Amazon Business Best Books of the Month STEM nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Starting at $39.99 Luxury Beauty March Birthstone Shop Popular Services _ros _ros _ros  All-New Echo Dot Starting at $99.99 Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Tackle Any Terrain with Cycling on Amazon STEM

Style: With 18-55mm lens|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Change
Price:$961.49+ Free shipping
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 151 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 225 reviews
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:

Good:
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.
6565 comments| 923 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 4, 2012
Let me start by saying that I have been an avid, but not an expert photographer for 50 years. I carry a camera with me everywhere I go. My recent cameras have included the Nikon D7000, and the Sony Alpha Nex C3 and 5n. But I have had Canon and Panasonic cameras and video cameras I also love.
Anyway, this time, I got my wife the Nex 3c for Christmas because it shares the same 16 mp processor that is in the Nikon D7000. To put an APS-c processor in such an inexpensive camera, I thought, would open the world of natural light photography to my wife with a sensor that's a proven winner in a small, convenient camera with interface designed for point and shoot photographers.
When I got home, my wife had our six month old daughter dressed in a Santa outfit... Break out the camera...Out of the box in five minutes the most incredible, clear, good color gorgeous detailed photos, all in natural light...we were so excited we rushed to print a Christmas card. That simple incident has caused my wife to finally get interested in a camera more rewarding than her Casio Ex Slim.
Reading more, I decided to get myself the 5n. Same processor but with more capabilities and controls. I got many wonderful photos with the kit 18-55 but not as good as my D7000. But then I bought the Sony 18-200 lens for the 5n. The photos and detail with this lens knocked my socks off and was every bit the quality I was getting from the D7000 for which I have an equivalent lens.
It was this experience that made me interested in the 24 mp Nex 7. I read a few reviews of the Nex 7. I read of many features, but mainly stunning image quality. Some commentators think that 24 mp is about the equivalent of the detail you can achieve with a film camera. I was interested.
But the one think this excercise has brought home to me, if you're seeking detail, then there's alot of other things that go into image clarity than just the sensor. And the other things get more and more evident as the megapixels are pushed. First on this list is whether you have a lens that will deliver enough detail to take advantage of the megapixels. I did crave the detail, I had the lens. So I bought the camera.
The Sony Nex 7 takes some getting used to. Its three dial system is ingenious and provides easy quick access to an functions including by example, creativity settings, saturation and sharpness, settings to expand dynamic range, aperture, speed and iso, so that with practice you can reset all of these for every shot almost instantly. There are many other great features also.
But mainly, when I got the settings right, the quality of the pictures was just something I never saw before from any camera.
There are things that could be done a little better, as there always are. The flash unit is incredibly cheesy. The movie button is placed so that I have taken many movies I did not intend. Good thing they can be erased. And there is no case that fits this incredible little camera. And it is almost shocking that with all the settings available, there is no way to save a custom profile once you have everything just the way you want it. There are other things as well. But overall, it delivers an incredible array of capabilities and unequaled image quality for an APS-C sensor that has to be seen to be believed. With good lenses, that can translate into superior photos in most conditions.
How does it compare to the 5n? Honestly for people shots, and especially for shots indoors at night in natural light, the 5n is just as good or better.(My favorite professional reviewers are DPreview.com. Their tests showed that the 5n is better in low light, but if they resampled the 5n image up to 24 mp then the images were equal. This is stupid. They had to downgrade the 5n image to make it equal the 7.) The extra pixels are just not needed and they do reduce low light sensitivity. But in low light both are better than my Nikon D7000 which honestly, I still love and will also use. (The nikon has a quality usable flash.)
At half the price for the camera plus the kit lens, the 5n is definitely a better value than the Nex 7 for all but the true enthusiast. Only with the purchase of expensive extra glass, and a lot of testing and practice, will the potential better photo qualities emerge. But when they do the results are stunning to a discerning eye.
Now after two months, I would add the following: This camera is even better than I thought, I think in part due to the 18-200 lens being just superb. All my shots are better than all my shots were before. After figuring out the three wheel system and using it, it is fast and convenient. Need to be careful not to bump a wheel and change a setting by mistake. One nice feature. When you set the camera the way you want it in program and aperture modes, then turn it off, the settings are the same when you turn it back on.
I am not using my Nikon D7000 at all. I keep trying to find comparable shots where the Nikon will equal this camera. No can do. In daylight, same picture, the Sony Nex 7 produces considerably better pictures. The detail is sharper, and when you learn to use the dynamic range settings they are incredibly better so you get better detail in the light and in the shadows. The depth of field is greater than with the Nikon. The distortion controls are wonderful and are making my pictures better. The articulating screen makes it easy to compose your shot from low and high angles. With zoom and so many pixels it's easy to let camera movement destroy a shot. So finding something to rest the camera against to take a shot always helps, and depending on the height of the object you use, the articulating screen makes it easier to compose your shot.
I just love this camera and I believe it is making my photographs better than they ever were.
33 comments| 169 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 10, 2015
Great Camera. I have given up on my big DSLR cameras. I make big 16X20 or 16X24 inch prints and they are great.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 13, 2014
Second Sony NEX - my first one was the "5" model and this has greatly evolved. Battry life sucks but that's not the camer's fault - other than that, you cannot beat the features and looks for the money.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 9, 2014
Great camera, but very complicated. If you are looking for something simple, this is not it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 30, 2016
i like it
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 12, 2011
Update 2: The new firmware addresses one of the biggest requests: a much better bracketing function. No longer limited to the paltry +-0.7EV. Now we can go up to +-3EV which is good enough for most HDR purposes. About time!

Update: I recently got hold of a Minolta 3600HS(D) flash for dirt cheap ($50 shipped) and it works wonderfully with the NEX-7. Metering TTL is perfect and my indoor photos look great with bounce flash. Of course, it's a bit big and will add some weight to your camera, but well worth it.

An average review from an average Joe using a not-so-average camera.

HARDWARE:

The build is sexy. It screams quality. Magnesium alloy body makes it heavier and bigger than the previous NEXes, as expected, but it's a welcomed extra weight. I don't have small hands and always thought the NEX-5/5N, as nice as the form is, felt a little bit like a toy. So I definitely appreciate the NEX-7's new size and weight, something I can really wrap my fingers around.

I think Sony have a pretty perfect layout, or at least one that really works. I'm sure you've heard all about the latest-and-greatest Electronic Viewfinder with its amazing high resolution, and the intuitive TriNavi 3-dial control. Yes, they work. I'm a big fan of the bright and sharp 3" tiltable LCD screen, but I've always wanted a nice VF on my camera to better compose my shots and avoid the nasty glare out in the sunlight. This is my first time using an EVF, and it's a good first impression. The view is quite large, giving lots of room to include all the necessary info. There's a diopter for those with bad eyesight. The eyepiece is not exactly glass-friendly, and is actually the one annoyance I have with the camera. I just can't seem to get it to comfortable situated in my eye socket. But maybe I just have to get used to a VF.

The TriNavi is also very good (though i wish we can really customize the wheels). I mainly shoot with Aperture-priority mode so one dial is for aperture and one is for Exposure Value compensation. This does work very well, if you use a native E-mount lens. However, if you're like me and shoot using legacy lenses, you'll find that the Aperture dial is basically useless. I'd love to be able to customize the dials to my liking instead of the given presets. It's definitely not a problem, but I just feel that it's wasteful. Same with other manual modes.

Oh, hey, there's a built-in flash and a Sony/Minolta hot-shoe as well if you're into that sort of things ;)

IMAGE QUALITY:

24MP on an APS-C sensor is pretty impressive. It has been pitted against the 16MP sensor time and time again, and proven to be slightly, VERY VERY slightly, inferior at high ISO settings so I won't bore you with that. But what does it mean for us average Joes? It means that you don't have to worry about anything. The 24MP sensor can hold its own. Image quality from ISO100-800 is pretty awesome. Noise at a minimal level and you can go right ahead with those huge prints. Noise level increases as you go past ISO 1600, but even up till ISO 3200, photos are still very much usable. I shoot a lot of indoor shots without flash and I like what I see. But of course, stick to lower ISO and/or use flash to get the best quality.

24MP is also 6MP more than the cheaper NEX models. Will those extra pixels make a difference? I say definitely. a) Holy crop! So much headroom to spare, you can crop to your heart's content and still have a high-res result. b) Details. The 24MP sensor can probably (probably?) out-resolve any lens you have. I feel (placebo?) like my shots have that extra POP it didn't with the NEX-5, using the same lens.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

The NEX system is young, and far from developed. There's a lack of lenses (but an abundance in whining users...). Sony have done a decent job at covering all the focal ranges. We have the 16mm, 18-55mm, 30mm macro, 50mm, 55-210mm, 18-200mm (so good we get it TWICE!). Yet, we're still missing those fast and good lenses. SOme people say we need pancake primes. I say we just need primes. What's the obsession with pancakes anyway? The only good thing about them is the syrup.

Also, you can't use the built-in flash as a wireless flash commander. What's up with that Sony? The A77 can do it. However, you can tilt the built-in flash upwards to bounce the light. Very convenient.

CONCLUSION:

Buy this camera if you can afford it and find it. It's a great performer in a small body despite the minor flaws. I think Sony have another winner.
1717 comments| 109 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon March 4, 2012
This is a review of my new NEX-7, a lovely, precision made piece of pocket magic. I hope Amazon readers will indulge me if I first make a few observations about the great Sony Corporation, and then some thoughts about the future of of digital cameras in the age of the iPhone.

I have a longtime fondness for Sony dating from the 1970's when my job required constant international travel. This was before personal computers and the internet; I depended on my Sony Walkman, my Sony microcassette recorder, my Sony shortwave radios, and all the other jewels of miniature electronics Sony produced in those days with imagination and precision. Trinitron. The U-Matic 3/4" video players we used for education and training before Betamax and VHS. Unfortunately in recent decades Sony has not stayed on the leading edge of consumer electronics. The company grew large and subdivided, replacing a strong sense of design coherence led by Akio Morita, with management by committee. The secret of Apple, and the reason Apple surpassed Sony, is mainly that one individual, Steve Jobs, maintained a coherent personal vision of product rightness over a long period of time and a variety of platforms. Sony on the other hand divided into a conglomerate of disconnected businesses. For example, unlike Apple, Sony's foray into the content industry (movies, music) did not really feed back to enhance their hardware products. There is not one Sony company but several; the people who make the new Sony Tablet P or the Bloggie MP4 recorders probably have never met the camera team. The CEO of Sony in recent years, Howard Stringer, was not a digital visionary but a clueless corporate "Mister Businessman." As I write this Sony has lost billions for eight years and has just announced 10,000 more layoffs. The new CEO says his focus will be "One Sony." I hope so because the disconnects within the Sony group are evident in this NEX 7; it is excellent photographically but lacks integration in other important ways.

Sony was an early player in digital cameras and has remained strong, unlike their losing battle to stay in the television market or the MP3 market. In 2006 they committed to full-on competition with Canon and Nikon by buying out the Konica-Minolta line. Their DSLRs are first rate and they are the first to offer translucent non-moving mirror SLR's. Now with the NEX line of mirrorless, large sensor cameras, Sony has a hit and is hoping to lead the next phase of consumer photography. Or rather I should say, of ENTHUSIAST photography since as we all know, mass market photography today is increasingly dominated by the smartphone / iPhone with a vast array of third party software apps. More about that later. However, design by committee is evident in the Sony NEX 7; it gives the feeling that the features marked for incorporation came from a show of hands in a giant meeting rather than a unified concept. In sensors, Sony is pretty much the best in the world. Ditto for their marvelous manufacturing. But in user interface, in image processing and compression, in viewfinders, in lenses, in connectivity, wireless, software, in overall system architecture - they are uneven. Moreover, the camera group seems stuck in a past where cameras were in a silo by themselves. How sad that they seem unable to pull together Sony's amazing range of corporate skills in wireless, computers, etc., to focus them all on any one product.

OK, that's my history essay. Thanks for reading. Now on to testing the NEX 7. After having mine on backorder at Amazon for EIGHT MONTHS, it finally arrived a few days ago. I was also fortunate to capture one of the Zeiss 24mm NEX E-mount lenses, a gem (except it is overpriced and lacks image stabilization). I made a direct comparison with my Nikon D7000 for basic image quality and evaluated the other features as best I could, without yet having read every page of the 211 page (!) manual. There are three basics of digital photography: 1) image quality including JPEG efficiency, 2) handling quality including size, weight, speed, and ease of use and 3) connectivity, networking, and special techniques. I am leaving out cost; if that is your metric, I can tell you right now that you can buy a very good digital camera which will produce excellent photos for about one seventh what I spent for this baby with the Zeiss lens.

1. Image quality. I compared indoor both RAW and JPEG images from the NEX 7, 24 MP with my Nikon D7000, 16 MP. They certainly should be comparable since Nikon in fact uses a Sony sensor similar to that in the NEX 5n. I did this at ISO 100, 800 and 3200, trying to match the lenses between the two as comparably as I could, prime for prime, zoom for zoom. The results were mixed. With RAW images, the Nikon D7000 had a slight but definite edge, with more contrast and smoothness, especially in the shadows. (This implies the NEX 5n sensor may also be better than 7 at high ISO.) But with JPEGs it was the other way; at both high and low ISO, the NEX-7 images were distinctly superior to the Nikon in clarity and punch. The difference was greatest at ISO 3200. So it seems when JPEG compression is brought in, the Sony boys have a slight edge in the fine details of their algorithm for image compression. The differences are subtle; let's call it even. The NEX 7 produces beautiful, sharp, dynamic photos, really nice, and every bit as good as the best half-frame DSLR. So far so good.

2. Handling. So if the image quality is top grade, and the slim NEX 7 is so much lighter and smaller than my top of the line Nikon half-frame DSLR, and I am much more likely to take it with me when I travel, does it mean I'm ready to switch over completely? No, I'm not. For one thing, I have been shooting Nikon SLR's since John F. Kennedy was president. Nothing feels as comfortable and natural to me as having that funny clacking box held up to my eye, allowing me to see exactly what the lens will see. The NEX 7 comes with an EVF (electronic viewfinder) which means a little television you squint at through a lens as if it were a real viewfinder. This has been touted as a great advance but I find I don't like it. For one thing, the EVF display - in spite of being a state of the art 2.4MP OLED - is rough compared to a real life image. The picture has sparklies and the colors are off, and the proximity feature (viewfinder doesn't turn itself on until your eye is near the camera, to save battery) is disconcerting. And the information there is simply a duplicate of what can be seen on the much nicer, big LCD on the back, which has a handy tilt mount. With the LCD one can watch as the exposure is adjusted and see the changes in real time, which doesn't work so well using the EVF. The big display also helps more with focus; there is a digital zoom and a Sony feature called "focus peaking," visible color marking of the in-focus area that allows fine manual focus. This is my favorite feature and makes it much easier to use manual lenses from Pentax / Leica / Canon. This electronic assist for manual focus, which is also on the 5n, is one of the best reasons for buying a NEX.

3. Features and connectivity. The NEX 7 offers approximately 50 settings, ranging from gimmicks I am unlikely to ever use (camera fires the shutter when it detects a smile - will this work with my dog?) to those I use constantly (exposure comp, ISO, white balance) to those which sound intriguing but will need trying out to see if they really work (HDR, dynamic range). This all could have been organized more simply and some of the choices are head scratchers. For example: white balance and meter mode appear under the Brightness/Color menu, not the Camera menu nor the Settings menu. There are many such illogical, confusing choices. For example, there are an interesting set of "picture effects" which can emphasize one color, etc. These effects are fun to play with; I have uploaded a sample on the product page which picks out the reds in my neighbor's barn. But if I next want to try picking out the yellows in the scene rather than the reds, I must push or twist no fewer than six buttons and wheels, going back through the menus tediously to start over again with the next Picture Effect. Also, since there is no way to go backwards on these effects to the unaltered image, skilled photographers (the ones who would buy the NEX 7 in the first place) will prefer to apply effects like these in postprocessing rather than in the camera. So this entire feature set is more gimmick than useful. In general, the user definable wheels and buttons on the NEX only whetted my appetite for even more programmability. It would be much better if the camera would allow me to set up ALL my own menus the way that makes sense to me - for example gathering all the rarely used items in one menu so as to reduce clutter, and then another menu with a short list of items I use frequently. Instead, I'm left trying to figure out the obscure choices made for me by a Sony engineer sitting in a cubicle in Tokyo. Also, it is evident Sony did not try out the prototype on enough users before freezing the design. For example, a dedicated movie shutter button is placed where it is vulnerable to being pushed by accident, resulting in frequent unintended movie recordings, which must then be reversed through a nest of menus. This may sound minor but in fact is so irritating I may have to tape a piece of cardboard over the button. Numerous other reviewers have complained about this; it is a mistake and should have been caught before product release. And why do we need a separate shutter button for movies anyway? Other notes: Battery life is short compared to pocket cameras, especially when the EVF is on. Autofocus is a bit slow. Connectivity should have been higher on the list. No wireless, no GPS, and no ability to communicate with computer or phone except by ordinary USB download. Finally, there is a huge missing feature; after setting the 50 options, there is no way to SAVE the configuration. If you are not sure you remember what you set, your only choices are to go through all the menus again, which is tedious, or else 'reset all' in which case you must start from scratch next time.

Lens choices are an issue for such an expensive "pro quality" body. Available e-mount Sony lenses are mostly not up to the body in quality. The 18-55mm kit lens has a plastic lens barrel. It is also hard to understand why Sony chose to develop a new e-mount at all instead of simply using their established alpha-mount with its large existing lens portfolio. Apparently this was for lens compatibility with their video camcorders, but that has no relevance for me. There will be more lenses to come; Sony appears to have been somewhat taken aback by the success of the NEX series and is scrambling to catch up. In the meantime, it's a significant plus that numerous accessory mount adapters are available for non-Sony lenses, even old manual lenses from the 1970's - many photographers are buying NEX 3, 5 or 7 for this reason alone.

Summary: I am having a delightful time playing with the NEX 7 - but then I'm a gadget lover as well as a photographer. I enjoy the soft snickety-snick of the focal plane shutter. It's a sweet, complex toy and lots of fun, and a worthy successor to the Sony marvels of decades past. Build quality, an area where Sony is unsurpassed, is refined and precise. It produces images as least as good and in some cases better than my big, heavy Nikon DSLR, but is much lighter and smaller. It does not feel as natural to hold as an SLR, but it's going to be around my neck more of the time, and you can't take a picture unless you have your camera. The problem with the NEX is that the architecture does not feel as if it came from the mind of a single inspired designer. Rather there is a "pile of features," some brilliant and some gimmicky. I don't think the new wave of NEX type mirrorless cameras make DSLR's obsolete quite yet. Perhaps we would one days see a full frame camera similar to the NEX? One which would be designed from the get-go to make full use of the tens of millions of legacy full frame Nikon / Canon / Pentax / Leica lenses out there?

Overall, I'm a bit disappointed in Sony. I wish the NEX 7 could have been a breakthrough in user programmability, wireless connectivity, and interface design to go along with the innovative mirrorless mechanicals - but it is not. It adds more photographic capability only in conventional terms; bigger sensor, more pixels, smaller box, more features. Yes, there are more user choices for the buttons and wheels than usual but for the most part, the interface is like other cameras, only more so. And there are too many details to learn. The very fact of needing a 211 page manual shows it is too complicated. At this point in photographic history, conventional digital cameras are hitting a wall. As smartphones come with better and better internal cameras (the 8MP sensor on my iPhone 4S is as good as my digicam from a few years ago), the devices identified primarily as cameras need to meet them from the other direction, becoming more like cell phones. All portable devices these days should have wireless connectivity, it's a no-brainer. And what if the NEX 7 allowed for third party apps? The first brand to break out of the 'camera' silo and offer a programmable high end photography solution will be a true breakthrough. NEX 7, for all its niceness and precision, is not that breakthrough.

Conclusion: It is difficult to recommend the NEX 7 given its slightly uneven design, flaws in the interface, expanded size, high price and paucity of quality lenses. Its big feature is the EVF which I did not find to my liking. It seems to me the Sony NEX 5n is the sweet spot of the NEX line. It has most of the best features of the NEX 7 for about half the price. The EVF is optional as an accessory for the 5n. And it's smaller and lighter weight and has slightly less digital noise than the 7 at high ISO due to fewer megapixels. The touch screen on the 5n is also useful. And you may not need to use your whole vacation to read the 5n manual - it only has 82 pages.
review image
3838 comments| 254 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 5, 2012
I had Canon DSLRs with expensive L lenses. I am an extreme pixel-peeper. When focus was perfect, 7D + L-lenses created some stunning images but perfect focusing (to my satisfaction) was rarely achieved, less than 5% at best. It was about the same with Nikon. The problem is phase focus scheme in those DSLRs. Because light travels in 2 different paths, one to focus sensor and one to image sensor, a perfectly focused image as seen by the focus sensor does not necessarily fall on the image sensor perfectly focused. Color temperature of the light and chromatic aberration contributes greatly to this error.

I admit, most people will not be bothered by this but it bothered me. I want to see that perfectly focused pixel level sharpness when viewed at 100%. The only way to achieve this is to let the image sensor control lens focusing, i.e. contrast focus as implemented in mirror-less designs.

After selling off all my expensive DSLR gear, I now have Sony NEX-7 with Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8. The picture quality is just jaw-dropping as others have reported. What I am most happy about is near 100% focus accuracy. It's so consistently great. Ok, it's not ideal for shooting fast moving objects but for portraits and shooting stationary objects, I have never used anything better.

The Zeiss 24 is over-priced but it is certainly more than good enough to be mated to the NEX-7. The 50mm f/1.8 is also amazingly sharp and will please all the pixel peepers out there. The menu structure, the lack of custom setting storage, and that video record button that everyone hits unintentionally, are the only bad things I can think of. After years of frustration with Canon/Nikon DSLRs, I am finally happy. All I need is a long telephoto lens (300mm, f/2.8) and that means manual focusing at this time.
22 comments| 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 22, 2012
I've been waiting for someone to make a camera like the NEX 7 for a long time. I purchased a Nikkormat about 45 years ago - and loved it. I was an early adopter of the Canon G series "pro-sumer" cameras and owned a couple of them. Now, with my new NEX 7, I have a camera that's a blend of both of these - and much better.

The body of the NEX 7 is only a little larger than my Canon G-11 but feels solid like my Nikkormat. Designed into this little package is a lot of great engineering and extraordinary technology from Sony that work beautifully together.

Here's what I like:

A large APS-C sensor that produces astounding images with low noise.

Well-thought-out controls that let me participate in taking pictures if I want - not just trip the shutter (although I can do that with the Intelligent Auto mode if I want)

I really like the organization of the controls and menus on this camera. They are logical and accessible - more so than on my Canon G-11.

The tilting LCD panel on the back is terrific. This is one of the features I liked on the Canon - but the implementation on the NEX 7 is so much better! I can shoot from my waist (like an old Rollei) or from the floor to get great pix of my grandkids, or by holding the camera as far above my head as I can reach to get a different perspective. The LCD accommodates all of these shooting modes with a large, bright LCD display.

I like being able to use my old Nikkor lenses on this camera manually. With a Photodiox adapter, you can mate almost any legacy lens system to the NEX 7. Although you lose the ability for autofocus and automatically setting an aperture, you can do these tasks manually with ease. The NEX 7 will choose an appropriate shutter speed to provide a good exposure for the aperture you choose - since the NEX 7 previews the composition with the lens stopped down. And finally, here's a digital camera that provides a really usable manual focus capability!

Whether you're using an old legacy lens, and focusing manually, or using a modern Sony E-Series lens with auto focusing, you can be the final judge on what's really in focus using a feature called Focus Peaking. Simply toggle on Manual Focus and turn the focus ring on the lens to see objects that are in focus highlighted with a contrast colored border. You can even "zoom in" X6 or X12 with the touch of a button to fine focus on the object of interest. This feature is beautifully implemented in the NEX 7 - and you can use it with the LCD or by looking thru the bright OLED viewfinder.

Speaking of viewfinders, the NEX 7 viewfinder is really, really good. I use it a lot. Here's why: Last year I had cataract surgery on both eyes. I didn't realize before this surgery that the new lenses the doctor put in can correct for near-sightedness and astigmatism. So when I got new lenses in my eyes, I was no longer dependent on glasses for distance vision. (I had worn glasses for 50 years!) Whoa - what a great gift! I'm still unable to see really well at close distances because of my age - so I need reading glasses. But that's not a big problem with this camera. Here's why:

The NEX 7 assists me in two ways. First - the viewfinder has a diopter adjustment so I can dial in my correction and see clearly through the viewfinder without glasses. Second - the menus for the LCD display have a Large Font option so that I can actually see the information about f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, etc on the LCD without wearing my glasses. This is so exciting! Thank you Sony for thinking of us seniors!

There are many other exciting features I could talk about like Sweep Panorama, Dynamic Range Optimization, built-in HDR and shooting at 10 frames per second - but that would spoil the surprise. You need to get your hands on one of these cameras and find out for yourself!

One of the very best resources for getting acquainted with the NEX 7 is a series of YouTube videos done by Jon Adams of reflectedpixel.com. Jon is a professional photographer whose excitement about Sony's innovation and the NEX 7 is contagious. Search for reflectedpixel on YouTube and watch Jon demo the NEX 7 in a way that will inspire even a serious doubter. But beware - if you watch, chances are you'll want to buy.

I also like Gary Friedman's book "Sony's NEX 7 Mirrorless Camera" - available here on Amazon.com. I like the way Gary explains how to set the camera menus up for easy access to the most important features and the very best results.

From the day I purchased my first digital camera - the 3 MP Canon G1 (at a cost of over 1 grand) - I wished for the day when a digital camera would arrive that felt like my Nikkormat in my hands, and took high-resolution pictures like I used to get with Ektachrome, and encouraged me to get involved again in the photo-making process using all of the wonderful benefits of the digital format.

For me - that day has arrived with the Sony NEX 7.

Update: 10/10/2012 I like carrying my NEX 7 on my belt - not hanging around my neck or in a backpack. I've discovered a couple of small, belt-compatible cases that I recommend. If you are using the NEX 7 with the kit 18-55mm lens, get the Tamrac 3320 case. It fits perfectly with the lens down. For a smaller profile, put on the SEL16F28 wide angle lens and use the Tamrac 5689 case. This is the same case I used to carry my Canon G-11 in - and it works well with the NEX 7 and SEL16F28. In this case, I take off the removable eye cup for the viewfinder. It will work with the eyecup installed, but it's a little too tight.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse