We have to admit that our eyebrows raised a tad when we heard that Sony were releasing their Sony NEX-7 compact dSLR sporting a frankly ludicrous-sounding 24MP sensor.
Respected photo site, The Luminous Landscape, managed to get one of just seven pre-production samples released to reviewers, and their first impressions have proved to be very, very enthusiastic indeed. It looks like Sony have a real winner on their hands!
Although there were a few features not yet fully operational (the camera won’t be released until early November), the superlatives came thick and fast for the diminutive snapper.
The ergonomics came in for particular high praise, with the reviewer lavishing the love on Sony’s new TRI-NAVI system, which adds two programmable control dials and a rear panel control wheel offering a “very high level of functionality”:
Indeed it challenges virtually every other small camera on the market when it comes to the ability for the photographer to get the camera operating in a smooth and intuitive manner.
Top notch EVF and LCD
Electronic Viewfinders (EVFs) are usually very poor relations to real optical viewfinders, but Sony’s brand-new 2.4 million picture element OLED viewfinder looks to change all that, and with the rear tiltable LCD being one of Sony’s Xtra Fine 922k super-sharp numbers, users will be getting one of the best currently available.
The camera comes packed with a slew of Sony innovations, including handy Anti-Motion Blur and Hand-Held Twilight Modes which can speedily capture six separate exposures and merge them to reduce noise in low light shots.
There’s also an Auto HDR mode that can auto-bracket three frames, but this can only can do so with a disappointing maximum of a .7EV exposure shift – hopefully this will be increased before the camera ships.
[Sample pic courtesy of Luminous Landscape]
The reviewer notes that the NEX-7 came with a very low shutter lag – “as fast as anything else on the market and a lot faster than most” – with the 25 Point AF with focus tracking and face recognition up there with the best too.
The camera’s noise performance at ISO 100 to 400 was found to be “excellent,” “very good” at 800 ISO with some luminance noise only becoming visible at 1600 upwards.
Full HD video
Sony have pulled out the stops on the video too, with the camera supporting full 1920X1080 HD video at 60fps and 24fps, backed by full manual control of shutter speed and aperture, plus continuous autofocus.
‘Tis a lovely thing
Of course, camera’s aren’t just about cold specs, and the reviewer reported that he wasn’t alone in finding the new NEX-7 to be a desirable thing in itself, eliciting the same kind of enthusiasm for its style, finish and design aesthetic as others have felt for the delightful-but-flawed Fuji X100.
After reading the conclusion to this early hands on review, we have to say that we’re more than interested in checking out this new Sony wonder-camera. Feel the love!
One really has to ask – what’s not to like? At under US $1,200 for a 24MP camera, even the price is attractive. I predict that the NEX-7 will be one of the hottest cameras of the coming year, and is going to really put other camera maker’s feet to the fire when it comes to offering an attractive mix of image quality, features, size, build quality and price.
Sony clearly made a decision to make the NEX-7 as full featured as possible, not holding back any of their available features or technology. With many camera makers creating market segmentation by artificially restricting features to certain price points, Sony is to be commended for pulling out all the stops for the NEX-7 and keeping the price as reasonable as it did given the camera’s wide ranging features and capabilities.
Key technical specifications
|General||Camera type||Interchangeable lens digital camera with built-in flash|
|Lens compatibility||Sony E-mount lenses|
|Image sensor||Type||APS-C type (23.5 x 15.6mm), “Exmor” APS HD CMOS sensor with primary color filters|
|Number of pixels||Approx. 24.3 megapixels (effective),
Approx. 24.7 megapixels (total)
|Image sensor aspect ratio||3:2|
|Anti-dust system||Charge protection coating on optical filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism|
|Recording system (still image)||Recording format||JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format), 3D MPO (MPF Extended compliant)|
|Image size (pixels)3:2||L: 6000 x 4000 (24M), M: 4240×2832 (12M),S: 3008 x 2000 (6M)|
|Image size (pixels)16:9||L: 6000 x 3376 (20M), M: 4240 x 2400 (10M), S: 3008 x 1688 (5.1M)|
|Image size (pixels) Sweep Panorama||Wide: horizontal 12416 x 1856 (23M), vertical 5536 x 2160 (12M), standard: horizontal 8192 x 1856 (15M), vertical 3872 x 2160 (8.4M)|
|Image size (pixels)3D Sweep Panorama||Wide: 7152 x 1080 (7.7M), Standard: 4912 x 1080 (5.3M), 16:9: 1920 x 1080 (2.1M)|
|Image quality modes||RAW, RAW & JPEG, JPEG Fine , JPEG Standard|
|Picture Effect||11 types (15 variations): Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R, G, B, Y), High Contrast Mono, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Mono, Miniature|
|Creative Style||Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, B/W, Sepia (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness(-3 to +3 steps))|
|Dynamic range functions||Off, Dynamic Range Optimizer (Auto/Level), Auto High Dynamic Range: Off, Auto Exposure Difference, Exposure difference Level (1.0-6.0EV, 1.0EV step)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Recording system (movie)||Recording format||AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) / MP4|
|Video compression||MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)|
|Audio recording format||Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC|
|NTSC||AVCHD Ver. 2.0, average bit rate||1920 x 108060p: 28Mbps (PS),60i: 24Mbps (FX), 17Mbps (FH)24p: 24Mbps (FX), 17Mbps (FH)|
|MP4 , average bit rate||1440 x 1080 (12Mbps),VGA (3Mbps)|
|PAL||AVCHD Ver. 2.0, average bit rate||1920 x 108050p: 28Mbps (PS),50i: 24Mbps (FX), 17Mbps (FH)25p: 24Mbps (FX), 17Mbps (FH)|
|MP4 , average bit rate||1440 x 1080 12MbpsVGA 3Mbps|
|Media||“Memory Stick PRO Duo” , “Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo”, SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card|
|Noise reduction||Long exposure NR: On/Off selectable, available of shutter speeds longer than 1 sec.High ISO NR: High/Normal/Low selectable|
|White balance||Modes||Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, C.Tem<2500 to 9900K>, C.Filter<G7 to M7/A7 to B7>, Custom|
|WB fine adjustment||G7 to M7, 15-step / A7 to B7, 15-step|
|Focus system||Type||Contrast-detection AF|
|Focus point||25 points|
|Sensitivity range||EV0 to EV20 (at ISO100 equivalent with F2.8 lens attached)|
|Focus mode||Autofocus, DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Manual Focus|
|AF mode||AF-S: Single-shot AF, AF-C: Continuous AF|
|Focus area||Multi Point (25 points) / Center-weighted / Flexible Spot selectable|
|Other features||Tracking focus , Predictive control, Eye-Start AF (with LA-EA2), Focus lock|
|AF illuminator||Built-in LED, Range: Approx. 0.5m – Approx. 3.0m (E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS)|
|Exposure control||Metering type||1200-zone evaluative metering|
|Metering sensor||“Exmor” APS HD CMOS sensor|
|Metering sensitivity||EV0 to EV20 (at ISO100 equivalent with F2.8 lens attached)|
|Modes||Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Exposure modes||iAUTO, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Scene Selection|
|Scene selection||Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports action, Sunset, Night portrait, Night view, Hand-held Twilight|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 5EV (in 0.3EV steps)|
|Bracketing||3 continuous exposures in 0.3 or 0.7 EV steps|
|AE lock||AE is locked when focus is locked in multi-segment metering mode. AE lock button|
|ISO sensitivity (Recommended Exposure Index)||ISO100-16000、AUTO (ISO100-1600)|
|Viewfinder||Type||1.3 cm (0.5 type) Electronic viewfinder|
|Number of dots||2359296 dots|
|Brightness control||Auto, Manual (3 steps between -1 and +1)|
|Field coverage||Approx. 100%|
|Magnification||Approx. 1.09x with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1|
|Diopter adjustment||-4m-1 - +1.0m-1 (diopter)|
|Eye point||Approximately 23mm from the eyepiece, 21mm from the eyepiece frame at -1m-1|
|Display Contents||Disp. Basic Info, Level, Histogram|
|LCD Monitor||Type||7.5cm (3.0-type) wide type TFT (Xtra Fine LCD with TruBlack technology)|
|Number of dots (total)||921,600 dots|
|Brightness control||Auto, Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2)Sunny Weather mode|
|Field coverage||Approx. 100%|
|Adjustable angle||Up by approx. 90 degrees, Down by approx. 45 degrees|
|Display||Graphic Display, Display All Info, Big Font Size Disp, No Disp. Info, Live View Priority, Level, Histogram, For viewfinder|
|Real-time image-adjustment display||ON/OFF|
|Focus check||MF assist (5.9x, 11.7x), Peaking (Level setting: High/Mid/Low/Off, Color: White/Red/Yellow)|
|Face detection||Modes||On/On (Regist. Faces)/OffFace registration, Face selection; Max. number of detectable faces 8|
|Other features||Smile shutter (selectable from 3 steps), Shooting Tips, Help guide|
|Digital zoom||Precision digital zoom, 1.1x-10x|
|Shutter||Type||Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type|
|Shutter speed||1/4000 to 30 sec, bulb|
|Flash sync. speed||1/160 sec.|
|Electronic front shutter curtain||Yes (ON/OFF)|
|SteadyShot INSIDE (image stabilization)||Type||Not supported (image stabilization supported on lens)|
|Guide No.||6 (in meters at ISO 100 equivalent)|
|Flash coverage||18mm (focal-length printed on the lens body)|
|Flash compensation||+/- 3EV in 0.3 EV steps|
|Flash modes||Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync.|
|Recycling time||Approx. 4 sec|
|External flash||Compatible with Auto-lock Accessory shoe|
|Wireless control||Supported on External flash|
|Drive||Drive modes||Single-shot, Continuous shooting, Speed priority continuous shooting, Self-timer (10/2 sec delay selectable), Self-timer (Cont.) (with 10 sec delay 3/5 exposures selectable), Bracketing, Remote Cdr (with separately sold remote commander RMT-DSLR1)|
|Speed (max., approx.)||10fps in Speed priority continuous shooting,3fps in standard continuous shooting*Varies depending on shooting conditions and memory cards|
|No. of frame recordable (approx.)||Fine: 10 frames, Standard: 10 frames, RAW: 6 frames, RAW & JPG: 4 frames*Varies depending on shooting conditions and memory cards|
|Playback||Single (with or without shooting information RGB histogram & highlight/shadow warning), 6/12-frame index view, Enlarged display mode (L: 11.8x, M: 8.8x, S: 6x, Enlarged display mode (L: 16.7x, M: 11.8x, S: 8.3x, Panorama (Standard): 25.6x, Panorama (Wide): 38.8x), Auto Review (10/5/2 sec, Off) ,Image orientation (On/Off selectable), Slideshow, Panorama scrolling, Folder selection (Still), Forward/Rewind (movie), Delete, Protect|
|Interface||PC interface||Hi-speed USB (USB2.0): Mass-storage, MTP|
|HD output||HDMI mini connector (Type-C) , BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD|
|Auto-lock Accessory shoe||Yes|
|Compatible OS (USB connection)||Windows XP* SP3, Windows Vista** SP2 , Windows 7 SP1, Mac OS X (v10.3-v10.6)*64-bit edition and starter edition not supported.**Starter edition not supported.|
|Audio||Microphone||Built-in stereo microphone or ECM-SST1 (optional）|
|Speaker||Built-in, monaural, Volume settings in 8 steps between 0 and 7|
|Compatible standards||Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, DPOF setting|
|Custom function||Custom key settings||Available|
|Power||Battery||One rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50|
|Still images||Viewfinder :Approx. 350 imagesLCD Monitor :Approx. 430 images（CIPA standard）|
|Movies||Approx. 29 min., MP4 format movie for up to Approx. 2 GB.|
|External power||AC Adaptor AC-PW20 (optional)|
|Weight||With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo included||Approx. 350 g
Approx. 12.3 oz
|Body only||Approx. 291 g
Approx. 10.3 oz
|Dimensions||mm (W x H x D) excluding protrusions||Approx. 119.9mm x 69.9mm x 42.6mm
Approx. 4 3/4 ×2 3/4 ×1 11/16 in.
|Minimum thickness mm||Approx. 25.3mm / Approx. 1 in.
(without grip and mount)
|Operating Temperature||Operating temperature||32 – 104 degrees F / 0 – 40 degrees C|
Sony Press Release
Sony introduces the NEX-7: all-in-one compact interchangeable lens camera with 24.3 megapixel resolution
Supreme imaging plus pro performance and handling coupled with creative options
24.3 effective megapixels Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
Quick, responsive autofocus and world’s fastest (0.02 sec) release time lag
Quick, versatile new TRINAVI control
High-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ and built-in flash
Full HD Movie with 50p/25p, manual focus, full P/A/S/M exposure control and improved audio
10fps continuous shooting (Speed priority mode)
Sony takes pro-quality imaging and creative options to new extremes with the easy to use α NEX-7. Styled in magnesium alloy for strength and premium looks, the NEX-7 weighs a travel-friendly approx. 291g (camera body only).
The NEX-7 features a newly-developed Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution that’s teamed with the latest revision of Sony’s BIONZ image processing engine.
This unique combination of sensor and processor assures ultra-rapid shooting responses, plus flawless image quality with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video. Extending from ISO 100-16000, the ultra-high sensitivity range makes it easy to capture clean, low-noise images in dimly lit interiors or at dusk.
Responses are accelerated further by a shutter release lag of just 0.02 seconds – the fastest of any interchangeable lens digital camera in the world. Quick, precise AF is enhanced by new Object Tracking that keeps accurate focus lock on a selected target, even when it’s moving in the frame.
The NEX-7 offers quick, easy control over creative settings via an intuitive new TRINAVI control. Two control dials on the top of the camera are complemented by a control wheel. Pushing the navigation button cycles quickly through various shooting modes, allowing enthusiasts to make custom adjustments and control images with the flexibility of a DSLR camera.
The NEX-7 is also the world’s first compact camera that features an XGA OLED TruFinder™ for precision framing and focusing. This precision electronic viewfinder gives a bright, detail-packed, high contrast view of still images and video, with approximately 100% frame coverage and a wide field of view to rival pro-grade optical viewfinders. On-screen grid lines and a level gauge can be displayed to assist with accurate framing.
The XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ is complemented by a 7.5 cm (3.0”) Xtra Fine LCD that can be angled up to 90° up or 45º down for easy viewing in any shooting position. TruBlack technology assures superb detail and contrast with dramatically reduces on-screen reflections.
At the touch of a button, the NEX-7 shoots smooth AVCHD Full HD movies with high-quality stereo sound. Support for the new AVCHD Progressive (Ver. 2.0)* format also allows users to select 50p or 25p frame rates for beautifully smooth, detailed video footage. As with stills shooting, Object Tracking allows a target object to be selected for accurate tracking AF, even when the subject is moving.
Manual focus is now possible during video shooting. Enthusiasts can also enjoy full control over creating the perfect video image with Programme, Aperture/Shutter Priority and all-Manual modes (PASM). Stereo audio quality is improved, with revised circuitry that lowers noise levels, especially when shooting quiet scenes.
In speed priority mode, the NEX-7 captures fast-moving action at up to 10fps – the world’s fastest burst shooting speed of any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.
First introduced on the NEX-C3, Picture Effect simplifies the production of sophisticated artistic effects ‘in camera’, with no PC or post-processing needed. There are now 11 modes and 15 effects, including new HDR Painting, Soft Focus, Miniature and Rich-Tone Mono. A generous palette of other artistic imaging functions includes 3D Sweep Panorama, Soft Skin, Auto HDR, Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur Modes.
The NEX-7 introduces an Auto-lock Accessory Shoe, a first for E-mount cameras. Widening opportunities for advanced shooting applications, the shoe supports accessories including HVL-F58AM, F43AM and F20AM Flash, the HVL-MT24AM Macro Twin Flash Kit and CLM-V55 Clip-on LCD Monitor.
Lenses and accessories
The world’s first mount adaptor with built-in Translucent Mirror Technology™, the optional Mount Adaptor LA-EA2 allows phase-detection AF with almost all of the A-mount lenses for both still image and video shooting.
The LCS-ELC7 Soft Carrying Case combines a closely-fitting body case and lens jacket in genuine leather to protect camera body and lens from scratches and dust, is released exclusively for NEX-7. It’s complemented by the STP-XH70 shoulder strap in the same material.
The α NEX-7 ultra-compact interchangeable lens digital camera by Sony is available from November 2011.