On August 24 2011, Sony announced the high-end 24.3 Megpaixels NEX-7 and 16.1 Megapixels NEX-5N
mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The NEX-7 camera manages to incorporate many of the features from SLT-A77 into a body only barely larger than the existing NEX models. It features a 24.3 Megapixels APS-C CMOS sensor and 2.4M dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with a magnesium alloy body, a pop-up flash and Alpha hot shoe. The viewfinder can provide approximately 100 percent frame coverage, as well as on-screen grid lines, various shooting parameters and a level gauge. It can support AVCHD Progressive (Ver. 2.0) Full HD movies captures at 60p/24p frame rates and it also comes with a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD display that can be angled up to 90-degrees up or 45-degrees down for easy viewing in any shooting position.
The Sony NEX-5N comes with a new image sensor at 16.1 Megapixels resolution, supporting a new high ISO of 25,600 equivalent. The NEX-5N's new sensor is coupled to a new generation BIONZ image processor that allows it to capture 10 frames per second at full resolution, as well as progressive-scan Full HD video at 60 frames per second. It also provides both aperture / shutter-priority and fully manual exposure for movie capture. The NEX-5N also includes a new touch screen overlay on its articulated 3-inch TFT LCD panel, it allows intuitive operations such as touching a subject to perform autofocus, and also offers a range of simple slider-based controls. The α NEX-7 is available in a kit with an exclusive black 18-55mm zoom lens for about $1350. The body only NEX-7 is currently selling at around $1,050. Here's the summary of review of the NEX-7 by TheVerge, giving the camera a rating of 8.8 out of 10:
"Its 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor is the same size as the one inside most DSLRs, and big sensors almost always mean better pictures. You get 6,000 x 4,000-resolution pictures by default, and though they average a huge 8MB per picture (considerably larger if you shoot in RAW), they look fantastic. Photos are sharp throughout the image, which excellent color reproduction and accuracy. Of course, quality is somewhat dependent on the lens you use, but the sensor and processor seem to be more important here - even with the 18-55mm kit lens I was thrilled with the pictures I took. The NEX-7 keeps firing great pictures even when lighting is terrible - even at its highest ISO setting (16,000), pictures are still usable. Noise is virtually invisible until ISO 3200, and even at 6400 pictures still look relatively sharp - 12,800 is noisy no matter how you look at them, but not so bad that you should avoid using it. 16,000 should be used only in serious lighting emergencies. I had but one minor complaint as I was shooting: in Auto, shutter speed is abused in order to get more light into the camera. In low-light situations the camera would still occasionally shoot at f/4.0, but would drop the speed to 1/10 or something close. Most cameras push shutter speed last, and the NEX's way of doing things means you might get blurry photos in poor lighting. Even though its ISO performance is so good, Auto ISO only goes up to 1600 - I'd love to have the option to keep shutter speed a little faster, and push ISO and aperture a little harder. Fortunately this is a minor problem, and there's a simple solution: shoot in a manual mode.
The lower-end NEX cameras are excellent, but they're designed for a user wanting something between the simple point-and-shoot and the enormous and complex DSLR. The NEX-7 isn't such a compromise: it's not quite in DSLR territory without more manual control, but it's probably close enough for most people. It's also so customizable that it could potentially be as easy to control as your DSLR, if you take the time to tweak it. Plus, it takes wonderful pictures and videos, and is adaptable to almost any lighting situation. Even the lens selection is excellent, provided your budget is high enough. But the NEX-7 is priced like the high-end camera it is, and for some users it could be overkill. One of the best features of the NEX-5N and C3 is simplicity - unexperienced users can pick up one of those cameras, and start taking excellent pictures with no work or know-how. The NEX-7 is easy, too, but it forgoes a bit of the simplicity and minimalism for power and control - consider that tradeoff (and the price premium) carefully especially before you buy the NEX-7 over the NEX-5N, which has a similarly impressive spec sheet. There's also a tradeoff with more expensive cameras: DSLRs with optical viewfinders will still give you more accurate framing for your photos, and they offer more in the way of speed and manual control. Plus, there's a whole world of full-frame cameras out there, and if you're interested in buying a D4 or a 1D X down the line, it's worth considering which ecosystem you want to invest in now. That said, I'd buy the NEX-7 over any Micro Four Thirds or mirrorless camera currently on the market. The APS-C sensor is a big advantage for the NEX-7, as is its speed and manual control. For most users, especially those who have never used a DSLR and are looking to step up in quality and control, the NEX-7 should absolutely be on the short list for your next camera. It's certainly on mine."
Photo Album: Sony Announces 24.3MP NEX-7 and 16.1MP NEX-5N Mirrorless Cameras
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sample Photos on Flickr
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Camera Reviews Roundup
|PhotographyLife - Oct 15 2013|
"The NEX-7 definitely shook up the market when it was first released, thanks to its rich feature set, small form factor, unique design / ergonomics and a very high resolution 24 MP sensor that had no competitor in the mirrorless market. It has been over two years since the announcement, and the NEX-7 is still holding its ground, with no comparable product th..." More »
|VisualScienceLab - Nov 05 2012|
"While I know I can get great files out of smaller cameras I also know that bigger batteries and bigger platforms with faster focusing can be an aid to getting quality work done on long days with fidgety subjects. That's why I used Canons big cameras and Nikons big camera in the past. But over time there's a process of distillation that I can feel happening..." More »
|AdmiringLight - Nov 04 2012|
"The NEX-7 is a very fine camera, and for many will be the ideal Compact System Camera. I think that due to the APS-C sized sensor, excellent EVF with focus peaking and small size, it's the perfect camera for those looking to use adapted manual focus lenses, such as Leica rangefinder lenses or manual focus SLR lenses like Nikon F, Canon FD and Minolta..." More »
|Fstoppers - Oct 28 2012|
"These cameras are for those willing to carry around just a little extra weight for the benefit of far superior photos to that of your iPhone -- let's face it, there's only so much a couple-millimeter sensor can do. The NEX-7 shouldn't disappoint in terms of image quality. And its menu and button layout will never drive you crazy -- it's all done quite well..." More »
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Reviews Roundup [Total 36 Reviews] »
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