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Author Topic: NEX-7 Rolling Review  (Read 77511 times)

michael

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #40 on: December 02, 2011, 12:58:50 pm »

It has twice the resolution and much higher contrast and brightness. I wouldn't say it's twice as good, but it is visibly better.

Michael
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DaveCurtis

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #41 on: December 02, 2011, 02:16:55 pm »

Michael/Chris,
I really enjoy the video as a review medium. Well done.

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douglasf13

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #42 on: December 02, 2011, 05:06:43 pm »

It has twice the resolution and much higher contrast and brightness. I wouldn't say it's twice as good, but it is visibly better.

Michael


Agreed. The EVF on my NEX-5N (same as NEX-7) is the first EVF that I've owned, and I was pretty stunned to try out my friend's GH2 the other day.  The Sony EVF is a pretty significant step up, and really looks close to reality in good light.
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Jeff Kott

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #43 on: December 02, 2011, 06:19:06 pm »

Agreed. The EVF on my NEX-5N (same as NEX-7) is the first EVF that I've owned, and I was pretty stunned to try out my friend's GH2 the other day.  The Sony EVF is a pretty significant step up, and really looks close to reality in good light.

+1 and it works even better now that I've implemented Douglas' trick of lowering the contrast in the jpeg settings which opens up the shadows in the EVF. (Of course, this works if you shoot raw and aren't relying on the camera's jpeg engine for your output.)
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adanac

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2011, 03:55:19 pm »

I've used the X100 extensively and now somewhat less extensively the NEX-5N and EVF and if comparing EVF to EVF the Sony EVF is superior. In abundant light the image is more like the output; in low light situations it is noisy just as the X100 is but suffers from far less lag. You can reduce the viewfinder lag in the X100 with a half press of the shutter but still the Sony wins out here.

While I do miss a little the optical half of the X100 hybrid finder, I was using the EVF half more often than not so the transition to the NEX wasn't hard for me. The diopter adjustment on the X100 is a lot less fiddly than the NEX and less likely to be moved, but I've only knocked the NEX adjustment slider out once or twice.

Yes, I'd buy an EVF only Sony camera after this experience.

Mike

PS: I'd also like to thank Michael for the informative rolling review of the NEX-7 and comparisons. Looking forward to the M lens examination and hope there's some comparison with the NEX-5N (and maybe the GXR?) too. I've become quite impressed with the 5N and can see some photographers opting to remain with that body thanks to the tilt EVF. I'd still prefer the handling of the 7 but to be honest if mostly shooting M or legacy SLR glass, some of the features of the 7 are wasted.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 03:58:50 pm by adanac »
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Wayne Fox

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2011, 01:03:54 am »

I am glad to see that the DxOMark results are now widely accepted as representing the truth about camera sensors. Heck, even Phaseone is now using these results in their commercial mailings (like the one I received 2 days ago).  ;D
Cheers,
Bernard

I agree most are finding it a useful tool, but still has the caveat of being a strictly scientific measurement of certain sensor characteristics which ends up  primarily based on sensor design and sensel size without regard to total pixels.  So useful when comparing sensors of similar resolutions, less so when comparing those significantly different and certainly only one of many factors when it comes to real world workflows.
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Ray

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2011, 04:16:13 am »

I agree most are finding it a useful tool, but still has the caveat of being a strictly scientific measurement of certain sensor characteristics which ends up  primarily based on sensor design and sensel size without regard to total pixels.  So useful when comparing sensors of similar resolutions, less so when comparing those significantly different and certainly only one of many factors when it comes to real world workflows.

Not at all, Wayne. DXO are well aware of the differences between the two situations of comparing individual pixels on any sensor as opposed to comparing the total number of pixels on those sensors.

That's why at the top left corner of their pages with graphs showing direct comparisons of up to 3 cameras on the same page, there's an option of 'screen' or ' print'.

The 'screen' option gives you the pixel per pixel comparison. The 'print' option shows you results when the images from both sensors have been downsampled to 8mp.

The rather low figure of 8mp has been chosen in order not to include too many models of cameras which would require upsampling rather than downsampling, such as the old Canon 10D dslr, presumably because upsampling is a different ball game which is more susceptible to variations in software sophistication.

As I understand, but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, the results for two cameras which have both been downsampled to 8mp, as seen when clicking on the 'print' box in DXOMark, would be the same (for all practical purposes) if the print resolution were increased to the lowest resolution of the two cameras in the comparison, which may be considerably more than 8mp.

In other words, to take a specific example,  if one is comparing the 24mp NEX-7 with the 16mp D7000 in print mode, which results in both images being downsampled to 8mp for comparison purposes, those results in the DXOMark graphs would be equally applicable if the NEX-7 had been downsampled to 16mp (instead of 8mp) and compared to the D7000 at its native resolution of 16mp.

I've assumed this to be true for a long time. If it's not true, then please provide the evidence. I just hate to walk around with false notions in my head.

If one compares images from the NEX-7 with identical scenes from the Nikon D7000, at the same size, whether big or small, then the NEX-7 compares very favourably with the D7000 in terms of SNR, Tonal Range, Color Sensitivity etc.

The D7000 has a slight advantage in terms deep shadow detail. The NEX-7 may have a slight advantage in terms of color accuracy, and certainly a slight advantage in terms of fundamental resolution and detail when using a good lens. 24mp is usually better than 16mp, even if the lens is the same.

However, let's not kid ourselves that the NEX-7 pixel is as good as the larger D7000 pixel, and the even larger D3X pixel. Hit the 'screen' mode on DXOMark to see the differences.


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ErikKaffehr

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2011, 05:47:57 am »

Hi,

I agree with Wayne that DxO measures only some aspects of image quality. In my view they essentially measure noise characteristics, of which DR is a part.

Wayne likes to print large, so other aspects of image quality like resolution, microcontrast (which I assume to be MTF near Nyquist) is important to the type of pictures he makes. Those parameters are not taken into account by DxO.

Best regards
Erik


Not at all, Wayne. DXO are well aware of the differences between the two situations of comparing individual pixels on any sensor as opposed to comparing the total number of pixels on those sensors.

That's why at the top left corner of their pages with graphs showing direct comparisons of up to 3 cameras on the same page, there's an option of 'screen' or ' print'.

The 'screen' option gives you the pixel per pixel comparison. The 'print' option shows you results when the images from both sensors have been downsampled to 8mp.

The rather low figure of 8mp has been chosen in order not to include too many models of cameras which would require upsampling rather than downsampling, such as the old Canon 10D dslr, presumably because upsampling is a different ball game which is more susceptible to variations in software sophistication.

As I understand, but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, the results for two cameras which have both been downsampled to 8mp, as seen when clicking on the 'print' box in DXOMark, would be the same (for all practical purposes) if the print resolution were increased to the lowest resolution of the two cameras in the comparison, which may be considerably more than 8mp.

In other words, to take a specific example,  if one is comparing the 24mp NEX-7 with the 16mp D7000 in print mode, which results in both images being downsampled to 8mp for comparison purposes, those results in the DXOMark graphs would be equally applicable if the NEX-7 had been downsampled to 16mp (instead of 8mp) and compared to the D7000 at its native resolution of 16mp.

I've assumed this to be true for a long time. If it's not true, then please provide the evidence. I just hate to walk around with false notions in my head.

If one compares images from the NEX-7 with identical scenes from the Nikon D7000, at the same size, whether big or small, then the NEX-7 compares very favourably with the D7000 in terms of SNR, Tonal Range, Color Sensitivity etc.

The D7000 has a slight advantage in terms deep shadow detail. The NEX-7 may have a slight advantage in terms of color accuracy, and certainly a slight advantage in terms of fundamental resolution and detail when using a good lens. 24mp is usually better than 16mp, even if the lens is the same.

However, let's not kid ourselves that the NEX-7 pixel is as good as the larger D7000 pixel, and the even larger D3X pixel. Hit the 'screen' mode on DXOMark to see the differences.



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Erik Kaffehr
 

Ray

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2011, 09:16:04 pm »

Hi,

I agree with Wayne that DxO measures only some aspects of image quality. In my view they essentially measure noise characteristics, of which DR is a part.

Wayne likes to print large, so other aspects of image quality like resolution, microcontrast (which I assume to be MTF near Nyquist) is important to the type of pictures he makes. Those parameters are not taken into account by DxO.

Best regards
Erik



Hi Erik,
The reason that resolution is not taken into account is because it's so dependent on lens quality, as you must already know. I think it is generally understood that all sensors with a higher pixel count have the potential to deliver higher resolution when used with a sufficiently sharp lens at an appropriate aperture. Do we really need someone to scientifically verify that fact?

Of course, it is true that a particular sensor which has a  marginally greater pixel count than another, may not deliver the expected marginal increase in resolution because its AA filter is marginally stronger than the AA filter in the sensor with the slightly lower pixel count.

I suppose it would be possible for DXO to measure the strength of the AA filter in all its cameras tested, and give a ranking in terms of percentage of resolution in relation to the theoretical Nyquist limit of the sensor.

I suspect the reason they don't do this is because the rankings of such results would be so subjectively contentious. Consider all the lengthy discussions on this forum about the benefits and disadvantages of the lack of an AA filter. If DXOmark were to provide precise information on the strength of the AA filter in each camera it tested, how could it be determined whether or not a weak AA filter which causes more aliasing is more desirable than a stronger AA filter which more successfully prevents aliasing?

I guess they would have no choice but to exclude such results from their rankings, and such results would become just an extraneous piece of information, useful to some perhaps but not to many who wouldn't know if it were a good thing or a bad thing.

If one considers the current categories of sensor performance that DXOMark address, such as ISO Sensitivity, SNR, Dynamic Range, Tonal Range, Color Sensitivity, all across the full range of ISO settings, there is surely no doubt or confusion about which result is better, or which is more desirable.

I've never heard anyone complain that the Dynamic Range of their camera is too great, or the color too accurate, or the noise too low.

As I write this, I'm reminded of the great contoversy surrounding comparisons between the Canon 1DsII and the 5D which was released later and was the first affordable full-frame DSLR.

The pixel count of the 5D was slightly less (12.7 versus 16.2 for the 1Ds2) but in practice the resolution of compared images sometimes seemed to be so close as to be almost nonexistent. To explain this, it was suggested that the 5D had a slightly weaker AA filter than the 1Ds2.

Having been involved in that controversy myself, in the days when the Rob Galbraith forum was active, I find it interesting to now view the DXOMark comparison of the 5D and 1Ds2.

One can now understand the reasons for the controversy which took place before the DXOMark site existed. These cameras really were very close in performance.

What we find is that in all the parameters which DXO address, the 5D and 1Ds2 are neck and neck, except with regard to DR at high ISO. At ISO 1600 the DR of the 5D is a full 1/2 stop better than the much more expensive 1Ds2 at ISO 1600. A 1/2 stop is worthwhile, and I'm referring to comparisons of equal size images.

If we compare relative performance at the pixel level, the 5D is marginally ahead in all parameters, except its DR lead exceeds 1/2 a stop, as one would expect.

Sites such as DXOMark are tremendously useful because they help us dispel some of our subjective illusions about camera performance which we may have presumed from the price of the product and general advertising.

Those who had already bought the 1Ds2 before the 5D was released would naturally tend to be outraged at any suggestion that the much cheaper 5D was not only the equal of the 1Ds2 in most IQ departments but actually superior in at least one.

Without the benefit of the DXOMark results, an enormous amount of hot air was generated trying to justify the superior image quality from the 1Ds2, when in fact the real reasons for buying a 1Ds2 instead of a 5D would have been for practical issues not addressed by DXOMark, such as superior waterproofing, sturdier construction, greater number of predicted shutter actuations before maintenance, and autofocussing capability at F8 instead of the maximum F5.6 for the 5D, which has implications when using teleconverters.

The main attraction of the NEX-7 is not that it has better image quality and higher resolution than many other cameras on the market, but that it is significantly lighter and more compact than other cameras of similar resolution and IQ.

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dreed

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2011, 10:06:39 pm »

The reason that resolution is not taken into account is because it's so dependent on lens quality, as you must already know.

Indeed and this makes me speculate whether or not DxO does their camera sensor testing in a lens-less fashion. Does anyone know if that's a fact or not?
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Ray

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2011, 11:06:07 pm »

Indeed and this makes me speculate whether or not DxO does their camera sensor testing in a lens-less fashion. Does anyone know if that's a fact or not?

Good point! I'm assuming that they not only test the sensor in a lens-less fashion, but they also examine the unconverted RAW image in order to avoid the endless speculation about the qualities of any particular RAW converter that might have been used, including their own.
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Jeff Kott

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #51 on: December 05, 2011, 12:15:38 pm »

Michael,


Thanks for the great work with the NEX 7 rolling review!

In the last installment, you mention that you've had an opportunity to compare most of the Sony E mount lenses with your Leica lenses, but don't intend to publishing any more results. That's very understandable considering that only a very small percentage of NEX users will be using $6,000 lenses on their NEX cameras. However, I think it would help a lot of us if you could just make a general comment on what you're seeing in image corners using your wider angle M mount lenses on the NEX 7, as some other reviewers have posted images that seem to indicate corner smearing and color shift with wider angle lenses on the NEX 7, an issue that has been much improved with the NEX 5N as compared to the NEX 5.

For example, I have a NEX 7 on order and want a lens in the 24 mm range. I'm considering getting a Zeiss ZM 25 instead of the Sony/Zeiss 24/1.8. They're in the same price range and for me the ability to use the Zeiss ZM with other systems is more important than autofocus and image stabilization. But, if the NEX 7 sensor has problems in the corners with the native wider M mount lenses, I would then get the Sony/Zeiss 24.

Jeff
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douglasf13

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #52 on: December 05, 2011, 12:40:39 pm »

Thanks for recent installment, Michael. I agree with Jeff in that the most questionable area of performance with the Nex-7 is corner performance with rangefinder lenses. Other early testers have shown that the Nex-7 has much more color shift than the 5N with the wide rangefinder lenses from CV and Zeiss, and we could really use a comparison between the two cameras. My Nex-5 shows more color shift and less resolution in the corners with my ZM 35mm lenses when compared to the 5N, and it only gets worse as I go wider. If the Nex-7 performs like the old Nex-5 in the corners, it'll be a step back for many of us.
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michael

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #53 on: December 05, 2011, 01:06:17 pm »

This will be covered in the next installment later this week. Short answer is that ZM lenses are a poor choice with the NEX-7 because they are of symmetrical design. Most Leica WA lenses since the 1980's are retrofocus designs and therefore much more amenable to the NEX-7's sensor and microlenses.

Michael
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douglasf13

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #54 on: December 05, 2011, 01:39:22 pm »

This will be covered in the next installment later this week. Short answer is that ZM lenses are a poor choice with the NEX-7 because they are of symmetrical design. Most Leica WA lenses since the 1980's are retrofocus designs and therefore much more amenable to the NEX-7's sensor and microlenses.

Michael


Thanks, Michael.  I'm aware of the symmetrical design of many of the ZM and Voigtlander wides, but the NEX-5N has solved most of corner issues with these lenses when compared to the older NEX-5.  Judging by tests from others, and your comments here, it seems the NEX-7 is a step backwards for those of use that use these lenses on the NEX-5N, which is unfortunate, because I think the body of the NEX-7 looks pretty nice.  

Even with 35mm ZM Biogons, I get around .75 EV less vignetting, less color shift, and better resolution in the corners with the 5N compared to the old 5.  While the Leica wides don't seem as symmetrical as the ZMs, I'd bet that the Leica wides would also perform a little better in the corners on the 5N compared to the 5 (and maybe 7.)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 01:48:03 pm by douglasf13 »
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AFairley

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review - back to the viewfinder
« Reply #55 on: December 05, 2011, 03:48:17 pm »

To loop back to the EVF for a moment, one thing I am noticing with the Olympus m4/3 VF-2 EVF is that the shadows do block up quite a bit, making composition more difficult when one corner or side of the frame is in shadow, a very noticeable (and annoying) difference from the open shadows though a DSLR OVF.  In fact, the image in the EVF has considerably less dynamic range than the actual files have.  How is the NEX-7 in that respect?
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douglasf13

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review - back to the viewfinder
« Reply #56 on: December 05, 2011, 04:14:14 pm »

To loop back to the EVF for a moment, one thing I am noticing with the Olympus m4/3 VF-2 EVF is that the shadows do block up quite a bit, making composition more difficult when one corner or side of the frame is in shadow, a very noticeable (and annoying) difference from the open shadows though a DSLR OVF.  In fact, the image in the EVF has considerably less dynamic range than the actual files have.  How is the NEX-7 in that respect?

Assuming that you shoot raw, you can just lower the contrast in the NEX-7/5N EVF and it opens up shadows quite a bit.  It gives you a more accurate histogram for the raw, too.
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marcmccalmont

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #57 on: December 05, 2011, 05:11:07 pm »

I hope there will be a recommendation for a general purpose "walk around" zoom?
Marc
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Marc McCalmont

bobtowery

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #58 on: December 05, 2011, 06:14:29 pm »

I hope there will be a recommendation for a general purpose "walk around" zoom?
Marc

Look on page 2 of this thread, second post from the bottom (Michael's).
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Ray

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Re: NEX-7 Rolling Review
« Reply #59 on: December 06, 2011, 12:15:59 am »

For many of us, this issue of available lenses is a huge problem. The camera body is essentially just a device to accommodate the sensor (with associated electronic processes) and hold the lens.

A camera is of no use without a lens. The quality and characteristics of available lenses is just as important as the performance of the camera body. In fact, in some respects the quality of the lens is more important because improvements in sensor performance, which requires a change in camera body to appreciate, occur more frequently and with more dramatic results than improvements in lens performance.

There's a good argument for choosing one's lenses first, then choosing a body to match.

If the shot requires a 14mm lens and the widest you have is 18mm, and the subject is not static, then you are stuffed. You may miss the shot, in terms of desired composition, unless you have the time and opportunity to walk backwards.

At the telephoto end of the spectrum, you will not miss the shot. It'll just be downgraded as a result of fewer and noisier pixels, if you don't have a sufficiently long lens.

The NEX-7 body is impressively light and compact in relation to its performance, but it would be foolish to make any weight comparisons without equivalent lenses attached

If one cannot find lenses for the NEX-7 of equivalent quality, focal length and aperture to match what one already has, uses and desires, then it becomes a rather expensive exercise to buy into an NEX-7 system in order to save 1/2 a kilogram of body weight.
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