Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sony NEX-7 Review: Initial Reactions

Cargo Net 1/125, f/4.5, ISO3200

Dogball 1/1600, f/7.1, ISO3200

Glisten 1/500, f/5.6, ISO800

Goldilocks 1/320, f/5.6, ISO200 (unprocessed only resized)

Understandably I caught heat for saying that the NEX-7 and X100 wouldn't stack up to my shooting.

So to give these cameras a fair shake, I dropped by Calumet and picked up a NEX-7 to see what all the fuss was about. It came with the standard 18-55mm kit lens and the minimal f/3.5-5.6 apertures. Lenswise, it's far from impressive.

The premise is that I'm using my shooting style to evaluate this camera. So you landscape, macro, nature, still-life, kids portraits, animal safari shooters can all back off. This review is obviously not for you.

I'm looking at this from the perspective of a fashion photographer that's looking for a good reason to use the NEX-7 as a side-shooter/backup.

I've had the camera for several hours. Shot a few pictures of my dog. So once again, this is a preliminary review. I'm going to talk about the things that stand out off the top of my head.

- Controls. Nice. 3 dials that allow me to manually control ISO, shutter, and aperture VERY easily. Win.

- Lens. Not bad for a kit lens. Surprisingly good-natured. Shallow DoF stuff sucks but otherwise, usable. 4/5.

- Dynamic Range. Dunno yet. I'll have to get these into my Lr after I'm done exporting these client JPEGs that have taken all afternoon.

- Blinking Blown Highlights. One of those little features that I surprisingly depend on every day. Yup it's got that.

- Memory Buffer. Ugh. I think it shoots 4 (RAW) before making me wait about 1.3 RAW/sec. Very ugly. Better than my Hasselblad. Much worse than the D3. So much for catching random action.

- Frame Rate. Fast enough. Dunno how fast. But fast enough.

- Smaller RAW file. No. Doesn't do that. I'd much rather have a 15MP RAW that would allow me to shoot 6-7 frames consecutively before making me wait.

- Focus point selection. A little more arduous than the typical dSLR system where you push a knob and the point just moves around. The NEX-7 forces you to push a focus button first before allowing you to change the autofocus point (assuming you're using point priority). Could be a problem as I start to push the camera for speed.

- Autofocus. So far I've been letting the camera decide with its face-recognition algorithms. Why? The first reason is the focus point selection issue that I just addressed. The second is because I wanted to see how "smart" those face-recognition algorithms are. So far it isn't that great with dogs. But it picked up the little statue of myself (gift from a wedding) on my desktop. Otherwise, the autofocus seems okay. Not terribly snappy but not dog slow. Usable. 3/5.

- ISO performance. I pushed up to 3200 and it's not as bad as I thought it'd be. I only reviewed on camera back though. Better than the 7D. Could be as good as the D3??? If downsized? Not sure. At least I'm not disappointed.

- Video. Worried about the AVCHD codec making it difficult to work with in Final Cut. Ugh.

Have a look at the sample images shot today. The grainy ones were exported 1:1 so you can see the ISO performance at 3200. Overall I think it's an interesting piece of equipment and if it pushes me to "see" things differently in any shape, way, or form then I'm keeping it. If not, then back to Calumet it goes.

1 comment:

  1. Just check out your buddy Kesler's work on any given day..that camera rocks for anything under ISO 800 IMO. Keeping mine and sold the Xpro1.