Apr 022014
 

Using Sony NEX-7 and NEX-5n for Travel, Street and Casual Shooting

By Ernest Karl Roco Del Rosario

Hi Steve!

I’m Roco del Rosario from the Philippines. I’ve been wanting to send you a user report since last year but somehow I can’t find anything to say.

It was year 2011 when i first stumbled into your website. I was searching for a camera that is small and good for travel.

That was the time when I saw your review of the Sony NEX-5n, which eventually led me to choosing it as my first camera. Actually it was my girlfriend who first bought it then I purchased after her. Ever since, I visited your site everyday and have been a loyal follower. I learned to shoot by researching online and practicing with my little nex. Because of my enthusiasm and love for casual shooting, I soon bought a cheap Canon fd 50mm f1.4 lens, Sony 16mm f2.8 pancake plus wide-angle converter then the excellent Sony 50mm f1.8. These lenses are all really cheap and advisable to people who wants to start learning photography without draining the wallet.

During the day, I use NEX7 because the viewfinder is really helpful especially when the sun is up and shining brightly. The NEX-5n, on the other hand, is really great and enough for low light situations.

1 Puka Beach Boracay - Nex 7 + Sony 16mm

2 Nex 7 + sony 50mm

3 Nex 7 + Sony 16mm

4 White Beach, Camiguin Nex 5n + kit lens

5 nex 5n + kit lens

6 nex-5n + sony 16mm

7 nex-5n + Sony 50mm

8 Moonset over Calaguas Island Nex-5n + Canon fd 50mm f1.4

10 Nex-5n + Canon fd 50mm f1.4

11 Nex-5n + Sony 16mm

12 Tarsier- Nex-5n + Canon fd 50mm f1.4

Processed with VSCOcam

Thanks!

Regards,

Roco

Jan 092014
 

sony

Sony NEX-7 Mega Package Deal Alert!

Well it had to happen sooner or later! The NEX-7 is being cleared out at B&H Photo at a great price so for those of you who are not interested in going full frame with the new A7 and A7r, here is your chance to snag a great deal on a fantastic camera.

For $999 (A $650 Savings) you get the NEX-7 body, the 18-55 Kit Zoom in black, the 20 2.8 Pancake lens a 16GB Mem Card, a case and a $100 gift card for a future purchase at B&H Photo!

This is a pretty nice deal for someone wanting to jump into an APS-C mirror less. To top it off B&H is offering free basic shipping as well, so total out the door would be $999 for the whole kit and caboodle.  My old NEX-7 Review is HERE.

You can check out the deal here, or purchase at B&H PHOTO!

Sep 192013
 

Shooting Sony NEX7 modified for infrared

by Dierk Topp – His Flickr is HERE

Hi Steve,
I have a very special topic again for your readers.

After the great B&W post from Ashwin Rao and from Lee Sungsoo from India and so many more great B&W series I would like to offer a very special type of B&W images from North of Germany:

Infrared images in B&W

Made with a NEX7 after conversion to infrared with a R715nm filter built into the camera in front of the sensor.

I have been interested in infrared photography since decades but in the analog times it was just too complicated and expensive – ok. to modify the NEX7 for infrared is not cheap either.
Not cheap but a lot of fun, if you like this special mystic look of these images. You may have seen my post of infrared images made with the Leica Monochrom in June 2013. With the Leica Monochrome I one IR filter R715, that fitted the 21mm and 35mm lenses. For other lenses I would have to buy more filters. At that time a friend told me of his IR converted mirrorless and he told me, that he could use the camera like any normal camera and shoot hand-held! That got me :)

If you are interested in more information about infrared photography look here at wikipedia.

I will try a short explanation of the specialty of infrared photography:

shooting B&W infrared gives very light to white tones of the green of trees, leaves and grass and dramatic sky and clouds. I started my first IR shots with the Nikon D70 about 10 years ago and when I got the Leica Monochrom last year I tried it again. For shooting infrared with a normal sensor you need a tripod, as the IR blocking filter in front of the sensor blocks most of the infrared light and the infrared filter, you put in front of the lens, blocks most of the visible light. The small amount of light between these two filters is all you get for the exposure, very long exposures. Hand held IR is not an option in normal situations. The next problem is, that the focal length of the lens for IR light is different from visible light. Therefor you can not use the normal focus mark on manual lenses. I described this in my previous post with the Leica Monochrom.

Now comes the NEX7. 
The NEX7 has a normal color sensor and in front of the sensor the normal IR blocking and AA filter. If you take out these filters you get the full spectral sensitivity of the sensor and can use external IR or UV filters or get an internal filter permanently installed. I got an 715nm IR filter in font of the sensor.

What you will “lose”: 
This is one way, after the modification there is no way back to your normal color camera!
What you get: 
In my case with the IR filter built-in I have a IR camera and can use all my lenses (you know, you can adapt almost all lenses on the mirrorless cameras), even tilt/shift lenses or Hasselblad with the Rhinocam adapter!

And I ordered the Sony 10-18mm OSS for this camera, as said, I love clouds and therefor I like super wide:)
And I ordered the NEX6 for my normal color shooting – until I get the coming FF NEX, or if I don’t use the Leica M9.

I got my NEX7 modified by DSLR-Astrotec in Germany and got it back in July after less than two weeks.

My experiences up to now:

  • I started to shoot RAW and JPG in B&W, that gives me a B&W control image right after the shot
  • only, when I shoot with the panorama function of the camera, I have to use JPG
  • the sensitivity for the IR converted sensor seems to be about the same as beforee with the normal sensor
  • that means, I can shoot IR hand-held in relative dark environments (wood) without any problems, especially, as the 10-18mm has OSS stabilization
  • the AF of the camera works like before, also the senor cleaning
  • focusing manual focus lenses like the Leica lenses is very hard, sometimes not possible, as the live view image is all red in red. (see below) I have to find an area with high contrast in about the same distance as my object.

Pleas, forgive me, if my English is not correct sometimes.

Here are some of my IR images out of this NEX7-IR. You may find more here in my flickr album.

If not mentioned, all images are made with the Sony SEL 4/10-18mm OSS
PP: Lightroom 5, some with additional Nik Silver Efex 2


first image shows three different stadiums of an image

this is, what you see in live view before you shoot

bjhcbheh

this is, what you see after the shot,
when the camera is set to B&W (depending on B&W settings of the camera)

bciggfgd

this is a color version, PP in CS6
remember, the image in the NEX7 is still a color image, but only red tones.
there are impressive IR color images in the web, but I prefer the pure B&W :)

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

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if you like clouds, IR is for you
when I first saw the great images of Ansel Adams and his perfect and impressive clouds, I started to notice CLOUDS!

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

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on this one a wanted to show the short exposure time for hand held shooting

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

and extreme light situations

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

bhdicjgc

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panorama out of the camera, some PP (contrast, light, crop of foreground)

NEX/-IR infrared with Sony 10-18/4 OSS

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and another pano out of the camera
with the Canon TS-E 17mm/4 tilt/shift on a Metabone adapter, shifted up about 5 mm, tripod
this lens does not accept filters due to the extreme front lens, therefor IR with this lens is only possible with a converted camera.

NEX7-IR infrared with Canon 17mm TS-E shifted up

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cloudy sky with some sunshine, the white of the green leaves seem to light themselves
camera in portrait position

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony 10-18/4 OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony 10-18/4 OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony 10-18/4 OSS

NEX7-IR infrared with Sony E 10-18mm OSS

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lens: Zeiss Distagon 40mm/4 with adapter Rhinocam and hand held series
(as described in the previous post about the Rhinocam adapter), no EXIF info

60 MPix - NEX7-IR and Rhinocam with Hasselblad Zeiss Distagon 40

NEX7-IF infrared with Sony 10-18mm OSS

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ok. last but not least a “self”

NEX7-IR infrared with E 10-18mm OSS

I hope, you enjoyed some of the pictures, even, if the typical IR look is not your favorite B&W

dierk

Sep 262012
 

The $199 Sigma 30 f/2.8 Lens Review on the Sony NEX-7! Bang for the Buck of the year!

So here I am all back home and rested for a couple of days after the week long photo cruise across the East coast. I shot quite a bit on that trip with the Fuji X-Pro 1 to see how firmware Version 2 would fare but I also had the Sony NEX-7 and 30 2.8 lens. You know, that $199 Sigma lens that gives us a 45mm equivalent on the NEX system? The one that Sigma also makes for Micro 4/3? At $199 you would think this lens would be mediocre but maybe you will be pleasantly surprised with one. After all, the buzz on the photo sites are saying it is excellent. I even had a quick guest post here a while back about this lens.

These days $199 is quite cheap when it comes to purchasing a lens for your favorite interchangeable lens camera so when you see something at this price you wonder…“Is it any good”? Well I am here to tell you my thoughts on this little Sigma lens. 

Sigma has officially entered the mirrorless market in an affordable way with this lens as well as their 19 2.8 lens which is also coming in at a lower priced $199. The 19mm would give NEX users a 28mm equivalent so I am also excited to see how that one stacks up because a $199 28mm 2.8 lens is hard to come by :)

As always with my reviews you can click any image for a larger and much better looking version! f/3.2 – iso 125 – 1/60s with the 30mm on the NEX-7

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Lenses Lenses Everywhere, but which ones to buy?

There are so many great lenses for ALL systems out there today but most are either expensive (most Nikon/Canon), or hard to find in stock (Olympus 75 1.8) or BOTH expensive and hard to find (Leica). Fuji X lenses run about $600 and up. The better Olympus lenses for their Micro 4/3 system run anywhere between $400 and $1300 for the good glass. We all know where Nikon and Canon stand. So how does this under $200 Sigma do in the grand scheme of things? I mean $199 just sounds so cheap for a known brand name  2.8 prime lens! Sure we have the cheap 50 1.8′s from Canon and Nikon – the Plastic Fantastics..but the Bokeh is mind numbing and they are soft wide open and have funky corners. So will the little “Sigma that could” really be THAT good? I was soon to find out!

I bought this lens after getting so many e-mails telling me “you HAVE to try this lens Steve”! So I dipped into my camera buying website work fund and bought it from Amazon. For $199 and free shipping. (Love Amazon Prime)! 

Shot this from a tour bus in NYC while heading to the airport – f/2.8 and 1/60s – Sony NEX-7 ISO 200

When the lens arrived I opened it and was surprised to see that it came with a nice lens case..wow. This lens is also quite small and light and when I picked it up I heard a rattle sound and thought it was broken. When I moved it I heard the lens element shift inside. Did not sound good at all but as soon as I attached it to my NEX-7 and powered it up the lens was 100% solid and did not shift. I later found out this was normal so my lens was NOT broken. You can see what this sounds like in this quick video overview of the lens I put up on YouTube:

So far so good. The lens was cheap, small, light and even came with a nice case AND METAL MOUNT. But I wondered…what about the IQ?  The image quality has to be soft right? With an aperture starting at f/2.8 I figured I would be getting soft performance wide open and decent performance by f/5.6. When I started snapping I saw the auto focus speed on my NEX-7 was mediocre but not bad at all. It was fast but not lightning quick. Very acceptable and for the price I was quite happy.

So to sum up the build this 30mm 2.8 lens has 7 elements in 5 groups with a plastic build and feel. It is not fancy but rather quite plain jane looking on the NEX cameras. It is all black and looks like..well..a cheap lens.

But no worries, the lens is a strong performer!

Wide Open this lens is SHARP at the focus point. Click the image below for a larger view to see the sharpness and some smooth Bokeh. F/2.8 – 1/60s – ISO 400

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Nope! This is not your normal “Budget Lens”

Nope this is NOT your normal budget lens. In fact it is sharper than just about ANY Sony lens I have shot with on my NEX-7! In fact, when shooting this lens it was almost like my Sony NEX-7 had a veil removed! No joke. I saw a crispness I never saw in the 18-55, 16mm or dare I say…even the Zeiss 24 1.8. I am not saying this is a better lens than the Zeiss as the Zeiss is better made, has better color reproduction, is much faster at 1.8 and is a premium lens for the NEX but I am saying this Sigma is pretty damn crisp and beats out my Zeiss 24 in that regard. Crispness :)

The Sigma 30 at f/5.6 – click this image to see a larger view and full 100% crop. Damn. BTW, THIS SHOT IS FROM RAW, FROM CAMERA

The shot above will show you what this lens is capable of. It is sharp, has great contrast and color and I can not believe a lens this cheap can be so good. It has been glued to my NEX for weeks now. From daily snapshots to shooting street scenes from a tour bus it has never caused me to miss a shot and it has never given me an out of focus shot. It’s been ALL good. $199 folks..at this price it is hard to beat.

Check out the next few shots..

Haunted Dolly – f/2.8 – 1/60s – ISO 200

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From the bus – f/2.8 – ISO 100 – 1/100s

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Street scene  - can see some of the barrel distortion here with the sign. f/2.8 – 1/60s – ISO 160

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So what is wrong with the Sigma 30 2.8 lens? Distortion & AF no go for video!

If I had to complain about something with this lens I would say that the AF speed is a bit slow and the build is on the light/cheap feeling side. It also has some slight barrel distortion (as in straight lines can be a bit bent at times). Nothing that is not fixable in Lightroom but keep in mind this is not a technically perfect lens at all. No way it could be at this price. Also when shooting video you will hear the creaks and noises of the lens as it struggles to AF, especially in low light. This is not a speedy video lens. This is a BASIC lens with great IQ. That is all.

Remember this is a $199 lens and for that $199 you get a hell of a bang for your buck for image quality.  Next three shots are all wide open at f/2.8

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My time with this lens…

I tried to shoot a wide variety of things with this lens. I never ever shoot action like sports or running kids and if I had to guess I would say this is not a lens for those situations as it is not a speedy focusing lens. I have read in other reviews that this lens has flare issues but I failed to shoot one shot with any kind of lens flare so if it is there it never showed its head in my images. Then again, I never really shot in to the sun.

I believe taking a lens out and shooting it for a few weeks..getting to know it..testing it in many situations…thats the way to do it. This lens never disappointed me but instead it kept surprising me. I am used to shooting mega buck Leica lenses and while this lens can not compete with the world’s best it can kick, stomp and destroy just about any other $199 lens made for the NEX system :)

Sigma decided to test the mirrorless lens market with some cheapies but this cheapie is a performer. If you are into the 45mm focal length, if f/2.8 is fast enough for you and you do not want to spend the bucks on the fancier pieces of glass then this lens could be your solution. This and the Sigma 19 could be the combo to beat and for under $400 for BOTH..well..that is unheard of these days.

I have not yet tested the 19 2.8 but if it is as good as this 30 2.8 I would be thrilled.

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Flare Test  - VS – Leica 35 Summilux FLE

It seems that some has been written about the flare of the Sigma 30mm but I found it quite tame and when shot directly into the sun without a hood the flare was minimal. Less than the Fuji X100 lens and less than even the $5000 Leica 35 Summilux ASPH FLE that was USING A HOOD! So the Sigma is great in regards to flare. See for yourself by clicking the images below. One from the Sigma and f/2.8 and one from the Leica at f/2.8 – Both on the NEX-7.

 

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The Pros and Cons of the Sigma 30 2.8

Pros

  1. Cheap at $199
  2. Comes with a nice lens case
  3. Sharp performance even at f/2.8 wide open
  4. light

Cons

  • Cheap (build)
  • Some slight barrel distortion
  • Tad slow with AF/Video creaking noise

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So would I buy this lens to keep? My final word…

Even though there are better lenses to get for NEX and one in particular coming down the pike SOON (the new Sony 35 1.8) this lens is cheap at $199 but has the image quality of a $350 – $400 lens. As you can see in the title of this review I am calling it the “Bang for the buck of the year”! It may not be for everyone but if you are tight on funds and want a new lens that will beat your kit lens then this little guy will only bring smiles to your face. I can not image anyone being disappointed with this lens at this price.

I bought it and kept it. Kind of a no brainer.

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Where To Buy the Sigma 30 2.8 for NEX?

I always buy from B&H Photo or Amazon for most of my gear. Great service, great reputation, great return policies. PERIOD.

$199 at Amazon

$199 AT B&H Photo

Lady and her smiling dog – NYC – f/2.8

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Wide open again at 2.8

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from street meat to mean street machine!

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ALL I ASK! HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT’S EASY TO HELP OUT & I CAN USE ALL THE HELP I CAN GET!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page and Google +  page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!

Feb 242012
 

What is it about new cameras that make us crazy? It’s called G.A.S.

by Steve Huff

2012 – It’s madness, it’s mayhem, it’s one of the most exciting years in digital camera releases EVER and I can see it…we are all going crazy and are filled with excitement for all of these new camera releases..yes my friends, G.A.S. is alive and well and damn, we don’t even know what Leica is announcing this year yet! All I know is that when I get a hold of all of these new cameras (and yes, I am buying them all to test) I will be like a junkie getting his fix. But why is that? Why do we get excited about new cameras, new lenses, new equipment? One thing to know is that this “disease” is NOT just in our hobby. I see it in EVERY hobby.

G.A.S. or otherwise known as “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” is real and it is alive and well, more so than ever. From the mirrorless craze to the Leica love, we all want a camera that we can depend on, grow with and love but when we find it something new arrives and the cycle starts all over again. I guess websites such as this one do not help the situation but what can I say? I ‘m just as much a gear head as many of you.

The manufacturers of these cameras know all about G.A.S. and they are not helping to cure us with the latest round of new cameras coming out in the next 30-60 days. Cameras appear  to be popping out of the woodwork and it is driving many of us MAD, including ME! The new Sony NEX-7 is JUST NOW starting to ship to the masses after a several month delay due to the flooding and just today I received my Zeiss 24 1.8 but still no body, but I expect that to arrive SOON. The Fuji X-Pro 1 is now moved up to a March 7th expected ship date by B&H Photo, which is coming QUICK. I had mine pre-ordered on day 1 so I hope to get it soon.

The Olympus OM-D is set for April but may come out a little sooner and with their new lenses including the new 75 1.8 with all metal construction, it appears the Olympus may be the hottest ticket yet for someone wanting a complete and mature system.

The new Olympus 75 1.8 all metal construction lens – WOW. Imagine this with the 12 and 45. Perfect trio! A fast 24mm,  90mm, and 150mm! 

I am already starting to see the Olympus 45 1.8 selling out again from those who have pre-ordered the new E-M5. With a camera such as this and these new lenses, there will be little left to be desired in the M4/3 world. Add in lenses like the all metal “Leica-Like” Voigtlander 17 0.95 and 25 0.95 and wow. I have a feeling that this OM-D will be amazing as an overall system. As for those few who are comparing it to the Panasonic G3, don’t. The only thing they have in common is the megapixel count and swivel screen. The Olympus adds weather seal, better design, more solid build, better controls, 5 Axis IS, faster almost double FPS, the fantastic Olympus JPEG colors, art filters, and the ability to add the optional grip. I’d take the Olympus in a nano second but this is where the G.A.S. is setting in. See, the G3 is a perfectly good, perfectly capable camera but the OM-D has that something…that one thing that is tugging at my heart that says “NO, YOU WANT ME!!!”, and YES I DO.

Let us not forget then we have the black sheep of the new camera releases…the Pentax K01. In my opinion, I feel the Fuji will sell EXTREMELY well but may be buggy (just a guess), the Olympus will be their best M4/3 seller yet and the NEX-7 will of course do great as it has been doing (if Sony can get them out the door). The Pentax will most likely sell the least but maybe it will be the best of all in regards to image quality! We can never know until we get a hold of them, and get a hold of them ALL I will! My excuse is that I HAVE TO so I can let YOU GUYS know all about it! Besides, I write my reviews and sell what I do not need or can not keep at a minimal loss, all in the name of keeping all of you guys informed of my findings.

Oh, I almost DID forget – we also have the upcoming Nikon D800E, which I know will be a spectacular DSLR, if a DSLR is what you desire. B&H Photo is still taking pre-orders for the D800E and they say it should ship April 12th.

So hang in there everyone! New cameras, lenses, and reviews are coming soon! Lot’s of exciting things heading our way and just think, we have not even heard Leica’s announcement yet :)

As for whats coming up immediately for me and the site, I plan on re-visiting the NEX-7 as soon as mine arrives, soon. My review for the camera was ALL JPEGS because when I reviewed it months ago there was no real RAW support, and the Sony software was awful taking forever just to process one image. I am hoping to compare the RAW of the NEX-7 against all current comparable cameras, even the M9.

I also am adding to my SLR Magic T0.95 review by doing a head to head against the $1100 Voigtlander Nokton 1.1. This should be interesting! Also have a new bag review on the way and much more so keep checking back here every day!

So see how I started this article out talking about G.A.S. and it has now ended up probably giving all of you guys even MORE OF IT. Sorry!

Nov 282011
 

NEW Reviews that are coming soon! Sony 50 1.8, Nokton 35 1.2 II and more!

 

 

THE SONY 50 1.8 E MOUNT LENS ON THE NEX-7

Currently working on and shooting with the NEX-7 and the Sony 50 1.8 lens and will post my thoughts on the lens VERY soon. At $299 it is a  no brainer if you own a NEX camera. I hear the NEX-7 will start shipping in December BUT that is not from an official source. To all of you who pre-ordered it from Amazon and did NOT cancel, should ship soon! The lens review will be up by the end of the week, and if not then by Monday of next week! I have now been shooting with the NEX-7 for a while now and it is really a powerhouse of a small camera. Not perfect, but I have yet to find a perfect camera. My review for the NEX-7 is HERE in case you missed it.

One from the NEX-7 and 50 1.8 – click for larger

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THE VOIGTLANDER NOKTON 35 1.2 APSH VERSION II

I am also shooting with the M9-P more once again and also shooting the Voigtlander 35 1.2 ASPH Version II. This is a super fast 35mm lens for the Leica mount and is pretty special on the M9. Many who own this new version think it beats the original 35 Summilux ASPH and it is 1/4 the price! It is a larger lens but smaller than the old version (not by much). Look for my review soon of this lovely lens on the M9. The lens came in stock at B&H Photo last week along with almost every other fast Voigtlander M mount Nokton lens. Check them out HERE if you are looking for good but cheaper glass for your M! These lenses are so hard to come by these days!

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MIA – The Ricoh GRD IV

I have been shooting on and off with the Ricoh GRD IV for a few weeks and have to say it is a truly pocketable and GREAT camera if you are after a P&S (point and shoot). The Ricoh IS a P&S but it is a very well made and feeling P&S! It fits in my front jeans pocket and is always ready with its 28 1.9 lens. The problem I am having with it is the IQ is a downgrade from cameras like the micro 4/3′s, Nikon V1 and other smaller and sometimes equally priced cameras. Also, I am not seeing much of a difference between this and the older III (my review here), well, enough of one to warrant a full on new version of the camera. Maybe it is just me but this camera seems a bit pricey for what it is at $599. It looks like a III, feels like a III, shoots like a III, has the same menu as the III, same filter effects as the III, same low res video as the III and maybe has a slight improvement in IQ (same great lens) over the III but in real use, to me, it is really not that much better than the III. AF IS indeed a little faster.

Still, if you want pocketable with a fast lens and small sensor then the GRD IV is one of the best in that “pocketable” market. I would take a GXR over the GRD though. Just my personal opinion.

The GRD IV at halloween – “always in my pocket” is the strength of the GRD series.

Nov 092011
 

Cameras cameras everywhere! Nikon V1 1st samples and more!

Just lined up on my table all of the cameras I have been writing about for the last 2-3 weeks and a couple that are coming up in the next week or two including the Nikon V1, Ricoh GRD IV and possibly more from the NEX-7. Check out the video below to see them and even a size comparison between the Fuji X10 and Ricoh GRD IV:

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Upcoming Review…

Nikon V1 

I received a Nikon V1 a few days ago and have been shooting a little but with it over the last couple of days. The is “The Camera I Wanted To Hate” but in reality it is pretty nice. The build is superb, it feels solid and brick like, the EVF is wonderful, the speed is blazing, and the video looks promising. Problem with the V1 is the same problem all new camera systems are plagued with. LENSES. All that is available is slow zooms and a slowish pancake. With a 2.7 crop, it has a smaller sensor but this is Nikon, and they have figured out a way to squeeze great performance from this small sensor. High ISO seems decent for what it is and I love that they used a beefy battery instead of one of the wafer thin weaklings that is usually used in these types of cameras. I WISH Nikon would have released a fast prime with the camera. Also, I have messed with the J1 but if anyone is wavering between the two, go for the V1. No question, no doubt! Price is a bit steep but I will figure out if it is worth it soon…

Oh, and I will also be reviewing the V1 with the 10-100 lens..the one they enhanced for video with the zoom lever. I have on hand the 10 2.8, 10-30 zoom and the 10-100, which is like a pro lens in build and feel.

Here are a couple of quick snaps I shot yesterday with the V1, EXIF should be intact for anyone wanting details…the last shot is at ISO 6400, out of camera JPEG at NIGHT in my car. All shots were with the 10mm f/2.8.

Way too much detail but shows how good the 10 is up close wide open…

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Below: From RAW converted with Capture 2 NX

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Below: Out of camera JPEG – Vivid

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BELOW: Alien Skin Provia Filter

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Below: Straight from camera MONOCHROME

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BELOW: Alien Skin B&W Filter added

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BELOW: ISO 6400, JPEG

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BELOW: Added an Alien Skin SX-70 filter…

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Oct 232011
 

Sony NEX-7

Sony NEX-7 Digital Camera Review

By Steve Huff  

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Buy the NEX-7 at B&H Photo HERE!

I will start off this review of the long awaited Sony NEX-7 by saying that this is probably the hottest and most anticipated “Enthusiast” camera to be announced in a long time. No scratch that… IT IS the most anticipated camera to come along to us camera and gear nuts… well, probably EVER and for so many reasons. As I said before in a much viewed post, SONY GREW SOME BALLS and produced a camera that so many of us wanted to be made! Yes, the NEX-7 is HOT. Even more so than the super hot and hyped Fuji X100 (which I am still in love with by the way). So lucky me…I have been fortunate enough to have been shooting with the final production version of the NEX-7 for the last two weeks and have learned its ins and outs as well as its strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been studying it, shooting with it, and even waking up at night from nightmares of a NEX-7 floating above my bed. No joke! Guess I really get into my job and my passion huh?

I know many have been waiting for this and I am going to say it like it is in this real world use write up/review. I also want to say thanks to Sony for flying to my home to hand deliver this review unit to me along with the Zeiss 24 1.8 and Sony 50 1.8 lenses! THANK YOU SONY!

(NOTE – Due to the devastating floods in Thailand, this camera MAY be delayed in the USA but also MAY NOT BE. I spoke with Sony and they said they are still investigating if there will be a USA delay, so there might not be one. Still,  a camera release means nothing in comparison to what so many have lost in Thailand. My heart goes out to all who were affected by the flood.)

Me with the Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 in my hotel in Chicago – White balance was way off in the original and still a bit off here. To be fair, the X100 had the same issue with AWB in this room.

Sony NEX-7 with Zeiss 24 1.8 Self Portrait - stevehuffphoto.com

The Myth, The Hype..the NEX-7!

There has been a lot of suspense about this camera and wether it is even possible to live up to the hype that has been spread like wildfire online. Of course on paper it looks amazing. The build, the design, the features, the video capability, the new sensor, the built in OLED EVF (which is super duper uber FANTASTIC), and the tri-navi controls are everything the enthusiast market has ever wanted in a small take anywhere camera. Hell, I suspect the NEX-7 may even create more of us crazy gear heads because even when Uncle Joe sees this camera he is going to want one. It has a way of making people wonder what the hell you are shooting with, and when they learn about it they seem to want to own one for themselves. This has happened to me three times while out and about shooting with the NEX-7. BUT the real question for me while shooting was to determine if it did indeed live up to the hype and was worth shelling out $1200 for the body alone, which to be fair is $6800 less than a Leica M9-P and you can still mount your favorite Leica, Zeiss ZM and Voigtlander M mount glass on to! Hell, you can mount just about any glass to this NEX-7, which makes it pretty damn special right there.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy reading my flowing thoughts on this camera in 9,000 words. As I write I am just basically talking and spewing my thoughts about what I feel and what I have experienced while using the camera and lenses. My reviews (as most of you know) are non technical and always have been. I just write about the real world use of the camera. Its feel, its usability factor, its image quality, ease of use and speed. Also its versatility. I test what I can with what I have so what you see in this review is the result of my passion, my excitement, and my love for photography. I also am a HUGE believer in actually showing REAL photos in my reviews. It’s not always easy to go out an find new things to shoot when I am always reviewing gear but I do my best. I feel seeing real photos instead of photos of walls and newspaper is a much better test of a camera.

The mirror less camera market has been interesting recently and most releases to date have been really good but lacking in one way or another. Could the NEX-7 be the “One”? Hmmmm, you never know.

Keep in mind that I will be adding to this review over the next 1-2 weeks as I shoot more with the camera. This review should be final by the end of October or 1st week of November. BTW, this camera is scheduled to ship by mid November.

Also keep in mind that most images in this review were shot as JPEGS because RAW processing is not available in lightroom, aperture, or photoshop yet. I did get a copy of the Sony software but found it painfully slow and lethargic on my iMac so I ended up using Capture One on a few samples. Capture One is supporting the NEX-7 in its latest release and it did great, even better than Sonys own software. Go figure.

First things firstA Video Overview

Below is a video showing the menu system, build, and controls. It is 18 minutes but goes over many of the features of the camera. Yes, you should watch it!

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So as you can see, the NEX-7 is jam packed with all kinds of goodies and features that just over a year ago would have had most of us drooling. The only thing lacking in this camera body in my opinion is IN BODY image stabilization. If it had included that, from a design, control and functional standpoint it would be perfect. As it stands now, in those three areas it is just about perfect. No complaints. So far so good, so let’s get deeper into this camera.

Below:  Shot with the Sony 50 1.8 AT 1.8!! I dialed in -1 Exposure Comp using the easy Tri Navi dial system and brought out the richness of the scene. I shot this from my car on the road (was not moving). This was converted from RAW using the Sony Software (which is PAINFULLY SLOW)! But when you click on the image to see the larger version you can see some nice detail and again, this was shot at f/1.8 with the new Sony $299 50mm.

The Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 Tests-

Below: NEX-7 with the 24 1.8 at f/2, ISO 100, JPEG. This lady called herself  “Mrs. State Fair”. 

Zeiss 24 1.8 Sony E Mount on the NEX-7

A QUICK HISTORY OF THE NEX SYSTEM

For those who may not be aware, the NEX-7 evolved from a line of cameras Sony introduced just over a year ago. The NEX series of cameras were brought out to market to compete with cameras like the Olympus E-P2/E-P3 and the Panasonic series of micro 4/3 cameras. Also, cameras like the Fuji X100 and Leica X1 are in the same kind of category due to the larger sensor and small bodies.But the Fuji and Leica, while being FANTASTIC picture taking machines do not have the ability to change lenses, and they are sort of slow with the auto focus so shooting your moving kids will be pretty tough, especially for the Leica X1. The Sony NEX line all had pretty fast AF and interchangeable lens capability, which is what MANY of the photographer hobbyists want.

Son one day, Sony decided to design and create the worlds smallest interchangeable lens camera system with a larger APS-C size sensor. They did this with the original  NEX-3 and NEX-5, I remember reading about them and then seeing them in a Sony Store in Las Vegas. I immediately bought a NEX-3 and 5.

These were pretty amazing cameras in many ways but mainly because they were the 1st TINY bodies with large sensors that also had incredible high ISO capability. Problem was… I had a love-hate relationship with the original NEX-5 due to the fact that the only lenses out for it were the 16mm pancake and the 18-55 Kit zoom. The 16mm was good but nothing to rave about and the 18-55 was large and had quite a bit of distortion. So early on with the NEX system, while super cool suffered from lack of lenses, a bad control system, and an odd menu system. The potential was there but it would take Sony a while to straighten out all of the quirks, which they soon did with firmware updates that added button customization, focus peaking, and eventually by releasing the Sony NEX-5n. The 5n brought us one step closer to an enthusiast camera but for us crazy camera nuts it wasn’t enough. Good for most but for someone like me..I still wanted more control and a built in EVF. But the NEX-5n is a fantastic little MONSTER OF A CAMERA!

The NEX-7 at F/4 from outside my car window. OOC JPEG, ISO 100

Zeiss 24 1.8 Sony E Mount on the NEX-7

The Zeiss 24 makes for great up close portraits

Below – ISO 160 at 1.8 with the 24 to show Bokeh

Below – 24 1.8 at F/2 and ISO 100

Zeiss 24 1.8 E Mount Bokeh

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When the NEX-5n was made available I reviewed it immediately and that review became one of my most popular reviews ever with almost 100,000 views on its first day. This told me that not only enthusiasts are interested in these small “do it all” cameras but everyday consumers are as well. The NEX line is coming into its own and with these latest updates Sony has taken one step closer to creating the “Perfect” walk around camera system. The 5n is superb with amazing high ISO capability and a TINY body that can take great photos AND video. The only negative with that camera is the size may be a but TOO small, and the controls are not the best due to the lack of buttons. There are also the lenses, which are huge when compared to the size of the body and this seems to be a big complaint among many readers here. On the 5/5n the lenses do seem large.

So Sony decided to listen to photographers who wanted a solid body with manual control dials and a built in EVF. When Sony designed the “7″ they designed it for you, me and all of us who enjoy not only photography but also quality and capable equipment. We are “The Enthusiast” and the NEX-7 is sort of like the “Bionic NEX” – they made  the 5n better, faster and stronger :)

After just over a year of pumping out the NEX line, Sony now has announced the NEX-7 and there are currently 7 lenses available for the system. They now have the 16 2.8, 18-55 Zoom, Zeiss 24 1.8, 30 Macro, 50 1.8, 18-200 and 55-210 zoom lens. With past complaints about lack of lenses, I think those worries can start to fade because the new 24 1.8 and 50 1.8 are REALLY REALLY good lenses. Also, this camera can mount almost any lens via adapters and when using old manual glass the focus peaking feature kicks some serious booty! The lens size issue has not been addressed but I was told by Sony they are WELL AWARE of this and also told me it is not really possible to create small tiny lenses for a sensor of this size, but they are working on it and trying. Not sure how Fuji did it with the X100, but to be fair, the X100 lens is a bit soft wide open so maybe the Zeiss 24 1.8 is better? Also, Fuji only had to concentrate on ONE Lens for the X100 as it did not need to be compatible with other lenses and to be fair, the X100 lens is just as fat as the Zeiss 24 but the Zeiss is longer, and also a little faster at 1.8 vs 2.

The Zeiss 24 1.8 QUICKLY became my favorite lens on the NEX-7. While it is not clinicaly  sharp, it has character… and to me, that is way more important that hyper sharpness. Remember, click images for larger and better versions. The Zeiss Sonnar has a “smooth” character.

Sony NEX-7 Black and White

NEX-7 and Zeiss

So what are the main features of the NEX-7?

The “7″ is jam packed full of features and no one in their right mind could complain about everything Sony packs in this little body. Take a look at all of the good stuff below:

DSLR Quality in Your Pocket (It would NOT fit in your pocket with a lens attached)
Here’s the same APS-C sensor size as a DSLR, with higher resolution than most DSLRs and the interchangeable lenses that make DSLRs so attractive. Yet the camera is about half the size and weight of a typical DSLR camera. Removing the conventional mirror box and viewfinder makes it possible
24.3Mp Resolution
You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements thanks to a 24.3 megapixel sensor. It’s the highest resolution among pocket cameras as of August 2011
World’s First OLED Viewfinder
There’s never been anything quite like the Tru-Finder OLED electronic viewfinder. For size, speed and brightness even after sunset, this is a gem. This eye-level, through-the-lens, viewfinder begins with 2359K dots for amazing resolution and high contrast ratio for incredible depth. OLED reduces motion blur to a bare minimum. You can also see the results of camera adjustments in real time with superb color and detail
Up to 10 Frames Per Second Shooting
Capture the decisive moment in sports and get the ideal baby photo. Up to 10 fps continuous shooting at full 24.3Mp resolution with exposure and focus fixed at the first frame. Standard continuous shooting at up to 2.5 fps
DSLR-Class APS-C Image Sensor
Sensor size is the key to picture quality. The APS-C class sensor provides gorgeous imaging with 58% more area than Micro Four-Thirds sensors and an amazing 13 times the area of a point & shoot image sensor
Full HD Movies at 60p/60i/24p
Capture HD Movies in your choice of super-smooth 60p, standard 60i or cinematic 24p, all at Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. AVCHD codec delivers stunning picture quality. MP4 codec offers smaller files for easier upload to the web
HD Movies with Full Manual Control
Now you don’t need to surrender control when you shoot HD movies. Enjoy the full expressive potential of Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority or Manual (P/A/S/M) control in HD movie mode
Tri-Navi Manual Control
Perfect for experienced shooters, Tri-Navi control gives you three separate control dials for direct, hands-on access to three settings at a time. As just one example, the dials can set aperture, exposure compensation and ISO
Built-In Pop-Up Flash
Enjoy the convenience of flash photography everywhere you go. Guide Number 6
Hotshoe for Alpha System Flashes
Take your photography even further with access to the entire range of Sony Alpha system flashes and flash accessories
Accepts A Mount Lenses Via Adapters
Both the LA-EA1 and EA2 adapters (sold separately) allow you to attach the full range of Sony A mount lenses
Phase Detect AF with Adapter
The LA-EA2 lens mount adaptor (sold separately) is the world’s first with Sony’s award-winning Translucent Mirror Technology. This provides super-fast and accurate Phase Detection AF when used with Sony A mount lenses
Tiltable 3.0″ LCD
Sony’s 3.0″ Xtra Fine LCD monitor has 921K dots for superb resolution. The TruBlack screen includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections, increasing contrast compared to conventional LCDs. Sunny Weather mode boosts visibility even further. Tilts down 45° and up 80° to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss
Object Tracking AF
Locks onto a specified object and maintains focus even as the subject moves. Unpredictable subjects stay in focus even while zooming. You can concentrate on composition without worrying about focus
World’s Shortest Release Time Lag
Helps ensure that the image you want is the image you get. Once auto focus occurs, release time lag is the delay between fully pressing the shutter release and when the camera actually starts taking the picture. Long lag makes it harder to capture fast-moving objects. The Sony NEX-7 boasts the shortest release time in the world (as of August 2011) at only 0.02 seconds
Accepts Sony E-Mount Lenses
Compatible with Sony’s expanded line of E Mount lenses. These smaller, lighter lenses are specifically designed for Alpha compact interchangeable lens cameras. Opens up a world of creative options
Peaking Function
Manual focus becomes much easier because peaking highlights the edges that are in focus in your choice of three colors (white, red, or yellow). This is especially helpful during macro or portrait photography where your focus setting can make or break your shot
3D Sweep Panorama Mode
Capture vast scenic vistas and 16:9 shots in spectacular 3D. As you sweep across the panorama, the camera records separate right-eye and left-eye images that make landscapes come alive on your 3D television7. Records both JPEG and MPO file formats
Sweep Panorama Mode
Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press the shutter, sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest, continuously shooting images and stitching them together
6-Image Layering
Leverages the fast BIONZ processor to capture six images in a fraction of a second, and then combine the data. The result is an incredible single image that controls blur in Anti-Motion Blur mode or gets cleaner, sharper nighttime pictures in Hand-held Twilight mode
Auto HDR
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining the best highlight detail from one shot and the best shadow detail from another for one incredible shot
P/A/S/M Modes for Video and Stills
Enjoy a full range of controls for video and still shooting from the beginner’s iAUTO mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. On-screen prompts help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control
Intelligent Auto Focus
Pre-focuses as you compose the shot, further reducing focusing time to a bare minimum
iAUTO Mode
Unifies and simplifies Sony intelligent technologies. Takes advantage of Intelligent Scene Recognition, Face Detection technology, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization without leaving auto mode so you always get the best shot
BIONZ Image Processor
The brain of the camera is a Sony’s BIONZ image processor substantially upgraded for the demands of 24.3 megapixel photography. Chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 16000 sensitivity. Also enables fast processing for up to 10 fps continuous shooting of data-intensive 24.3Mp images, 2D/3D Sweep Panorama modes and 6-image layering
Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)
Improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows. Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off
Accepts Non-Sony Lenses Via Adapter
You can use the camera with a universe of lenses from Canon, Nikon, Leica, Olympus and others. The success of Sony’s NEX series, combined with the ultra-short 18mm flange back distance has inspired third-party manufacturers to provide lens adaptors. In addition, Sony has disclosed the E Mount specification to Carl Zeiss, Cosina, Sigma and Tamron
25-Point Auto Focus
25 sensors cover a very wide area of the scene, for accurate focusing even when the subject is far from the center of the frame
HDMI Output
Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV. The camera includes an HDMI output
Stamina Battery Power for Up to 400 Shots
Take up to 400 shots on a single charge with Sony lithium ion Stamina battery power (using LCD monitor). Sony’s InfoLITHIUM battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence
Sony Exmor CMOS Sensor
Sony Exmor technology uses column-parallel A/D converters for high resolution and high frame rates. Double noise reduction minimizes image noise, even in low light
11 Picture Effect Modes
Discover innovative ways to make your images and videos pop. These include Posterization, Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color, Soft High-key, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, and Miniature
Ultrasonic Anti-Dust System
Dust on the image sensor leads to blemishes in the picture. To protect the sensor, Sony incorporates an advanced ultrasonic system, which effectively shakes dust off the sensor surface

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The Zeiss 24 at 1.8, OOC JPEG, 1/60s, +.3 EC – Window light in a dark room.

Sony NEX-7 JPEG portrait

The GREAT things about the NEX-7  - Shooting with the NEX-7 – The build, feel, and usability factor..and best features.

The Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 Tests

Many of you have been waiting and waiting for the release of this camera because on paper it seems just about perfect for so many of us. The Size, the build, the sensor, etc. On paper I have to say that the NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 actually is the PERFECT camera for taking with you wherever you go. When I got a hold of it I was crazy excited and I told myself I would be shooting with it every day for two weeks to learn it and to shoot as much as I can with it.

When I hold the camera it feels REALLY good in the hand. The nice grip protrudes perfectly for my hands and the Tri-Navi dials are incredible in real life use. The Tri-Navi system consists of three dials. The top of the camera has two dials and the dial to the left controls my Aperture and the right dial controls the Exposure Compensation (when I am shooting in “A” mode), which you can see the effect of in real time on the LCD of OLED EVF. The control wheel on the rear, which is the 3rd control in the Tri-Navi system controls ISO. Just a quick flick of the wheel at any time and you can change the ISO as easy as you change your socks. Well, even easier actually. The Tri-Navi control system make all the difference in the world and is reason enough to buy the 7 over the 5n if you have the budget. It is that good. There is a demo of this in the video above if you did not watch it yet.

The beautiful EVF!  The OLED masterpiece of an electronic viewfinder that is in this camera is splendid! The clarity, the color, and the contrast is all TOP NOTCH and makes the Olympus VF-3 or Ricoh EVF look like an old 70′s TV playing a VHS tape. The OLED in the NEX-7 is more like a modern HDTV and that is a good thing. In fact, it is so good I think I am done with cameras that do not have a built in VF. Shooting the Fuji X100 and now the NEX-7 made me feel that way and there is no excuse for Olympus to NOT have a built in EVF. It just makes shooting so much more natural sometimes AND when there is bright full sun, it makes it MUCH easier to see what you are shooting. This EVF to me is the best I have ever shot with. Period. It is the same as the one in the external EVF they sell for the 5N but feels great being built in to the body. There is no swivel feature like the external but it works well.

The 3″ 920k  swivel LCD on the back is big and looks great. Its swivel mechanism is a bit different than the one on the NEX-5n and is super easy to swivel out and up and down. The shutter button and on off switch is perfectly placed and the shutter SOUND is MUCH better than the old “5″. The 7 sounds much like  the new 5n due to it’s new Electronic First Curtain Shutter. Only one shutter movement is required now so instead of a click and thunk, we here a smooth and quick “snick”. Much improved but if you like the old snick and clunk you can always turn it back on in the camera settings menu, LOL. I demo this in the video at the top of the page.

Also, this camera has the WORLDS SHORTEST SHUTTER LAG, and this is AMAZINGLY cool. When you press the shutter on the NEX-7, it is going to fire instantly and you will not miss your shot. Many cams have longer shutter lag which means if you are shooting something coming into the frame, and it is fast, you may miss it with other cams due to the lag (time difference between when you press the shutter and when the picture is actually taken). The NEX-7 is excellent in this area at only 0.02 seconds!

The weight. Even with the Zeiss 24 1.8 mounted the camera was still pretty light but at the same time it felt solid. The 24 is about the same size as the kit 18-55 zoom lens but maybe a tad lighter. So overall, in the build, handling, and usability department this camera gets a super high score and if I were doing a 1-10 kind of deal, it would get an 9 in this area. Usability and control is MUCH improved over the 5n. So much so, it is like a totally different animal (and it is). Even the HD video is amazing and I found no clicking noises while testing the video recording. If I had to say something I would say that the Zeiss lens..it would have been great if it were a bit smaller but overall it has a nice feel and balance on the camera. Does not feel awkward at all.

The Zeiss 24 wide open (1st pic) and at 2.2 (2nd pic) – from JPEG – May have been set to VIVID

Zeiss 24 1.8 Sony E Mount on the NEX-7

The GOOD things – AF speed & HIGH ISO Noise levels & My thoughts on the color and sensor

HIGH ISO NOISE. The big worry from many of you who were waiting for this camera is the high ISO capabilities and noise. Many feared that with so many megapixels (24) being squeezed on to the sensor that the low light/high ISO noise would be worse than that of the NEX-5n. Well, after shooting at all ISO’s with this camera I can say that it is a little worse at high ISO when in low light than the 5n. This is to be expected but at the same time, shooting at up to 1600 in low light is acceptable and ISO 3200 is easily usable. I was using the camera with Noise Reduction set to WEAK as I hate when the NR is high and smears the details. Overall, the 7 is just about what I expected when it came to high ISO noise performance. Still excellent but not as good as the 5n. But  me, I have been happy with the M9 high ISO of 2500 and feel most of us top out at 1600 anyway. In this regard the NEX-7 is great.

Keep in mind that with ANY camera when you shoot at high ISO in LOW light you will get much more noise than if you shot it in decent or good light at the same ISO. The next there samples below were indoors with no lights on in the room and using the 24 1.8 at 1.8 and ISO 1600.

The following two photos were shot indoor in low light at ISO 1600 and shot as JPEGS. Do you see noise? Yes… but remember, there were no lights on and the curtains were closed so you will see noise even with the 5n or most other cameras at 1600. 

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Super High ISO – Is it even usable? 

The NEX-7 is a camera that can go as high as ISO 16,000 but for the most part, when cameras include these crazy ISO’s they are useless. The only camera I have shot with that had usable ISO past 6400 is the Nikon D3s, and I am still not sure how they did it as no one else has matched them to date. I went out to my front yard one late night and set the NEX-7 to ISO 16,000 and snapped a pic of a tree. You can click the image below to see a larger version with a 100% crop embedded. Now keep in mind, this was NIGHT time and the only light was the two light bulbs on my garage. So, it actually did better than I thought and if you were in a pinch and needed ISO 16,000 you COULD use it if your end result was the web or a small print.

Click the image below to see a larger version and a 100% crop from this ISO 16,000 image…

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…and what review would be complete without some high ISO crops? The 1st image was shot at 1600.

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So the NEX-7 may not be as clean as the NEX-5n at higher ISO (you can see my high ISO 5n tests HERE) but it is still as good as most will ever need. It could have been better if Sony stuck with the 5n sensor, but again, I have no complaints on the high ISO as I rarely go above 1600, and 3200 if needed. Both of which is acceptable for web or print from the NEX-7. See a 6400 ISO shot below resized  to 1200 pixels wide. Not bad, and there was no light source. This was in my office with a window ABOVE the boxes and the blinds were closed. No lights were on in the room.

Here is the ISO 6400 shot resized to 1200 pixels wide, JPEG, NR set to WEAK.

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More….ISO 3200 processed from RAW using Capture One

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And two of the same fish – One with the NEX-7 and Kit Zoom at ISO 1600, the 2nd with the Olympus E-P3 and SLR Magic 12mm at ISO 1600

1st – NEX-7, 18-55 at ISO 1600 – Click for larger

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and the Olympus E-P3 at ISO 1600 with the 12mm SLR Magic lens…

As you can see, when resized to 1800 pixels wide the Oly and NEX-7 seem almost neck and neck at high ISO quality. The Olympus pops more due to the 12mm 1.6 aperture lens. Both cams are very useful at 1600.

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HIGH ISO – NEX-7 vs the NEX-5n

Ok here you go! I had a ton of requests for this so I decided to add this to the review. A high ISO test of the NEX-7 vs the NEX-5n.

DETAILS:

I shot the scene with both cameras using the Zeiss 24 at f/5.6. I shot one at ISO 100, then followed  that with 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12,800. I processed each file from RAW using Capture One which is supporting BOTH cameras. I left everything at default but turned off Noise Reduction so this was at 0 for each file. I wanted to show the RAW performance of each sensor not the JPEG Noise Reduction performance.

ALSO, I did NOT match shutter speeds. I shot these at f/5.6. Same lens as stated above. I did NOT match shutter speeds as I prefer to test a camera for real world use. In other words, if camera “A” chooses one exposure and camera “B” chooses a slightly different exposure then that is what you can expect from each camera. Matching shutter speeds when and if a camera chooses one slightly different is not showing what you will get from the camera when out shooting with it, and to me, this is the ONLY way one should test a camera. REAL WORLD as I have said from day one. Not “Scientific” as “Scientific” is not how we shoot.

I made 100% crops of each at full resolution. 24 megapixels of the 7 and the 16 of the 5n. I then resized  the NEX-7 files to the same size of the 5n files to see how they stacked up in this way. Below are the results, let me know what you think!

First a web resize to 1800 pixels wide (click for that size). The NEX-7 at ISO 3200

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and the same image with the 5n, resized to 1800 pixels wide – ISO 3200

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and now the 100% crops from the NEX-7 and 5n at all ISO’s tested and at the native resolution of each camera

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and finally, the 100% crops with the NEX-7 files resized to the same size as  the 5n. 

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It is no question that the 5n does a bit better at high ISO. The NEX-7 is using the same size sensor but crammed way more pixels on to it. This will cause more noise which is why I am a big believer in large sensors and less pixels :) But overall, they are not really THAT far off. Up to you to decide how important higher ISO shooting is. The files above were all straight RAW conversions and again, with ZERO noise reduction. Hope this helped some of you who were looking for this test!

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AUTO FOCUS SPEED – Not the fastest in the world :)

As for Auto Focus speed, I am happy with it but not THRILLED. The Micro 4/3 format Olympus E-P3 beats the NEX-7 for AF speed but it should! Olympus boasts the fastest AF in the world on the E-P3 and their pro E-5. The NEX-7 is good, but not blazing. In low light it hunts a teeny bit but that seems to be an issue with most contrast focus cameras. I also had a few “misses” in low light with the “7″ which tells me the AF could have been improved a bit. Now do not get me wrong!! The AF is fast… much faster than the Leica X1 or Fuji X100, but not as fast and accurate as the E-P3′s AF. I set the review sample to the center point which is how I ALWAYS shoot with ANY camera and sometimes it still wanted to focus on what was BEHIND my subject. For me, the E-P3 remains the contrast detect focus champion in regards to AF speed and accuracy. The NEX-7 is about the same as the NEX-5n, so it is fast, just not BLAZING.

The NEX-7 and the Sony 50 1.8. At $299 this lens is a must own for any NEX owner. This shot was taken at f/4 but the lens focus quickly and accurately. 

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Shot with the Zeiss 24 at 1.8 – processed from RAW with Phase One’s Capture One

Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24

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and another with the 24 1.8 at 1.8 using the JPEG High Contrast B&W setting

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THE NEW 24 MP SENSOR – My Thoughts on it and the NEX-7  JPEG output

I am in the camp that says Sony probably should have stayed with the same sensor they used in the NEX-5n. The 5n sensor seems to be a perfect medium of resolution, ISO noise performance and file size. The 24MP sensor in this NEX-7 means more pixels on the same size sensor and this means more noise and sometimes more issues. I know some manufacturers try to wow us with super high Megapixels but it is not needed. I am hoping Leica sticks with under 20MP for their M10 and they concentrate on noise, but I have a feeling they will pull a 30+MP sensor out and wow everyone with super high res stats. For the majority of us, 12MP of resolution is PLENTY! Even the old Nikon D2h had a measly 4MP but those were some GREAT Megapixels! Big and fat which provided super color and a unique feel to the photos. I also printed many 20X30′s with that camera that were beautiful. While this sensor is VERY good in its performance, I just feel like my 3 year old iMac is getting bogged down when I process these RAW files. But I guess I can not complain, the sensor puts a good quality image and that is all that matters at the end of the day when it comes to sensor technology. With that said, Canons new pro DSLR, the 1d-x has only 18MP and shoots 14FPS. Seems Canon may know that the MP race was starting to get out of hand. Damn, I remember when 2 Megapixels was a BIG deal and considered “pro”.

With that said, the JPEGs out of the NEX-7 are really good but I know it will get even better with fully supported RAW conversions. Most of us will be shooting RAW as soon as Adobe and Apple release compatibility for the 7 but the JPEGS have been great so far. As already mentioned, some of the images in this review were RAW’s converted with Capture One which does support the NEX-7 files somewhat. It worked GREAT and better than the Sony software. They have a free demo here if you want to give it a shot with your NEX files.

But with that said, the three shots below are from camera JPEGS!

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The HD Video Performance of the NEX-7 – Two samples

The HD capabilities of this camera are pretty astonishing. The NEX-7, like the 5n has a plethora of options when it comes to shooting video and you are only limited by your imagination and lens you attach. The NEX-7 provides much better video quality than the Olympus E-P3 mainly because it not suffer from the nasty Jello effect that plagues many other digital cameras and this made me very happy. With the E-P3 you can not even shoot video unless you use a tripod due to the Jello effect where the video gets wavy and unstable. No issues here and the video looks great in low light as well. It’s pretty amazing because I used to be big into video and remember the old video cameras would always choke at night with horrible grain and bad color. I remember paying $1600 for a video camera back in 1990 that was AWFUL in low light and just OK in good light. Today we have a camera like the NEX-7 that costs $1200 and provides amazing HD video in any HD format you desire and does amazingly well even at night. Technology is good. No complaints here. Want to shoot at 24P? No problem! 60P? No problem! 60i? Go for it! 1080 resolution? Of course! Sony obviously knows video and it shows in this camera.

The video may not be as rich as what you get from a full frame camera like the Canon 5DII or the upcoming Leica M10 (Hmmmmm) but for the cost and what it is, this makes the NEX-7 worth it just for the video! The 18-55 kit lens and 50 1.8 also have Optical Steady Shot. The Zeiss 24 does not even though the video below was shot 100% hand held with the Zeiss 24 at 1.8.

UPDATE: After obtaining my own NEX-7 I have come to realize that the camera will overheat and shut down after just 3 minutes of continuous video. NOT good. So much for making the NEX-7 the official stevehuffphoto.com youtube video camera :)

Sample 1: Hand Held but static shots – Here is a sample video shot at 24p at night, various ISO’s from 100-1600

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Sample 2: Handheld with some movement – LOW light and HIGH ISo, no JELLO effect. All KIT Zoom Lens!

*Shooting Leica Lenses on the NEX-7 - Yea it’s GOOD!

The Leica 50 Summitar is one of those classic lenses I just love. I’m shooting only classic Leica glass right now and love it. So does my bank account. The shot below was converted from RAW with Capture One.

Sony NEX-7 with Leica 50 Summitar at f/2

Below: The SLR Magic Hyperprime T0.95 Leica Mount

This review could not be written without at least SOME shots taken with Leica glass. I have had about 50 e-mails asking for requests to shoot the NEX-7 with every Leica lens under the sun. Sadly, I am not rich, I am poor. SO, I do not own any wide angle Leica lenses. :) Contrary to popular belief I do not have a room loaded with Leica cameras and glass. The good news is that LENSRENTALS.COM sent me out a few wide angle Leica lenses at no charge just so I could test them here. SO THANK YOU LENSRENTALS! If you ever need to rent a camera body or lens, you must check out their site.

As most of you have seen I have been shooting with the Ricoh GXR A12 M mount module as well and because of this I was able to decide which camera I liked better for shooting old manual Leica glass with. Read on…

I can say RIGHT NOW with 100% CERTAINTY that the NEX-7 is a DREAM to use with manual focus Leica glass, or any manual focus glass for that matter. The combination of FOCUS PEAKING and the gorgeous built in EVF seals the deal. It just feels amazing with a Leica lens attached. As I have stated, I did compare SIDE BY SIDE with the Ricoh GXR A12 M mount module and I took both of these cameras out on three occasions and each time had the same conclusion. The NEX-7 won every time in the usability department, this was NO CONTEST. Now the NEX did not only win in usability but I also preferred the IQ from the NEX-7 most of the time when shot with a 35mm or longer lens. Check out some shots below as well as a side by side FROM RAW. Some may prefer the output of the GXR but I am telling ya, usability is amazing on the NEX-7.

1st the NEX-7 shot at f/4, then the GXR at f/4 – BOTH from RAW conversions – NO PP – You must click the images for the larger versions and TRUE 100% crops.

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I had a blast shooting in this way and the NEX-7 made it so easy and foolproof. Their focus peaking just works, a big thumbs up. BUT all is not perfect! When you shoot a Leica lens 21mm and wider be prepared for the magenta color shift issue. Yep, it is here on the NEX-7 but it is NOT on the GXR (or the 5n)! So if you plan on shooting wide angle Leica glass and are looking for a small body to do so, I would suggest the Ricoh or the Sony NEX-5n. If you want a body for longer than 35mm lenses, the NEX-7 would do the job nicely.

The magenta color shift is here when using Leica mount wide angle lenses 21 and wider. See it here on the 15mm

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NEX-5n with Voigtlander 15 – No color shift.

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Two more shots with the Leica/Nex combo with the 50mm and 35mm Summilux ASPH – more are at the end of this review.

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with the 35 Summilux ASPH

The Sony/Zeiss Lenses – The Zeiss 24 1.8 and Sony 50 1.8

As you can see from all of the photos in this review, I have shot with the Zeiss 24 1.8 quite a bit, and I like the lens a lot. It has a very smooth classic character with good color and contrast. It is not a cheap lens but I feel that anyone who is going to buy a NEX-7, and NOT use it with Leica glass or other manual focus good glass, well, the Zeiss is mandatory. It just goes with the camera so well. It’s not perfect and it did not really WOW me at 1st but the more I used it the more I appreciated it. Same with the NEX-7 itself. It is not a beginner camera! It took me about a week or so to really get a feel for what it can do and how to use it properly. But the Zeiss lens is fantastic and from what I am told even comes with snazzy packaging, a lens hood and nice pouch. You can order the lens at B&H Photo or Amazon and the cost is $999. But hey, It’s a Zeiss :) I HAVE A FEELING this will be one of those “Very hard to find lenses” for a while. I pre-ordered mine on day one of the Amazon Pre-Orders so I hope to get one in December when it is released, just in time for Christmas! Below you will see a wide open 1.8 shot and I will be adding some f/8 and f/11 tripod shots soon to this section.

Wide open indoors at 1.8 – OOC JPEG

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The Sony 50 1.8 lens is $299 and IMO a MUST own if you are buying a NEX-5n or NEX-7. It’s priced right and puts out gorgeous results with color that pops, contrast that pops and it’s sharp even wide open. You can order this lens at B&H Photo. Here are a few more from the 50…

Shot at f/4 with the Sony 50 1.8 during the “Golden Hour” – click for larger – This is an OOC JPEG

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This one was shot at 1.8 as I got the stare down from this dog in the street…JPEG

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and check this one out at f/2.8 with 100% crop – JPEG

Accessories for  the NEX-7

As of this writing there are not many accessories for the NEX-7 but I predict that this camera will be THE MOST POPULAR OF ANY SONY CAMERA MODEL IN 2012. PERIOD. I expect many accessories and I was already sent a prototype tripod bracket by J-Tec who made some awesome cool accessories for the NEX-5 and they are getting ready to launch some cool things for the 7 as well. So keep an eye on their site and this site as when they are released I will write about them. One accessory you will want to buy for the NEX-7 or even the 5n if you plan on shooting Leica glass with it is the BEST Leica lens adapter available. It’s not cheap but as I said in my 5n review, I have had three cheapie Leica adapters that I picked up on Amazon and over time they became loose, and that affects performance. The only adapter that has withstood the abuse and test of time has been THIS ONE by Novoflex. If you want a cheapie you can buy this one at Amazon. My thought on this is that if you are using LEICA glass, you want a good adapter. Makes sense.

As for other things for  the NEX-7, you will want a good SD card and I recommend THESE LEXAR PRO cards if you do not want to spend a fortune or if you want the super fast bad ass cards, this one is FAST. The NEX-7 puts out some big files when shooting RAW!

Compared to…all the others 

Here we go. I will get the question! I always do. WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY? Well, as always, I can not answer that question! It is all personal preference. Do you want an interchangeable lens system? Would you prefer smaller? What features do you need? Ask yourself if THIS camera will FILL ALL YOUR NEEDS. If so, then it may be for you. Look at the features, the size and the sample photos above and then decide if the NEX-7 could be the “one” for the long haul. If that doesn’t work…

Look below for a QUICK written comparison against the usual suspects.

NEX-7 vs The Olympus E-P3 – The E-P3 focuses faser, has better lenses available, and has a cool retro design. In silver it’s simply beautiful. But it still has the same 12 MP sensor as the E-P1. The ISO noise is not far behind the NEX-7 at 1600 but the E-P3 does not have a built in EVF or a tilt able LCD. The 7 has a larger APS-C sensor, the E-P3 has a smaller 4/3 sensor. In all fairness the E-P3 is more fun to shoot and provides results that you just can not complain about. It has a cool factor and some serious mojo even with its limitations and I own it and am keeping it. BUT the NEX-7 is more serious with more potential. NEX has to win this if we are taking body to body. Lenses, Oly wins but then again, Leica glass just works better on bigger sensors, and the NEX-7 has the bigger sensor.

NEX-7 vs Fuji X100 – Totally different cameras. The X100 is a fixed lens 35 mm equivalent. You can not change lenses, it is slow and quirky to operate BUT it’s files are gorgeous and I prefer the colors of the Fuji over the NEX-7, NO CONTEST. But usability and versatility go to the NEX-7. Apples and Oranges. Classic vs Modern. If you can live with a 35mm f/2 and slow operation, go for an X100. GREAT camera. If you want versatility, speed and ease of use, go with a NEX.

NEX-7 vs Leica M9 – Again, totally different. The NEX-7 is NOT an M9 killer by any means. You do not get the Leica glow or the feel of a manual rangefinder camera even with the Zeiss lens but mount a good Leica lens to the NEX-7 and you get closer but again, totally different camera, feel, and price point! M9 is full frame and all manual. NEX-7 is APS-C and more like a hand held computer. One is $1199, one is $7-8,000 :)

NEX-7 vs NEX-5n – This one is important to many readers. The 5n I reviewed was SUPER. BUT….if you are going to invest in the NEX system, and are trying to decide between the two, go for the 7. The body, the controls, the whole package. It IS better in that regard. The high ISO may be a little better on the 5n but that is about it. The built in EVF of the 7 makes all the difference in the world as does the Tri-Navi controls. if you already have a 5n and EVF, you are really only missing the controls and larger body style. In that case, buy yourself the Zeiss 24 and call it a day. :)

NEX-7 vs GXR with Leica Mount – If you are looking for a cheaper solution to shoot Leica glass with besides an M9 or are looking for an M9 backup and have been thinking of the NEX-7 or GXR I feel the NEX-7 offers much more in this regard. Ive shot both side by side and the Sony is easier to shoot with and gives just as good results IN MY EXPERIENCE. The OLED EVF in the 7 is large and vibrant and Ricoh’s is small and dull looking in comparison. The Sony will switch to the EVF when raised to the eye, the GXR has to be manually changed via button. Focus peaking on the 7 is better and easier to use than on the Ricoh. Picture quality wise I slightly preferred the Sony files. Again, this is just MY opinion after shooting both. I love Ricoh but have to give credit where credit is due.

NEX-7 vs Leica M8 – Now this is an interesting comparison. A used Leica M8 runs anywhere from $2000-$2600. The NEX-7 is $1199. So almost double for an M8. If you buy an M8 you MUST buy the UV/IR filters for each lens you own, and the tops ISO for that camera is around 640 before it starts getting unsightly. It’s an M though and a joy to own and use. The M8 has a 1.3 crop and the NEX has a 1.5 crop so the M8 will be using more of your lenses than the NEX-7 will. If you are only shooting in light and want an RF, and M8 may be the way to go. If you want to shoot in all lighting situations and use higher ISO, the NEX is the way to go. Again, all personal preference but the M8 will most likely give better image quality if you have light, plus…it’s a Leica!

Pros and Cons of the Sony NEX-7

Pros

  • SUPER body, Great control and the new Tri-Navi setup  is a godsend
  • Build is solid but camera is fairly light
  • OLED EVF is best ever (at the time of this writing). Period!
  • Swivel LCD is useful, should be on all digital mirror less cameras
  • Best mirror less body by far (to date) for using Leica lenses (besides a Leica)
  • Customization is amazing with many programmable buttons (see video)
  • The NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 make a great pair, could be one lens on body combo
  • ISO goes up to 16,000, but really usable up to 3200.
  • 24 MP is plenty enough for ANYONE
  • Camera is fast in operation, not sluggish at all with a fast SD card
  • Kit Zoom performs great on the camera
  • Nice presentation box, strap, lens cloth all included.
  • Sony’s new 50 1.8 is exceptional in real world use
  • I feel the cost of this camera makes it a deal.
  • HD video capabilities are wonderful and the video does not suffer from the “Jello Effect”
  • Has a built in sensor dust shaker to keep dust bunnies off your photos
  • This is Sony’s Bionic Camera – Better, Faster, Stronger.
Cons
  • High ISO is not as good as it is with the cheaper 5n
  • Sometimes focus hunts in low light and sometimes misses its mark
  • Auto Focus is not as fast as the Olympus E-P3
  • Lenses are bigger than they should be
  • Sometimes the camera would underexpose when using the Zeiss 24
  • Rear LCD not as gorgeous as the one on the E-P3
  • Images do not have much 3D “POP” with the Sony lenses. Leica glass cures this.
  • No in body IS. Boo.
  • When shooting Leica glass with an adapter, lenses wider than 24mm have some magenta color shift issues while the 5n does NOT.

The Bottom Line Conclusion and my full thoughts on the Camera

Ok, so there you have it. I shot with this camera each and every day that I had it. I shot it with the Zeiss 24 1.8 and the new Sony 50 1.8. I even slapped on a Leica lens and did a side by side with the Ricoh GXR.  Sony did in fact “Grow Some Balls” when they decided to design and release the NEX-7. On paper it appeared to be absolutely PERFECT and I ordered one through Amazon the day they started taking orders. In fact I pre-ordered the 24 1.8 and the NEX-7 kit. I just KNEW it had to be amazing. A small body, great build, EVF, fantastic controls and a 24 MP sensor that has Sony tech behind it. I mean, how could the NEX-7 be anything but absolutely GORGEOUS?

Well, when I first started shooting with this camera I was not that wowed or impressed. But I am jaded. I am used to my Leica glass and the M9 putting out stunning 3 dimensional beautiful files and that is what my brain has gotten used to. There has not been any camera that has come close to the M9 IQ until the little Fuji X100 came along, but as wonderful as the Fuji is, it is still tough to shoot with (at certain times) due to its slow speed and clunky interface. Another favorite of mine that I adore is the Olympus E-P3. The new lenses for Micro 4/3 are nothing short of spectacular and helped  to make the E-P3 a daily shooter for me along with it’s super speed and great out of camera color. The one problem I have with the Olympus though is there is no built in EVF or swivel LCD. Once I shot with the Sony for over a week I was spoiled with its best ever OLED EVF and swivel LCD.

So here I am raving on and on about the perfect body of the NEX-7. What about the image quality? Well, judge for  yourself. I posted tons of images in this review with all lenses. I posted out of camera JPEGS, I posted RAW conversions and I posed a couple of comparison shots with a GXR and E-P3. What I noticed with the NEX-7 files during this whole process is that they seem a little bit flat out of the camera, but this is the same look that every NEX camera has had, even the 5n. Nothing that can’t be fixed in a RAW conversion or by using a good old fashioned Leica lens. When I attached a $300 Leica 50 Summitar the 3D pop surfaced.

The NEX-7 is not a camera you will open up and shoot on day 1 and get amazing results with. You have to shoot it, learn it, learn the controls, and learn when to apply Exposure Compensation (which is simple with the Tri Navi controls). Once you dig in and set it up to your liking you will be able to shoot just about anything with this camera. In many ways it is like a computer instead of a camera, but that is Sony for you.

Lenses…

Sony now has 7 lenses for  the NEX system. The 16 2.8, the 18-55, Zeiss 24, the 30 Macro, the 50 1.8, 18-200 and the new 55-210 zoom. The ones to buy in my opinion are the Zeiss and the 50 1.8. I hear that Sony has a new Zeiss lens planned for 2012 as well and I am guessing it will be something like a fast portrait prime. So for those of you who are saying there are no lenses for the NEX system, there are plenty. In addition, this camera can mount hundreds of other lenses using adapters. Mount Nikon, Canon, Leica, Zeiss glass….Just buy the adapters and go to town. This is where this camera really shines…as a body for all of your old glass, well, sort of. Just know that if you want to shoot wide angle lenses that you may get some magenta color shift at the edges of your photo. This is a disappointment because the NEX-5n does NOT have this problem, and it is the cheaper NEX body. Makes me REALLY think now that Sony should have stuck with the 16MP sensor of the 5n for the 7.

With that said, using the camera is a breeze and so enjoyable with the focus peaking and huge and super clear EVF. It really is a joy.

Video..

The video on this camera is the best I have shot with in a non full frame camera. The options are a plenty and the quality, even in low light is GREAT. Pop on a lens with IS and you will get smooth and saturated jello free HD video. You can shoot at 24P, 60P, 60i all in 1080 resolution. The video of the stock NEX-7 kit is exceptional and beats most $1000 video cameras.

The things I did not even talk about in this review..

There are a few things I did not even go over in this review mainly because it would have been a rehash of the 5n review. Things like SWEEP PANORAMA and the other cool features built into the NEX-5n are all here in the 7. The way I look at it is that the NEX-7 is an enthusiast camera and most of these gimmicks will not even be used by those who buy this camera. The Sweep Pano is the one I would use but the others not so much. So this camera has everything you can imagine inside. Huge resolution, great HIGH ISO, superb video, amazing body design and usability….the list goes one.

Would I buy one? I already had my pre-order in and am keeping it. It’s not perfect (see my con list) but it’s REALLY good and the lenses being a little big did not bother me at all in real use. The body is bigger than the 5n so it’s a bit more comfortable to shoot with the Sony lenses. Yes, the “7″ is here! So as I wind up this 10,000 word review all I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the camera and lenses. It doesn’t compete with the M9 but not much does in my eyes, and besides…it is $5800 cheaper than an M9 body. :)

All in all, this is a killer camera system and the NEX line has now matured into a camera that most of us have been asking for over the past 2-3 years. This will be a big one for Sony. Mark my words!

Where to Order/Buy?

UPDATE MARCH 1st 2012- Appears B&H just listed the NEX-7 as IN STOCK for the body only. 

Amazon was accepting pre-orders but took them down after news of the flood in Thailand that destroyed the Sony factory there. B&H still has it listed but you can not pre-order at this time. I expect it to pop back up soon for pre-order. AMAZON is still taking Pre-Orders for the Zeiss 24.

UPDATE: I will leave you with a few more images from the NEX-7 and Leica glass, this time with some post processing (which I did not do to any of the images above) – click on them to make them larger and ENJOY!

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Oct 212011
 

Sony NEX-7 HD Video Samples at the AZ State Fair

 

So last night I went to the AZ State fair with NEX-7 in hand. I walked around and took some shots at night to test the AF speed and low light performance and the images will be shown in my review SOON. I also shot some video at the fair in 24P mode and edited some of it together in iMovie.

The video below ranges from ISO 100 to 1600 and the camera did very well. The Zeiss 24 Sonnar has a very “smooth” character and is a bit different from the video I shot at last years fair with the A33. The only thing I had to correct was the exposure. It seemed the NEX-7 wanted to underexpose everything so in some cases the Exposure Compensation was set to +1.7 but for most of it the EC was set to +0.3.

You can see the footage below which is all handheld with the Zeiss 24, mostly wide open at 1.8. I had the camera set to “Vivid”. Enjoy!

Oct 112011
 

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The Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 Has Arrived! My 1st Look and Video!

NOTICE – THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW! The full review will be up in about TWO WEEKS! This is only a QUICK 1st look video and text!

My 1st look video is below of  the NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 – There is also some sample video footage at the end  taken with the combo.

Woo- F*@$ING – Hoo! Today I have taken delivery of a final production model Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24 1.8 lens. Many of you already know that this is the camera I was so waiting for and on paper it appears to be a big time contender my camera of the year pick. So will it be? As of right now I have NO IDEA as I have only had it for three hours but can say it FEELS GREAT in the hand, the EVF is the best I have ever used and the camera is very responsive and peppy. So far, so good.

A few days ago Sony contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the NEX-7, and of course I jumped at the chance and since I am taking a 9 day trip to Chicago for a grade school reunion, and to visit my Mom, I figured it would be GREAT to take along the NEX-7 and Zeiss 24! I can shoot the whole trip and even get some low light portraits, high ISO testing, and even some cool video.

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So before I knew it a couple guys from Sony HQ were on their way to my house with the NEX-7, a power point presentation and of course the Zeiss 24 1.8 lens.

So for a few hours I learned about the NEX-7 and how it came to be. I learned what it can do and how to use it and also learned why the lenses are so big and what Sony is doing to resolve that (more on that in my full review). After those short three hours I think I already started to fall in love with the camera…jeez, Im such a sucker for sexy new gear.

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When the guys opened up the box (which was NOT a finished box) they told me the camera is final, and the firmware is also final. They included the 18-55 kit zoom in black as well and I have to say it looks much cooler in black than the super shiny silver. But we all already know how the 18-55 is, so the real start of this set is the Zeiss 24 1.8 Lens.

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I will be shooting this set for the next few weeks and will be posting my thoughts along the way with a final full review in about two weeks. I am going to give this camera a real workout as I have never been as excited as this to review a new camera. I also have the Fuji X100 on hand as well as the trusty E-P3 so I may be doing some comparisons along the way. I also have the Leica M mount adapter that I can use as well to test out how it does shooting M glass. Fun fun fun!

The Fuji X100, The Sony NEX-7 and the Olympus E-P3 

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Just for fun, right after the camera was given to me I went out and snapped three shots with the three cameras above… each camera at f/2 to test for color, bokeh and sharpness. I am not putting the full size shots below as those will be in my full review BUT you can get an idea of the look of each camera/lens combo. The E-P3 had the Panasonic 20 1.7, and the NEX had the Zeiss. All were set to f/2.

The three shots are below…click them for larger versions.

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The big deal about the NEX-7 is it’s new 24MP sensor, the OLED EVF, the tilt LCD screen on the back and the new Tri-Navi control system. Neither the Fuji X100 or the E-P3 have these features so it will be interesting to see how the IQ holds up. For me, a camera has to have good image quality AND has to have the feel and usability as well. I can already tell you that the 7 has amazing usability and configurability but I will hold judgment on the IQ until I get to really use the camera.

With that said, I am really looking forward to shooting this camera. The guys from Sony told me today that they will try to get me a 50 1.8 by tomorrow so I can test that as well. So thank you Sony and thank all of you for coming to this site to check it all out!

So to recap: Full review within 2 weeks, and I will be posting some shots over the next week while out on the road. Enjoy, and if you have requests, post them in the comments below!

Steve

PS – You can still pre-order the NEX-7 with 18-55 at Amazon HERE. They also have the BODY ONLY HERE. Sony told me today they expect delivery to be made beginning of November. I’d guess around November 11th. 

Oh and here is the specs of the NEX-7 for those who have not seen them yet:

DSLR quality in your pocket 
Here’s the same APS-C sensor size as a DSLR, with higher resolution than most DSLRs and the interchangeable lenses that make DSLRs so attractive. Yet the camera is about half the size and weight of a typical DSLR camera. Removing the conventional mirror box and viewfinder makes it possible.

24.3 MP; best-in-class resolution 
You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements thanks to a 24.3 megapixel sensor. It’s the highest resolution among pocket cameras as of August 2011.

World’s first OLED viewfinder 
There’s never been anything quite like the Tru-Finder OLED electronic viewfinder. For size, speed and brightness even after sunset, this is a gem. This eye-level, through-the-lens, viewfinder begins with 2359K dots for amazing resolution and high contrast ratio for incredible depth. OLED reduces motion blur to a bare minimum. You can also see the results of camera adjustments in real time with superb color and detail.

Up to 10 fps shooting 
Capture the decisive moment in sports and get the ideal baby photo. Up to 10 fps continuous shooting at full 24.3 MP resolution with exposure and focus fixed at the first frame. Standard continuous shooting at up to 2.5 fps.

DSLR-class APS C image sensor 
Sensor size is the key to picture quality. The APS C class sensor provides gorgeous imaging with 58% more area than Micro Four-Thirds sensors and an amazing 13 times the area of a point & shoot image sensor.

Full HD Movies at 60p/60i/24p 
Capture HD Movies in your choice of super-smooth 60p, standard 60i or cinematic 24p, all at Full HD 1920×1080 resolution. AVCHD codec delivers stunning picture quality. MP4 codec offers smaller files for easier upload to the web.

HD movies with full manual control 
Now you don’t need to surrender control when you shoot HD movies. Enjoy the full expressive potential of Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority or Manual (P/A/S/M) control in HD movie mode.

Tri-Navi manual control 
Perfect for experienced shooters, Tri-Navi control gives you three separate control dials for direct, hands-on access to three settings at a time. As just one example, the dials can set aperture, exposure compensation and ISO.
Built-in pop-up flash Enjoy the convenience of flash photography everywhere you go. Guide Number 6.

Hot shoe for α system flashes 
Take your photography even further with access to the entire range of Sony α system flashes and flash accessories.
Accepts A Mount lenses via adaptors Both the LA-EA1 and EA2 adapters (sold separately) allow you to attach the full range of Sony A mount lenses.

Phase Detect AF with adaptor 
The LA-EA2 lens mount adaptor (sold separately) is the world’s first with Sony’s award-winning Translucent Mirror Technology. This provides super-fast and accurate Phase Detection AF when used with Sony A mount lenses.

Tiltable 3.0″ LCD 
Sony’s 3.0″ Xtra Fine LCD monitor has 921K dots for superb resolution. The TruBlack screen includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections, increasing contrast compared to conventional LCDs. Sunny Weather mode boosts visibility even further. Tilts down 45° and up 80° to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss.

Object Tracking AF 
Locks onto a specified object and maintains focus even as the subject moves. Unpredictable subjects stay in focus even while zooming. You can concentrate on composition without worrying about focus.

World’s shortest release time lag 
Helps ensure that the image you want is the image you get. Once auto focus occurs, release time lag is the delay between fully pressing the shutter release and when the camera actually starts taking the picture. Long lag makes it harder to capture fast-moving objects. The Sony NEX-7 boasts the shortest release time in the world (as of August 2011) at only 0.02 seconds,

Accepts Sony E-mount lenses 
Compatible with Sony’s expanded line of E Mount lenses. These smaller, lighter lenses are specifically designed for α compact interchangeable lens cameras. Opens up a world of creative options.

Peaking function 
Manual focus becomes much easier because peaking highlights the edges that are in focus in your choice of three colors (white, red, or yellow). This is especially helpful during macro or portrait photography where your focus setting can make or break your shot.

3D Sweep Panorama Mode 
Capture vast scenic vistas and 16:9 shots in spectacular 3D. As you sweep across the panorama, the camera records separate right-eye and left-eye images that make landscapes come alive on your 3D television. Records both JPEG and MPO file formats.

Sweep Panorama Mode 
Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press the shutter, sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest, continuously shooting images and stitching them together.

6-image layering 
Leverages the fast BIONZ processor to capture six images in a fraction of a second, and then combine the data. The result is an incredible single image that controls blur in Anti-Motion Blur mode or gets cleaner, sharper nighttime pictures in Hand-held Twilight mode.

Auto HDR 
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining the best highlight detail from one shot and the best shadow detail from another for one incredible shot. (Recommended for still subjects.)

P/A/S/M modes for video and stills 
Enjoy a full range of controls for video and still shooting from the beginner’s iAUTO mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. On-screen prompts help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control.

Intelligent Auto Focus 
Pre-focuses as you compose the shot, further reducing focusing time to a bare minimum.

iAUTO mode 
Unifies and simplifies Sony intelligent technologies. Takes advantage of Intelligent Scene Recognition, Face Detection technology, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization without leaving auto mode so you always get the best shot.

BIONZ image processor 
The brain of the camera is a Sony’s BIONZ image processor substantially upgraded for the demands of 24.3 megapixel photography. Chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 16000 sensitivity. Also enables fast processing for up to 10 fps continuous shooting of data-intensive 24.3 MP images, 2D/3D Sweep Panorama modes and 6-image layering.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) 
Improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows. Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off.

Accepts non-Sony lenses via adaptor 
You can use the camera with a universe of lenses from Canon, Nikon, Leica, Olympus and others. The success of Sony’s NEX series, combined with the ultra-short 18 mm flange back distance has inspired third-party manufacturers to provide lens adaptors. In addition, Sony has disclosed the E Mount specification to Carl Zeiss, Cosina, Sigma and Tamron.

25-point Auto Focus 
25 sensors cover a very wide area of the scene, for accurate focusing even when the subject is far from the center of the frame.
HDMI output Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV. The camera includes an HDMIoutput.

Stamina battery power for up to 400 shots 
Take up to 400 shots on a single charge with Sony lithium ion Stamina battery power (using LCD monitor). Sony’s InfoLITHIUM battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence.

Sony Exmor CMOS sensor 
Sony Exmor technology uses column-parallel A/D converters for high resolution and high frame rates. Double noise reduction minimizes image noise, even in low light.

11 Picture Effect modes 
Discover innovative ways to make your images and videos pop. These include Posterization, Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color, Soft High-key, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, and Miniature.

Ultrasonic anti-dust system 
Dust on the image sensor leads to blemishes in the picture. To protect the sensor, Sony incorporates an advanced ultrasonic system, which effectively shakes dust off the sensor surface.

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