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Sony Alpha NEX-7 Mirrorless Preview

We look at the top of the range NEX camera from Sony, the NEX-7, with electronic OLED viewfinder, customisable manual controls, is this the NEX system camera we've all been waiting for?

|  Sony NEX-7 in Mirrorless Cameras
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Sony NEX-7 Front

The NEX-7 is the first high-end NEX camera from Sony designed to give enthusiast photographers external access to their most favourite options and controls, as well as delivering the highest resolution sensor in a mirrorless camera, with a 24.3 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, and an extremely high resolution OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), Full HD video, and 10fps continuous shooting.

Sony NEX-7 Flash
Sony NEX-7 Flash

Sony NEX-7 Features

  • 24.3megapixel APS-C sensor (same as A65/A77)
  • World's fastest release time lag of 0.02sec
  • TRI-NAVI control system (3 dials rear)
  • High resolution XGA OLED Electronic Viewfinder, 2.359million dots
  • AVCHD Ver 2.0 Full HD video 60p, 24p, 50p, 25p, P/A/S/M
  • ISO100 to 16000
  • Auto-lock Accessory Shoe
  • 3.0inch wide, tiltable, 921k dot LCD monitor with TruBlack and LED backlighting
  • Magnesium Alloy Body
  • On screen spirit level
  • 25 focus points
  • 10fps shooting
Sony NEX-7 Screen Tilted

Sony NEX-7 Handling

The EVF OLED is the same as featured on the Sony Alpha A65 and A77, and an optional extra available for the NEX-5N. The large grip is improved with a more contoured grip for your hand and fingers, and the back of the camera has a large rubber grip. Next to the shutter release button is one of the navigation buttons, allowing you to quickly switch between customised modes.

Sony NEX-7 Back Screen

The back of the camera shows the additional buttons and controls compared to the other NEX cameras, as well as the built in electronic viewfinder, and pop up flash. The two unlabelled scroll wheels good stylish and are constructed from a single piece of metal.

Sony NEX-7 Back

The top of the camera shows the flash hot-shoe that is the same as Sony's Alpha range of SLT cameras, so the camera will support the same flash as other Sony cameras, as well as adapters for the standard hot shoe. The On / Off switch surrounds the shutter release button, and the electronic viewfinder, with OLED screen has a resolution of 2.359 million dots, and dioptre adjustment.

Sony NEX-7 Top

Shutter response is said to be the World's fastest, with a 0.02 second response, which the new Sony Alpha A65, A77, and NEX-5N all share.

Sony NEX-7 Performance

With the same 24.3mp sensor as the A65 / A77 we would expect the image quality aspects such as colour, noise, contrast, saturation, exposure, dynamic range, etc to be very similar or identical, however, what hasn't been tested (or seen yet), is how the camera's new sensor performs with the NEX E Mount lenses. Although we would expect that if you used the Alpha mount adapter, then image quality should be identical. As the NEX-7 was pre-production, and not available for testing, we were unable to evaluate image quality from the camera.

The NEX-7 will be available with the same kit lens as the NEX-3/5, the 18-55mm OSS, however it will come in a special black version to match the NEX-7 body colour. The Carl Zeiss f/1.8 24mm ZA T* lens is also available in black, and would be a good match for this camera.

Value For Money

The Sony NEX-7 with 18-55mm OSS black kit lens will be available for around £1000, and represents good value for money, considering the offer of such a high resolution sensor, high quality OLED EVF, high speed shooting, and premium quality body.

Sony NEX-7 Verdict

The NEX-7 is an exciting product that gives manual controls, dials, and buttons, on the camera. These are physical, real buttons, that you can press and feel. Even more than this they are customisable to give you the control you want. Without doubt this is the highest specification mirrorless camera available yet.

Sony NEX-7 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels24.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6000
Pixels (H)4000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921.600
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Multi
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • AB
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 16000
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-5
Viewfinder Resolution2,359,296
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS50p,50i,25p,60p,60i,24p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Wi-FiNo Data
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FW50
Battery Life (CIPA rating)335shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsSEL1855 E-mount 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens, NP-FW50 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, USB cable (Mini B), Lens cap, Shoulder strap, CD-ROM, BC-VW1 Battery Charger, Body Cleaning cloth

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Photographs taken using the Sony NEX-7

"Under The Bridge"Morning mist on Ullswater..the situation....AutumnEvening at the creekDid you see that?Two way betOrgan pipesLooking across the lava planes (Iceland)Old custom housecranesProfessional SmokerMilan Metro MusicA Lonely BreakfastD Day Remembrance Flight

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The big question for me that no one has been able to answer so far:

Can you configure the AF/MF button to act as auto focus when the camera is in Manual Focus Mode? Someone mentioned you can do this on the A77.
StrayCat 17 19.1k 3 Canada
Time will tell whether this high spec camera can compete with Olympus and Panasonic at almost twice the price. It's an interesting product.
RV 10 1
Two unlabelled scroll wheels and no mode dial? Isn't that special!
I think that the whole Nex system keeps beign bogged down by current E-mount lenses.
Diminutive cameras such as Nex3, Nex5 and the new Nex7 only make sense when attached to proportionately small objectives.
This is particularly true for Nex7 : it will cost more than several semi-pro DSRL. So why pay this price if the "jump" in portability is ... annihilated by E-lenses ? (not to mention Alpha lenses+ adaptors ..!).
The only "portable" E-lens currently available is the SEL 16mm. But it is certainly not the best 24mm- equivalent on earth. And it offers no zoom at all.
The 18-55 is bulky, and it does not provide the wide-angle most like to have (it should start at 16mm). All the others - even the fixed lenght ones - are even bulkier, and simply irride portability.
I therefore think the Nex7 (and all the "Nexes" for that matter) will only make sense once Sony will make available a "retractable" zoom-objective such as the new Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS pancake. Of course, for an APSc-sized sensor, the equivalent would be a 16-48 mm.
Until Sony manages to produce one, I will stick to my Nex5 with its 16mm. I am very UNhappy with this lens, but - at least - with it on my camera is so small it can be with me all the time on my tours, and it will take shots in poor light that no other portable camera can even approach ....
I find old Leica (or Soviet copies of) and other rangefinder lenses seem to work perfectly in manual mode with my NEX5, so that is what Sony need to focus on to keep the size down. Adapt rangefinder lenses to allow for autofocus. Then you would have the size and quality sorted.

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