A Review of the Sony NEX-7 with Doug Kaye

Doug Kaye and Frederick Van Johnson sit down to discuss the new Sony NEX-7 digital camera ($1,350 US). In this Google+ Hangout video, Doug shares his findings after testing the camera over several days.

Doug's findings:

The Sony NEX-7 is a winner. The 24MP APS-C sensor in a mirrorless body delivers great images. The electronic viewfinder works well.

Although the camera is highly configurable with most of the buttons, knobs and wheels being programmable, after four days of shooting with it using various setups, I think this is a camera that's best used in a mostly automatic mode.

The current selection of lenses is limited to just three, but the inexpensive 18-55mm kit lens is a good choice. The NEX-7 won't replace your DSLR, but it's a great second camera or one to take when you want to travel light.

Images copyright Doug Kaye
Image of the Sony NEX-7 courtesy Jesus Leon


  1. Good review, I am personally a Sony shooter and I work as a photojournalist. I use the Sony a77 that shares the same OLED viewfinder and my best advice on using it, is to expose by the histogram, do not use the regular meter at the bottom of the viewfinder. In my case the camera tries to underexpose the image, when on digital you should be shooting to the right of the histogram. The way I have my viewfinder set up is with the rule of thirds that I also use for leveling the shoot and I put the histogram at the corner. This way a never miss a good exposure on the pictures I take. And last but not least, always shoot on RAW.

  2. Good review – but one factual mistake that should be corrected. There are not hundreds of e-mount lenses – but there are more than three. Sony has 10 at the moment (
    https://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=8198552921644718503), and both Tamron and Sigma are coming out with lenses too.

    I shoot the A77 – same sensor and same OLED-viewfinder, but with a phase-detection AF (since it is a SLT not a mirrorless). So you get more of the speed (but of course also quite a bigger package).

    1. That is correct Adam, at the launch of NEX in 2010 the lens range was 3 consisting of the 16mm, 18-55mm and 18-200mm. That 18-200 was just replaced with a smaller version this week when the new NEX-F3 was announced. Also currently available is the 30mm Macro, 50mm f/1.8, 55-210mm and the stunning Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 (love that lens). Strictly speaking if you consider the new 18-200 replaces the old one that make 7 lenses plus the wide angle and fisheye adapters which work on the 16mm which are not strictly speaking actual lenses. That said, Sony officials here in South Africa mentioned there are 2 or 3 lenses possibly landing still this year. Also Sony have 2 adapters to use the Alpha lenses on NEX. The LA-EA2 actually houses a Translucent mirror.

  3. The viewfinder is not VGA (307k pixels) it’s XGA (2,359k pixels). It’s also more then adequate for use because it shows you exactly what the sensor is seeing. 

  4. the Nex 7 equals image quality of my D7000, at least for me. I use a small M adaptor and Voigtland or Zeiss ect. lenses, all fairly smallI     really like using manual focus   thanks for a good review. 

  5. All due respect, I have to say there are tons of inaccuracies in this review. As mentioned already by others, there are far more than 3 lenses available from Sony, not to mention the two highly touted lenses from Sigma (30mm 2.8, which I have and 19mm 2.8) and Tamron’s well-reviewed take on the 18-200. The EVF is not VGA and is leagues above anything out there. Read DPreview’s review. This is considered the best EVF on the market. The list price is 1199 body only and 1349 with the included black 18-55 kit lens (not $1500 unless you buy them separately for some inconceivable reason). As to the mention of this being a daylight camera, I’m not sure I follow. This camera excels in low light, especially as compared to anything of comparable size. Paired with the Sigma 30mm 2.8, I’ve used the camera to great results in many low light situations. I’ve even started using the camera as a backup on professional jobs and see little difference between it and my Nikon D7000. If you’re looking for daylight only, there are many, many cheaper options. Noise is slightly higher than the D7000, but easily taken out with a small bit of the luminance slider in Lightroom. Now I understand that Mr. Kaye only had the camera for a few days while I have owned the camera for two months, but this info is included in every product release or similar review. I’m a Nikon shooter for years and bought the NEX-7 as an easier carry around take anywhere camera that I could also use for more covert street photography. The camera has exceeded my expectations and I use it nearly every day. And the adapters are great when you pair it with the right lenses. I’ve used it to great success with my Nikon 10.5 Fisheye and 35 1.8G. Focus peaking works incredibly well. Finally, the EVF adds a whole other dimension to shooting in terms of image review. I LOVE being able to go through my images in the viewfinder and consider it to be one of the best features of the camera. When I go back to my Nikons, I find myself constantly looking to review my images in the viewfinder rather than on the LCD and really missing the feature. I think EVF’s will only get better and are the likely future of DSLR photography.

    1. I forgot to add that, in terms of shooting in Auto mode, which limits ISO to 1600, you’re really missing out. I love shooting manually with this camera and do so about 95 percent of the time. The tri-nav control system is great for that. If you prefer shooting the camera in Auto mode, you’d be wasting your money with the NEX-7 and much better off with the C3, F3 or 5N.

    2. Jeff, you’re spot on and I might add when using an adaptor with a lens that has an aperture ring like my Nikkor 50mm f1.4D it’s very fast and easy to adjust aperture and focus and I let the camera do the rest. This works especially great when shooting video. I might add the NEX-7 with the Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens is a killer low-light and walk-around combo. I love this camera.