The Sony NEX-7 & Zeiss 24 has arrived! My 1st look and video!

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.

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.

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.

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 

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.

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!


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. 

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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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  1. Hi Guys,

    Just wanted to let you know that mine doesn’t overheat!
    The software version on the camera is v1.0

    I have just bought(10-Dec-2012) a Sony NEX-7 and was concerned that my camera will overheat while shooting video but still bought it because I mostly want to take photos.

    I have ordered the “Sony MSHX32B 32GB Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo HX” (because some people have said that it wouldn’t overheat with that memory card) but I haven’t yet got that memory card, it’ll arrive in the post next week.

    So while I am waiting for that memory card I thought I would use my Samsung MicroSD 32GB Memory – that I have in my phone – with an SD card adapter so I installed that into my NEX-7 and after shooting some test photos I thought I try how long video I can take and to my surprise I managed to shoot a 29mins 50seconds video without any problem!
    That’s with the Sony SEL 18-200mm lens and for most of the video the camera was sitting on the desk but from time to time I picked it up in my hand and walked around in the house with it, tried zooming in out but nothing fazed it 🙂 I didn’t pull the screen away or did anything else just shot the video. After that I downloaded the video to the laptop and viewed it back and it was perfect.

    Also my 18-200 lens that I just bought for the NEX-7 is the old fat silver one and has no lens creep whatsoever unlike many other people said they have.

    So I can only guess that Sony has made big improvements since the early days and I am sooo happy with my Sony NEX-7 & SEL18200 Lens combination 🙂

  2. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  3. ISO?? Does anybody know if the NEX-7 will have 1/3 increments for ISO? I believe the NEX5N does not have incremental ISO and I owned the NEX5 original..was stuck at 200/400/800 etc. As the 7 seems so much more customizable I am hoping you can use 320/500/640/1000 iso etc etc. Does anybody know or care? Thanks…

  4. Hello there,

    i really like that camera, especially paired with that 24 zeiss and voigtlander 35 nokton, makes nearly perfect small combination for me.

    But, it’s just too damn expencive, that kit lens costs around brand new Canon 5D mark II body. I know that they’re totally different style cameras, but to be honest, i would prefer to have backup full-frame body, that i can take anywhere, and dont be scared that i can damage it.

    Now it just doesn’t make sense at this moment, I would buy it on price of Fuji X100. 🙂

  5. These mirrorless cameras are toys. There’s a reason why pros use Canikon…they work. Mirror is just a gimmick and you hobbyist are fooling yourselves thinking Sony has the snuff to be a major player in photographer. In their dreams!

    • sony have been making camera for tv for many years and have more experiance with video than nikon or canon your comment is a joke the future will be cameras with no mirrors at all soon nikon and others will be using this type of mirrorless technology remember when film camera pros said digital would never beat film they were wrong like your wrong how can you judge the nex7 when you have not tried it yet grow up do your history on film i bet you nikon will be using mirror less cameras in the future and you will look a fool big is not always best you know its the photographer not the camera that makes the best picture

      • In my opionion digital has never beaten film, but digital is a lot more convenient than film.

        Even early “film” like autochrome (first color positive) has not been beaten by digital in my opinion.

        Just saw a series about Albert Kahn who was one of the very early adopters of autochrome – most digital looks like a joke compared to some of those master pieces taken by Kahn and his photographers in early 1900.

        I have seen landscape comparisons of the M9 and M3 using Velvia – the M9 falls short compared to the output from the M3 with Velvia.

          • Guys, respectfully, I don’t agree. If we are talking large format film, palladium silver prints and the like, well, this is a different beast altogether. Yet, in the end, whether it is film or digital, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the printing technology. I have recently printed photos using the Epson 7900 printer, 10 colors; including orange and yellow (for skin tones) and 4 different kinds of blacks. The resulting prints are jaw dropping and analog printing technology just doesn’t touch it.

  6. Hi Steve – love your work! Could you please post a review of the experience of using m-mount glass with this camera. I know a couple of people on various forums are interested in voigtlander 35/1.4 and 21/f4 with this camera.

    • The 5n in comparison costs $700 – lower resolution, no EVF, no flash, not much in the way of manual controls. With the EVF for the 5n the price jumps to $1050, so you’d be paying $300 extra on the 7 for a better body with more features and manual controls and higher resolution. So it sounds about right to me. The 7 is also cheaper than the A77 which is $1500 or $1600 with a lens, and it uses the same sensor.

      The E-P3 is $900 with a lens and an EVF will cost you over $200, so you’re looking at over $1100 with much less features and resolution.

  7. Great news, great article and great video! Lucky man! I would buy one without hesitations, if I wouldn’t have spent all my money on four new cameras in the last 12 months. Oops 😀 Just one more thing: the much overlooked Samsung NX100 with iFunction was the first camera to feature three dials. Keep the juices flowing!

  8. Steve. In all your tests please compare Nex 5n v/s Nex 7 with Sony E lenses 18-55,50,18-200. especially at Low Light. That’s what everyone in the world is looking for. We know you do wonderful extensive tests and very good comparison.And you also tell the results clearly in laymen terms what is good and what is not. Most of us visit your site to read the reviews. when you reviewed Nex 5n Your site was #1 on top of Google search result page for Nex 5n. Keep up the good work. There is world of interest in Nex Series cameras,we know you are a big fan of Nex series too. So in all tests please include Nex 5n. People will greatly appreciate.

  9. As far as ergonomics goes with its buttons and dials, NEX 7 is the best so far.

    However I am puzzled as to why the built-in flash in Nex 7 is much weaker than the one in 5N. Any comment ?

    The shutter sound is quite loud on the 5N. May I know how’s the shutter sound on the Nex 7 ? Perhaps you can post a video on that ?

    Another concern is the size of the HUGE raw and jpegs file size due to the large sensors. May have to get at least 16GB to 32GB SD cards for it.

    Thanks !

  10. Thanks for the first look, Steve! The NEX7 looks great.

    Your image of the X100, E-P3 and NEX7 side by side, demonstrates why I will not be able to drop m4/3 if I purchased the NEX7 – I can take the E-P3 w/ 20mm almost anywhere… it is a great overall size for my needs and I can deal with the IQ difference (IMO, not noticeable for my web and prints).

  11. Steve, Please, Please COMPARE Nex 7 with Nex 5n with a 18-55mm and with Sony 50mm-f1.8 lenses which Most Normal people (who are not Steve Huff) would afford to buy. Which will help us make decision which way to go 5n or 7.If possible test 18-200mm with both cameras,which is very popular lens as well.

    Most important thing people want to see is LOW LIGHT performance because of 24megapixel sensor, and of course compare Color reproduction,Contrast,correct White balance,Sharpness of the images.

    Please talk about the NOISE during Video or any other software bugs reported.

    • Exactly the dilemma I am facing. I like the 7 for the built-in EVF (will use a lot) and flash (good in a pinch), but I am concerned about low light performance since I do a lot of shooting an active 5 year old in available light.

      The 5N would probably fit my needs quite well, but I foresee myself having the EVF attached most the time which would hamper the size advantage. I also foresee missing a shot when I need flash since the EVF will be taking up the port.

  12. I really think the NEX7 would compliment a FF M9 quite well. With a mount adapter, you have all kinds of additional effective reach with each focal length. For example a 90mm would become a nice 135 with the crop. You could get a body and effectively get a new set of lenses for all those in-between focal lengths!

  13. Until they come up with some lenses I’m interested in I have zero interest in these cameras. The lens lineup is an absolute joke. Yeah, the Zeiss is nice until you see the absurd price. The other lenses are garbage- and too big. Well, the 16mm isn’t too big but it’s terrible quality and the quality control seems to really be lacking on the cheaper lenses. If only Samsung had been in charge of the Sony lens lineup these cameras would be far more attractive. Sony is producing some amazing sensors- too bad these cameras are letdown by an awful lens lineup. And the lenses are so big. Just ridiculous. It’s like Sony is playing a joke on people and sadly a lot of people don’t get it.

  14. In the first shot, it’s a victory for the X100, the sony looks sharper, but also has that nasty purple fringing..

    But I think they’re both fantastic cameras, let’s wait for your review! good luck, Steve 🙂

  15. Steve, if you can ask Sony if there’s going to be apackage deal with the 50mm f1.8
    Looking forward to read your review.

  16. Too many megapixels on the APS-C sensor? I suspect noise at higher ISO’s. We shall see…

  17. Hi Steve, nice preview. I note that in the video part you mention that the ISO was set to 6400. My understanding was that the ISO in video maxed out at 1600 on the NEX 7 & A77, but was 3200 on the NEX 5N because it has better light sensitivity secondary to lower megapixel count. Can you confirm the max ISO on video please. Many thanks and enjoy your road trip…zane(Australia).

  18. Samsung has a great lineup of pancake lenses for its NX camers, and Pentax makes smaller lenses as well. I’m hoping one of those two companies will next year will bring out a great EVIL camera like the NEX-7 is looking to be, because I don’t yet see the sense of the Sony option with its current lens offerings (unless you mount lenses from other makers on it)

    This said, keep complaining Sony fans. I get the sense that they’re fairly responsive, in their own way. I would guess a lineup of smaller lenses will come eventually.

  19. Strange issue with both the NEX-7 and the EP-3.
    It looks like only the Fuji can render a section of the leaves that the other two cannot?


  20. Nice, I am looking forward to the review. I wish Sony would have some great, small lenses that would go along with this kit. While the 24/1.8 may be a great lens it looks big as well. A better pancake lens would be sweet. Maybe using the Leica lenses is the way to go to keep that set small. Please Steve, check on the wide open performance of the Leica lenses on that camera. Michael Reichmann came to a strange conclusion, which may have been the result of a sloppy test. Would love to use my 50/1.4 and I am really looking forward to a full screen preview when using a 90mm lens.

  21. Lucky man. Sony fly out and hand him one to play with.

    So far, so good. Camera looks like a winner. It is a shame that Sony couldn’t have produced a black kit lens earlier as it would save me from having to buy another one. Still, I guess that’s one way they make money.

  22. Wonderful, thank you. Any chance you will be testing the camera with non Sony lenses? It seems that retrofocus Leica lenses work great with it, and it would also be great to see how it handles symmertical designs such as the fabulous Zeiss Biogon 25 …


  23. Steve, interesting and tantalizing first look.
    I have an unmodified M8 and 5 great Leica lenses, unfortunately I have back or front focus issues for most of this great glass. I preordered the NEX-7 because I want to continue using Leica glass and also occasionally use the kit lens or some fast e-mount lens for personal and video use.
    My main question will lie close to what many here have already asked, does the NEX-7 do the Leica/m-mount lenses justice? Does the peeking function work well? Or is the Ricoh a better bet, at this point in time? I’m looking for a camera to hold me until the M10 comes out. Hopefully the NEX-7 fits the bill


  24. Seeing the body cap on your supplied Nex 7, I’d like to share something about Sony E Mount that I’ve found out yesterday.

    As some of you know, Nex body and lens rear caps are not really included when you buy a camera. If you buy a kit with just one lens, you don’t get any caps. If you buy a kit with two lenses, you get one rear cap and that’s it. Anyway, since I was using some legacy glasses on mine, I had to get myself some of those rear caps. Then I noticed, Nikon lens caps actually fit Nex lenses quite nicely. Went on further and saw that my Eos-Nex adapter fits in front of my Nikon-Nex adapter too! I haven’t tried it with a Nikon lens and a body, but I guess you can fit Nikon lenses directly to the E mount, even though it’d be completely useless due to focal flange distances.

    What I do with this information is, I can use my Nikon-Nex adapter as an extention tube for my other adapters.

    What YOU could do with this information is, now you know that a full frame sensor could actually be fit behind the E mount. After all, it’s the same as Nikon’s.

    • I think that Sony’s policy on lens and body caps is quite mean really. Sure you can get them from Sony online, but they’re never in stock. Point is, you shouldn’t have to. They should be in the box.

      • I got them from a seller in Hong Kong, along with the 35/1.7 CCTV lens(same as SLR Magic). Keger-eu or or something like that.

    • No included caps? That’s a ridiculous level of greed. Truly absurd. These camera companies are doing everything they can to squeeze a few extra pennies out of consumers.

  25. This would be the longest two weeks for me this year! Be the first one in the world to compare these three cameras is awesome!

  26. Ahh… damn. Now I definitely want one! Time to trade up from the GF-1. Lets see if I can sell that for a few euros. Pretty excited about your review to come and the video from the nex-7 looks great, even the iso6400 one!


    Steve, please be fair with the kit lens… A thorough review, not all of us can afford the Zeiss

    Enjoy your trip.

  28. Can’t wait to hear bout the lens size. The camera looks sweet but the enormous lense makes it a deal breaker for me.. Might as well get a DSLR then.. 🙁 Panny’s 1.7 20 is the right size for these kind of cameras…

    • What’s left to hear? There are tons of videos out there regarding the Zeiss 24 and other NEX Lenses. You can see its size and make a decision from there.

  29. I am jealous! but i am happy with the NEX5N for the time being. just got it yesterday. I am excited for the Zeiss 24mm 1.8 and also the 50mm 1.8 with OSS!!! at a good price too. Maybe early next year i will pull the trigger on the NEX7 or just ride it out till there is an update. I am more excited about the fact that sony is coming out with more glass.

    Having said that, it is ever so tempting to get this camera…. I love the Built in EVF and of course the Tri-Navi. I just don’t see the point for 24mp even if the noise is magically handled at 6400. I know it would come in handy if i were to crop a a lot or jut need large detailed prints. Either way, i want it! 😉 but ill wait… or try any way..

    I am excited to see your thoughts on the camera/ lens in the next 2 weeks!


  30. Thanks for the first impressions.
    I have pre-ordered the NEX-7 and I hope that this will be the last camera I’ll buy for quite a while. If it is as good as it sounds like, it will be. The NEX-7 is a perfect companion for a fullframe DSLR.
    Keep on the great work, Steve!

  31. Great expectations will follow you in the next two weeks -).

    What I am missing in your camera-take-along-bag was the 5N.
    I think that A LOT of your readers would like to know how the 5N and 7
    compare not only in terms of handling but also regarding image quality.

    Especially for low-light addicts -), the 5N appears to produce better IQ than the A77.
    So such a -short- comparison would be very nice.

    Wish you a lot of fun!

  32. wow, looks amazing in the video, will wait for ur full review. looks more solid than in the photos, as for will it dethrone ur M9? i don’t really think so:)

  33. I’m an X100 owner, so naturally I’m going to be a bit biased, but I do think the improved dynamic range on the NEX-7 has a lot to do with the software, as is the case with a lot of other things with digital cameras these days. You can easily get a similar effect if you use Aperture, Photoshop or even iPhoto if you can’t get it in-camera. Of course the optimum would be something straight out of the camera, but IQ as Steve calls it is the selling point for me, and the images above don’t show enough of a difference in quality…which means we’ll just have to wait for Steve’s review.

    • I cannot agree more with the above assessment…

      It’s got nothing to do with lenses, but merely software algorithm. Is this the cheaper alternative to creating great lenses/sensor? Perhaps it is… That’s why it “feels” like an electronic gadget not like camera… in my humble opinion, that is…

      maybe once I handle it myself I may think differently cos all this opinion is just based on photos and videos….

  34. Steve, like myself a lot of guys are interested in combination of NEX7 and Leica glass. You don`t have to go in depth ala Sean Reid but please do it right. What I mean most important issue is how first of all WIDEANGLES cope with sonys matrix. We all know that normals and teles are more or less compatible. Then it would be nice to compare Ricoh M module with NEX7, same lens on both, of course. It seems, you`ll have a busy week. Good luck. Stanis Sonyrico

  35. I have a lingering question in my mind: why do these camera makers settle for APS-C instead of full frame sensor for cameras such as NEX-7 or Ricoh GXR M-mount? Why can’t just put a full frame sensor on it? Is it cost, technical capabilities, or any other factor? Or, APS-C is the new standard?


    • Because APS-C costs less to produce than FF Sensors. With that, they can keep the price on a consumer/pro-sumer level.

      Oh and if they make a FF NEX, current e-mount lenses would not work perfectly. (ie. DX-FX)

      • thanks for the explanation…

        i c.. i was under the assumption that FF tech is no longer a new tech, but rather a tech of the past.. so it should not cost that much to produce, should it? but i guess i was wrong…

        with lenses, they can certainly come up with new FX lenses. these should not be their excuse… but i don’t know… i just sometimes feel like it’s more of a marketing game that these corporations play cash-cowing us the customers and witholding the full potential from us… i can be wrong, though…

        • Production costs for a full-frame sensor can exceed twenty times the costs for an APS-C sensor. Only 20 full-frame sensors will fit on an 8-inch (200 mm) silicon wafer, and yield is comparatively low because the sensor’s large area makes it very vulnerable to contaminants.

          Not all FF sensor are old tech or a thing of the past. Ex. Nikon D3s’ sensor is still untouched by anything on low-light performance.

          They could release a FF lenses(like how Nikon does on their FX and DX DSLR). But I don’t know if doing that will make their Alphas sell less.

          • ahhh… that explains why… thank you…

            seems like this may bring (or, may have already brought) APS-C to be a new standard then..

          • It is not just the cost of the sensor. The processing circuitry has to keep up speed as well, unless larger sensor is not equal to more pixels.

  36. It seems you are going to have some Serious fun, Steve. We are looking forward to your review.

    … but man, that Zeiss lens is indeed a big thing. I have heard it is big, but did not expect it to be this large.

    It is probably too early to say, but based on the 3 comparison tree shots I would nearly say that the dynamic range of the NEX7 is better than X100 with the E-P3 even more behind. That would be a good news (well, for Sony at least)

  37. It looks like a great camera, however I am very worried with possible diffraction limitations caused by the sensor. I do have to stop down my wide angle lenses (Nikon 28/2.8AIS, Nikon AF20/2.8, Olympus 28/2.0) to F11 on my NEX 3 to get them sharp into the corners. F11 should be a problem with a 24mp APS-C sensor.
    It would be great to see at what F stop your adapted Leica and Zeiss wide angles get sharp into the corner, and what F stop is necessary, and works without diffraction limitations with a 6000 x 4000 resolution on APS-C sensor.

  38. Hi Steve,
    As part of the comment I would also like to tell you my story. I started as a point-n-shoot guy. Then wanted to upgrade to better equipment. Every time I went to buy a DSLR I didn’t like the size. Then came the Panasonic GF1. I bought the GF1 with the 20mm F/1.7. Great kit and amazing to work with. The more you start working with a system, the more you want to push the boundaries. I bought two Contax G lenses with an adapter. The best lenses I have worked with, though manual focus only. Then I started reading about the GH1’s better sensor. When the GH2 was introduced, GH1’s prices crashed for a moment. I bought the body for next to nothing. I absolutely love the output and the way the camera handles. I have now boxed up the GF1 and go out all the time with the GH1.

    To think of it, ultimately I have ended up buying into a system, a DSLR look-alike, which I wanted to avoid in the first place. My comments may sound less true here because, the size comparison between the GH1 and the lenses do not compare with any other DSLR system. It is still small compared to Canon or Nikon. That’s not the point.

    The Lumix G is an amazing system. What we all want is a camera with the GH1 internals (including the viewfinder) with the size and heft of the GF1. If Panasonic has issues getting this out, people are going to move to to the Sony Nex-7. This is the first Sony that really looks desirable. And you have to take into account that Sony has been re-inventing its camera lineup and the image quality has made giant leaps. I think Sony is ready for the top league. It would be a great failure by Panasonic if they do not get a Nex-7 killer, at least for people who are invested in the system, that too after having introduced something like the LC1.

    I think Sony has nailed it this time.

    • Mohan,

      When users got a bit antsy following the dumbing down of the GF1 to the GF2 and the GF3, Panasonic hinted at a Pro GF. But it’s been pretty quiet on that front.

      What they have in their favour is that the lens selection for m43 is getting better all the time with both Pany and Oly producing things. The only negative for Sony at the moment is the relative lack of glass.

      I was late to the m43 party, but managed to snag a late GF1 and it is a great little camera. Now having built up a small m43 system it will be interesting to see if the NEX range manages to surplant it. That will only happen if Sony produce a serious range of lenses.

      • I just heard that a “Pro” GF is coming out end of the year, beginning of next. Maybe this is true, maybe not – we shall see. If Panasonic do it and get it right they will have a massive seller on their hands that’s for sure.

        • Calvin & Cidereye,
          I agree. I am invested in the m43 system due to the large range of quality glass available. In fact I just got delivery of the Panasonic 25mm Summilux. This lens is really huge. It is really going to kick some serious a**. My point is that the only thing that is missing is the GH1/GH2 quality in a small package.

          Panasonic seems to have the ingredients but is reluctant to package it together. They are not dumb, so I guess it is in the works as widely rumored. If you look at the size, the widely acclaimed LC1 is actually bigger than all the systems we are talking. It gives an impression that it is small. Even if Panasonic dumps all the GH2 electronics into that body, it would fit and would be a huge hit today. The only reason I packed up the GF1 is the lack of a viewfinder. It becomes a huge handicap sometimes during the day.

          Eagerly waiting for the Pro GF. 🙂

          • same thing here, mohan!!
            i really like the idea of nex7 body.. but i don’t really like the choices of glasses they have..
            right now i’m keeping my mft panasonic lenses n e-p3 body..
            and still i’m missing my ex GH1 for video..

            so, put my name too on that waiting list of gfpro bro 🙂

  39. Just in time Steve as my E-P3 and 25 summilux arrives this week! (Silver, VF3 with Barton Braided Strap). If this Sony is as good as it sounds, I may have some exchanging to do with Adorama. 🙂 Keep us posted along the way.

  40. Please put some Leica glasses on it, Steve. Really curious to find out how does that compare with Ricoh with M mount.

  41. it would be cool to share the background story (perhaps as separate and very interesting article) on how NEX-7 came to be and what Sony will do to address the size of lenses (not an issue for me, but seems like as issue for many)

  42. Sorry to break all the fun and hype here. But the 7 with its weird body/lens sizing, is to me probably going up for my Worst-Looking Camera of the Year 2011. (ahh my neck feels sore from just looking at it).

    And looking at the endless list of features, it certainly looks more like a laptop with a lens rather than a camera to me (my painful past-life with DSLR starts flashing again). Even with 10 fps I am bound to lose the so-called decisive moments because I will probably forget to adjust so many features.

    Sigh… why do we tend to make things complicated than it ever needs rather than simpler nowadays 🙁

    I do hope to be proven wrong with its IQ + usability factor (though I am a bit pessimistic here).

    juz my 2 cents

    • Sorry, I just watched Steve’s video, but did anybody notice in Steve’s video that the viewfinder on LCD is partially blocked (NOT by the lens as in Leica),…but it is 30-40% blocked by all the cluttering ICONS of the features!!! Left, top, right… just icons after icons after icons… hmmm :(( decisive (or indecisive) moment, anybody? 🙁

      hmmm just pretty down right confusing to me… my goodness I have to remember what each icon represents, have to remember the setting for each of them every time, have to remember to change them… Wonder if this can be done differently?

      can’t imagine how the LCD of NEX 10 (with definitely more features) will look like.. 😀

      anyhow, good job Steve, in getting probably the first tangible quick review of the 7…

      • Andrew, I agree with you. I have a sony prosumer camcorder and I hate their lcd display cluttered with icons representing all off normal settings plus the permanent ones like timecode and sound levels. You can turn some but not all of them. It`s so disturbing whem composing and following action. The best solution would be like those seen in some Dslr`s. Clean picture frame with black bar underneath showing basic settings like shutter, aperture, ISO, exposure correction, on and off switchable. Sony`s produces innovative stuff but the handling and displays seem to be designed by ADHD prone technician who`s more interested in computer games then picture taking for Japaneese teenagers who are born with play with gadgets syndrom.

      • No problem, you can switch the info off and only watch it when you need to check your settings.

    • You should watch some youtube vids of the NEX7 while being hold and tested. You will see how good the ergonomics are compared to almost anything right now.

          • but how do u pocket or carry around this thing? i have tried (and on many occasions almost bought) NEX 5 but juz couldn’t push myself through the purchase. Partly because of anticipation of something better would come up (in this case NEX 7) but mostly due to its just atrocious look and imbalance in the hand. it keeps tilting to the heavier side of the lens (especially when I tried my friend’s with M lenses attached to it).. havent got a grip with it just yet…

            but this is purely personal taste of mine and should not affect others who don’t feel the same. many people dig this futuristic look, but i don’t…

            i juz don’t get it why Sony (or Zeiss) came up with such a design… can’t they make lenses thinner smaller like Leica? i mean, they got the money, obviously the brains etc… why? why? why? sorry i m on a rant here….

          • I’ve yet to hold it, so I can’t say for sure, but it looks perfectly comfortable to use/hold to me, even with a large lens attached. Look at the bright side, at least it doesn’t require some silly thumbs up add on like the M9 does.

            Sure it has lots of features and controls, but none look all that intrusive to me. In fact I’d say for the level of features it has it looks it looks down right simple. Especially if you are an aperture priority shooter like me. The tri nav looks absolutely perfect for changing aperture value, exposure compensation, and iso value all on te fly.

          • Sony never said that the NEX series is a “pocket-able” camera. You wear the NEX like a mini-dslr. the lens will be pointing down so it will not stick out when you put it around your neck.

        • but the EVF rubber thingy sticks out like a sore thumb… juz annoyingly a typical japanese design i see nowadays, also exhibited in their car interiors, just stick things in various places with no harmony in mind whatsoever (very contrary to their past or belief system apparently). juz plain down right ugly… yuck

          of course i will keep my shut for now until i buy, try and see it for myself

          i do hope i am wrong cos this nex 7 seems promising…

  43. I bought the Pana 20mm f1.7 for my Panasonic GF1,after it was recommended by you and have been shooting that combo for the last 15 months,although I have the well regarded Pana 14/28 zoom too.
    I really love the 20mm.
    I’m waiting for your review before deciding on this great combo, NEX7 with Zeiss 24 1.8 !

  44. NEX seems to have creamier OOF area but all 3 seem close. I think the NEX will have more pop, 3D, easier manual focus for allnthose MF lenses…MFT shows woerse OOF. DR seems pretty close with a slight edge to the NEX as seen on an ipad…

  45. Wow, once more. Looking forward to your review. The body looks great, but the lens big, too big imo. If Sony only learned from Samsung and Pentax how to make good pancakes.

    • I know retow, the whole point of the Sony NEX range is surely it’s size, no? They’ve made enough fuss about the NEX range being the smallest in the past so they obviously feel that way too. The lenses defeat (IMHO) the WHOLE point of such a type of camera. The camera looks/sounds great but a 24mm wide angle lens at that size??? Meh.

      Certainly one are where Olympus/Panasonic etc score with m4/3 & primes. Forget the sensor size, the lens size makes this camera a behemoth. DSLR with a pancake or a small Sony with a cannon on the front of it? What difference, what point is it?

      • Olympus/Panny M4/3 image quality doesn’t suck, and its better than a P&S, but its a pale comparison to Sony NEX/Zeiss with a state of the art sensor and glass. The NEX range is the right size and weight savings over a SLR without any compromises and that will resonate with SLR users wanting either a 2nd system or to replace their SLR completely. I should know because I moved from M4/3 to NEX and still have a K5.

        IMHO M4/3 users are just stuck with the idea that a compact mirrorless should look like a P&S. Cameras are not fashion accessories to me. The NEX 7 with Zeiss may look “different”, but its still the smallest and lightest camera that has real DSLR image quality. The M4/3 crowd may be satisfied over just OK image quality. It’s almost amusing how M4/3 users all so excited over the first acceptable portrait lens – the Oly 45mm 1.8. To me the image quality is just Meh. I think Steve Huff is usually quite careful when he is glowing about M4/3 lenses that he is talking strictly within the M4/3 universe only.

  46. By the way, Steve, I think you should have a adapter and M lenses on that trip. Not sure if Sony will or won’t allow this, but many here (myself among them) are very curious as to how M lenses will behave on the NEX7. That zeiss lens seems HUGE for the NEX 7 body, so some smaller Leica glass (think 35 cron or small zeiss/cv glass) would work far better in terms of compact form factor on the NEX7

  47. Oh boy, first I bought the Leica X1 and I sold it to buy the Fuji X100. Now look what you’re doing, Steve. You’re killing me. Am I now suppose to sell my X100 and get a NEX-7?

  48. Steve, I hope you test some Leica M lenses on the nex7 just like what you did on the 5n. This is so people can judge its image quality against the Ricoh GXR. We can now with finality narrow down the best CSC for M lenses.


  49. Can you report on the AF ability. I want to be able to shoot fast moving skiers with the camera, but I’m thinking this may be too much to ask. Maybe take it to some sporting event or even the park.

    By the way, I do enjoy your reviews.

  50. WOW exiting!
    Sony did a good job but if the camera had 16mp it would have been even better,
    sony must understand that this is not a studio camera – its a go and shot everywhere camera that would be used alot in low-light situations,

    also i’m rather concerned about the lens size, its the same size as the 18-55 zoom yet offers no OSS and f1.8 is slow for such a prime!

    Looking forward for your take on those issues and many others

  51. Not really a pixel pervert but very interested in a specific test for the NEX range against the SLT offerings from Sony. The translucent mirror technology on the SLT models loses light from the fixed mirror (30% ?) but this maybe compensated by the in body stabalisation when shooting handheld.

    Realise it’s not right site/forum for that kind of thing but wanted to put it out there if anyone can help.

  52. Exciting! I’ve been waiting for your review on this camera – I preordered it the day it was announced. One question: I’ve asked many, many people if the NEX 7 AF/MF button can be configured such that pushing it activates autofocus when the camera is in manual focus mode. Paul from Sony said there is a 97% chance but he wasn’t able to confirm this for me. There are a lot of other’s who want to know this as well. It would be great if you could test to see if this button can be configured as such (the a77 can do it) as it’s a critical feature in the way I shoot. thanks!

  53. Interesting that Sony actually delivered the review copy. I’m guessing this isn’t usual for most products ? If so, rather interesting how large of marketing push Sony is making for a camera that seems like its already sure to be a runaway hit without really having to put any effort behind it On the other hand, I guess it shows perhaps just how seriously Sony is in actually becoming a major player in the digital camera market, perhaps one day eclipsing the likes of Canikon even ??

  54. The camera looks sweet, and the specs are impressive! Look forward to reading your fully review, Steve.

    Too bad I already invested heavily in my m4/3 gears!

  55. Background rendering on the 7 looks smooth. Compare it to the cement block wall on the X100 and the foliage. The X100 and E-P3 both look busy in comparison.

    • Wonder if this is due to the sensor or the lens?

      Steve, can you please do some side by sides with the 5N and the Zeiss as well?

    • The 7 also looks to have impressive dynamic range in this test shot. Is it just me or does it hold that hot Phoenix sky without clipping near the horizon where the X100 and (worse) the E-P3 have trouble. Looks very film like…ok. Going to stop posting now 😉

  56. Am I going to have to ban myself from reading your site for the next few weeks… LOL! Looks great so far… can’t wait to read and see more! (or can I?)

    Have a great trip too!

    • Don’t forget to take a man-purse Steve! 😉

      Early preview looks great in man ways. Can’t wait to see what you come up with once you have the NEX-7 dialed in to your taste as you probably have done with the X100.

      Let me join the chorus of those hoping you’ll check out on the NEX-7 the legacy / rangefinder glass corner vignetting / colour cast issues that used to plague the 3 and 5 but seemed to have been cleared up in the 5N to some degree.

  57. Hah, I’ve got the same “Dumbotron” Sony TV.

    Nice first look. That Tri-Nav control scheme looks tops for sure and the video was super impressive. Did you get any overheating warnings when shooting video? My 5N seems to overheat quickly…

  58. If you have the M mount for your GXR and the Sony M adapter, comparison shots with Leitz lenses on the Ricoh and NEX-7 would be really interesting. At least to me.

  59. I like your article very much. Keep going! Thanks a lot for your contribution!
    I can’t wait to read your full review of the NEX-7!

  60. Someone is lucky there.
    Would be cool to have a look with M lenses (25 biogon, 50 summicron) and also if the nex-7 can correct the distortion for the e-mount 16mm.

  61. Never in a million years did I think I would be considering Sony for a Camera. Always thought I would stick with more historic camera makers. Without seeing more samples, based on the functionality and size, this is a winner.

    I am concerned about the 24MP. I’ really surprised Sony took this approach given that the megapixel race was over years ago…we’ve learned so much in the last 6-10 years about what really matters.

    Worth a shot, I’m in!

  62. I am really considerng this over all other cameras but it comes down to IQ . I hope the 24mp sensor delivers the goods ..Please post whatever shots you can..thanks

  63. Awesome, sounds like I’ll be checking your site every day until mine arrives. Is there any chance of you passing on what the Sony guys told you about the lens size issue in a seperate post ahead of the final review? Since I’ve already preordered I’m actually more interested in that bit of info then I am the review.

  64. Very cool Steve, only discovered your site in the last couple of weeks, and I am enjoying your take on cameras and all things photography related. Thanks

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