Monday, December 19, 2011

Sony NEX-7

Digital Photography Review have published an in-depth review of Sony's high-end 'EVIL' camera.

Excerpts from conclusions follow:

There's little doubt that the NEX-7 is one of the most exciting cameras of 2011.

The EVF [electronic viewfinder, Ed.] is excellent, stills image and video quality superb, and the handling is remarkably good for such a small camera. The use of three dials to control each of the main exposure parameters makes so much sense that it seems odd no-one's done it quite like this before. The fact that these dials can also be used to change a wide range of other settings, cycled through by pressing a button on the top plate, borders on genius.

In fact the NEX-7 is so good in so many respects that any criticism almost feels like nit-picking. It's not perfect, but then again no camera is, and its imperfections can generally be overcome.

The NEX-7's image quality is difficult to fault. The 24MP sensor is capable of recording huge amounts of detail (just as long as your lens can deliver it), while also offering excellent high ISO performance for low light work, with quite useable results up to ISO 6400.

It's no stretch to say that, at its best, the NEX-7 offers the finest still image quality of any APS-C camera, bar none.

If there's a problem for the NEX-7, it's the ambition of launching such a sophisticated, high-end enthusiast camera into a relatively undeveloped system. Once you look beyond the camera body to the lenses you'll want to use with it, your options are - at launch at least - rather limited. There's the Carl Zeiss Sonnar E 24mm F1.8, which is without doubt a fine lens, but is larger than the kit zoom and costs almost as much as the camera again.

Even if you have the money to shell out for the NEX-7 and 24mm F1.8, there's also little doubt you'll get better value elsewhere - at least in terms of building a flexible system to work with now. For example, for the same price you could buy the Olympus PEN E-P3 with EVF, 20mm F1.7 and 45mm F1.8 lenses, and have plenty of change to spare. The sensor's not as good, but the lenses give you more creative options.

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Brett's 2p'orth: The image quality of this camera could tempt me from my Panasonic G1, however the combination of cost, lack of lens choice and the promise of a successor to the GH2 in early 2012 will keep me watching and waiting.

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