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The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is a difficult camera to pigeonhole. On one hand, it's an advanced camera with many features that will tempt those looking at the current crop of advanced consumer digital SLRs, such as the Canon EOS 60D or Nikon D7000. Having easy access to manual exposure control and a tough yet lightweight magnesium body are just a couple of the stand-out features. On the other hand, there's only a limited range of lenses currently available for the system, and the poor autofocus in low light may pose serious issues, depending on the camera's intended use.
Being aimed at experienced photographers, it will be interesting to see if Sony expands its range of E-mount lenses.
A lightweight CSC with a 24.3Mp sensor may be ideally suited to landscape photographers, but the lack of a suitable wide-angle optic may be just as off-putting as the camera is tempting. This is a real shame, because the lightweight design of the body and the excellent resolving power of the sensor should make this an ideal application for this camera.
The tough magnesium body is lightweight and reassuringly robust for the most part. Experienced photographers will love the quick access to manual controls, customisable function buttons and rich, detailed images provided by the Exmor CMOS sensor. The quality of the video recorded is also excellent, and serious videographers will love the manual control and ability to attach an external microphone.
For a serious camera, the autofocus in low light is slow and inaccurate. Experienced photographers may also find the limited range of E-mount lenses off-putting, depending on their intended use for the camera.
Despite the occasional shortfall, the NEX-7 is a very pleasant camera to use, especially when you've customised it to your particular way of shooting. The built-in OLED viewfinder is a real bonus, providing a bright, clear view, and having a hotshoe and input for an external microphone both add to the flexibility of the system. Overall, the NEX-7 is a very interesting camera due to its high specification, and it should win over some purely because of that.