It was three years, four months, and 27 days ago that TOP declared the Sony NEX-7 "the Most Desirable Camera on the Planet." At the time the NEX-7 had just been introduced and was very hard to get, and the body alone sold for just a tick shy of $1,200. Dpreview called it "something of a technological triumph for Sony." Most reviews were admiring raves. NEX-7 pride of ownership soared high.
Camera half-lives are very short these days.
The now nearly forgotten NEX-7.
That was then. Now, more than 21 dog-years later, the NEX name is kaput, and the very last remainders of the build are trickling out of the pipeline for $498—and that's with an 18–55mm image-stabilized normal zoom lens. The lens alone sells for $298 (I think that's the same lens), making the once-vaunted NEX-7 into a $200 "throw-in"!
In fairness, in 2011 it was a fair assumption that Sony was going to fill out the APS-C E-mount lens line, which, notoriously, it never has. Sony let Fuji swoop in and take over the APS-C mirrorless mindshare with a well-thought-out range of enticing lenses. Sony itself has shifted to FF mirrorless, where it's doing great things.
The old—sorry, "old"—NEX-7 is still a nice camera, though, that can hold its own. And hey, look at it this way—if you've got one, it's cheap to keep.
Other good camera deals right now: The fun Pentax Q7 "Toy" lens camera for only $229 (two of the lenses cost only $77 each)—know any smart middle-schoolers? The unpopular but quite capable mini-SLR, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (pair it with a 24mm ƒ/2.8 STM lens for a wee little SLR); the Canon 60D for only $479; and, back in the film world (and I do mean back), the Lomography Belair "City Slicker," a multi-format (6x6, 6x9, and 6x12cm) 120 film camera that comes with not one but two lenses for $237.29! Who couldn't have fun with that?
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Featured Comments from:
Huw Morgan: "It really is amazing that over three years have passed by so quickly. I have a NEX-7 and have no plans to replace it. It feels great in my hand, you can set aperture, exposure comp and ISO with just your right hand, the viewfinder is great and the sensor still stacks up pretty well. There are lots of lenses available for the camera and I'm very happy with the Zeiss 16–70mm despite all the controversy. It just works for me.
"The best thing of all is its weight (or lack thereof). Increasingly, my Canon gear sits in the bag and only comes out when I need a special lens that I don't have in my Sony kit. I've thought about Sony FF, but the weight of the lenses isn't all that different from my Canon gear, so I've resisted the urge so far.
"TOP was right three years ago. And you are right today. The NEX-7 is still pretty good and it is cheap to keep!"
John Krill: "That Lomography Belair X 6–12 City Slicker Medium Format Camera for $237 looks really interesting. Now I need an extra $3,000 to build a darkroom."