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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Welcome to the world of consumer electronics! It has never been different here.

There are two obligatory attributes that may grant a camera a long shelf life in the digital era: an inspirational optical ecosystem and a very good physical construction which includes weather sealing. All the modern classics have both (D700, 7D, D300, K-5, E-M5, X-T1 to name a few). The NEX 7 has neither.

Here in the U.K. Monday arrived, a normal day much like any other, and I swear this to be true, in the morning I had no intention of acquiring any new photo gear, let alone buying into a completely new system. Nothing could have been further from my mind until, around midday, fate intervened in the form of a pop-up ad. By 12.47pm, after a frenzied bout of web based research, I'd placed an order for a Fuji X-Pro1, 18mm f2, 27mm f2.8 and never-ready case for £568 ($960 approx). So staggeringly good seemed this deal to me that I went back again this morning and added the 35mm f1.4 to the order, just to make sure it was actually real and I hadn't dreamed the whole thing. I will never, never learn.
Bless you, Oh Lord of remaindered goods!

Correction on the Fuji X-Pro 1 deal. That should read £658 not £568, although the U.S. dollar conversion is correct at $960 approx. I guess I'm just too gullibly over-stimulated to check my figures before posting!!

The NEX-7 is a sublime camera, especially for casual shooting. I dare say it's one of the few cameras I can claim to know very deeply. Pursuant to your earlier article, it's simultaneously with one of my favorite cameras to use and produces excellent image files.

I was a little sad to read of its "passing" ;-/ but am tempted to grab another unit, as the screen on mine is really showing a lot of wear. I've no plans to stop using the NEX-7 (or, occasionally, the NEX-5N) just because they're discontinued!

It's kind or funny, I just checked one of the popular NEX forums and quickly reviewed posts ranging back to January 31 of this year....Nobody even talks about the NEX7 anymore.

I'm tempted.

I've been thinking for a while that the digital cameras are now such a mature technology that buying "last year's model" is going to get you a pretty decent camera for a whole lot less than keeping up with the brand new thing.

Fuji has been as successful as it has because it had a clear strategy which was well-reasoned and well-informed, and most importantly, it stuck to it's strategy. Fuji understood that keys to success in developing any new camera *system* were the lenses; bodies can come and go, but the lenses can last a lifetime. In the same three years or so since the NEX-7 (and the X-Pro1), we now have access to one of the finest lens systems specifically developed for digital photography.

The problem with the Lomography Belair is the zone focusing. It was a turn off for me. I think there are both plastic and glass lenses available for it. I can't tell which are included in this offer.

The retention of value in camera equipment has changed as the industry shifted from film to digital.

I bought a pair of used Nikon FE's in the early 1980's and made thousands of images with them until I sold them in 2000, almost 20 years later, for what I paid for them originally.

Today, most digital based imaging systems have an 18 month life before a replacement is offered and so the model you bought two short years ago is already obsolete and its resale value is often next to nothing.

The only rational way of buying this equipment is to plan only for a three year life and to be prepared to dispose of what you bought in the same time-frame.

The other approach is to buy last year's model at clearance prices, I recently bought my Olympus E-M5 after the Mark II version was announced and got this equipment at a 40% discount to its regular price.


Sony's main problem is that they are a consumer electronics company. The NEX interface seemed like it was designed by a redundant Walkman engineer.

A good thing about Sony's consumer electronics mindset, is the cameras are cheaply constructed and sell for a cheap price. An a6000 sells for less than $600.00. If you break it you replace it instead of repairing it.

I hear a lot of talk on the fora about how mirrorless cameras are too small for the posters self-proclaimed too large hands. At one time the USArmy had issued me extra-large gloves. It was a revelation when I first picked up my NEX 5n! It fit my officially extra-large hands (the USA says they are) better than any oversized DSLR. Also a lot better than the out-of-balance Sony FE cameras.

Sony's lack of medium telephoto lenses was a problem for me. Then I discovered LTM lenses. Now I'm looking for a good pre-WW2 Leica ELMAR 9cm f4 and also a good pre-WW2 Leica HEKTOR 13.5cm f/4.5.

Sony spent the money, and now the a6000 will tether to Capture One. A BIG plus if you do table-top product shots. Life is good.

Sigh. If that Belair had a rangefinder and the lenses were f/3.5? I'd be all over it. But the cost of a 120 scanner to _do_ anything with the negs in the modern world would make it prohibitive in the end for just another toy camera. Pity as it's probably the first thing Lomo has ever done I find even slightly interesting.

The Canon SL1 is an excellent little camera. My partner has one and it feels great in the hand. I would buy it over any of the SLR-type mirrorless options (I have one of those).

I will tell you one thing that has changed - value of manual-focus lenses.

A great little camera and I loved mine, but it went away after the a7 arrived. Using my existing lenses, Leica and Nikon just made more sense on full frame.

And a little known fact is that the viewfinder is better on the a7, same image screen but better optics looking at it.

I never used the kit lens with the NEX and have not bought a native lens for the a7. So it's a flawed system I admit. If I need autofocus and exposure I use my Nikon.

But tomorrow I will be using it, not the Nikon. And I will have to use the Nikon lenses because I need lens tilt, of which I use a cheap tilt adapter. You cannot tilt Leica lenses due to the short back-focus
distance. As you can see my needs are far from the mainstream.

But it's a great little walk around camera with the 40mm Summicron, it suits my slow working style. And the NEX with the 28mm Elmarit was just a bit too bulky for my taste. Worth the $700 trade to get full frame for me.

Sony may have dropped the "NEX" moniker, but the current A6000 carries on the compact APS-C lineup quite nicely, and the rumor mill says that a higher end APS-C model may be coming this year (A7000?). That means that after devoting their energy to filling out the FF lens lineup ("FE" in Sony speak), for obviously sound business/economic reasons, they'll probably turn their attention back to the APS-C E-mount lineup and start filling that one out as well. I'd say that anyone who owns an NEX-7 (or NEX-6) and likes it would be well advised to hang on to it and see what transpires this year.

Personally, as a dyed-in-the-wool gear geek, I have been tempted by the full-frame A7 series and the mighty fine lenses that are available for it, but the results I'm getting from a small A6000 with Zeiss glass are telling me that I probably don't need to go there. My big guns – two Nikon D700 bodies, one D800 body, and a whole bunch of high-end glass – rarely see the light of day any more. The older I get, the more small, lightweight, and manageable become the prime criteria.

Of course it's the mind-boggling advances in digital imaging technology over the past decade that have made downsizing possible, so yeah ... "How the (Camera) World Changes" is right.

Isn't planned obsolescence wonderful?

I'm so glad I invested on the M4/3 system from the Oly EPL1 onwards - with a Oly EM5 being the last purchase 2 years ago.
Since I started into that concept 4 years ago, my Nikon dslrs have been sitting on the shelf.
I still - very occasionally - pull out the D80 for the simple reason I really like the colour saturation in that sensor (the last CCD made by Nikon). But the rest just sits idle.
Mirrorless M4/3 does everything I need and all my Nikon+LeicaM lenses and my medium format slr lenses work perfectly with them.
Simply the best so far.
That *might* change once Sony finally fixes the A7 shutter noise issue while keeping it's IBIS. Till then, Oly all the way!

The Nex 7, body only, is still selling in Hong Kong for around $900 and a bit upwards of that.

The Belair is absolute junk. At under $100 it could be amusing, but otherwise is a total waste of 120 format film.

It has no form whatsoever of pressure plate, film unloading is a complete lottery, it has no cable release and a clumsy crude shutter release on the lens board, the plastic lenses are, well, Lomo. Basically no reason whatsoever to justify MF film.

Good things come to those who wait... I have just beefed up my Sony FF MILC system with a mint used A7, for a very good price.

Just love the digital revolution!

Interesting.

I bought a Canon 5D3 when they first came out three years ago (March 2012) for around £3,000. They are still selling for £2,000 after the cashback at the same camera dealer.

Well, several things "killed off" the NEX7 (I had one, with a lot else went into a trade for a 645Z). At the time it really was a marvel, but quickly we found out it was like a very attractive person who had some serious flaws, like a silent movie star with an unfortunate voice---and now the talkies are on the scene.

The menu system was unfortunate from jump, a flaw largely overlooked at first which became increasingly aggravating to some (just annoying sometimes to me). Then we found out that wide angle lenses did not love the NEX 7---at all, until the 10-18 came out. Then the Sony E mount FF bomb went off, and the NEX 7 was square in the blast radius. The final blow was the A6000---an incredibly capable camera (with a menu fix!) for less than half the price of the NEX 7 . Add that 3 years and 4 months and it's all over. But it's still a near great camera, and well worth the fire sale price mentioned (although that lens is only so-so, better for video).

Next it is the A7 and A7R's turns---already with the A7II, and within weeks or months the R. It's interesting how unafraid Sony is about blowing things up, as opposed to Canon and Nikon(to a lesser degree than Canon). They continue to wait for "the dust to settle". Ummmm, that may have already happened...

I'm actually envious of those who don't yet have a NEX7, because they can get one secondhand for about half what I paid for mine two years ago (also secondhand, and half what they originally cost new).

It's my current hillwalking camera, and with the Sigma 19mm and 30mm, and the Sony 50mm (all fantastic value for money) the results are marvelous in relation to the cost. So is the weight and bulk on the waistbelt of my rucksack - about half that of the XPan + two lenses that I used to carry.

I think that digital cameras have reached a point where the smart money should be looking one or two generations back. I don't expect ever to buy another camera "from cold", and am currently eyeing up the Sony A7 and the Canon 7D - both with prices tumbling after being eclipsed by Mark 2 versions.

How many lenses do you really need in your quiver? Like BrianW, I have the Sigma 19 and 30, and Sony 50. In addition, I also have the Sony 70-210 and 16 (with fisheye adapter). These are all used with my NEX-6 and, egads(!), my NEX-3! Both cameras kick ass for my needs.

It's really nice to be in a "just use it" mode, but for many, part of the fun of photography is gear collecting and horse trading. I have an eye on a version of the A7, but will my pictures be "better?" Maybe. I'll have to find out one day soon ... ;-)

I bought an NEX 7 and their pro wide zoom for a job I thought was already mine. I needed the small size to fit through a small window opening that my DSLR's would not make. The job was awarded to someone else and I made the mistake of not immediately selling the NEX 7. It was a very expensive camera and lens to keep. I tried selling it on Craig's list 10 months later for 1/2 of what I paid for it, but found no takers. The way Sony operates by throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks - i.e. bring out new cameras every 3-6 months - while abandoning prior models is the most expensive proposition for any camera buyer. The value of Sony cameras drops much faster than most other companies. At this time, I have no plans to sell my NEX 7 as I would not get even 20% of what I purchased it for. To me the NEX 7 is the most expensive camera I have ever purchased and I own 4 Nikon D800/E, 810's, and a Samsung NX1 along with lots of lenses. Sony is going to have to do something truly amazing for me to even consider buying another camera from them that loses it value in months, not years.

There are tons of lenses available for the NEX-7.

In addition to the 27 E-mount lenses offered by Sony, Sony also offers two fisheye and two ultrawide front converters.

Samyang offers more than a dozen E-mount lenses, Sigma three, Zeiss four (two autofocus Touit lenses and two MF Loxia lenses).

So there are around 50 native e-mount lens options, if you include the front converters.

And of course, with mount adapters, you can use just about every interchangable lens mount lens ever made on the NEX-7.

And I don't think it's fair to say that Sony has "neglected" the NEX-7 when there a great many APS-C-specific lenses available for it just from Sony (10-18/4, 16/2.8, 16-50/3.5-5.6, 16-70/4, 18-55/3.5-5.6, 18-105/4 G, three different 18-200 models!, 20/2.8, 24/1.8 Z, 30/3.5 macro, 35/1.8, 50/1.8, and 55-210/4.5-6.3 and two front mount converters)

Of course, lenses that start longer than 55mm are easy to make compatible with full frame cameras with no penalty, so we it is entirely reasonable that lenses like the 70-200/4 G and the 90 macro are FF lenses.

I simply don't think it is fair to say that Sony has ignored the APS-C e-mount, or that options are lacking.

Robert,

The correct place to sell used camera gear is on eBay, not on craigslist.

Yes, Sony does innovate much more than Canon and Nikon do and they drive costs down, which means their camera bodies lose resale body over time. For the same price as a new NEX-7 three years ago, you can get a new Alpha 7 II with a FF sensor, CDAF, 14 bits and built-in image stabilization.

Over the same time period Nikon upgraded the D800 to the D810 and added EFCS. So it's not surprising the D800 has maintained more of its resale value.

The NEX-7 is gone, replaced after three years or so by the A6000 -- a camera that a Sony rep described to me as a(n) NEX-7 with better specs and good autofocus. Sony didn't throw in the towel, they changed their naming convention and lowered the price. A lot. In any case, if you liked the NEX-7, you should love the A6000.

At one point there was a used NEX-7 in the camera shop where I sometimes helped out, and in a bit of free time I took it out to try it for about half an hour.

I nearly threw the camera against the wall. It was one of the most frustrating cameras I've ever used. Who thought the UI for this level of camera was a good idea?

Not that the current Sony UI is any great shakes, but the NEX-7 made me want to throttle someone, preferably the UI designer for Sony NEX.

cd embrey, why not go for a post-ww2 Elmar 90/4? I did for my Nex-7 and it's proved its worth (probably one of the best value legacy glasses available - $150+).

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