Sony NEX-7

Reincarnation of Sony NEX-7

Zut alors! I wanted to update my Mathematica 10 installation, and realized that I forgot my laptop charger yesterday's meeting room. Never mind, I took the Sony NEX-7 and though: should the Valletta campus be closed, at least I can test the camera. I bought it in 2011 in Osaka to replace my Nikon full frame SLR, which was robbed in Peru, with a lighter alternative. Since then it was among other drowned in a lake in Cambridge, from which it recovered remarkably well. Last week, I cleaned the camera and mounted a 18-200 mm lens. I took two photos on the way, and I am quite happy with it.

View on Fort Saint Angelo, Kalkara and Rinella Bay

View on Fort Saint Angelo, Kalkara and Rinella Bay

Kalkara in the later afternoon sun.

Kalkara in the later afternoon sun.

Finally dried up my Sony NEX-7 SEL 18200 (18 mm -200 mm)-lens

Last year I ditched with my Sony NEX-7 into a lake in Cambridge. The camera body dried up during the night, but the SEL 18200 (18 mm -200 mm)-lens was struggling even after all fog was gone with the communication to the camera. I was still using the camera with the 18 mm - 55 mm lens. But today, without really knowing what I am looking for, I took the long lens with a screw driver to pieces, cleaned everything, and put it together again. And guess - it works. Excellent!

I am not using heavy SLR gear any more, as I find it not just too heavy to carry, but also too intrusive when you want to shoot in real life and not in a studio. So, I am happy now my Sony is back and I have a bit of longer focus length again.

Currently my cameras are:

  1. Fuji X-100 (with mounted 23 mm fixed lens)
  2. Fuji X-E2 with 18 mm - 55 mm zoom
  3. Sony NEX-7 with 18 mm - 55 mm zoom and 18 mm - 200 mm zoom
  4. Sony RX 100

The flash I use is a Nikon Speedlight SB-800.

As these cameras are all quite light and compact, I only need a Gitzo G1097 tripod. 

Camera Obscura

Recently I went into a Leica store in Beijing. Sure, the brand has revived. But it looks like it is more about special editions than about special cameras. I am waiting for the Hello Kitty Leica. Please don't ask for it! They will make one! Don't get me wrong: the M9 is a wonderful camera. So are others. But first of all, I don't think many professional photographers can afford them. And secondly there are quite a few compacts in the range which are surprisingly close to some Panasonic models. The staff in the shop was by the way incompetent and unfriendly. But this might not be Leica. It's China.

Now I just discovered that Hasselblad seems under the same urge of entering the "mass market" of the new rich. The Hasselblad Stellar is nothing but an overpriced Sony RX 100 , both with the same Zeiss lens. No difference except three times the price and a bit of design makeover. The Hasselblad Lunar is the excellent Sony NEX-7 (have one) with a nicer design and a leather case making it five times the price. If I would be a Private Equity company, I would probably do the same thing. As a professional manager also. Shareholder value, I know. But as I always looked up to the great cameras of Leica and Hasselblad for their technical abilities, I feel I will rather stay with my Fuji X-100 and Sony NEX-7 and read the specs more carefully before being impressed by legends. 

Sony NEX-7

The best camera I ever had was my full frame Nikon D700. Unfortunately, it was robbed at gunpoint in Puno (Peru) when trying to take a photo of the Titicaca Lake last year. With it I also lost most of my pictures taken in East Africa. Good that my secondary camera, the Fuji X-100, remained a good companion - except some trouble with exposure when set at Aperture priority on the Antarctic Peninsula. For my lost D700 my wishes are that it finally found its way to a photo enthusiast - even I do not encourage to buy anything from the black market. For the robbers my wishes are that they either see the light of salvation, a cell in a Peruvian prison or get a bullet in their head as soon as possible. Anything which stops their dangerous practice is fine.

I was about to repurchase the D700, but then thought that I might adapt to my current life style by switching to a lighter and more flexible model, like a mirrorless SLR. After comparing specifications, I decided for the Sony NEX 7 with the 18-200 mm zoom lens. This is small enough for snap shots and good enough in terms of quality, even it is clearly in the consumer segment. Like currently no other mirrorless SLR the NEX 7 uses a normal size D-SLR size sensor.

What I found amazing of the NEX 7 in this configuration was not just the small size and full capabilities of a D-SLR camera. But also I first time experienced that the so-called "intelligent automatic settings" are really intelligent. Further the landscape stitching and anti blur programmes are quite amazingly accurate. Unless there is really scene where the camera can not "imagine" the image you have in your mind, the automatic functions are brilliant and you can put your mind in peace on composition or speed (if required).

The NEX 7 is nearly everywhere outside Japan sold out and you need to sign up on waiting lists to get it a few months later. But I was able to pick up one in the "Bigcamera" store which is 5 minutes walk West from Kyoto Japan Railway Station. Beware that there are two versions: a Japanese (only Japanese menus) one and the Worldwide model (which also has a worldwide warranty).