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Thread: Sony NEX-7

  1. #1
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Sony NEX-7

    Much to come. It arrived this afternoon, and it's been charging for several hours. Time to dive in to the settings.

    The packaging is the best I've seen on a camera for about as long as I can remember. The last "pro" body I bought was a D2H in ~2004, and it wasn't special enough for me to remember. The NEX felt like opening a nice watch or an Apple product. Very well done on starting the experience right, Sony.

    Look at all those lovely programable buttons and dials!
                   
    thegunguy

  2. #2
    🎆Ohhhh, now I'm jealous!!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  3. #3
    Z8Mania
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    COOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I fell asleep last night with the iPad on my chest reading over the manual. I've never seen a camera so customizable. Every control can be mapped to many functions. It's really cool, but puts it my ADD brain in an infinite loop thinking on how "best" to do the setup.

    Even with all the mapping, Sony definitely needs to get a firmware update out soon (which is rumored) as there are some weird inconsistencies and related/dependent functions nested in differing menus (down one tree, change, down another tree, change).

    This weekend I hope to do some tests to post. The best news is by sheer luck I happen to check amazon late last night on the Zeiss 24/1.8 for the NEX, and there were two available. They've been out of stock in the US for weeks. I couldn't click order fast enough. It will be here tomorrow, and now they're no longer available again. Score!

    Tests to come...

    Actually, I did two test shots on flowers in the garden that I don't want to share yet. Holy mother of resolution that's a lot of detail.
    thegunguy

  5. #5
    Wow, madly jealous and can't wait to see!!

    I'm excited to get my hands on the Fuji X-Pro because it is such great low light performer, and the project I'm doing in Prague in July is all about shooting erotica at night, so I think it'll fit the needs of the brief perfectly. Will start feeding pix into that thread as they come.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  6. #6
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I'm such a goof.

    Jack and I rushed through dinner to jump in the Z8 to a little spot out in the vineyards where I knew the sun would be bathing the hills and vines, making a nice backdrop for my first trial with the NEX-7.

    Left the SD card back home in the computer. :roll eyes:

    We rushed home, grabbed the card, but by the time we got back out, the light was gone. I barely had time to grab this one with the sun falling behind hills. Rushing with a new camera is never good either - out of focus, wrong aperture, shaking. Not a good night for me, and I decided to quit before I did something else wrong.

    We'll try it again tomorrow - with card.

    (fun fact - this is about a 30% - so many pixels)
     
    thegunguy

  7. #7
    Looks nice though!!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  8. #8
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    You have to really work to take a bad photo of the Z8.
    thegunguy

  9. #9
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Pretty nice even if losing the light. Can't wait to see the next shot. I NEED A NEW CAMERA!

  10. #10
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    A few pics from a hike that Jack and I took this morning. The ladybug shot is from our garden, and it's cropped to around 10% of the original resolution. The panos are processed in camera.

    Baby steps, but I'm very much liking the controls on the 7.
             
    thegunguy

  11. #11
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I just posted a thread - Evening in the Vineyards - of some shots from the NEX 7. As I note in the thread, most shots are RAW with two HDRs (4th and 5th). Showing the quality of the files and the capabilities of LR4, I get pretty close to the HDRs on the 6th shot.

    Summary: I really like this camera and the semi-wide Zeiss lens is a real gem. The only frustrating part is that with so much resolution, it really shows off poor focus and camera shake. It's forcing me to really check my setup with each shot.
    thegunguy

  12. #12
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I thought I'd post a comparison of the unedited HDR and my version. From the camera it's quite good, and it would be fine with just a crop/straighten and exposure bump. I took it a little farther.

    The HDR is comped in camera from three exposures fired successively. In the settings on the NEX you can vary the exposure range from 1 to 6 stops. On this shot, I had it set for 5 stops. 6 was too ethereal, or so I thought from the camera display. The files on the computer look much more normal than on the back of camera display. That's frustrating, but with time I think I can learn the how the ranges play out in reality.

    Also note that the in-camera processing spits out a JPG, not RAW. There's still plenty of latitude for adjustments.
       
    thegunguy

  13. #13
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Not to be outdone by the camera, here's a RAW image before and after. These high contrast shots are tough, especially with no illumination on the subject. You end up exposing for the sky or for the car. With the black cars, I really like working with backlight to light up the tops of the curves. After the sun sets is the time to flip around and use the diffused front lighting.

    With shots like this I think Andrew often uses masks of two exposures in PS to comp in the foreground exposure. I've watched over his shoulder, and he does this so fast and so well it looks simple. It's not. He's had a LOT of practice.

    The before and after shows how much room RAW gives you. The dynamic range of this NEX and the new tech in LR4 really push it even further.

    What's interesting is that my processed RAW is not far from where I ended up on the processed HDR JPG in the previous post.
       
    thegunguy

  14. #14
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    The power of many, many pixels (shot holding the camera over my head while driving on the 1). The original is arguably more fun.
       
    thegunguy

  15. #15
    Z8Mania
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    Sweet! Btw- dealing with lighting really gives one an appreciation of how amazing our eyes are.

  16. #16
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    These are reposts from the Cambria thread, but I wanted to mention the amazing panoramic capabilities of the NEX 7. There's a simple mode for panoramic shooting that allows you to sweep with the camera either normally oriented or rotated 90? to vertical (taller panos). When you have the exposure where you want it, you press the shutter release and sweep. The camera fires off a BUNCH of shots in succession, while dip laying a guide for the sweep.

    While I've had other cameras do panoramic photos, I've never had one so fast. With most cameras you get a progress bar at the end of your shot while the camera stitches the individual photos. However, the NEX's powerful CPU stitches and balances exposure while you shoot. So, at the end of the sweep, it's done. Boom!

    Stitching in Photoshop or other editor can probably achieve better results, but the speed of the NEX is impressive, and the rustling files are far better than I expected.
       
    thegunguy

  17. #17
    Honestly that just totally blows me away!!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  18. #18
    Z8Mania
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    WOW. It seems the NEX7 is "the bomb".

  19. #19
    Z8Mania
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    Thats saying something Andrew!

  20. #20
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    He got to see how fast it did its magic. To think that it analyzes each frame, applies exposure balancing, and then stitches an artifact free shot that is ready as soon as you release the shutter button is really something.

    Here's another in really questionable light at 1600 ISO. There's not a broken line anywhere that I've found. I can make out some striping here and there, but I think that's mostly to do with the ISO and the lighting.
     
    thegunguy

  21. #21
    Z8Mania
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    WOW. WOW- All the shots have a smoothness to them. I love it.

  22. #22
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Although the beach was a bit dreary yesterday, I wanted to do some more testing with the panoramic capabilities of the NEX-7, especially with waves.

    As you can tell from these shots, even with a lot of movement in the scene, the NEX can deliver a really smooth pano. In the shot with the boogie boarders, the horizon gets a little choppy, and there's definitely some simulated fisheye from the 24mm (36mm equiv). In uniform areas, I start to see some banding (sky, etc.), and it's a little choppy at the front edge of the waves (3rd shot). Some of that might be corrected with a little better technique on my end, but the mostly seamlessness of the waves really amazes me when you think about what's going on at the time.

    For those that haven't seen how the NEX does these, the camera fires off a hundred or so exposures in rapid succession as you pan through the scene. This gives the result its video like continuity. That plus processing the shots as they're taken, not at the end of the set gives it the smooth look.

    What's a bit funny with the waves is that you can figure out which way I pan since the waves are closer at the end of the shot. Regardless, this is a super fun and useful feature for producing panos that require little to no processing from some form of stitching software.

    Location: Halfmoon Bay State Beach
         
    thegunguy

  23. #23
    damn I could have used that on this weeks shoot!!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  24. #24
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    Spent the evening reading NEX-7 reviews...

    Everybody seems to love the camera...nice to see that I could also use my Nikon lenses with an adapter.

  25. #25
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    It's not without a few quirks, but the size, image quality, low light performance, controls, and technology make for an amazing system.
    thegunguy

  26. #26
    Z8Mania
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    WOW!!!!!! Thats really impressive. Thats gotten me thinking on moving on from the GX1.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania View Post
    WOW!!!!!! Thats really impressive. Thats gotten me thinking on moving on from the GX1.
    I didn't throw it out as an option to replacing your G10 back when we discussing due to 1) size of lenses (resulting in large total size) and 2) more manual orientation. The GX1 is really hard to beat for its coat pocketable size.

    To me, the NEX is more of a DSLR replacement, but in a smaller format. The m43s cameras are really close to that too, but they make compromises in favor of compactness. While Andrew and other pros have definite needs from a full body/full frame DSLR, I could easily see the DSLR market below that going for a NEX-like system in the next decade.
    thegunguy

  28. #28
    Z8Mania
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    I understand. It makes sense. I don't mind lugging a bag with a largish lens around. Thats just me. Your comments on the DSLR market are very interesting. I'll tell you two places I see the GX1 sorely lags the D3 I have: noise and speed to get shots off. The GX1 is exactly where you'd expect it to be considering price- its half way between a camera like the S100 and the D3 for those items. Its critical for me that I can fire off pics when I want to when Im dealing with my kids. So I think until someone can make one of these cameras fire as quickly as a DSLR, there will always be some neurotic parent who will be willing to pay. I'm sure the noise is not an issue for most people- they aren't going to be looking for it; but when it comes to things like this, I really enjoy working with great equipment. The NEX7 seems to be exactly what its price would suggest- its even closer to the DSLR in its performance.

    I'll put up a thread on the GX1 but I've just had other things going on lately.