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
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.
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Review: A Top-Notch Mirrorless Camera
Digital Camera Review
7 December 2011
Summary: The NEX-7 is the Sony interchangeable lens mirrorless for folks who'd like to shoot with a DSLR but don't want the size and weight penalties associated with that sort of platform. Just to make sure they didn't limit their audience, Sony included typical point-and-shoot features such as a smile shutter, face detection and registration, automatic and scene shooting modes.
Pros: Good image quality, Good video quality, Good shutter lag and AF acquisition time, Excellent viewfinder
Cons: Cost, Awkward playback regimen, Monitor/viewfinder interface can impact battery life
Summary: 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.
Summary: Until now the lack of proper manual controls and a built-in viewfinder compromised the suitability of NEX models as DSLR replacements, but the arrival of the NEX-7 changes all that.
The NEX-7's ultra high resolution OLED has 2.4 million pixels making it the highest resolution EVF on any compact system camera by a large measure. It's big, bright and the closest you'll get to optical viewfinder performance in a mirrorless camera.
Pros: Big, bright ultra high resolution EVF., 10fps burst mode., 1080p60/50 movie mode., PASM modes for movie shooting., Continuous AF in movie mode.
Cons: Bracketing limited to +/-0.3 or +/-0.7EV., Poor menu layout and organisation., Movie button easy to accidentally press., AF struggles in poor light., Limited selection of native E-mount lenses.
Summary: The mass-market appeal of compact system cameras is essential for the category to work. High sales drive down prices and allow development into improved operations and performance.
As photographers, however, we see compact system cameras from a different perspective. They offer a small creative solution, as a second camera or as a replacement for an old heavy camera bag.