The Sony Alpha NEX-7 delivers impressive image quality -- approaching that of a big digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera -- in a smaller package. But the Sony's lack of lenses, weaker body and video-overheating problems hurt its ratings.
"I was loathe to return to the more conventional DSLR world after using it." Nobody calls the Sony NEX-7 pocketable, but it's certainly sleeker than a chunky DSLR, and testers say that it fits very nicely in one hand. Like the Olympus, the Sony gets an excellent electronic viewfinder, plus a tilting 3-inch LCD screen, though it's not a touch screen. Extraordinarily well-thought-out physical controls make up for it, though. The NEX-7 has a Tri-Nav control system that experts love -- two dials on top that allow you to control your most-used functions one-handed, plus another dial on the rear. You can customize pretty much every control, too, making it "extremely fluid to shoot with," says Andy Westlake at DPReview.com.ProsBig-camera image quality in a small package, Exceptionally efficient control layout, Best-in-class panorama and HDR featuresConsDisappointing lens selection, Video mode can overheat the camera, Not weather-sealed