NEX 7 first impressions

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by tony_leinster, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. OK so I have the NEX 7 and the two "Standard" zooms, how is it going so far?
    The camera basically seems OK although it is a lot of learning if you want to use the full features. It does feel more like an interchangeable lens point and shoot than a genuine replacement for a DSLR but that is pretty much to be expected. Having said that the feature set is, maybe overly, huge.
    I have to say the EVF is just about OK, absolutely no substitute for an optical viewfinder and far too busy with info, maybe I can change that somehow.
    Both the lenses seem adequate but again not really in the DSLR category that I am used to. I still am looking to buy the 50mm which sounds OK but definitely not the 30mm Macro which I have discussed before, too short and poor reviews.
    Now we come to the worst item, the RAW converter software supplied, it's slow, poorly specified and IMHO not what you would expect with a camera of this price. Come on Sony what are you playing at. Having spent years using DPP from Canon I am so disappointed with this. I would welcome any suggestions but it would seem I might have to buy something from Adobe. Meanwhile it's going to be a quick conversion to TIFF and then DPP or Photoshop to do all the real work. I really don't want to shell out on CS6 so maybe Lightroom will be the answer. HELP!
    I really want to like this camera, it has a lot going for it but at the moment it is let down by slightly substandard lenses and software.
     
  2. Well, it's a totally different camera for me. Though I did use DSLRs (like the Canon 5D), I mostly used Leica rangefinders
    such as the M2. The Nex-7 is essentially the Leica M9/10 that I could never afford. The EVF is great. Not quite as clear
    and bright as the M viewfinder, but with the potential of using any focal length, giving me focus magnification, and focus
    peaking for manual lenses. And it's easier to see in low light. Quality is excellent and it's light in weight (which is a must
    for my back). I have a variety of adapters and use a variety of lenses on it, mostly Leica M mount lenses, but also Contax
    RTS lenses, Minolta MD, Sony/Minolta A-Mount, and Contax rangefinder lenses. It's a heck of a lot of fun. I've never been
    able to focus more precisely in manual mode before.


    And when I need AF, I mount the A-Mount translucent mirror adapter and I have fast, accurate auto focus with my suite of
    Sony and Minolta lenses. I especially like the Sony/Zeiss 16-80 and my Minolta 50 and 100 macro lenses.


    I don't use the E-mount lenses at all or the supplied software. I use Aperture 3 to load in the raw files and it works very
    well. I don't use Lightroom but I suspect that would work well too. I call it my Leica M8.5.
     
  3. I'm with David G. on everything stated except I don't find the need to use RAW.
    The camera's JPEG & Google's "Picasa" suits me just fine. Plus, I mainly utilize legacy primes.
    As far as your concern about the EVF, turn off all info by touching the large dial "DISP" usually once.
    Get familiar and customize with lots of early experimentation, you'll then fall in love with the little jewel.
     
  4. I am looking to use the NEX platform to replace my DSLRs, though it's going to be a while before I decide. I just need to confirm that you can actually have focus peaking with the EVF, and not just the LCD?
    BTW I have found that DxO Optics is a very good RAW converter. Aperture has one feature which I think is implemented better: highlight recovery. DxO has an equivalent HDR feature, which does almost the same thing, but not in the same way. But DxO has really, really good NR. I don't know about Aperture 3 though as I'm still on 2.2.
     
  5. Karim, basically everything done on the rear screen can be done to the electronic viewfinder. No limitations.
    I actually use the EVF 90% of the time; even for previewing playback images !
    The image is perceived by the eye/brain much bigger (Like a 60" TV screen !)
    Who needs that dinky 3 inch rear screen? (Actually only 2 1/2 inches usable)
     
  6. Tony, I have a 5n with the same evf as is built in on the 7. I have a friend who insists that his Pany LX5 and big Nikon dlsr are the perfect team; one is very small; the other is super capable but big. He says he has no need for any mirrorless camera (even though he has never tried one). Fine. Personally, I never even carried a film auto focus slr because of the size. I used an FM3a a lot, and I have the superb Nikon 85 1.4 ais, but guess what? It almost never left the house because that lens weighs about a pound. Point is from my limited use of very capable af slrs and dslrs, I don't think any NEX or mirrorless camera handles or has the ultimate speed of use of a good dslr. However, the NEX sensors are equal to the better dslr, so if you really value the small size and your type of photography doesn't require the strengths of a good dslr, then you can achieve imagery of at least equal quality in a much smaller package with NEX. I always gravitated to smallish film cameras even when af slrs were achieving their zenith. (rollei 35, olympus xa, Leica CL, M6) I regret that for me, using my 5n with my Leica M lenses nor my few e mount lenses is not as satisfying as using my film M6, but I have few or no alternatives, and getting the amazing image quality and low light capability in a high res image file from a small easy to carry camera is rather intoxicating. Nothing else really matters for me.
     
  7. Karim, I agree with everything that Gus said. You get focus peaking in the evf and everything else too. I bought the NEX in particular for focus peaking using my Leica M lenses with an adapter. However, I don't find the focus peaking as effective as I had hoped, but the magnification feature makes maual focusing workable and the overall feature set of the camera and image quality exceeds my expectations. There can be and are whole threads about focus peaking. IMO, my feeling is that often the scene in low light is so low in contrast that I can't find a "peak", and when there is a lot of light, it shows too much as peaking in focus, and you can't trust that for your true best focus plane. It is something that takes getting used to because while focus peaking doesn't work as well as an excellent rangefinder or split image finder, the magnification ability allows you to focus perhaps better with manual focus lenses than ever before, but it takes a little time. Focus peaking is pretty reliable when the lighting is such that you can catch a peaking highlight of light reflecting in a person's eye.
     
  8. The NEX-7 is looking to be more and more the camera I really want. We'll see!
    EDIT: One more question. If you dial-in negative exposure compensation, will the EVF maintain its brightness?
     
  9. @Dave. Don't get me wrong I love the camera too, what I am saying though is that the lenses and software supplied by Sony let it down.
    @ Gus, sorry, but from all the reviews I have read, you really need to shoot RAW to get the best from the camera.
    In general I would point out that everyone who has commented uses this camera as a platform for legacy lenses, I am sure that this is not true of any DSLR you can name. I think this speaks volumes about Sony's lens range. Also no-one has leapt to the defense of the Sony software, again I find this very significant.
    Surely Sony did not put a very expensive camera out there just to let us old boys use some old lenses, or produce software just for it to be useless.
    I do hope that in the near future we will see some real quality products, matching the excellence of the camera, being produced by Sony.
     
  10. I handled the NEX-7 in the store - was impressed by the EVF (at least as far as EVFs go). But for the price of one NEX-7 with 18-55 kit lens, one could get two Nikon D3200 kits. The D3200 with lens attached won't fit into a pocket - but neither will the NEX-7. If I had to make the choice, it would be an easy one.
     
  11. Tony, concerning software, I can't make any excuses. I don't use it. My panasonic lx3 shoots raw, and I've never bothered with it, and I'm fine with the JPEGs from NEX assuming I got my exposure right, which is what I try to do. I already know that I am missing out on some potentiality, but I'm not worried about it.
    Regarding Sony's objective/strategy, my impression is that they created a camera that was as small as it could be while providing image quality at least as good as a good dslr. Apparently, they correctly assessed that the initial buyers of the NEX line would be at least 4 kinds of people: those who only have point and shoots and don't need a lot of lenses initially and would be happy with the kit lenses but would appreciate the huge advantage of the big sensor but still want a small-ish camera: those that would be excited about using Legacy lenses they already have at an affordable price after waiting for years, those dslr pro users that are keeping their dslr systems but want the ability to get equal image quality from a much small package perhaps for more recreational semi-pro times, and finally amateurs or semi-pros that have found that they would benefit from a smaller camera and simply are not utilizing the full capability of the dslrs they originally bought into. That's a HUGE market. This isn't a replacement for a dslr for a wedding photographer or a serious African safari photog, or aerial photog or (inspite of a video I saw) not a replacement for a serious fashion photog.
    Karim, regarding the evf, if you use negative exposure compensation, the image in the evf get's darker in an attempt to show you what you are about to do, which you want. If you underexpose an evenly lit scene, it will show you that the image will be dark. I mainly use exp comp when the program mode wants to overexpose and blow highlights on a brightly sit subject in a dim setting. By adjusting down exp comp, you can see now that your spot lit stage subjects are not better exposed even though the background is now dark.
    Finally, Dieter, price is one matter, but if size is a prioirty, the attached pic should put to rest that issue. I'm showing the only af slr I have: an F70 (which I don't much care for but DOES meter my manual nikon lenses and is perhaps similar in size to dslrs), my 5n and a Pani LX3. Note that without the evf, the 5n is actually shorter than the LX3 and the same width, and some of my Legacy lenses make it only about 1/2" deeper! This is ideal when I am traveling on business as I am able to pop it in my briefcase for travel and put on the evf when I land for quality walk around pics of cool things in new places. The 7 is taller than the 5n body but I don't think it is quite as tall as the 5n with the add on finder.
    00aiLf-489629684.jpg
     
  12. I regret that for me, using my 5n with my Leica M lenses nor my few e mount lenses is not as satisfying as using my film M6​
    That's why I looked at the NEX-7 (and the X-Pro 1) and came away with the feeling that neither would make me happy. I most certainly don't want to build up a second system parallel to my Nikon DSLRs.
    Finally, Dieter, price is one matter, but if size is a priority, the attached pic should put to rest that issue.​
    It doesn't for me - as soon as I have to take a separate bag for a camera, size becomes rather irrelevant. And there is a "too small" in my book - and the NEX-7 falls into that category. Plus, a D3200 is a lot smaller than the F70 that you use for comparison. Check the sizes here: http://camerasize.com/compare/#317,33
    • Nikon D3200 is 4% (5.1 mm) wider and 43% (29.1 mm) taller than Sony NEX-7.
    • Nikon D3200 is 79% (33.7 mm) thicker than Sony NEX-7.
    • Nikon D3200 [505 g] weights 26% (105 grams) more than Sony NEX-7 [400 g] (*inc. batteries and memory card).

    • Nikon D3200 dimensions: 125x96x76.5 mm (camera body only, excluding protrusion)
      Sony NEX-7 dimensions: 119.9x66.9x42.8 mm (camera body only, excluding protrusion)


     
  13. What a NEX-7 has over the DSLR units is an Electronic Viewfinder that is "Live".
    You can see your compensations, lens focus shift and aperture error issues all through your actual taking aperture !
    In fact, the perfect 2% spot metering mode makes the compensation dial irrelevant.
    (Simply place the tiny spot over anything in the EVF image, and quickly lock it when you see what you like with pressure on the release button)
    Concerns and guessing about those two very important items are squashed (Focus and Exposure) and is far ahead of all the other designs...
    Finally, I've noticed that if you attach a lens that's high in contrast and sharpness, (No matter the lens speed) the focus peaking device clearly "snaps"
     
  14. Price is high but manageable. Size and weight are as good as you can get. With the 24/1.8, the only thing way better is $8000 more expensive. Best thing I did was replacing my FF DSLR with the NEX-7. Size and weight do matter as I get older.
     
  15. Dietar, I'm probably too much off-post, but I'll offer this final comment. I appreciate your comments because the last time I much monitored what Nikon might be doing for me was consideration of a Nikon D40x, which I handled in the store, but I had no idea that the D3200 was that small, and has such capability. However, the problem is that I'm not exactly an "old-timer" and I have some excellent late model ais glass that won't even meter on the 3200, but will on the NEX 5n for about the same price (but then add the viewfinder)? Isn't that kind of sick? For that matter, the 3200 doesn't even have an af motor to let me use my one D series Nikon af lens in auto focus. I agree with Gus that the EVF has its advantages for real time exposure view, and if the d3200 optical viewfinder is like the D40x I handled, I'd rather have the evf on my 5n. I have often told friends accustomed to only point and shoots that if they want the best buy for advanced quality photography and don't care about size then the entry cameras from Nikon and Camera are the way to go. But some of them quickly develop an appreciation for the benefits of an even smaller camera because they often take their point and shoots instead and then ask me about the smaller possibilities. If Nikon made a camera the size of the 3200 that would meter the manual focus lenses, focus the D series lenses, and had video and the low light performance we are coming to expect for around $1000, I would have already bought it. I still wouldn't be able to use every lens I have including Leica M, but I would have done it anyway. Those turds won't offer such a thing.
     
  16. No argument from me there Mark regarding Nikon crippling lower-end cameras (and sometimes ever higher-end ones (F100). Part of the problem seems to be that the Ai mechanism appears to be a quite costly mechanism to be put into low-priced camera body. An alternative would be to have the lenses chipped.
    I want an affordable digital body to mount my Summicron 35/2 ASPH on - and wouldn't mind if I could use the Nikon 20/4 Ai on it as well (there are a few other lenses but those two are the ones that concern me most). As already mentioned, I tried the NEX-7 and the X-Pro 1, and neither convinced me. A Leica M8.2 is tempting but still fairly pricey - and I don't want to pay extra for the IR filter my lens will need. I believe the Nikon lens could be used on it - but of course without rangefinder coupling. A bit too much money to be spend on something that is that crippled.
    I must say that the X-Pro 1 looked better to me than the NEX-7 - but the EVF in the X-Pro 1 is a far cry from the one in the NEX-7. No focus peaking on the X-Pro 1 sealed the non-deal for me. The problem of me trying out the cameras in the store is that I now have that little voice in my head that says: sell the Leica stuff and get the X-Pro 1 with its 35/1.4 for starters; selling the 'cron could (almost) pay for that combo.
     
  17. Dieter, I find myself in the same boat regarding the temptations to sell "the good stuff" for the next thing. I have the 35 cron M asph also. But I think we need to hold, regardless of what happens. Please don't sell the magic. Here is a pic of my girl at just less than 3 1/2 months I took just after I got my NEX with a 90 elmar-C, and it blew my mind, and that was all I needed to see compared to what I had before. Cheers and good shooting!
     

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