because it works by colour, it's also easily quite confused, and prone to jumping from your actual target to another area of the scene that's the same colour. You can enable object tracking in the NEX-7's 10fps Speed Priority Continuous mode, but note that the focus is necessarily locked across all frames in a burst.

Previous page Next page
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 7

Is there a newer version of this camera? I see it was released in 2011, sort of a long time in digicam land.

looking up

Hi, Would the NEX 7 do well for DSO astrophotography{globulars, and galaxies}? Are 15-30 single exposures realistic? I have a C14" on a CGEM-DX mount. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Looking UP


Your review is incorrect. The NEX 7 does not have an uncompressed file option. The manual clearly states that ARW files are compressed and this is born out by the size of the files. This results in artifacts at fairly small enlargement.


To my mind there seems to be a certain ‘paranoia’ about the NEX-7, something I find quite disturbing. Whilst most professional reviewers are writing very positive, comprehensive feedback, amateur armchair experts seem to picking holes in everything by writing messages all over the Internet that are littered with non-understandable technical jargon. I am far from sure anyone without an advanced degree in photography can understand what on earth they are on about. Surely the strength of a camera is in the pictures (or video) the camera offers, and in the case of the NEX-7, it’s generally recognised they are quite astounding, comparing quite favourably against cameras at four times the cost.


I agree. I came late to the NEX-7 and think it is an exceptional piece of kit that produces superb images, even in my hands....
I could only criticise the user interface which could be friendlier (and which has apparently been improved on later 'Nex' developments. I have been happy to adapt to it, though.
It is one of those classic cameras (like my Sony R1) which I will hold on to for life.

1 upvote

I have had an NEX-7 for about a year now and like you find it an excellent piece of kit: It far exceeds my abilities. My friend is a Pro in London and uses cameras which are far more expensive said he may get one because the quality is excellent, especially for the quick shots outdoors when setting up his stuff would take too long and the moment lost.

1 upvote

I agree with you and my Canon equipment has been collecting dust since my purchase of the Nex7 and a6000. Both outstanding and so portable. The fact you can shoot video through the viewfinder, is the biggest plus among many for me.The likely negatives come from those who don't own one.

Total comments: 7