Mine arrived yesterday - I hadn't realised there were any in the UK but WEX had a batch, which apparently was not extinguished by pre-orders like mine but sold out within hours afterwards.
First observations. I was surprised to find the EVF was much less distinct than I had remembered from a brief trial on the A77 but put this down to poor light as the cameraarrived late afternoon. It eventually dawned on me to adjust the dioptre (the wheel is hidden beneath the VF cowl, which needs removing to effect this). Big improvement
The soft buttons on the immediate right of the LCD sit flush with the body, unlike those on the NEX-5 which are slightly proud to it. This is an irritant because they are hard to find by touch if one's eye is up to the EVF. Since I expect to usethis camera mainly with legacy MF lenses this is a bore becausethe lower button is, by default, assigned to MF Assist. However, there is a workaround. The switchable AEL / AF-MF button can, in the latter mode, be assigned to a toggled MF Assist and this can easily be found by touch and works well. Since AF /MF can also be toggled by using the DMF function there is no problem leaving this assignment in place even when using dedicated E-mount AF lenses.
Shooting in Raw, I have never bothered with Creative Style Settings - indeed I wasnt even aware they could be used because Raw is Raw after all. However, on the NEX-7, and I presume other cameras with an EVF, it is possible to impose these in the viewfinder although once in LR or whatever they will immediately revert to pure Raw. So little point perhaps, except if like me you enjoy taking portraits and converting these to monochrome it is quite useful to get a prior sense of how the lighting conditions are working by pre-setting the B&W style and also adjusting contrast using the Navigation button and the L and R navigation wheels. Very handy.
No chance to test IQ in the field yet but I shall revert unless othersbeat me to it.
Thanks, Doctor, and a HNY to you and everyone else on this forum too
Just been out for a trial run. Ergonomics are better than the NEX5 and the handgrip is just right. The included pop-up flash has obviated the need for flash control, which is all too easy to bring up on the NEX5, situated as it is there on the right side of the control wheel. EV adjustment on the NEX 7 can be made from either the right upper control wheel or the lower part of the rear dial. This seems unnecessary duplication and it is all too easy to flick it on in either place. It can now be locked, on either the rear dial alone or on all three, but this fixes exposure too so aperture adjustment on manual lenses does not change shutter speed. I should have preferred it if Sony had removed the function from the rear dial and switched it from the right control wheel to the left, where it is less likely to be triggered unknowingly. Unfortunately it is not presently possible to customise this but a firmware update might permit it. I am delighted by tbe discretion of this little beast. The shutter sound is little more than a single click and it attracts no unwelcome attention in the street.
Last edited by artington on Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OK, here are some illustrative shots, taken for demonstration alone. In each case the lens is a Minolta CLE 40/2 attached with a Metabones LM-E adapter. All at F4, ISO400. Conditions, as you can tell were dull and overcast. There has been no post processing. I have appended 100% (approx) crops to show detail. The first of the series, the pub sign on a white wall clearly shows magenta banding to the right and in the right corner. I cannot say I notice it in the others. It is easily removed in Cornerfix should I wish.
File comment: Pub sign
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File comment: 100%
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File comment: Cottage
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File comment: 100%
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Last edited by artington on Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
I've had a chance to do a bit more experimenting with this great little camera. As I mentioned before, it is all too easy to rotate accidentally the right control dial, which by default is set to EV adjustment in the first navigation position. In practice this always means increasing exposure and it is only once you go above +1 EV that this begins to become obvious in the EVF. All this can of course be sorted in LR but it would be nice if the wheel either had a firmer detent or the EV adjustment was moved to the left of the two upper control dials. Another small issue is that it is quite easy to start recording movies if you have medium (like me) or large sized hands as the record button sits right where the palm rests on the handgrip. Another irritant is that the maximum bracketing is three images of plus or minus 0.7EV. This is quite tight and certainly insufficient for hand held HDR imaging. Of course, using a tripod you can have as many images as you like within a latitude of plus or minus 5 EV. One final observation is that when using manual focus on adapted lenses it worth noting that, in my experience, the camera will focus beyond infinity. I never really noticed this with the NEX-5 because by and large I don't take infinity shots on less than about F8 if light permits so DOF largely hid the effect. However, even on F4, one has to focus pretty accurately to ensure that distant objects, if so desired, are in focus , which they may very well not be when the lens is set at infinity. I have now tested this with several legacy lenses using several top notch adapters (Voigtlander, Metabones and LA-EA1) with similar results. I imagine that an element of this comes from the need in producing adapters to ensure that lenses do not under-focus at infinity. That said, focusing with magnified MF Assist is quick and easy, particularly if this function is assigned to the AF/MF switch button. Indeed, one of the beauties of this system is that it completely removes the risk of focus shift which is so often a blight when using fast lenses in rangefinder cameras.
If all this seems a bit negative it is not meant to be. All cameras have their idiosynchrasies which need to be learned. Indeed, I have found the NEX-7 to be a delight to use. It is small and, like its forebears can use excellent manual legacy lenses, which are generally of much higher quality than today's digital zoom utility lenses. (Yes there are drawbacks like lens cast, which I have mentioned in an earlier post, but this is only really an issue with wide-angle symmetrical build lenses like the VMs and ZM Biogons. Fuji may be leading the way with its new small lenses, with manual focus and aperture rings, but these are for APS-C only so we may have to wait a while for small Zeiss type lenses to be produced with digital sensors rather than film in mind). I am delighted with image quality, which is of a very high order, at least at ISOs of 400 or below, which is where I usually shoot. Even at 1600 I have not found noise to be a problem worth getting exercised about but others may differ on this. It has ro be said though that, at least on this ZM lens, CA can be a problem with backlit trees.
I am including here (it may take two posts because of photo download restrictions) two sets of four photographs taken today using a Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm F1.5,. I forget apertures but generally around 4 to 5.6. In each case the first is as taken while the second is a 200% crop. I have chosen the photos to show how manual focus can isolate which areas are to be in focus. I suspect that the first, of the bird sanctuary, would have been impossible to take with AF becaue the camera would have focused on the tree branches in the foreground. The C-Sonnar is a notorious lens for focus shift on rangefinders but on the NEX-7 it is an absolute delight to use although, as designed, the centres are razor sharp while the corners are soft. I love the lens for its warm rendition and great contrast, which can produce an almost 3-D effect, and it is a delight to use with smooth focus action and nicely detented aperture ring. I have a feeling this one will be staying on the NEX and the equivalent 75mm focal length is actually rather useful I think.
File comment: Bird sanctuary
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File comment: Bird sanctuary 200% crop
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File comment: Crow on fence
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File comment: Crow on fence 200% crop
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Last edited by artington on Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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