Sony NEX-7 In-Depth Review
When Sony first introduced its range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras in May 2010, the company was very clear about who it thought would buy the NEX-5 and its near-identical-twin NEX-3. Small cameras with APS-C sensors, we were told, would appeal to compact camera users who wanted to upgrade but would be intimidated by the bulk and perceived complexity of an SLR. The cameras were a sales success (especially in Japan), and their influence on this sector of the market has become increasingly clear, with Olympus's PEN E-PL3 paying extensive homage to their key design features, and Panasonic stripping-down its GF line from the enthusiast-friendly DMC-GF1 to the distinctly beginner-orientated DMC-GF3.
In practice, though, it wasn't just beginners buying these cameras. Many enthusiast photographers have been equally attracted to the promise of excellent image quality in a small, highly portable camera, fuelled by the ability to adapt almost any lens to fit. To its credit Sony has taken note and steadily increased the NEXs' appeal, with successive firmware updates to improve usability and add features.
Now, with the NEX-7, Sony is specifically targeting those advanced users with a camera whose key spec reads like it's come straight off an enthusiast's wishlist. First up is the 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, shared with the SLT-A77, that enables true 1080p60 video recording. Then there's the EVF that's been squeezed into the compact body (and also shared with the A77) - the 2.4M dot OLED unit is the highest resolution yet seen in a stills camera, and has an eye sensor for automatic switching with the rear LCD. Rounding off the additions are a built-in flash and Alpha-type hotshoe, all in a body that's about the same size as the Olympus PEN E-P3.
The NEX-7 also expands on the existing user interface, adding two dials on the top plate that can be used to control a wide variety of functions, plus a conveniently-placed button beside the shutter that's used to cycle through their functions. The rear dial and three 'soft' keys familiar from the backs of the existing NEX cameras are retained, as is the handy tilting rear LCD. The resulting 'Triple-dial-control' interface makes the NEX-7 the first interchangeable-lens digital camera that in normal use gets one dial dedicated to each of the main exposure parameters (for example shutter speed, aperture and ISO in Manual mode) - such an eminently sensible arrangement we're amazed it hasn't been done before.
The NEX-7 uses a new shutter arrangement, with an (optional) electronic first curtain. In other words, the camera no longer has to close the shutter then open it again to start the exposure, and according to Sony this decreases shutter lag from 100ms to just 20ms. This isn't completely new technology - Canon's live view capable DSLRs have been using it since the EOS 40D of 2007 - but it's very welcome to see it implemented in this type of camera.
Further indication, if any were needed, of the NEX-7's serious intentions is provided by the co-announced Carl Zeiss-branded E 24mm F1.8 lens (also known as the SEL24F18Z). This offers a field of view equivalent to a 35mm lens on full frame, and places the NEX-7 squarely up against the likes of the Fujifilm FinePix X100 (with its fixed 23mm F2 lens), as well as the E-P3. The NEX-7 also gets its own black version of the standard E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS kit zoom.
Sony NEX-7 specification highlights
- 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor (shared with the SLT A-77 and A-65)
- ISO 100-16000 (100-1600 in Auto)
- Built-in 2.4M dot OLED EVF with eye sensor
- Electronic first-curtain shutter (cuts response time from 100ms to 20ms)
- 'AVCHD Progressive' 1080p60 HD movie recording with built-in stereo mic
- Tilting rear screen
- Three-dial user interface
- Built in flash and Alpha hotshoe
- Infra-red remote control receiver
- Microphone input socket
Compared to the NEX-5N
|Here's the NEX-7 alongside its little brother, the NEX-5N. The body isn't so much bigger, and Sony has managed to add on 2 more control dials, a built-in flash and hotshoe, and an EVF. The NEX-5N has a touchscreen, but its sensor is 'only' 16MP.|
Compared to 'enthusiast' competitors
The NEX-7 resides in a somewhat rarefied sector of the market - that of the truly enthusiast-orientated, 'rangefinder-style' large-sensor camera. The image below shows it compared in size to some of its main competitors - the Micro Four Thirds Olympus PEN E-P3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1. We've also included the Fujifilm FinePix X100, which like the NEX-7 has an APS-C sensor, extensive external controls and built-in electronic viewfinder, but sports a fixed 23mm F2 lens and decidedly retro design and layout.
|Despite its impressive specification (including tilt screen, pop-up flash and built-in EVF), the NEX-7 is almost exactly the same size as the Olympus PEN E-P3, and only fractionally larger than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1. Head-on, it's also smaller than the Fujifilm FinePix X100, largely because of the latter's hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder.|
|Viewed from the top, perhaps the most striking features of the NEX-7 is its large handgrip - easily the best in this class. You can also see the two dials on the top plate that are used for the 'Triple-dial-control' system, and the button beside the shutter release that cycles through their functions. One area that may concern some users, though, is the size of Sony's NEX lenses to date: here we're comparing fast prime lenses, and the Sony Carl Zeiss T* E Sonnar 24mm F1.8 is a sizeable beast compared to the Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4, let alone the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH for Micro Four Thirds. Meanwhile the X100's fixed-lens design makes it surprisingly slim.|
|Other manufacturers also offer more-compact, collapsible standard zooms, most notably Panasonic's remarkable X 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 powerzoom seen here adorning the GX1. This confers an undeniable portability advantage.|
- 16 Noise and Noise Reduction
- 17 Dynamic Range
- 18 Resolution
- 19 Raw
- 20 Creative Styles and Picture Effects
- 21 Photographic Features
- 22 High ISO noise comparisons
- 23 Photographic tests
- 24 Movie mode
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Conclusion
- 29 Samples gallery
Dec 11, 2014
Dec 11, 2014
Dec 14, 2011
Dec 13, 2014
|Autumn by valenttin|
from Harvest Festivals
|Cardinal, Male by paul katinas|
from A Big Year - birds
|.. by Amar Vignesh|
from Unintentional Blur
|Freeze Time by WhistlerOne|
|Sir Mick Jagger by HetFotoAtelier|
from - Concerts : When The Lights Come On -
"With only a few hundred of these lenses still in existence, and the inability to get them serviced and repaired if damaged, one can only assume that finding one of these will only become more and more difficult as time goes on..."
Google's Pixel 2 might have the 'world's highest rated smartphone camera', but the phone's display is causing serious headaches for the company. From 'dull' colors to reports of burn-in and blue tint, some troubling reports are haunting the tech giant this week.
The WiBotic PowerPad is a three-foot by three-foot landing pad that, according to its makers, is capable of charging almost any drone wirelessly.
Hear what Adobe director of product management Tom Hogarty and Lightroom product manager Sharad Mangalick have to say about the new Lightroom CC, and the future of Lightroom Classic CC.
Phase One has released a new, 15-preset Film Styles Pack for Capture One users that gives you a total of 45 different analog 'Styles' to choose from—33 in color and 12 in black & white.
"Everyone was wearing essentially the same outfits, doing the same poses, and felt like they needed 37 versions of each pose. As irritated as I was by this, it wasn’t what annoyed me the most."
With features like full-sensor-width 4K recording, Nikon has made its most video-friendly DSLR to date in the D850. That said, there's a difference between offering a feature and implementing it well.
If you're set on investing in a seriously capable compact, no doubt these two cameras will be on your list. Here's how they square up.
Adobe's experimental Project 'Deep Fill' is an incredibly powerful and impressive, AI-powered version of Content Aware Fill. Watch the demo to see this amazing tool in action.
LEE has released a new series of Reverse ND filters that are most opaque in the middle and become progressively clearer towards the top. This makes them ideal for capturing scenes where the sun is close to the horizon.
A former New York Times photographer is suing both the newspaper and its photography director Michele McNally for over $500,000 for age discrimination and unfair classification as a freelancer for nearly a decade.
"CPS Platinum members will now enjoy next-day service, with equipment serviced and shipped the business day after an estimate is approved. For repairs that will take longer, Canon will offer next-day loaner equipment."
Irix is introducing a new filter system called the Irix Edge 100. The ultra-light, ultra-thin system is build specifically for wide angle lenses like Irix's own 15mm F2.4.
After conducting a series of safety tests, the FAA is recommending that all airlines ban cameras and other electronics with Lithium Ion batteries from checked baggage. The agency believe the risk of a catastrophic fire and explosion is too great.
The Pixentu jackets keep you and your gear warm and dry, offering useful features like lens and tripod pockets, in addition to some quirky ones like an extended hood to protect your camera from the rain.
Adobe gave the audience at MAX a sneak peek at some exciting new technology its developing. It's called Adobe Cloak: a highly capable Content Aware Fill-like feature for video editors.
Earlier today, Flickr moved its photo book printing service over to a third party services, and stopped offering any wall art options entirely.
The patent details a flipping rear LCD screen so large, Canon has had to hide the rear dial and several buttons underneath.
We've added a selection of extra images to our Nikon D850 gallery. As part of the process of rounding off the review we made sure a number of us had shot the camera in a variety of situations, we've added those shots to the gallery to give a broad cross section of how the camera performs.
Wiral LITE is an affordable, easy-to-use cable cam system that can do things a portable slider simply can't do, and go places no slider would dare go.
Not happy with the recent demise of Lightroom as a stand-alone, subscription free service? Macphun's got your back... or they will in 2018.
Once connected to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, Pholio automatically searches through the device storage and backs up all images and videos—complete with auto-tagging and intelligent search capabilities.
The 360 Round uses eight horizontally positioned camera pairs and one upward-pointing single lens to capture and livestream panoramic 4K 3D content.
Introduced just three years ago, the Samsung NX1 was both a technological tour-de-force and a great camera to use, earning one of the highest scores we've ever awarded and winning our 2015 Innovation Award. But its short-lived run in the photo world leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is styled like a classic rangefinder, but features a built-in touchscreen, AF joystick, and electronic viewfinder – truly an old school meets new type of camera. Lay some eyes on our sample gallery to see how it performs in the real world.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!