Sony NEX-7 first look camera review
What’s unique about the Sony NEX-7?
Perhaps the most exciting feature on the new NEX-7 camera is its revolutionary OLED viewfinder. By using OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology, Sony has been able to squeeze an electronic viewfinder into a remarkably slim camera body.
OLED technology allows for displays that are slimmer, brighter, and sharper than traditional LCD displays, and by using OLED for the NEX-7′s viewfinder, Sony has served up a treat. Using the camera, we were struck by how sharp and bright the viewfinder display was, even as you were panning across duller environments.
The viewfinder is comfortable to hold to your eye, and thanks to a small, if fiddly, diopter adjuster, you can set the focus on the viewfinder to suit your own vision.
You can enjoy a complete field of view with the viewfinder, allowing you to see exactly what’s being seen by the lens with no cropping. You can also preview picture settings on the viewfinder, just like you’d be able to on an LCD display.
Our first impressions? The viewfinder is a real winner, and we can’t wait to see more of this technology appearing on digital cameras. There’s no reason it needs to be limited to system cameras with interchangeable lenses – provided there’s space on the camera body, a viewfinder like this could just as easily work on a camera with a fixed lens.
What are the key features of the Sony NEX-7?
The NEX-7 has plenty going for it specs-wise. Boasting a colossal sensor resolution of 24.3Mp, the NEX-7 should be able to take shots with massive amounts of detail in case you’re looking to enlarge your images or crop and edit.
This is a high-end model designed for hands-on enthusiasts. There are two function dials on the top right of the camera – oddly, neither of them are marked in any way – which allow you to independently adjust the aperture and shutter speed settings.
You’re still forced to dip into the on-screen menu for some surprisingly simple functions, however – even to change from automatic mode to manual, or to shutter speed priority, you have to bring up the “virtual control dial” on-screen. Anyone familiar with using a DSLR or even a bridge camera might find this less than intuitive .
To access the Full HD video mode, there’s a dedicated access button on the rear of the camera, allowing you to start shooting straight away.
As well as featuring a hot-shoe to attach Sony flash guns, there’s a built-in flash which springs out enthusiastically from the top of the NEX-7. You can flip out and tilt the LCD screen to help when you’re holding the camera at an awkward angle.
There’s a price to pay…
Between the ample specs and the truly remarkable OLED viewfinder, the Sony NEX-7 certainly has a lot to offer. However, the price of the camera may prove something of a deterrent.
With a launch price of around £1,200 for the camera body alone, the NEX-7 will require some pretty deep pockets. This puts it on a price point with top-end consumer DSLRs like the Canon EOS 7D or Nikon D300S.
There are certainly plenty of top-of-the-line features to command a high price, but it’s a shame in a way to see exciting new technology like the OLED viewfinder immediately put out of reach of anyone who doesn’t have a grand to spare.
Fingers crossed Sony will find a way to reproduce this new viewfinder technology in cheaper models, or perhaps motivate some of their rivals to try and do the same.
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