Sony NEX-7 Camera Review
The new Alpha NEX-7 is one of the best interchangeable lens cameras we've ever tested.
The new Alpha NEX-7 is one of the best interchangeable lens cameras we've ever tested. It captured sharp video in all of our tests, handled motion extremely well, and, to top it all off, Sony fits this impressive video performance into a compact package that handles very well and includes a titlting LCD.
The NEX-7 is available now for $1199 (body only), or for $1349 with an 18-55mm kit lens.
Motion & Sharpness
The Sony NEX-7 not only offers an abundance of frame rate options for recording video, but it also captured motion extremely well in our tests. The camcorder’s 1080/60p record mode is definitely its best—it produced crystal-clear video that looked smooth and fluid throughout our test. We did notice a tad more artifacting when shooting with the NEX-7’s 1080/60i mode, and the camera had its worst performance using its MPEG-4 video recording option.
See our full motion performance review, including video clips.
Video we shot with the Sony NEX-7 was very sharp, but the camera (with its kit lens) wasn’t quite able to match the sharpness results we’ve seen from some of the best consumer camcorders we’ve tested. Still, it did a very good job in this test, registering a horizontal and vertical sharpness of 700 lw/ph in its 1080/60p record mode. Sharpness levels were a bit lower when we recorded using the NEX-7’s 60i record mode, but they wren’t hugely different than the top-notch 60p setting.
Read our full sharpness performance review.
Low light sensitivity was the only video test where the NEX-7 didn’t excel. The camera required 17 lux to produce an image that is considered bright enough for television broadcast. This isn’t a great showing compared to the NIkon D5100, but the NEX-7 is on par with the Olympus E-P3 in this category.
Read our full low light sensitivity performance review.
In terms of video, Sony is quickly positioning itself as a leader in the interchangeable lens camera market. The NEX-7, like the NEX-5N before it, handled our performance tests with ease, offering some of the sharpest video we've seen from an interchangeable lens camera. In low light, the NEX-7 produced good video, although the camera did struggle with sensitivity when we shot video with its kit lens.
If you're looking for improved video performance over the cheaper NEX-5N, you won't get much of a boost from the NEX-7. Both cameras are top-notch performers for video recording, but the real advantage of the NEX-7 comes with its improved handling. The dedicated control dials and the lack of a touchscreen LCD on the NEX-7 are two features that should excite budding videographers. Simply put, the NEX-7 feels better for recording video.
With the large sensor on the NEX-7 we were worried the camera would suffer from an awful rolling shutter effect, but Sony did a good job keeping this issue under control. The camera handled quick pans very well in its AVCHD record modes, and the only time we noticed a significant "Jell-O" rolling shutter effect was when we shot using the camera's lower-quality MPEG-4 record mode.
If you're looking for a compact camera to use for capturing top-notch video, the Sony NEX-7 is the model for you. It handles well, shoots well, and has plenty of record modes—including 60p and 24p frame rate options—to keep you satisfied for quite some time.
To read our full conclusions for the Sony Alpha NEX-7 including analysis of the camera's video handling and audio options, plus see sample videos and photos, visit the full review at DigitalCameraInfo.com.
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