Great Things in Small Packages, the Sony NEX-7

Perhaps one of the most common questions I receive is about the kind of camera gear that I use for my style of photography.  Truth be told, I’m quite the gadget geek if you weren’t already aware. That being said, my philosophy towards photography is still rather straightforward – “don’t fear your gear(s)”. It is merely but a tool that can enable. Whilst modern cameras have cutting-edge features to help you shoot better, it certainly won’t make you a better photographer overnight. Experience, creativity and sound rudimentary knowledge on the other hand can define the ability of a shooter. As a commercial photographer I welcome advancements in the portability of photographic equipment. It’s certainly a relief for these weary shoulders lugging around large gear.

NEX-7 with Zeiss 24mm F1.8

The Sony NEX-7 is most certainly a step forward towards the future. As of this blog entry, it is by far the most advanced EVIL(electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens) device available in the market. There is honestly nothing quite like it right now with the competition. That’s how good it is. Packing a large sensor with a proven 24-megapixel resolution, it is in essence an enormously feature-packed studio camera that can produce commercial-grade prints. Sony’s experience with the full-frame A900(which I use frequently for my commercial work) has translated to a miniaturized version of it’s big brother. Not an equal by any means but close enough to make you wonder what’s up Sony’s sleeve next.

NEX-7 vs A900

Pictured above is the full-frame A900 compared to the cropped-sensor NEX-7. Both with 24-megapixel capabilities. Having used an NEX-5 extensively before this upgrade, the NEX-7 proves to be a serious performer. Although significantly larger than the NEX-5, the 7 feels surprisingly perfect in my hands. The grip makes more sense, as do the two large manual dials that allows you to control the aperture and shutter speeds directly. The optical OLED viewfinder as amazing as it is(you’ll need to experience it), turned out to be more redundant than I thought it would be. The brilliant adjustable LCD makes composition so intuitive that I find myself routinely shooting objects at waist-level. The build quality is incredible. It feels amazingly-well put together with a fit and finish I often show to my peers. Right next to my Ricoh GR Digital III, it is positively remarkable. It feels good in your hands.

NEX-7 vs A900

The photo below shows you just how compact the system is paired with the exceptional Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA. The Zeiss lens itself is so well-built despite it’s compact dimensions that I often find myself fiddling with it in between shoots. One factor to point out is that although the user interface on the NEX isn’t perfect, it is still by far the most preferable. Most of the user interface on the other systems I have tested feels like it was built for newbie photographers. And irritatingly so I might add. The NEX menu is something that can be appreciated over time.

NEX-7 Size Comparison

Exemplary. It has the same fit and finish including the attention to detail you get on an Apple Inc. product.

NEX-7 with Zeiss 24mm F1.8

Paired with my SAL 70-200mm f/2.8 APO G(D) SSM and juxtaposed against the A900, you can certainly appreciate the size reduction…

NEX-7 with SAL 70-200 F2.8 SSM/A900

And with the Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 SSM G, the NEX-7 looks like a lens cap no-less. Both tele-zooms require an adaptor to work with the NEX-7 as with all Alpha lenses.

NEX-7 with SAL 70-400 SSM

Here is the NEX-7 with my personal favorite daily lens combination, the understated Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS DT lens.

Sony NEX-7

So there’s my thoughts on a camera that I use almost daily to capture behind-the-scenes work and for selected studio production-grade materials. Hope you enjoyed it! ;-)

Note: I am not sponsored by Sony Corporation nor is this a paid endorsement. Although I have worked with them on a number of workshops and conferences as a speaker where these sessions are credited towards product-in-kind, the bulk of my equipment have been personally purchased for my own production work.


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