Summary: In the middle ground between DSLRs and point-and-shoot lies a vast plain filled with all manner of tweener cameras, in all variants of shape, size, price, and quality. Until now, no one has nailed the whole package, but so far the smartest middle ground — smaller body and price, but without losing too much quality or manual control — has been Sony’s NEX line.
Pros: Excellent pictures and video, Fast performance, Very easy to use
Cons: Still doesn't have DSLR-level manual control, OLED viewfinder is mediocre, Lens ecosystem isn't as good as Nikon or Canon
Summary: Handheld Twilight and Auto High Dynamic Range combine several different exposures to create a better-exposed shot in challenging light. Like the rival Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Sony can shoot in 3D. Unlike the Olympus, the Sony NEX-7 has a built-in jack for an external microphone (the Olympus' costs $90 extra) and a pop-up flash (the Olympus comes with a small external flash).
Pros: Big-camera image quality in a small package, Exceptionally efficient control layout, Best-in-class panorama and HDR features
Cons: Disappointing lens selection, Video mode can overheat the camera, Not weather-sealed
Excerpt: The 24-megapixel APS-C sensor inside Sony’s NEX-7 produced the best stills and videos of the compact system cameras we tested this summer (2012), with details that held up even when we zoomed all the way in. The minimalist magnesium-alloy camera features an OLED viewfinder, articulated 3-inch LCD screen, and three customizable dials for configuring controls. That’s a good thing, because the cluttered onscreen menu is the one glaring flaw.
Pros: One of the most customizable models on the market. Sparkling 1080p video at 60 fps.
Cons: Software menu is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. Flimsy pop-up flash. At least $300 too expensive.
The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is the flagship of the company's NEX line of mirrorless system cameras.
30 March 2012
Conclusion: Prior to the NEX-7, every mirrorless camera was an exercise in compromise; smaller size meant a lack of deep control and diminished image quality. The NEX-7 manages to get rid of most of the tradeoffs, building off the design philosophy of earlier NEX cameras but squeezing in just about every piece of hardware you could ask for. That isn't to say that the NEX-7 is perfect.
Conclusion: Now comes the Sony NEX-7; the camera many of us wish had shipped first, instead of the NEX-5. The NEX-7 is a NEX body designed from the ground up for the enthusiast photographer. We understand Sony's deciding to wait on the NEX-7, though, until they could ship it with the incredible 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor and super-fast BIONZ processor it's built around.
Conclusion: This conclusion is hardly a surprise. If you’re looking for a camera that’ll last for years and has tons of options to help you grow as a photographer, buy the Sony alpha NEX-7. The NEX-7 is a winner and a clear Editor’s Choice. If you must have it now, you’ll pay a premium as Sony ramps up production. According to company execs, a lot of the demand should be satisfied in April/May. We’d wait and save so we could buy the NEX-7 with the Zeiss f/1.8 24mm prime lens.
Excerpt: Sony hopes to shift the tide in the war between micro four-thirds technology and mirrorless DSLRs with their newly announced NEX-7. Its 10.3 ounce, magnesium alloy body contains the same 24.3-megapixel Exmor APS HD sensor that has made Sony’s Alpha line of DSLRs the talk of the camera town.