The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is clearly aimed at serious enthusiasts and professional photographers who demand a small, stealthy little camera that can deliver superior image quality and minimal lag time. The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is the third model to be introduced into the Sony interchangeable-lens compact camera lineup, and offers easier-to-access manual controls and a high degree of customization. You can assign functions to various dials and buttons and put the features you use most at your fingertips.
Sony Alpha NEX-7 has a solid look and feel, and the placement of the eye-level viewfinder on the upper left corner of the camera back is right where you'd expect to find the finder on a traditional rangefinder camera. For right-eyed shooters, this lets you compose in the super-sharp 2.4 million dot resolution EVF while watching the scene with your left eye, which is helpful for documentary and street photographers. The EVF has Minolta DNA: A proximity sensor automatically switches the camera from the LCD finder to EVF as you move the camera up to your eye. The problem? It will activate the EVF if the finder is close to anything-your shirt, other items in your camera bag, etc. So when not in use, turn the camera off to prevent battery drainage.
There is also a large flip-out, 3-inch, 921k-dot resolution LCD monitor, and the information it displays is not necessarily the same as what you see in the electronic viewfinder. In fact, the LCD display includes considerably more information, including tiny prompts that indicate what the camera's unmarked buttons and dials control in whatever mode you're in at the moment.
Then there were the dials, knobs and buttons. The NEX-7's features are controlled via a trio of generous-sized, easy-to-turn thumb dials at the upper left corner of the camera's back and a thumbwheel control switch, something Sony calls "triple dial control". By default, they control aperture and shutter in manual mode, although they have no labels.
The camera's minimalist top plate includes a flash hot shoe (using the proprietary design that precludes the use of generic shoe-mounted flash and accessories), a pop-up flash, two of the three control dials, the on/off switch surrounding the shutter release and a small, unmarked mystery button, the first of several to be found on the NEX-7. This button cycles through the camera'skey functions. Press it once, white balance controls appear in the LCD. Press again to control color intensity, yet again to adjust color balance, and so on. Don't like the choices of which features you can control from this button? Not to worry, you can change that.
The back of the camera has a mix of labeled and unlabeled controls. There's the aforementioned EVF, with a diopter dial for the hard-of-seeing, a flash-pop-up button, a preview button, a control that toggles between AF and manual focus (if you have the camera default set for AF, you can press the button to switch to quickly adjust manual exposure) as well as autoexposure, a "soft button" (read: unmarked) that accesses the menu, thumbwheel dial whose purpose varies depending on mode, and another soft button that functions as a delete key when in preview mode but otherwise is up for grabs.
Manual focus (when the camera is set to manual) is controlled via the focus ring on the lens, and an enlarged detail can be displayed on the EVF or LCD monitor. I found the LCD monitor to be fairly bright, although as is typical with most LCD monitors, theimage is hard to see in direct sunlight. That's when I recommend using the electronic viewfinder exclusively. I found the front gripto be comfortable and was able to easily handhold the camera for a while without tiring.
The menu interface is divided into six areas: Shoot Mode, Camera, Image Size, Brightness/Color, Playback, and Setup.
Shoot Mode covers the settings you'd find on a traditional physical camera top dial-PASM, as well as Intelligent Auto,scene modes, anti-motion blur, sweep panorama (rotate the camera and it will shoot and stitch together a panoramic image, and 3D sweep panorama (captures 3D images viewable on a 3D compatible TV monitor).
The Camera menu goes deeper, accessing things like Auto/Manual focus switching (I wish that particular feature didn't requireso many button presses to get to). Drive, flash mode, various autofocus modes (including object tracking and autofocus field) are controlled and adjusted here, as are Face recognition, smile shutter and numerous other features.
Image Size adjusts image size (24, 12, or 6MP), aspect ratio (the choices are 16:9 or 3:2; surprisingly, 4:3 is not available), and image quality including RAW, RAW+JPEG, JPEG in Fine and Standard. You can also change panorama, 3D panorama and movie image size and quality settings in this menu.
Brightness/Color controls some key features-Exposure compensation (including the ability to change the amount of increments of compenastion), ISO and White Balance. Metering mode, flash output, picture effects and other features are also adjustable here, although you can also get to most of them via the soft button atop the camera to the right of the shutter release.
The Sony Alpha NEX-7's resolution is among the highest of any APS sensor camera, while our field tests showed that autofocus is fastand responsive, and in manual focus mode the camera displayed no perceptible lag time.
The Sony Alpha NEX-7, by virtue of its nimble performance on the street and its stunning image quality, rises to the top of the heapof mirrorless interchangeable-lens compact cameras. Yes, you pay a premium for it, and yes, its interface is at first bewildering, and requires some quality time with the 200-plus page owner's manual to really get a deep understanding, but it's worth that steep learning curve to tap into this camera's flexibility, extensive range of features, and power. This is a camera that is well-suited for photojournalism, street photography, wedding candids, and other events that require a quick, stealthy camera that will deliver top-notch results in lower light. If you are OK with a electronic viewfinder, and have the requisite deep pockets, this camera is well worth considering.
I have been looking for a small camera to carry with me and in car also. This little hight power camera DOES IT ALL. I also have a Nikon D600 and this camera rivals the D600 with its fantastic picture quality. I mostly shoot scenery and at time wild life when driving. Menu system takes a bit to get used to and is sensitive to touch on the wheel for making adjustments, but I am getting used to it. All in all THIS IS A GREAT POWERFUL CAMERA FOR ALL AROUND USE PEOPLE GROUPS ( breakfasts, meetings etc.) AND SCENERY.
This is my second NEX-7, I liked my first one enough that I bought a second to keep as backup. When they first came out, there was an issue of the number of quality lenses for it, now from ultra wide-angle to long telephoto, there are enough quality lenses to satisfy most anyone. I use mine a lot for macro photography - pictures of bugs and small animals mostly. The camera is very well built, sturdy, but it has one shortcoming in that it's not water resistant. But, I have dropped it down a hillside, cleaned the mud and smears off of it and it kept on going. I tend to use this camera in the same situations that I use my Pentax K-5, on shoots out in the rain forests of Central America. When it starts raining, I put it away and continue with the Pentax. With adapters, my old M and A Pentax lenses can be used on the NEX-7, which has saved me a great deal of money. Even though they are manual focus lenses, with the NEX-7's focus peaking, accurate focusing is achieved very quickly. At first I wondered how a camera that small, built by a company that's not one of the "Big Four", could cost so much. Now, after much use, and some abuse, I know why... Sony has built a superior product. For the advanced amateur, or the semi-pro, this camera would be a welcome addition to the camera bag.
I grew up in the film era with all metal Canons and lenses and a lot of controls on the outside of the cameras. I originally bought the NEX-5 when it frst came out and thought it was a great camera to get back into photography. I was dissapointed with the lack of controls outside of the menu system and the lack of a grip. When the NEX-7 came out it was an easy decision to upgrade. And it had an eye level viewer and a grip. The only two problems I have with the Sony Alpha cameras is that the form factor is still too small and light. I have small adult hands (maybe Asians have smaller hands) and even I have problems holding the camera and I'm always accidently touching something, like the movie button, which has been disabled but still gives me an error message right in the middle of taking a shot. Memo to Sony: I KNOW THE MOVIE BUTTON HAS BEEN DISABLED. I'M NOT STUPID. Secondly, I've realized that the weight of the camera/lens helps one hold the camera steady and compose the shot (IMHO), even with IS. If I was a tourist or out all day shooting without taking the camera in and out of a bag, I'd definitely buy a half leather case to protect the camera and help with gripping it. Unless Sony increases the size and weight, I doubt that the NEX series will ever become a professional, working camera. I guess that's why they have the Alpha series. I gave a Yes recommendation, but with reservations.
good handling; lots of E mount lenses available; great image quality; great for travel, events, family & still object photography; better as a camera than a video recorder. needs 2+ backup batteries for extended shooting; a learning curve to understand all the features;
I do a lot of backpacking and this is a great lightweight full featured camera. Most of my photography is with macro and therefore manual controls are key. The camera has the functionality of a full DSLR (I am switching over from the Nikon D90), plus many more features. The focus peaking is really helpful when doing macro work. The viewfinder is really nice especially since it has all your information right in the screen. Live DOF and exposure plus histogram. Cons: 24 mp images are great, but they are really large and slow down your computer when you are working with them. Plan on getting some larger memory cards! Battery life is not great compared to a DSLR. If you accidentally leave on the camera you will find yourself with a dead battery pretty quick. You will need extra batteries if you normally are out for more then a day at a time. Native lenses are not that high of quality yet. Sure the Zeiss lenses are, but they are way too expensive for me. Most lenses are very soft in the corners. I really hope they pick up the lens game soon. These sensors deserve better! Overall I love the camera and I think that my Nikon will be collecting dust now.
I use the NEX-7 to stand in for my SLR when I don't want the bulk and weight of the bigger camera. If does the job perfectly. Shutter and viewfinder lag make it not suitable for wildlife photography. I like the 10 frames per second shooting when getting images of golfers on the course to analyze the swing. The editing is easier than doing the same thing with video for me.
I wanted a lighter, less pretentious camera than an DSLR for travel. This is it.
Easy access to controls separates this mirror-less camera from the others I have considered. I frequently do manual settings and that makes the NEX 7 ideal for me. I like the 24 megapixel resolution also. I have four lenses and two NEX 7 bodis, the Nex7 has become my primary camera system.
The Nex-7 is the last stop before a pro-sumer (professional consumer) level system. If you are already a pro looking for a smaller and extremely smart flexible in-hand system then this is your mark. Worth every penny! Loads of fun.
No matter how fast I take shots, the pictures come out really great. The pictures are so clear that you would see the finer details of the subject. I have been wanting to buy a DSLR for myself but I don't like the bulk and the weight of it. NEX-7 is small, light and so convenient to use.