DSLR vs NEX-7

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TimTheEnchanter, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. TimTheEnchanter macrumors 6502a

    TimTheEnchanter

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    #1
    What do you all think about the Sony NEX-7 as a second camera or even possibly a replacement to a DSLR?

    So I'm really on the fence over this one. I've been itching to upgrade my Nikon D300, waiting for new bodies to come out. I'm a serious, "not-quite-yet-pro-but-aspiring-to-be" pro photographer/artist. I'm also looking at a smaller camera for times I need to be "lighter" and "quicker".

    Nikon really disappointed me with the Nikon 1, was really hoping for a "NEX-7" like option from them but they've stated that they don't want to cannibalize their low-end DSLR sales.

    I'm also reading that others will be answering Sony's NEX-7 over this next year. I know none of these, including the NEX-7 could match a quality-DSLR step-for-step, but it comes close. For street photography it seems the best of both worlds without standing out like a sore thumb.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. SPNarwhal macrumors 65816

    SPNarwhal

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    #2
    I don't know if I would say that it doesn't match DSLR quality, honestly.
    It comes with a 24MP Camera or something like that, right? Which is a lot better than a lot of DSLRs as it is. Better than the Nikon D90 which is a higher end DSLR.

    Manual controls as well, so it's not even where it's a downgrade to having to use software. Viewfinder, everything.

    There's even an adapter which allows for use with Nikon / Canon / Other lenses. It's extremely impressive, and the size is great too.

    I would go for the NEX-7, honestly. I might be going that route although I'm thinking it might be too expensive for me. (1,200 or so?)

    I would agree with you more about the NEX-5 being a little less than a DSLR, not quite DSLR quality (although that might even be an argument)

    But the NEX-7 I would rate just as high, if not better.
     
  3. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    #3
    I think it could be both depending on your needs. Since you're looking to be a pro photographer, I'd probably recommend sticking with DSLR's. If you were a casual shooter or hobbyist then the NEX might make sense. But, as you pointed, they come close but aren't quite like a DSLR in terms of quality. I had this same issue when I was upgrading from a crappy P&S to something pro-like. I liked the fact these kinds of cameras were small, lightweight and had the interchangeable lenses just like the DSLR's do but wasn't sure if they were "just as good" as DSLRs. In some respects they might be however I ultimately went with a Canon DSLR.

    Even if you bought this camera as a second camera, you'd have to buy separate lenses (not sure if these lenses work on other Sony bodys) for your cameras. I think a combination of a full frame DSLR as your main camera and maybe a smaller crop body as your second/backup camera might make better sense. You'd be able to use the same lenses for both bodies (in most cases).

    Considering the NEX and its lenses are pretty expensive, I figure you might as well just go DSLR for those prices and be done with it. There are, at times, I wish I had a smaller, lighter camera but I haven't regretted my DSLR choice at all.
     
  4. hansolo669 macrumors regular

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    #4
    if you have a d300, and really are hitting the limites of its performance (wich would be surprising) then i strongly sugest looking at the d700 or even the d3s.

    if your after more megapixels heres my advice is to stop and think:
    a: how big are you actually printing
    b: do you ever NEED moar mp
    c: go read bythom.com :p

    that being said if you truly want something smaller yet still "pro like" seriously check out the panasonic lumix line. they may not have super-mega-omg f-0.005-lenses but they are compact and very good(i would say excellent) performers. specifically i would check out the gf2 and the gx1, as they both offer good manual control over almost every feature, and both can be fitted with a evf (i would aslo check that out). price for feature leader is the gf2. price for pro-ness(better manual control) gx1.

    <edit>
    off topic: re your avatar+username.... great BIG TEETH!
    </edit>
     
  5. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a

    charlieroberts

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    #5
    Well he isn't saying he wants to necessarily replace his nikon. And the NEX 7 is one hell of a secondary camera. So "hitting the limits" may not apply.

    I am looking forward to its release, and maybe I will replace my d300 with one of those.
     
  6. hansolo669 macrumors regular

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #6
    i read upgrade as replace ;) but true say, and the nex 7 is truly an astounding camera...i just cant help but feel that it misses the mark a bit, in a world where m4/3 doesn't exist, the whole nex line is awesome! but m4/3 exists and its tiny a pretty great. the last real hurdle for the m4/3 partners is to make some "proper" pro glass :p. imho mirror less = smaller.

    as for DSLR upgrades im holding out for the d400... it think my d100 still has some life left ;)
     
  7. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

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    #7
    Buying some fast glass always works best. Or wait til the replacement of D300s.
     
  8. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    E-mount lenses are still pretty limited in variety. The 50mm and 24mm f/1.8s look decent, but those are the only fast lens options. On the other hand, focus peaking makes manual focusing with legacy lenses easier than ever, which means you'd have more options for certain types of shooting.

    The NEX-7 is very tempting, but I'll be saving my money for more Nikon and m4/3 gear. As a system, NEX is still lacking compared to others.
     
  9. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    #9
    I had the D300 and it was a good camera, so I wouldn't consider the NEX-7 to be a good replacement if you want to be a pro photographer. You have to ask yourself why the D300 no longer meets your need. I personally replaced the D300 with the D700 because I wanted full frame.

    If you want to add the NEX-7 in addition, then that is fine. I would also recommend the Fuji and Olympus systems.
     
  10. TimTheEnchanter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TimTheEnchanter

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    #10
    Great replies guys!

    Well, as far as why I'd like to upgrade my D300 to a newer Nikon body, it comes down to 2 things:
    1. Pushing limits of resolution at large print sizes
    2. Wanting to stretch into video

    To clarify "pro" ambitions, I do minimal commercial or studio work. I'm more of a visual artist/photographer (day job is an ad agency art director) into selling prints, some portrait work, landscapes, industrial, etc.

    The reason I'm having a hard time with this is because I could go either way...
    A. Keep my current D300 and add the NEX-7 to gain video and lightweight-stealth option.
    B. Upgrade to D400 or maybe D800, and go with a nicer but cheaper M4/3.
    C. Wildcard option: Sell off my Nikon equipment and embrace the Sony/NEX platform.

    The thing that holds me back on the NEX-7 is cost of fast e-mount lenses. Yes, I could use my Nikkor glass but then it kind of defeats the purpose somewhat... size- and mobility-wise.

    What I'd love to do is actually rent and test-drive the NEX-7. I think there are a lot of serious photographers out there that want to embrace evolution of photography and cameras, but aren't convinced this is really it. No other camera has made me pause and think hard about what my needs really are until this one came along. On paper it appears to be a credible evolutionary replacement for the "standard" DSLR form, but in hand I'm not so sure it is...yet.
     
  11. gnd macrumors 6502a

    gnd

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  12. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Cosina-Voigtlander make some excellent (and very small) Leica M-Mount lenses that adapt very nicely to the NEX bodies. And if you're flush with cash, a NEX-7 + 35 Summicron would be a pretty sweet combination.

    Point being: there are easy ways around the current lack of E-mount glass.
     
  13. carlgo macrumors 68000

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    #13
    The Nex-7 is pretty spendy as a 2nd camera! Maybe look at the 3 or 5n or any of the several compelling small cameras available these days.

    I pre-ordered a 7 as a primary camera, one that I think is superior to a DSLR in most ways except sports photography. It is said that clients of wedding and portrait photographers expect a big and imposing camera and get upset if they think they are paying for what they see as a P&S!
     
  14. TimTheEnchanter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TimTheEnchanter

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    #14
    I was coincidering the 5n if I got a new Nikon body. Would love to see the reaction from a wedding couple showing up with a NEX-7! :D

    Thanks for the info. I'll check that out.

    btw... Replying from 31,000 ft somewhere above St. Louis :D
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #15
    Personally, I'm more concerned with sensor size not number of pixels.

    From what I've read on dpreview, the NEX-7 looks like an awesome secondary camera, albeit an expensive one.

    One thing that is up in the air is whether the 7 uses the same slow-ish AF engine that the 5N uses. The only major knock on the NEX-5N is its slow AF lock. Many people report that if you're trying to shoot subjects that are in motion, the NEX-5N is not the camera for you. I don't know if the 7 has the same short coming
     
  16. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #16
    The NEX-7 looks like a fantastic camera. It'd class it as more of a street/landscape/travel type tool. If your professional camera needs covered sport/portrait/product then I'd definitely stick to a DSLR though - because I think you would value the extra flexibility of an optical viewfinder.

    Why wouldn't it match the quality? It has the exact same sensor (and size) that Sony are using in their mid range SLRs... it's certainly a better sensor than your D300. If you add an adapter, it can use all the regular Sony (and Minolta) DSLR lenses. It can take Leica rangefinder lenses too... which results in a very high quality combination.

    The biggest drawback with these 'EVIL' cameras is the handling - but for many people the smaller size will make up for that.
     
  17. TimTheEnchanter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TimTheEnchanter

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    #17
    Agreed on size vs pixels, although higher pixels does allow you more flexibility in cropping and retaining size for larger prints. The AF is a concern, even with street photography (in my experience at least) so I may wait for my friend to get his 7 and take it for a test drive. Another friend got the 5n so I could do a comparison once the 7 comes in.


    I guess when I'm saying "step-by-step" it's more about the glass/sensor relationship. From what I've read, the 5n has better low-light quality than the 7 because of the physically smaller pixel size, each pixel registers less light. The e-mount lenses are physically less glass, so compared to my Nikkor lenses, more light is going to reach the sensor faster. I know there's more involved, like the number of elements, distance to sensor and such, but in theory a ƒ2.8 e-mount would be slower than a ƒ2.8 DSLR lens shutter-wise. The adapter is intriguing, not sure about performance but it does give you more flexibility in glass. Beyond that, yes it has the same size sensor (and more pixels than my D300) so it should do fine vs. a DSLR.

    I'm more leaning towards keeping my D300 (which is a great body) and hold-off on an upgrade. I'm on the fence about the 5n vs. 7. I may end up waiting to see what else hits the market this year, but I have to say I'm really impressed with the 7 overall.
     
  18. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    The 5n has better per-pixel high ISO performance than the 7 due to the higher amp noise generated by the more closely-spaced photosites on the 7. However, upon resizing the 7 image to the resolution of the 5n's, the quality holds up at high ISOs, while at lower ISOs - where noise is not much of an issue - the 7 outperforms the 5n.

    As far as the more/less glass affecting the speed of light, I would say that it's fairly insignificant. There may be more complex lens designs required to achieve the same apertures, but f/2.8 is f/2.8.

    The main question you have to ask yourself is what kind of form factor you want out of your primary camera, and if you're willing to sacrifice the advantages of a DSLR - namely autofocus speed, the ability to refocus between shots in continuous drive mode (NEX cameras have a locked focus point), an optical viewfinder - to have a much smaller body (though not much smaller lenses, especially with the adapter).

    It's also worth keeping in mind that Nikon is overdue to refresh its pro/prosumer camera lines, which were delayed because of the disasters in Japan and Thailand this year. A D4, D700 successor, and a D300 successor should all be announced relatively soon in 2012, and should have a fair number of advances in sensor and video tech, among other things. The NEX-7 looks like a great camera, but the NEX system isn't enough to sway me from Nikon DSLRs and μ4/3 - yet.
     
  19. TimTheEnchanter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TimTheEnchanter

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    #19
    Good points and thanks for the clarity on a few things. As you can tell, I'm very torn on what to do. While I've gotten caught up in the NEX-7 hype (not used as a negative term), I'm not yet swayed to ditch my Nikon for it because of certain DSLR needs. I just have to decide on a smaller camera with little compromise for times I need to be stealth or more agile.
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #20
    I'm not sure if the OP is paying attention to this thread any longer but I'm wonder if he purchased the NEX-7.

    I'd like to have more info on what he thinks of it.

    I've owned my Nikon V1 since december and to be honest, I'm a little disappointed in a couple of areas, and of course those areas are the strong points for the NEX-7.

    Don't get me wrong it is a great camera and I do like my V. The form factor fits my needs very well, I like the small camera, with the pancake lens I'm able to throw in my coat pocket and take it with my almost where ever I go. It generally produces nice shots, and with Nikon the hope for more of a lens selection is high (with the FT1 adapter I have access to a whole slew of lenses).

    Anyways 2 things I found to be a bit of a disappointment, its a tad noisier then I was expecting at ISO 800 and beyond and if I opt to crop a picture the lower pixel count impacts the quality of the image a tad, i.e., exacerbates the noise issue.

    I can clean up the noise with LR or Denoise (a plugin for LR and PS) bvut to be honest I'd prefer cleaner images so I don't have to do some much PP work.

    I'm curious on people's opinion on the NEX-7, given the price is near a DSLR. I really don't want to spend close to 2k (camera + good lens) and the camera size, along with larger lenses might make the camera a bit unwieldy for my needs.

    Thoughts/opinions on the NEX-7?
     
  21. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #21
    My next camera will be a mirrorless, and I'll probably sell my Canon 550D to fund it.

    I've pretty much eliminated Sony's NEX series from the running:

    1/ The system just isn't that small. Sure, the camera bodies are tiny - but the lenses aren't. There's no point having a body that small if the overall package remains bulky.
    2/ There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with Sony's design. The reviews I've read of their own lenses aren't great - and reviews of third party lenses also complain of poor edge detail. I'm not sure if it's the sensor or the lens mount... but given the range of interesting third party M-mount lenses out there, this incompatibility worries me.
    3/ Sony's existing lenses are lacklustre and their roadmap for the next two years is disappointing. While the NEX-7 body looks mighty impressive, the overall system really isn't.

    [​IMG]

    For me, M43 looks to be the top running mirrorless option out there, and the Fuji looks interesting too.
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #22
    From what I've been reading, large sensors are great but they require large lenses and that kind of defeats the purpose of a small body.

    I am pretty content with the V1, but I like on paper what the NEX has but in real life usage I think the V1 for my needs edges it out.
     
  23. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #23
  24. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #24
    That's just the overview, not a review.

    I think it's only just started shipping. Dpreview reviews usually take a long time, and they don't review pre-production units.
     
  25. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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