Nex-7 and Firmware 1.01 – an end to UWA magenta cast?

Some of you may have seen my other blog post about the NEX-7 this week in which I finished by saying that I found too many niggles with it to want to use it. In particular I found the problems with WA lenses (magenta cast and soft/smeared corners) and the video button incredibly irritating. I also struggled with the 50mm F1.8 for NEX.

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Yesterday Sony issued a firmware update for the NEX-7 which amongst other things: (i) allowed for the video button to be locked; and (ii) improved image quality with wide angle lenses.

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I decided I would give the NEX-7 another go. First I wanted to see if the magenta cast and smearing were gone with WA lenses. Both were improved but there is still some corner smearing/softness. I should make it clear I haven’t tested the camera with WA legacy lenses, just the native 16mm and the 16mm + UWA converter.

Here is a picture of the Gherkin with firmware 1.00
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here is another picture with firmware 1.01
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Both of these are processed in Lightroom from RAW, as are the rest of these photos.

Predictably, the native e-mount lens is much improved in terms of magenta cast. It is a little soft in the corners but frankly it’s not too bad in the centre, particularly with the WA converter on.

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In addition to using the WA+converter I wanted to make sure I used the 50mm F1.8. I got much better results… It is slow to focus (similar but not as bad as the 60mm macro for x-mount) so I suspect the poor results I had last time were down to my usual “quick” street shooting technique combined with poor light and low shutter speeds.

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I suppose I should give some thoughts and conclusions. Well the camera still isn’t my cup of tea control wise but who cares when the results are this good? I haven’t really covered it in this review but it is a low ISO camera. In a very modern sense – the camera is fine up to ISO 800 and perfectly useable up to ISO 1600. Beyond that the IQ is a bit iffy or flat – that doesn’t bother me too much because I have other mirrorless cameras I can use at high ISOs but none of them produce the resolution at base ISO that the NEX-7 manages (I don’t include my M9 in this).

The 50mm F1.8 is a good lens but I would prefer it to be a little faster focusing.

In any event, Sony has definitely made some steps forward with this improvement in FW. I certainly have no desire to sell the camera, nor to replace the 7 with a NEX-6. I am keen to try the camera with the new 10-18mm UWA zoom.

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