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back to article Sony NEX-7 24.3Mp APS-C compact system camera

Sony’s NEX-7 is its flagship Compact System Camera that’s been graced with advanced features to justify the high-end price tag for a pocketable interchangeable lens model. Indeed this 24.3Mp APS-C shooter with a built-in OLED electronic viewfinder plus tilting LCD and full manual control, is certainly going to give some DSLRs a …

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Sony NEVER learn

"the frame rates depend on territory with 60fps in the US", WTF Sony, crippling features depending on where I live. This is a camera Sony, not one of your useless Blu-ray players.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sony NEVER learn

LOL, you clearly are a tool. Go back and play with your Xbox.

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Anonymous Coward

Overpriced for an inbetween camera.

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I've got a Sony

doesn't cut it anymore.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sony NEVER learn

Agreed if "the frame rates depend on territory with 60fps in the US" is true its a needless fail. No technical reason I know of that 50/60 Hz should not be a user option and plenty of good reasons why we may want to shoot to 60Hz, not only when we are visiting North America.

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MJI
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Re: 50Hz is good

Matches everything else UK

Had issues using some 60Hz footage in my last holiday video (forgot my video camera that day) so used my phone.

I would have loved 50Hz, resolution was not as bad as the jerkiness of the conversion

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, 50Hz is better for the UK- but that's no reason not to have the choice

"50Hz is good [..] Matches everything else UK [..] Had issues using some 60Hz footage in my last holiday video"

Well, I agree entirely- I'd rather shoot at a multiple of 25 fps for exactly that reason if I intended viewing it on a PAL system.

However, the point is that (apparently) the user isn't given the *choice* of changing this. There's no reason that the user shouldn't have this option since the hardware is almost certainly capable of both (willing to bet it's just a firmware setting), possibly with an on-screen warning.

For example, I'd rather use 30 fps if I was shooting footage intended for YouTube since that was -or is- the framerate it uses (or converts to), and the same jerkiness problem occurs both ways.

(And it's just as well that my boss bought his Sanyo VPC-SH1 HD camcorder with YouTube in mind, as *that* only shoots at 30/60 fps despite being sold in the UK- even worse in that context than 25/50 only! Especially considering that- as a camcorder- its *primary* intended purpose was video. Some may say that most modern TVs support NTSC 30/60Hz type input anyway, but it's still poor design and an instant "reject" reason in my book).

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FAIL

@Sony NEVER learn

Surely the frame rate of 50fps in the UK and 60 in the US is less that they hate us pikey Brits and more about flickering seen when videoing under lights that flicker at the countries respective mains power frequencies??

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Re: @Sony NEVER learn

No, it's because 50 Hz (i.e. fields per second) is the native rate of UK video, and it's impossible to convert to this from 60 Hz footage without introducing some judder. (See my comment above for more on this).

The light flicker can be an issue- I notice that at least one camcorder includes an algorithm to reduce this, presumably by compensating the brightness per frame/field.

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Meh

WTF?

A thousands squids for a compact? The Nikon D300S is just under a grand in the highstreet and it's a semi-pro DSLR, the best APS-C DSLR that Nikon make. I know which I'd rather have. Megapixels mean squat. Electronic viewfinder my arse.

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MJI
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Re: APS-C

There are still a lot of people who consider APS a swear word.

Where are the 35mm equivalent bodies?

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Facepalm

Re: WTF?

Jim - is that an educated response or one based on "This is a compact therefore any D-SLR is better"?

Numerous reviews by extremely experienced photographers have stated that the NEX-& is a superior camera to most, if not all, budget D-SLRs and the equal to many of the semi-pro ones available. (The ones it's not the equal of, it generally surpasses).

I'm interested in the NEX-7 myself to replace my LX-3 and to partner my 1Ds II and I'd be interested to hear your reasons why the NEX7 is lacking.

I must admit to strongly suspecting that you are not fully aware of the critical acclaim the NEX-7 has been receiving...

Steve

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FAIL

Re: WTF?

Yes Jim, and I'm sure all the people who put the NEX-7 at the top of Amazon's sales chart (displaced temporarily by the D800 when it came out) are just poor, misguided idiots. Oh, and the fact that Nikon are scrambling to bring out their own mirrorless EVF bodies is just to satisfy all those poor, misguided idiots*.

I think, as well, that while the NEX-series bodies are diminutive, they're not actually referred to as "compacts" - afaik the generic term is "mirrorless".

I really hope Sony kick some serious arse with their EVF bodies (including the upcoming A99 FF SLT) as we've seen fuck all in the way of real innovation from Canikon for years.

* The sad thing is, a lot of people will wait for the Nikon because, well, Nikon's just better isn't it?

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Re: WTF?

Jim - the Nikon D300S? The one with the Sony sensor? Just checking ;-).

Steve

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Stop

Re: WTF?

You are missing the point. The D300s is also twice as large and twice as heavy. The Sony also score significantly higher in DxOMark with better iso scores, better dynamic range and better colour depth.

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Meh

Re: WTF?

I camera is only as good as its glass - the sony has what 8 lenses available for it? 8?

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Re: APS-C

Putting a full frame sensor in the camera would mean bigger body and bigger heavier lenses.

The camera is compact, so requires a compact sensor, albeit one that is much bigger than the 2/3" sensors in most point & shoot and bridge cameras

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Meh

Re: WTF?

Just try building a system around it - hardly any native lenses, having to use adaptors - what about after-market? Flash systems? Wireless remotes? All stuff I use. I'd hate to have to make a lens/accessory collection based on Sony kit. this is one of the many reasons people stick with Canon or Nikon, there's a whole ecosystem surrounding each.

Besides, by the time you've stuck a proper lens on an NEX-7 it's no more pocketable than a DSLR anyway, but it's a lot less balanced. DSLRs have a humongous battery life too and better ergonomics. It's not just about absolute sensor image quality, if you're finding it hard to take photos because the EV isn't good enough to ensure focus or it's too slow to respond to fast moving subjects, or you can't hold the camera properly, you're going to get crap shots anyway. The NEX-7 might be 0.4 of a stop better on high ISO but with the Nikon you just bung on an f/1.4 lens and you've got several stops improvement. One of the reasons you need a big choice of available lenses. Nothing comes close to Nikon in that regard. Each to their own though.

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Re: WTF?

without a doubt Nikon and Canon have a considerably larger inventory of lenses than Sony (let alone the Sony e-mount system which currently has about 11 lenses), however the use of an adapter with any of the classic rangefinder lenses such as those from leica will give you outstanding speed & glass in a very pocket-able format, albeit at the loss of autofocus. Even the cheap russian prime lenses I have used give outstanding resolution and sharpness on my NEX 5 for example. Would I shoot a wedding with the nex? No, as I need the reliability and lenses that go with my a900 as well as flash units & triggers (although the NEX 7 does have a flash hotshoe so I could use them there too I believe). Would I choose the nex 7 over a full dslr & lesnes when travelling or on holiday? Most likely. A lot less to pack, less weight in hand luggage and a lot less conspicuous than pointing a full size camera a people.

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Re: WTF?

Jim, I think you're missing the point of mirrorless. Ok, it's not for you, but that's no reason to dismiss it out of hand. Don't get me wrong, it's not for me either - I certainly won't be buying it or anything like it - but the fact they are selling like hotcakes must mean that for a lot of people they're doing something that DSLRs can't do. Whether it's just down to being more discreet, or the superb video capability or the reduced diffraction effects or whatever - it clearly works for a lot of people, and having seen some of the results, they're unleashing a lot of creativity. Yet you're pooh-poohing the whole system based on a few comparisons with DSLR tech.

Sony are however utterly shit at releasing lenses, I'll give you that. I don't see what the problem is with adaptors though. There's no shortage of decent glass in Minolta's lineup, some of it besting equivalent Nikon gear.

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Meh

Re: WTF?

Oh, dear... not really as knowledgeable about cameras as you'd like to think.

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Re: WTF?

> I camera is only as good as its glass - the sony has what 8 lenses available for it? 8?

Nothing like that, it will take hundreds of lenses.

All the A mounts will work with auto focus.

Manual focus is a doodle with peeking.

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Re: WTF?

Totally agree with you, its more than SLR money for what is a compromise camera, that is barely smaller than a regular SLR, and has an EVF to boot.

Don't agree that the 300s is "the best APS-C DSLR that Nikon make", the D7000 (and D5100) have better image quality. Most expensive, agreed, but I compared all 3 back to back last time I upgraded and it wasn't a D300s that I took home...

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Re: WTF?

"I'm interested in the NEX-7 myself to replace my LX-3 and to partner my 1Ds II and I'd be interested to hear your reasons why the NEX7 is lacking."

- quality of lenses available (did you see how blurry the corners are on those samples?)

- range of lenses (focal lengths) available

- mirrorless design means you expose the sensor itself to the environment when changing lenses (common to all CSC's I'd say)

- EVF (fine for taking a few happy snaps, but you wouldn't want to spend an entire day shooting through it).

The sensor is the same as an SLR sure, and it is a little more compact (but far from what you'd call pocketable). For that money I could buy a mid-range SLR AND a good P&S to carry around when an SLR is too big/obtrusive.

Not saying its an awful camera, I just don't understand why you would opt for this camera at that price point given the alternatives.

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Re: WTF?

Perhaps its a personal preference thing but I can't see a rear screen as well as I can see through a view finder, and that's not just because I need my reading glasses to work properly with the rear screen. I've got a D300 and in lots of lighting situations I can't see enough on the rear screen to be able to compose properly let alone focus. On a sunny day there just isn't enough light coming out. Now I've never used one of these, so perhaps they've got a much brighter screen, but I've never seen any display on anything that can compete with sunlight and not blind you (except ePaper and that isn't going to work for a camera).

I've not replaced my late lamented Cannon S60 for the reason they've stopped giving a real viewfinder as an option on the new models.

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Beautiful camera

It looks like the kind of rangefinder design that professional photographers used to use in the days of film when Leica was the rangefinder of choice. It looks ideal for reportage and discreet shooting being smaller and easier to handle than a DSLR. Stunning design, I have to say.

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Had a play with one of these last week and it's a lovely piece of kit - a friend of mine swapped his m8 for a 7 and carried his lenses over with an adaptor - needless to say, the results are startlingly good.

This is not a DSLR replacement, it's a genre all of its own - the ability to highlight focus areas with old manual glass make it a lot of fun too - to the point that I've just sold my 40d to fund a 5n (can't quite run to a grand at the moment for a 7).

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Lenses

Truly a beautiful piece of kit, but sadly not a truly pocketable camera due to the huge lenses. The NEX lens range is sadly lacking in decent pancake prime lenses, unlike mirrorless systems from other camera makers (Samsung & m4/3)

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2 things were not mentioned - there are problems with wide angle lenses (leica, zeiss...) and also there's no way to have electronic level and histogram at once in the EVF - you need to cycle through view modes.

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WTF?

EVF vs LCD power

Battery has a life of 350 shots when shooting using the EVF and 430 when using the LCD.

The OLED viewfinder takes more juice than the bigger LCD screen? Something wrong there.

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There's a huge amount of snobbishness surrounding Sony cameras.

I have a Sony SLT-A35 and it blows my previous Lumix out of the water, and pisses on my brother's Canon 110D for image quality.

So, Sony aren't a traditional camera company with a long standing history of film camera manufacturer, but Minolta were a traditional camera company with a long standing history of film camera manufacture, and underneath the Sony housing beats the heart of a Minolta...

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I agree

I wouldn't change my Sony cameras for any other brand. The produce beautiful shots and I love the interface and usability on their DSLRs. Sure they could do with some improvement, but that applies to every maker out there.

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@Alan 6

Oh yes indeed - try joining a photography club with anything other than a Canon/Nikon DSLR and you're the village leper. It does help when it comes to avoiding the gearhead bores though.

I do miss Minolta though; pity they couldn't hack it in the DSLR world, despite having been one of the first out of the gate when it came to digital itself.

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MJI
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Sony and digital photography

This is an area I am unsure of.

I KNOW their sensors are good, but they are not really a photo company, I know their video cameras are good, but this looks like they are fighting the market against Nikon/Canon.

I am not knocking any companies here, but this isn't one of Sonys traditional markets.

So can I be enlightened please?

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Re: Sony and digital photography

Sony have made point & shoot cameras for a while, but they bought Minolta in 2005 I think, and from then on started to move into the DSLR market.

A huge number of cameras use Sony sensors (the iPhone 3s for instance, I think there's one in the iPhone 4 as well) and have done for years , and most CCTV cameras use them. So they know a lot about the most important part of the camera body.

Where they fall down is lenses, but this is where Minolta come in, but you don't need to use Sony optics, you can buy Tamron, Sigma and many other brands of lenses with Sony A mounts

http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/index.asp - Sony lens database

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For the "It's only a compact" guys

Yes, it's a compact, but the picture quality is right up there with the bulk of the prosumer DSLRs because it uses the same size sensor.

Also, the vast majority of people don't want the complexity & bulk of a DSLR, but they do want something that takes decent photos.

If you don't think they'll catch on read these two pages from a Guy who normally uses a Nikon D800 (with a 36mp full frame sensor)

http://www.stuckincustoms.com/sony-nex-7-review/

http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2012/01/04/dslrs-are-a-dying-breed-3rd-gen-cameras-are-the-future/

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