I had intended to take the NEX-7 to somewhere spectacular at lunchtime, to finish my rediscovery of it, but it has bucketed down with rain all day in London today. As close as I could get was the two classic cars parked over the road from my office (which were advertising a classic car rental agency). I like them a lot in any event!
Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0
Mercedes 280 SL
All taken with the NEX-7 and 24mm
So I’ve spent the week using the NEX-7 as my sole camera. My thoughts – I can’t believe this has been sat in a drawer! The image quality is spectacular if at low ISO and processed from RAW. It really is almost as good IQ wise as my old A900.
I am a B&W guy and I almost always like the colour shots… What’s going on? It isn’t perfect though, of course. I love the IQ, but I’m not so keen on the camera controls (particularly the lack of a mode dial, the menus and the confusing nature of the soft controls). I like the tri-navi dials but I wish they had separated them somehow, the DSLR arrangement of front wheel and back wheel would have been better for me. Having said that, the tri-navi dials, though perhaps less fun than some conventional controls, allow for greater precision than I had first realised. Also, while I love the results on buildings, cars, scenery etc, I do prefer the results from the X-Pro1 when it comes to shooting people.
My perfect camera would probably be this sensor in the body of an X100 – I love retro manual controls. That said, as a work of design I think it looks good, and the NEX range is at least an interesting design alternative to the hoards of retro look cameras out there today. I will say honestly that I’ve order a Panny GH3 mainly for video, but partly because the DSLR shape is beginning to look fresh and new to me…
I don’t miss the high ISO performance, I have other cameras that can do that. As a counterpoint to some views expressed in internet reviews, I think it would be a pity if they abandoned this sensor. Not everyone needs crazy ISO performance.
This is the most obvious point I’ll make but Sony really needs to pull out the stops on the lens front. The 50 is better than I first thought, but it isn’t so fast to focus. The 16mm pancake is cheap and cheerful and the corner performance is iffy but I really enjoy using it with the UWA converter. The 24mm is great. I had originally thought it was a “bokeh” lens and was disappointed. It isn’t – it’s more of a critically sharp masterpiece.
I do think that having used the 35mm F1.4 for the X mount, that the NEX system needs a similar lens. It would probably be big but, I suspect it would sell like hot cakes.
So what next for the NEX-7? Well I’ve ordered the UWA zoom. I suspect I could get some extremely good results with the NEX-7 as a landscape camera. I do have the Panny 7-14 for M43s which is crazy sharp, but it is limited by the resolution of those sensors (and does have bad flare issues). The UWA for NEX takes filters, which is hugely important. I suspect I will put the 16 out to pasture when I get the UWA but let’s see…