The NEX-7 is Sony's answer to the need for a high-end Compact System Camera. But with the Alpha A77 at a close price point is this shrunken-down CSC all its cracked up to be? The WDC Sony NEX-7 review takes a look...
Value & Verdict
Sony NEX-7 review – Value
Consider NEX-7’s bigger brother SLT, the Alpha A77, and there’s little the separate the two models in terms of features. The SLT will set you back some £1150 body-only (it’s £1669 with the 16-50mm lens) while the NEX-7 demands a pricey £1049 without a lens (£1129 with the 18-55mm). The A77’s extra £100 outlay does give you a better focusing system, continuous autofocus in burst mode and a weather-sealed body so, despite it being a very different model in a very different category, it’s hard to not be tempted by the A77’s features.
The NEX-7 is the first CSC to retail for in excess of a thousand pounds. Yet it isn’t comparable to any of the lower-spec CSCs out there. For the time being the NEX-7 is a proposition like no other and, save for a few design misgivings, there’s plenty here for the cash.
Sony NEX-7 review – Verdict
The NEX7’s design is an interesting mix: we’re keen on the variety of controls, yet the ongoing lack of a mode dial and awkward placement of some controls does let the overall design down. Yet with customisation available to a range of buttons it’s easier to command this NEX than any other model in the series – and that can only be a good thing.
The OLED electronic viewfinder, as pulled from the Alpha A77, is a superb piece of kit and the very best you could hope to have for a Compact System Camera. However, it does milk battery life (which already isn’t all too good at 335 shots per charge).
Image quality is good, yet the ultra-high-resolution sensor does have its limits at higher ISO settings and wideangle lenses have issues with corner sharpness and distortion. This can be remedied with the use of more premium lenses, but there’s a general lack of those available at the moment. Indeed the NEX-7’s 18-55mm lens is the same standard as found boxed up with the rest of the NEX range (excluding, of course, the NEX-7’s black paint job).
With high expectations the NEX-7 succeeds on many levels, but with the CSC market highly competitive this high-priced model does also finds its limitations where focusing and design are concerned. Saying that, the NEX-7 is an impressive mix of features, high-resolution image quality and excellent 1080p movie mode. For some it’ll be the perfect camera, though with an ‘indefinite delay’ due to production problems you may want to get those pre-orders in to be among the first to own one…