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on December 28, 2011
A little background to give you perspective on the review. I'm an advanced amateur shooting for about 10 years. I also own a Canon 5D Mark II with some L Zoom lenses (24-70 F2.8 and the 70-200 F2.8) and the very good 50mm 1.8 prime and a Fuji X100.

I spent a lot of time (probably over 40 hours) researching this camera, reading reviews etc. before buying it on Amazon from a third party seller. I've had it about a week now and shooting with with the Sony 18-200 Zoom Lens (SEL18200). Below are my observations:

1. Very small camera body, smaller than my X100 and feels a lot like my old S90 compact in terms of size (this is of course without the lens). With the 18-200 lens its no longer pocketable but still small and very manageable compared to a SLR.
2. Great build quality, tough body, I like the styling and I love the handgrip. Just the right size.
3. Probably the fastest shutter I have ever used, very little shutter lag.
4. Easy to use menus/interface etc. Lots of options and things like sweep panorama and other "gadget" type things work well although unlikely that I will use them much.
5. Good battery life. I'm easily getting the 400 or so shots per charge its rated for.
6. Electronic viewfinder - The good part is that it works really well, focus is fast even in low light, for the not so good part relating to the viewfinder see below.

Not so good

1. The electronic viewfinder that gets rave reviews is simply not as good to my eyes as looking through glass. Its a far cry from an optical viewfinder and I find the little "noise/dots" in low light distracting. Images even when blown up don't seem to show the same noise so this is definitely a viewfinder issue. To give you context even with a lens cap on when the LCD is completely black the viewfinder has tiny dots dancing on it sort of like static on a TV screen, this doesn't go away.

2. Internal Flash design needs work. When used with the SEL18200 lens there is noticeable shadow in images due to the lens blocking some of the light, to the point where I am currently not using the flash at all and will eventually invest in an external or wireless flash. Just simply providing the ability to bounce this off the ceiling would have helped. UPDATE: Someone in comments just pointed out and I verified that you can manually tilt the flash while shooting. Solves my issue with the SEL18200, thanks.

In the end what I really care about though is image quality. In this the camera does not disappoint. It does indoors just about as well as my Fuji X100 which to me is the best low light, auto WB adjustment under any kind of light shooter I have ever used and for landscapes and nature its almost as good as my 5D particularly in good light. I suspect with a better lens I would be hard pressed to see the difference, right now while the 18-200 f3.5 is very versatile my Canon glass is definitely a little sharper, but at its size and lightweight appeal by guess is that the Sony will get a lot more at bats than the Canon. Even when blown up to the size of a modern day LCD TV pictures look great and the zoom lens is great at bringing far away details closer. The 24MP señsor does capture a lot of detail and does well in low light situations as well. I'm not really a high ISO shooter preferring flash or faster lenses where this becomes required but up to ISO 1600 have not noticed any issues with the picture quality even on a 63" screen.

All in all I am very happy with my purchase and look forward to many years of shooting with it. I'd recommend it along with the SEL-18200 lens for anyone looking for a second camera as a go anywhere alternative to a SLR and lenses or as a very significant upgrade from a compact. This could also very easily become the only camera for an enthusiast/advanced amateur type who would be willing to trade in the bulky DSLR. I definitely hope they make more high quality lenses for it as time goes by. I was also looking at the 24mm F1.8 Carl Zeiss prime (36mm equivalent) but in the end opted for the versatility of the zoom particularly since my X100 gives me a dedicated 35mm point of view for about the same price but with camera body attached.

Update - I did some more comparisons to my X100 and liked the Nex 7 enough to sell the Fuji. I used the proceeds to purchase the Carl Zeiss Sonnar 24mm F1.8 e mount lens. I'm finding this lens to mitigate some of my viewfinder issues since its bright enough and the little dancing dots seem at bay but not totally gone. Also finding this lens to be of very high quality, auto-focus is very quick and indoor low light shooting a breeze. Portraits are sharp and background is pleasantly de-focused, even in dimly lit rooms I am not using flash or high ISOs and outdoors or in good light its beautiful.

Update 2 - I have now been using the Nex 7 for almost three months. I have to say I love it even more. Its become my go to camera for a lot of different occasions and I recently travelled internationally with this and the Zeiss F1.8 lens as my only camera. Pictures of the trip came out beautiful, although I'm not much of a dedicated 35mm shooter I found that there was enough there to make me very happy and in some cases crops etc. taking advantage of the ample resolution the Nex offers strengthened particular images. I have also added the HVL20 flash to my collection and find it to be useful in low light, indoor types of situations and pretty compact still and recently added the Tamron 18-200 lens which I am liking a little more than the Sony SEL18200 since its a little smaller, lighter and produces about the same image quality. Vain I know but I actually like the black of the Tamron lens more.

I have been doing some tests also of portraits compared to my 5D Mark II and for me at least the Full Frame bokeh of the 5D can't be beat. I don't have a great portrait lens for the Nex yet so will reserve final judgement until I acquire one (50mm F1.8 on pre-order) but at near identical focal lengths and apertures the Canon 5D images have the 3D like pop to them that the Nex is missing ONLY when compared side by side, i.e. the Nex does render a little more detail in the background. Outside of this extreme bit of detective work that likely has very little value in actual use I am extremely happy with Nex for portraits and for all others types of shooting including landscape with the Zeiss lens.
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926 helpful votes
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on October 21, 2013
I had researched DSLRs and eventually Mirrorless- DSLRs for about a month before deciding on the NEX series. I didn’t see any that had all the features I wanted all in one package besides this. I needed a viewfinder that shows the actual photo, not just a clear glass hole like my old film point and shoot had. Also I needed a flash that was integrated into it. The Sony NEX 6 and 7 had both!

I was biting my nails trying to figure out which one to get, so hopefully this review can help someone in my situation.

First I bought the NEX-6 because I like the collapsible lens, but it's only 16 MP and also its kit lens (SELP1650) is ONLY electronic, even though you can adjust the ring manually with variable zooming speed and with the W/T single-speed zoom adjustment on the side of the lens body, there is still a delay when zooming and you can hear the motor going when you're shooting video. I did try and used the WiFi ability, but that seems like a gimmick to me. It’s faster to open the battery door and take out the memory card and stick it into your computer. Also the NEX 7 has a mic input and the NEX 6 doesn't. The NEX 6 has this new Phase-detection circuitry, but I didn't notice it taking pictures faster with better autofocus, and I tried to move the camera to accomplish this. I did try a Sony Alpha A77 and it seemed to autofocus faster than either NEX model. Another irk, you have to press your fingertip a lot deeper into the body of the NEX 6 to make the flash pop up, where the NEX 7 is much easier.

Video performance:
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the video that was produced! The integrated stereo mic takes really great audio recordings, without clipping unless under extremely loud conditions. I took it to a bunch of concerts and it records more bass (at least down to 80hz by my guess) than I would think it would from “just” an integrated mic. For some reason, I have to record at 24p/24i, otherwise the audio track is slightly out of sync of the video, so I have to record at 60p/60i, or fix it in post production. I am using firmware version 1.02. Many users have noted that it’s very easy to accidentally hit record on the NEX 7, and I’m not exception! I do it all the time. With upgraded firmware, you can disable the record button, but I like it there and don’t mind deleting files now and then.
You can call Sony within the first month of owning a used model and buy a 2(?)-year drops and spills protection! Also they offer extended parts and labor warranty, but not if it’s dropped. THEY TOLD ME ALL Sony cameras (NEW OR USED) from have a 12 month warranty, starting when you bought it! You can only get Squaretrade or Geek Squad for spills if you buy the camera new and not used, open box or refurbished.

I clumsily dropped my camera onto the carpet from my lap while changing batteries or memory cards (you have to have the battery door off for both), and the battery door snapped off! Tried to epoxy it, and that worked, until I bumped it again and it’s still off. The battery has a little blue holder inside the compartment and I just keep using it with it broken off. So just close and lock it so that can’t happen to you!

NEX 6 vs NEX 7 kit lens comparison:
So I decided to upgrade and now I have this NEX 7 with 24 MP! The zoom on the kit lens for NEX 7 is silky-smooth. They both use Sony's proprietary E-Mount system, so you'd have to use an adapter to use your Sony Alpha lenses. I did notice that the collapsible SELP1650, on either the NEX 7 or NEX 6, has a little bit more of a reddish tint to it than the NEX 7's kit lens (SEL1855). The NEX 7's kit lens is an 18-55mm zoom and the NEX 6's kit lens is 16-50; therefore the NEX 7's lens can zoom a little bit farther in, and the NEX 6 can zoom a little bit farther out. I ended up keeping the NEX 6 kit lens and selling the body, because I liked the fact that it can fit in my pocket with the NEX 6 kit lens. The NEX 7 kit lens is 7.10 oz, and the NEX 6 kit lens is 4.30 oz, with the NEX 7’s body with battery and strap weighing 12.95oz. It gets more and more noticeable the longer you shoot, and it’s harder to use the NEX 7 with its kit lens as a point and shoot.

I have shot over 3000 photos already and they are pretty good. I took the same exact picture with the same settings, subject, lens and zoom with both the NEX 6 and NEX 7 and I had to zoom ALL THE WAY in to tell a difference, and even then it was VERY tough! This is in JPEG…I didn’t think to try the test in RAW and now I don’t have both anymore so I won’t know. You can see a lot of tests like that at DPREVIEW.COM. They already did that, and with many different cameras, too. I have taken many photos and basically both cameras can take very similar photos, but the NEX 7 is higher end, and you can feel it when you use it. I like the sound of the shutter of the NEX 7 a little better, too.

Hope this helps someone… I didn’t plan on this long of a review but I got on a roll! I will update if needed!
7 helpful votes
8 helpful votes
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on January 4, 2014
My Sony Nex 7 is a great camera. I shoot mostly nature photography, and use my images as a base for other art forms. I also exhibit my photos. I have had Canons and Nikon DSLR'S, but was having trouble with my wrists due to the size and weight. The Sony offers very sharp images, excellent color, and larger file sizes. The camera fits easily and comfortably in my hand. The menu and function buttons are easy to work with. The built in viewfinder is an important feature. Shooting outdoors can make the LCD screen useless at times, and when researching the other micro 4/3rds cameras before my purchase, I found that the lower priced cameras, which didn't have viewfinder, would cost almost the same price as the NEX-7 after adding an attachable viewfinder, and wouldn't have the other great features of the NEX-7. I'm very happy with my purchase.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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Nice fully featured very well made mirror-less shooter.
The menu system is a bit scattered and the buttons and dials to adjust almost any setting can be tamed to your preference.
Picture quality is off the charts though.
I only have one Sony E mount lens the rest of my photos are taken with legacy Canon, Tamron or Nikon glass adapted to the NEX.

If your looking for complicated this is your camera.
1 helpful vote
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on April 3, 2014
I traded in my big Nikon SLR for a Nex 3 and was pretty happy with it. But as I used it, I found that the simplicity of the Nex 3 was really bothering me. The menu system was clunky and I could not get to the settings I needed.

I just got my Nex 7 today and boy, I could not be happier.

I love the fact that the body is so small and light. My philosophy is "the best camera in the world is the one you have on you." With that in mind, I believe in investing in a good phone camera (like my Galaxy S4) and now my Nex 7. I could easily have the camera around my neck without having to lug around a brick all day. (Those of you with the big Canon and Nikon know what I am talking about). It gets old quick.

Things I love about the Nex 7:

- All the features of a big SLR but not the weight.
- Plenty of lenses (finally)
- AMAZING low light capability. The Nex line is unique in this capability of shooting 6-10 shots and then making a composite...which reduces the noise and blurred movements.
- Access to the vital dials quickly...I can now change Aperture size, ISO, and exposure compensation through external knobs...rather than a complicated menu system
- EVF. My Nex 3 did not have a view finder...and during bright days, this can be a problem. Nex 7 solved this.
- A convenient AF/MF toggle lock. This was not a pain on the Nex 3.

What I don't like about the Next 7:

- The Nex 3 had some nice pre-sets when you have the camera set on Ai. They took these functions away
- Unlike a point and shoot, the zoom is limited by your lens. My point and shoot Lumix goes up to 40x and is amazingly sharp.
- You are limited to a .7 bracket x 3....I was hoping to be able to set a higher bracketing set for dramatic HDR photography. I will have to settle for +/- .7.

I was seriously contemplating updating my camera with a Nikon or a Canon 70D....but upon learning about the Nex7, and after reading all the great reviews, I decided to stick to Sony. I have a bunch of lenses and accessory for the Nex series, and now I could not be happier.

Mac Owners - PLEASE READ
If you are getting a Nex 7, then I am assuming you want to be serious about your photography. If you get this camera, I HIGHLY recommend that you take the leap and buy Aperture. It's only $80. I could not be happier. I was humming and hahing about "why do I need to spend another $80 when iPhoto does a lot of what I want?" Trust me. There is a reason why professionals use it. It is fast, and fantastic.

Also, be sure to buy Google's Nik Software suite. It's only $149. This suite used to cost $500, but when Google bought the company, they slashed the price. This suite allow you to do some ridiculously cool HDR photography and a number of very cool filters that take your photography from "hmm, that looks nice hon" to "OMG! That looks fantastic!".

Seriously, get this camera. You can't go wrong.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on August 3, 2015
I couldn't swing this camera a few years ago and bought a NEX-5N instead. That turned out to be a wonderful camera which I re-tasked for my wife after she used on a recent trip on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad - the absolutely loved it. In the meantime the NEX-7 was discontinued in favor of the A4000. I was able to purchase a new NEX-7 at about a 50% discount - dream fulfilled.

I started shooting with a used Kodak Retina, yup I am really that old, then followed a couple 35mm SLR's, Mamiya Sekor & Pentax. The retina required a light meter and range finder but the two SLR's at least had range finders - everything else was manual. A lot of pocket cameras in various formats then crude digitals but always the dream of recapturing the love of photography from the early cameras.

With the NEX-7 I have all the operating ease of the NEX-5, if I want it, but the my of photography has been recaptured with the NEX-7.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on October 12, 2013
I bought this after seeing some great user reviews and technical evaluations. I have used a Canon 50D for several years but found I was getting tired of schlepping it and a bag of lenses around. So I bought the Nex-7 (along with the Tamron 18-200) which together yield great quality shots and take up little room in my backpack.

The electronic viewfinder works well and you can change settings without having to dive too deeply into menus.

I bought the camera and lens as an open box deal from Amazon Warehouse and saved about 30%. Came with the usual Amazon return privileges and full manufacturer's warranties.

My only beef (and it's a small one) is the cheap-o strap provided by Sony. It's thin and isn't very grippy. Considering the cost of the Nex-7 and its place in the Sony line-up, I'd expect better quality. By again it's a minor issue and I'm very happy overall.
review imagereview image
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on November 21, 2015
I bought this from a seller here in "used" condition, but it looks brand new. I bought this to shoot a wedding with and it performed great. If you haven't used sont before, the menu system can be a bit confusing (its not a Leica type 262), but it felt familiar for me, coming from a NEX-5n. The two wheels are a nice touch, and the manual focus assist is great for the old manual focus lenses I use. The EVF is good enough, but I do wish it had a touchscreen like the NEX-5n. I do wish you could change the rotation of the dials, as that was a little counter-intuitive for me (but maybe it just me that's in the wrong). Especially for the price of a used unit, I am supremely satisfied.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on June 21, 2013
After 2 weeks in Alaska, my admittedly amateur observations:

- Pics are noticeably darker than other cameras I have used. Pros say always take the pic 1 f-stop lower because it's easier to clean up than washed-out photos. But they are dark..

- Took many pics in Denali with big vista. Noticeable spots on the picture, at first I thought it was dirt on lenses but two separate lenses, completely cleaned, still spots. More with the telephoto than with the 18-55. However I did not bring the hoods, I assume they would have helped.. but these lenses do have refraction in them. No amount of Photoshop after the fact can really capture the deep blue marble that the sky was up there at that time.

- The batteries are a JOKE!!! Two of them, they couldn't let me through a whole day! About 100 pics and they start losing power.

Still I managed to get about 10 really good pics that have office salivating to go... when it works, the resolution is simply the best I've ever had.
3 helpful votes
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on August 23, 2012
My NEX-7 arrived about 6 weeks ago. I am an amateur fine arts photographer. Until my NEX-7 was delivered, I was a Canon enthusiast. My goal by ordering the NEX-7 was to use it as a complete replacement for my Canon t3i. After shooting with my Sony the first weekend in July, I quickly realized the days of me being a Canon guy were over. Nothing against Canon, but I needed more simplicity in my life and I am getting too old to carry all my Canon camera gear around with me on the long photo walks I take.

One of my favorite forms of photography is what is commonly referred to as "painting with light." I love to shoot way out still images of colorful moving lights, such as the lights on amusement rides one sees at night at a carnival or amusement park, as well as Christmas lights. This form of photography requires me to put the camera on full manual mode. I usually set the aperture to f/20 and I take various shots of whatever interests me while the shutter is set to 2 seconds, but usually longer. I do this with the camera on a tripod and the Sony 18-55mm kit lens I bought with my NEX-7. I also sometimes vary the focal length of the lens while the shutter is open. I am getting incredible results! I also shoot exclusively on raw mode. I recently had one such image professionally printed, matted, and framed. That photo is hanging in my office at work and it gets a lot of positive comments.

I also do a fair amount of travel, macro, and nature photography. I bought the Sony 55-210mm lens primarily for travel photography and it works well. I like that lens a lot, but I mostly use the kit lens. Several passersby have asked me about my camera when I was out shooting with it, including one of the sound engineers at the Philadelphia Folk Festival last Sunday who was very interested in my comments about it. We chatted for about 20 minutes about my NEX-7.

The NEX-7 is not perfect though, I have two minor problems with it. First, the selection of E-mount lenses is scant. I want to buy a good quality macro lens, but none of the lenses I have seen have been reviewed by enough consumers yet to make me feel comfortable about buying them. I also want to buy a long zoom lens, such as in the 300mm-500mm range, but none exists yet as far as I know. I am assuming the selection of E-mount lenses will expand as Sony sells more cameras that use that type of lens. In addition, when I save the NEX-7's raw image files on my Mac (with OS X 10.8.1), the icons in the Finder do not display what the corresponding image file is; all I see is a blank white icon for each raw image file. I hope Apple and Sony offer up a fix to that problem soon.

In conclusion, if I had it to do again, I would still buy the NEX-7. It really is designed as if photographers, not electronics engineers designed it.
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