Some Initial NEX-7 Thoughts

I’ve had the camera in my hands for a few days now.  Here are some initial thoughts.

At first, I was a bit disappointed actually.  This is the camera everyone is going nuts for, I thought?!?  What’s so special?  It actually feels kind of odd in my hand, very solid, but very different too.  The lens is large, the body tiny.  Can this work?

Then there is the interface.  No, there is nothing wrong with it (in fact, compared to some it is quite excellent).  My problem is that it is almost identical to the one on the cheap Sony camcorder (which I just returned to Costco).  Not really “pro” friendly – just friendly.  Could this really be powerful enough for serious work?

As soon as I got it, I read the documentation I received from Sony over several times.  I made sure I knew where everything was and how everything worked.  The menus are quite extensive and you can only get so far on your own.  A quick read-through of the documentation is a must with this camera.

Then I started taking some pictures.  Very nice, very responsive.  Now the auto-focus is not the best in low-light, but it much better than most.  You will want large aperture lenses for this baby if you are going to need to shoot dark.  Alright I thought, time for a field trip.

I took the camera to Helix in Chicago, one of the better-known, large camera stores in the city.  They were running a special photo fair that weekend with reps from many camera companies (unfortunately not Sony).  Let’s see how the NEX-7 stands up.

At the event I played primarily with the Fuji X100 and the Leica M9.  Now, I have to tell you, while I love the images I’ve seen out of the Fuji, the NEX-7 was much, much better (for me at least).  The Sony seems much more solid in the hand, better balanced, faster in almost everything.  The Fuji was, well “twiddly” at best.

Then I moved on to the Leica.  Now I had experience with the M8.2, but not the 9, just never got on my radar.  It is one hell of a machine.  From the fit, finish, controls, everything says quality.  However, speed of the electronics (writing to the card), lack of high-ISO and other issues would prevent it from being anything more than a specialty camera.  Again, I would choose the NEX-7 over the Leica M9 for most tasks.

It is now one week away from my outing to Cuba.  I have played, poked and prodded the camera as much as I can.  My brief learning period is over and it is now time to take some serious shots.  Later today I will be getting the SEL55210 to try out as well as a Fotodiox lens adapter to try the camera with some third-party lenses (hopefully some extreme wides) as well.

If I am lucky I will have time before I leave to take some more serious shots and post them here, though the Chicago weather is currently conspiring against me on this one.

Stay tuned…


3 responses to “Some Initial NEX-7 Thoughts

  1. Excellent post. I ordered a Nex-7 in December and am still eagerly awaiting it. As a street shooter I have certainly run into the issues you describe with my hefty Nikon D300 and, worse, I actually got tennis elbow from carrying it in my right hand wherever I go and had to switch to carrying the camera in my left, which has thrown off my shooting rhythm. Before the D300 I was a long-time Minolta shooter so I’m eagerly awaiting the Nex and developing an even better new rhythm. Your article confirms my best hopes for the new gear.

  2. Hi Peter,
    Great to read your thoughts on this camera. I’m a pro photographer based in Ireland and was looking for a new camera for some street photography work. I was also seriously looking at the Fuji X-Pro 1 but the specs on the Nex 7 just looked so good and like you I prefered the IQ from the sony! Anyway your post really helped me make my decision (thank you) and after living with the Nex 7 for a week now I’m really happy with the camera. Just have the 18-55 Kit lens for now which is pretty decent for the bucks but really looking forward to seeing what this thing can do with a CZ24 attched! Have you tried the 24 yet?
    PS. Love the “Butterfly” shot superb!

    • The 24 Zeiss is one of the best bargains in lenses out there (imho). It is both incredibly sharp, close focusing, and fast focusing. Love that lens.

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