Sony Alpha NEX-7 review

Price when reviewed

Performance was generally excellent, with nippy shot-to-shot times of around half a second in single drive mode. Burst shooting was at 10fps and lasted for 17 JPEGs or 13 RAW exposures before slowing to the speed of the card. Enabling lens distortion correction meant the slowdown came earlier, at 13 JPEGs. It also meant photos took a little longer to appear on the screen after capture.

These are minor drawbacks, though. Autofocus speed was harder to forgive. It was reasonably fast in bright light, but not as fast as Panasonic’s G Series cameras. It fell way behind in low light, taking anything from 0.5 to two seconds to lock onto subjects.

The kit lens lets the side down too. It’s the same 18-55mm unit that comes with the cheaper NEX cameras, and it really shows. It has bog-standard specifications and struggles to maintain sharp focus across the frame at wide apertures. It’s great for video capture with silent autofocusing, and although it isn’t a bad lens for a £500 camera, it feels out of place on this one.

Sony Alpha NEX-7 - sample shot

We’d recommend replacing it with a superior lens, but even here there’s a snag: a comparatively narrow range of lenses and, in some cases, truly painful pricing. There are now four prime lenses at 16mm, 24mm, 30mm (macro) and 50mm, plus a 55-210mm telephoto and an 18-200mm in the E-mount range, but the Micro Four Thirds system is well ahead with 26 lenses. Of these, the 24mm f/1.8 (for us, the most interesting one in the range) is particularly exorbitant at around £840. The similarly specified (and extremely sharp) Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 for Micro Four Thirds cameras costs £264.

The NEX-7 sets a high watermark for compact system cameras, but you’d have to be either obscenely rich or stubbornly uncompromising to warrant spending this much on it. The Panasonic Lumix GX1 and Sony NEX-5N aren’t far behind for overall quality and cost around half as much. And even stubbornly uncompromising people may be unwilling to put up with the pedestrian autofocus performance, the mediocre kit lens and the comparative lack of lens choice.

We must admit to being smitten by the NEX-7, but we’d wait for a few months to see what happens to the price – and to see what other cameras turn up – before flexing the credit card.


Image quality5

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating24.0mp
Camera screen size3.0in
Camera optical zoom range3x
Camera maximum resolution6000 x 4000
Camera optical image stabilisationin kit lens

Weight and dimensions

Dimensions119 x 106 x 66mm (WDH)


Battery type includedLithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard)335 shots
Charger included?yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash?yes
Aperture rangef3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance25.00m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)27
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)83
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed1/4,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed30s
Bulb exposure mode?yes
RAW recording mode?yes
Exposure compensation range+/- 5EV
ISO range100 - 16000
Selectable white balance settings?yes
Manual/user preset white balane?yes
Progam auto mode?yes
Shutter priority mode?yes
Aperture priority mode?yes
Fully auto mode?yes
Burst frame rate10.0fps
Exposure bracketing?yes
White-balance bracketing?no
Memory-card typeSDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Duo. Pro Duo
Viewfinder coverage100%
LCD resolution922k
Secondary LCD display?no
Video/TV output?no
Body constructionMagnesium Alloy
Tripod mounting thread?yes
Data connector typeMini-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual?no
Software suppliedPicture Motion Browser, Image Data Lightbox SR, Image Data Converter SR
Accessories suppliedN/A

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