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.
One reason why the Sony NEX-7 is popular is because of its Large clear LCD
Most Liked Positive Review
Worth The Money
This is a great device. Takes brilliant pictures. This is my 4th Sony camera, before I use to own Cyber shot. This is my first Sony @ NEX series, I have to say this is a good freaking device. Those easy controls comes handy while taking pictures, you dont have to go in the menu to change them, they are right at your finger tip. Dont have to worry about focusing, just keep taking pictures it will focus really good. Also take good pictures in low light.I am adding example for low light pictures...View full Review
This is a great device. Takes brilliant pictures. This is my 4th Sony camera, before I use to own Cyber shot. This is my first Sony @ NEX series, I have to say this is a good freaking device. Those easy controls comes handy while taking pictures, you dont have to go in the menu to change them, they are right at your finger tip. Dont have to worry about focusing, just keep taking pictures it will focus really good. Also take good pictures in low light.I am adding example for low light pictures Really dont know what else to write, just got this camera like 2 days ago, still exploring this device :D looking forward what else sony will do with NEX series.
Most Liked Negative Review
Not bad, but...
I was looking for something better than a snapshot, but smaller than a DSRL to take on vacations. The NEX series seemed like a great option, BUT.... 1) Image quality on low-light situations could REALLY use an upgrade. High ISO images get very grainy, and any kind of movement kills the pic. So no natural pictures can be takes in the evening - you need to setup everyting first and ask everyone to stand still. 2) The flash has very few settings - it's either really bright, or really bright! So ...View full Review
I was looking for something better than a snapshot, but smaller than a DSRL to take on vacations. The NEX series seemed like a great option, BUT.... 1) Image quality on low-light situations could REALLY use an upgrade. High ISO images get very grainy, and any kind of movement kills the pic. So no natural pictures can be takes in the evening - you need to setup everyting first and ask everyone to stand still. 2) The flash has very few settings - it's either really bright, or really bright! So you need to step far away from the image if you just want a little bright. But then the zoom is not always enough. It does not seem Sony thought of the flash together with the low light situations. 3) All settings change have to be done by menu. And even if it does take just a few clicks and you're done... there goes the picture oportunity :o( 4) The video button ALWAYS gets in the way - and in the few situations where you actually want to use it, there's that clicking sound from something loose inside the camera. 4) Since we travel alone, we take a lot of "arm's lenght" self-pics. The 180degrees tilt LCD from the 5R would be perfect, but it's not there on the 5N, sadly. 5) The image layering does not make for a sharper image, but a blury one. 6) The HDR needs a REALLY GOOD upgrade. Having said all that, I really have always loved Sony cameras. I have a Canon and a Samsung as well, but they just don't compare (I gave them both to my nephews to play with), and I still use my Sony DSC-W300 with the sports pack when scubadiving (any chance of a scuba pack for the Nex series?). I'm considering the Nex-7 now as an upgrade from the 5N (specially for the control options), but would love to see the 5R pack included in it before making the purchase - especially the 180degrees tiltable LCD and self portrait framing. And of course, since I've already bought extra SD cards, bateries and remonte control for the 5N, it would be great to be able to use them with the new Nex-7. Any replies from Sony would be greatly appreciated! :o)
Reviewed by 24 customers
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.
For times when I want great photo, but not a large camera to deal with.
I am just beginner in photography and I am completely happy with this camera
Really great APS-C Camera with a huge Megapixel. Great camera too take landscape with. Awesome in Low light. i would say this a new and a future proof camera from Sony. Best regards Lafur Photography
I was excited when I bought it and loved the compact size and the three dial control and didn't mind paying the price. If I had rated this 6 months ago I would have given this 4 star like others. However i quickly learned a lot about this camra that i wish wasn't the case. Product is built cheap. The HDMI connector came out after first use and stopped working. I researched online and found a lot of simialr compaints on this model. Sony is not taking any responibility for the poor design. They are not even covering it under manufacture warranty. It is costing us $185 + shipping. Lenses are limted and expensive. Don't expect picture quality of a DSLR. You can pay less for a DSLR and get better picture quality. Pictures taken Indoor and in Low light are especially poor. I had to use really high ISO rating to get right exposure, which inturn made pictures relly grainy.
I've owned this camera for about a year now, and I can happily say that it was totally worth the investment! The auto focusing with this camera is pretty gnar. The image quality is superb (I've made 40x32 prints) and wouldn't feel uncomfortable printing even bigger. Even though this camera is the epitome of awesomeness, I think there are some small things that need to be addressed if not in a firmware update, hopefully in the making of the new Pro nex. So here are my list of CONS: -The biggest CON about this camera for me is the delete takes WAY too long. PLEASE fix this with either a firmware update, or when you release the new (nex-8, 7n what ever your going to call it) -this camera should have a standard hot shoe -shooting at night with this camera, although I like shooting with the evf....I find it to be way more difficult then shooting with a regular dslr. So maybe there's a way you could implement a new feature exclusively for future nex 7 (nex-8) that can make night shooting more pleasurable. -the future nex 7 (nex 8) body needs a different finish....Something that doesn't attract so much dust. That's my small list of little peeves that I hope will get addressed in the making of the new nex 7. Really though, if you can fix the dino delete, that would be amazing! haha
A remote shutter control interface is a pretty important feature. Ask about this feature when buying a camera like this one or any camera you intend to use for creative photography. You cannot find this information in the specs on Nex cameras. I have always bought and owned Sony cameras with varying degrees of satisfaction, however I bought a Nex 3 and then (within 60 days of purchase) learned sometimes it is very important to use a remote shutter release. However the my camera did not have that interface. Very frustrating. A point and shoot you might not care, but cameras like DSLRs and Nex's you will care very much.
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 just have bought this camera and love it. The NEX7 handles easily and is compact, small light camera with excellent image quality. Not so good: The dials for manual control easily change on me, but I hope to get used to that. The video recording button gets easily pressed by accident.
I cannot say enough about this camera. The image quality is comparable to the world's best full size SLR's (including Sony's own), but it cost less than half the price of its full-size brethren. The NEX-7's nimble size, low weight, and amazing image quality has convinced me to shun full-sized cameras forever! With the new power zoom 18mm-200mm lens, professional quality video is also easy. In fact, amateurs may never need to change lenses with the new power zoom lens, Can't say enough good things about this camera. I have never been more satisfied with a camera purchase!