The China Experiment – Dumping Nikon for Sony

Update – the Transitions is Complete

In July of 2013, I decided to switch and stop using DSLRs as my main weapon. To see more, come read “Hello Sony. Goodbye Nikon.

The Sony NEX Experiment in China

I’m going to spend a few weeks in China using only my Sony NEX (see Sony NEX-7 Review) I’m sidelining the Nikon D800 (see Nikon D800 Review) for the time being. It will be my backup camera in case the Sony breaks down. This is a role-reversal for my cameras! For the last year+, the Sony has been the backup quarterback, but now the coach has made a big decision.

DSLRs are a dying breed

Over a year ago, I wrote a controversial article called DSLRs are a Dying Breed. I got a lot of hate for that… but that’s cool.

Important Questions to Ask Me

Whenever you see someone come out and say something sensational like this, you should ask:

Question #1: Is Sony paying you to say this or make this move?
Answer #1: No.

Question #2: Did you get your Sony NEX-7 for free or discount?
Answer #2: No. I paid full price

Question #3: Does Sony pay you to advertise?
Answer #3: No. These Japanese companies don’t seem to care much about social media… I’m sure if I showed them the Google Analytics on this blog and that I have over 10 million followers when you add up Google+, FB, Pinterest, and Twitter that they would just give me a blank-Japanese-stare. They still care more about advertising in old photography magazines that hardly anybody reads any more. I have another article you might enjoy called “Stop Advertising in Magazines” where I did an experiment.

Anyway, if any of the answers were “Yes,” it would not necessarily make what I am saying invalid, but it should make you more suspicious. If you see other photographers in the media make a surprising change, you should ask these questions too.

Maybe if you’ve followed me on for the past 6+ years, you know I’m honest about what I use and say. Nikon doesn’t pay more or have any financial relationship whatsoever, and I’ve always pimped their wares. I’ve always paid full price for all my Nikon equipment. NOW, having said that, maybe things will change in the future… but they could never pay me enough to make me say something I don’t believe already. Life’s too short, you know?

Why am I able to be so honest, independent of sponsorships (and/or the sad lack thereof)? Well, the blog is very profitable and keeps our team of about ten people happily paid and rewarded. It makes money because many nice people like you visit our store and get goodies you just can’t live without! 🙂 hehe… but, seriously, I don’t have to scrounge around for business and sponsorship deals so that we can make payroll. I’m very grateful for this… it keeps the website and me independent, and I’m also very glad we have so many happy customers that keep the whole circle of love going. Thank you! 🙂

Why are you switching to the Sony NEX?

For over a year, my Nikon D800 has been my Main Camera and the Sony NEX-7 has been the backup. They are now swapping places!

I’m just experimenting with this swap two weeks while in China. However, this is a pretty major decision because I don’t go to China too often. If I come back and miss shots because of a bad camera decision, then it’s all my fault. I don’t want to have any photography-regrets! I have enough other regrets in my life… I don’t need to add photography regrets to the list!

Something that honestly drove this decision is that I’m without my 14-24mm Nikon lens. But I’ve been without it now for 6 weeks, and another 4 weeks in the past year because of a fault with the lens that Nikon could never really fix correctly. During that 10+ weeks, I’ve been using the Sony NEX-7 a lot, and I think it can pretty much do everything I need.

Update: Nikon just offered to send me a free loaner 14-24mm lens, but I declined. It’s problematic to ship it to me since I’m on the move, and I’m happy to go forward with my Sony experiment. Also, I’ve been without the 14-24mm for so long, I’ve gotten quite used to a Nikon-less way of life. It’s not so bad.

I’ll include a bunch of photos from NEX-7 so you can see the quality and judge for yourself.

HDR Photo

Above: I just took this photo a few days ago with the NEX-7 and the 10-18mm lens. I don’t think I could have done any better with the Nikon D800.


Okay, but, still, what are the main reasons I have made this decision? Here they are:

  • The new 10-18mm lens on the Sony NEX-7 is amazing. It’s a cropped sensor at 1.5x, so I’m really getting 15-27mm, which is not that different than the 14-24mm that I am used to. I love landscapes, so just backing up a few more feet is quite easy most of the time.
  • The camera is SHARP. Oh god… that mirrorless sensor system is just so sharp… never blurry.
  • It has all the basic lenses I need (which are not many – a wide angle and a telephoto)
  • 24 megapixel — more than enough. Sure, the D800 has 36 megapixel, but, that doesn’t translate into many more horizontal pixels… Since I’ve been shooting with the D800, I haven’t been printing any bigger or doing any different licensing deals because of the higher resolution.
  • Smaller. The NEX-7 is 5.9x smaller! Let’s just say SIX TIMES SMALLER for the sake of argument. Six Times. 6X. 111x49x38mm for the NEX-7 vs 146x123x82mm for the D800. It takes up hardly any space AND is…
  • Lighter – 2.9x lighter (350g vs 1,000g) – I like measuring things in grams… I feel like a drug dealer.
  • Faster at shooting 10 fps vs. 4 fps
  • Screen that flips around – That is more useful than I ever knew…
  • I have a Leica lens adapter on my NEX-7 that lets me use amazing Leica lenses, like this sweet f/1.2 that sometimes makes a surprise appearance !

Sample Sony NEX-7 Photos

While my Nikon has been in various states of disrepair (my fault, I assure you) I have been left with my Sony NEX-7. Here are some photos that I took. I’m very happy with them! Note that most of these are with the kit lens! Also note that I post-process a lot of my photos unapologetically.

HDR Photo

The above photo was taken with…. drumroll… the Sony NEX-7! And the kit-lens, no less!


HDR Photo

Above: The NEX-7 can really take some incredible photos. Wait, I took it. Well, you know, the NEX-7 helped… But yes, it’s a lovely camera. Oh, and this is the kit lens!


HDR Photo

Above: Here is another photo I took a few days ago here near Queenstown with the 10-18mm lens.


HDR Photo

Above: My son and daughter play in the ocean in Virgin Gorda… Kit lens.


HDR Photo

Above, a path in Glenorchy. Kit Lens.


Taken with the Sony NEX-7.  I took that with the kit lens. Let me repeat – I took that with the KIT LENS ! :)  - Read my full review here.

Above: I don’t do a lot of shallow DOF work, but you can see it’s pretty good even though it is an APS-C sensor. Note also this was taken with the kit lens!
ISO 200 55mm f/5.6 0.05s (1/20)

HDR Photo

Above, a fun photo while using the Leica-mount and f/1.2 lens.


HDR Photo

Here’s a shot of my friend Ben, who is the founder of Pinterest.


HDR Photo

My kids playing on the rocks…kit lens.


HDR Photo

Above: This is an HDR shot with the NEX-7 kit lens. I did three exposures then did the steps from the new HDR Tutorial.


Why the Sony NEX-7 and not another mirrorless system?

The micro-four-thirds are another very good system. There are also a lot more lenses available for that system rather than Sony’s new E-Mount system. But, I just really like the NEX-7 better than any of the micro-four-thirds cameras right now. Note all of that could change relatively quickly. But, really, the micro-four-thirds cameras are just fine and really cool. There are a lot more manufacturers making cameras and lenses for that system, and I know it has a huge following.

How will you determine if the “China Experiment” is a success or failure?

Well that is a good question. I wish I had not asked it. I’m quite scientific and analytical, you know? So I don’t know how I will know if this was truly a good move.

If I could do some sort of quantum experiment, where a parallel-universe-Trey made the opposite decision to use the Nikon D800 instead and happened to visit all the same places — and then I could quantum-combine the results and compare the photos from A and B — well that would be a good experiment, but I won’t do that. Well, I would, but I can’t think of a way to bring together multiple universes at the moment.

Another way would be if I took both cameras for two weeks and took the same photos of the same things. But that is overkill. I’m pretty Type-A go-getter, but I’m still kinda lazy. I’m not gonna do all that mess.

Here’s the thing, I’ll come back from two weeks in China with a ton of photos from the NEX-7, and either I’ll be happy with them or I won’t. If I come away with a lot of winners, then I’ll consider the whole thing a nice success! If I’m happy, then it will be a successful experiment. It’s quite a holistic analysis, and I am at zen peace with this.

Want to watch the live results roll in?

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see my videos that I’ll post while using this camera in China. BTW, thanks for the 2.4 million views on the channel! I’ll upload videos there. Even though China blocks a lot of Google and YouTube, I have a VPN so I’m gonna be sweet-sliding around the Great Firewall of China.

Update: Sony has contacted me now. They asked if they could loan me anything to try, so I asked for the lesser cousin to the NEX-7 — the NEX 5n. I’m interested in trying the new OLED display attachment. It’s also a good deal cheaper than the NEX-7, and I’ve gotten many questions about it… I’ll play around with it and then I can answer.

  • That’s a lot of typing rot thur.
    I suspect that your blog viewers will NEVER notice the difference, even the pixel peepers like me.
    But I think that you will enjoy the switch very much. Not having to hang 10 lbs. of gear on your back will pay off almost immediately in your attitude. When deciding wether or not to hall over one more hill, the weight you have left behind may seem huge! Plus the mirrorless boys are so easy to hide. You can whip them out and get some shots on the sly that would otherwise be a bit of a scene.
    I have the Nikon V1 over the Nex7 mostly because I can use all the same Nikon lenses with the adapter. But I have to admit, the NEX7 is a better mirrorless camera in a few ways. I SOMEWHAT regret having gone the V1 way. But i shall sally forth just the same.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – that V1 is not bad – it has a SUPER small sensor, but the Nikon people tell me that doesn’t matter too much because of some other things that are happening. I dunno… I tried the early V1 myself and didn’t love it too much.

  • This is a nice experiment. Just the thought that went into it, I doubt it could not end in success.

    It is interesting also to see you pushing in that direction, and some company (like Canon) mostly resisting it until very lately.

    Thanks for all the details, it was (and will) be fun to read.

  • foosion

    The main advantages of a full frame camera over a smaller sensor are shallower depth of field and predictive AF. You typically shoot deep depth of field and static subjects, so that isn’t a concern.

    Low light performance and high ISO can be an advantage. You typically shoot on a tripod at base ISO, so that’s not a concern. Dynamic range might be an issue, but HDR covers that. Higher resolution only matters at large magnification. I’d bet the overwhelming majority of those who see your pictures view on the web and very few view wall sized prints.

    Perhaps lens availability, but Sony seems to have the lenses you want. Ergonomics? Do you have any issues with handling, access to controls and settings or other ergonomic issues?

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks – yes it will be fun to watch.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    These things are all true – I usually shoot deep DOF and on a tripod – so a lot of the drawbacks of this APS-C sensor don’t mean much to me.

  • Steve Kay

    Hmmm. I’m heading to China in June for three weeks, with my NEX-7. If you happen to end up in Xining (doubtful, I know), I can definitely get you an interpreter and guide for a photowalk. I bought the NEX-7 based, in part, on your review. I was the guy who informed you of the release of the first firmware update.

    Enjoy your trip.

  • Scotty Graham

    Trey…I think this will be a great experiment…two years ago, I traded all of my Nikon equipment for the Leica M9, and had no regrets…and yes, those Leica lenses are the bomb. I recently picked up the D800 for underwater, but when I am traveling, I take my M9…sure beats lugging around a big camera bag full of stuff…I am sure you will have a similar experience with your Sony. After all, it is the photographer, not the camera that really matters.

    After this post, I am sure Sony’s sales will rocket…maybe then, Sony will take notice of the power of social media….ha!

  • Casper van Zyl

    i always carry heavy but with time rolling on i feel i should be going lighter as well,but we will see. Those pics are all nice and we will wait to see the results from China.Happy hunting! happy shooting!

  • gavz

    I’ve been shooting with a Sony A77 for the last 18 months. This has the same sensor as the Nex 7. I love the quality of the shots I get off the camera, and absolutely love the OLED viewfinder (in fact, I really missed it when I borrowed a friends 1D mk IV the other weekend). I think it great that you are trying other vendors products in such a subjective way (over the last few years Sony have demonstrated some very impressive innovation, it will be interesting to see when they start producing FF cameras with their 36MP sensor – which Nikon currently have exclusive rights to for the D800). A9X?

    I have been considering getting a NEX as a second camera (much easier to carry around when wrangling two toddlers of family trips away). I wonder when/if they will produce a FF version (using the same tech that is in the RX1 …).

    Nowadays you can pick the A77 up for less than a thousand bucks (see, coupled with some old minolta glass (like the 50/1.7 and 70-210/4 – which you can get for $100/$300 on ebay) and you can have a great setup.

    Of course you can also go nuts with the high end G lenses and Carl Zeiss AF lenses (which can then be coupled to a NEX 7 using a Sony adapter) … Sony have also scrapped plans on its successor (the A78), so there may be a bit more life left in this body …

  • Egídio Leitão

    I’m looking forward to your experiment results and photos. Last year, after traveling in Italy carrying my D5000, I decided to make the switch to a Sony NEX camera. First it was a NEX-5N and then I settled on the NEX-5R. I love that camera!

    Austin, TX

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thx Steve – I’ve got that firmware now fully loaded and working! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – that OLED is really cool… I agree!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Me too… I’m wondering when they will announce the NEX-9 !

  • Steve Uhlman

    This was such a great post today! I love to come to this site every morning and see what’s new. I agree with everyone’s points here so far, and I’m betting the photos will be fantastic as always! Funny how I am now really debating the addition of a 5D mk3 to add to my 5D mk2 and 7D…… hmmmm I will be very jealous if start to see more and more mirrorless cameras on tripods…. tic toc tic toc 🙂

  • Bryan Roos

    If you make it to Shanghai, let me know. Have been living here three years now, and have a bunch of friends with the Shanghai Flickr Meetup Group who can show you around. A couple of us have been shooting with the NEX-7 since it first came out.

  • oldhickory49

    I have the NEX7 and I’m pretty happy with it. What I don’t like is trying to shoot brackets in low light for HDR. Very funky. Image quality is very good though, but I really miss the Nikon interface and handling. Looking forward to seeing what you get in China.

  • That sounds like it’ll be a fun experiment Trey. I’ve been using a D3S with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 as my backup, and each day that I’ve had the Olympus I’ve loved it more and more. I’ve always thought of my D3S as the epic scenery camera, but I’ve also been putting the OM-D through it’s paces, and it hasn’t disappointed one bit. And with bracketing and frame rate similar to the D3S, the only thing I feel it is lacking is low light performance. Each trip I take also has me thinking more and more about the convenience and ease of taking a smaller mirrorless camera around. I’ll be looking forward to the results from your experiment and thoughts about using the smaller gear as your starter. And you’re right about Japan and social media. They don’t care as much about Facebook or G+ as they do Mixi (a site only for Japan). Even with Mixi, social networking doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as other countries. ;-P

  • Chris Newham

    I too have the NEX7 as my second camera to a D800 and I also have the Sony wide angle lens and I am really looking forwards to seeing the result of your trip.

    The NEX is IMO an excellent camera when I fly I only take my NEX kit and while I am away I think this is great I will ditch the D800 when I get back home but you know as soon as I feel the D800 in my hands and squeeze a shot or two off I fall back in love with the great big heavy thing again.
    Certainly I think the Nikon interface has the edge but Sony isnt far away a few software tweaks could make the Sony so much better.

    Love your work and I will be watching this experiment closely.

  • susan ratcliff

    Wonderful idea for an experiment Trey!! We’ll look forward to your results! 🙂

  • Josh Burghandy

    Trey, I would be really curious as to the difference between the 14mm Nikon and the widest your Sony can go. You mentioned that all you have to do is back up a few feet, but is that really the case? I’ve found there to be a huge difference between even just a few mm at super-wide angle lenses and am curious. As a matter of fact, this is the only reason thus far that I have not moved to mirrorless.


  • Hey, I can bear witness that Trey paid full retail for the Sony here in Orlando. It seemed like a cool little camera, but I think I’d miss my auto-exposure bracketing on the Nikon.

  • Yes. That’s exactly the back handed fashion in which I would praise the V1. It’s “not bad”. :]

  • Oh Man. You got me on this one. I Love the NEX-7. Can’t wait to see how your experiment turns out!

    After I finally ordered the SEL18200 18-200 lens for mine, it spawned me to re-review, if nothing else to point family and friends when they ask “what kind of camera should I buy”.. I posted a few days ago:

    I’m totally with you on this man. The NEX-7 is really really hard to beat. Headed to Disney in a couple weeks with mine, will be leaving the D800 back in the hotel for the majority of it. Might use the D800 on the cruise (or at destination) but for the park stuff, just the NEX-7.

    BTW, Sony does actually troll Flickr by EXIF for non-professional hobbyist shots to use in print/digital ads. I hear they typically stay away from direct purchases from professionals, going through the usual agency-routes instead. I’ve been approached before with shots taken on the A77, as a non-professional. (Never the NEX-5n or 7, though) Standard commercial-release/peter parker rates apply. Pretty underwhelming license reates, in fact, if I recall, they paid in Prepaid AMEX cards, not actually cash.

    I say all that to say, there is an elite group of Sony ninjas that care about social media.

  • David Hendershot

    After talking with Gage in New Zealand and seeing what he can do with his Olympus OMD, I have been very interested in moving away form my DSLR. I am looking forward to seeing your results and thoughts on the NEX in China. Sometimes I just use my Canon S95 and i’m quiet surprised on what comes out of that camera. Your experimenet is a great idea!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – Gage was really workin’ that OMD wasn’t he? That was cool…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Haha that’s right – you were with me ! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Awesome Bill! 🙂 And thanks for the link.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – but this difference is only 14mm vs 15mm — there IS a big diff between, say 14mm and 18mm — but not just 1mm there.

  • Trey, can you please comment on the one factor that has steered me away for the NEX7 – no water seals! I shoot a lot in the rain and would buy the NEX7 in a second if they made it with weather seals. I now use the Pentax K5II which is an amazing camera.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – I wish I didn’t have to hold down my shutter button for all the brackets!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Cool – thanks for coming every day Steve ! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe – thx Scotty – glad you are enjoying your Leica ! 🙂

  • Lorraine Minogue

    I moved to NEX and Nikon mirrorless within the last year, sold my old clunky dslr and now carry both at all times. So much easier! Enjoy the China Experiment and let us know. I don’t regret my decision at all, I celebrate it!

  • I hadn’t been following / seen that 10-188mm lens before. My bank account curses you 🙂

  • Christopher Neumann Ruud

    Congragulations, Trey, on finally making the switch! Noe that you’re using grams in stead of pounds, meters and km/h are not far behind! Oh yeah, Sony, Nikon, whatever. Good images happen because of the photographer, not the gear.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe thanks 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Trey Ratcliff

    I agree! No weather-sealing is a problem. Maybe there will be a Pro NEX-9 in the cards with weather sealing.

  • Josh Burghandy

    Hmm… lots to think about. Thanks.

  • Irrespective of how the experiment goes, I do believe that the two things that you will demonstrate beyond all doubt are:
    a. The camera does not make the picture… its the photographer who does;
    b. To get a great picture, you have to be there to start with;

  • I bought the NEX7 when it first came out here in Japan. It’s not a bad camera and the photo results are quite good, but I can’t seem to adjust myself to looking through the electronic viewfinder. I feel like I am playing a video game instead of looking at nature. I prefer to take single hand held RAW shots and process HDR with Photomatix rather than setting on a tripod with multiple bracketed shots. As such I rely on the viewfinder more than looking at the back LCD panel. I normally use the D700 for those.

    In the 1 year I have had the camera it has mainly been left on the shelf or lent out to friends. Your article makes me want to get the NEX7 out again and have another look. Maybe I will find something that I was missing before.

  • HI, got it with the nex6 and a downloaded app.

  • Hopefully bracket pro for nex5r and 6 will be available for 7n.

    “This lets you automatically bracket photos by shutter speed, aperture, focus or flash.
    just one press of the shutter the camera snaps three shots at different
    shutter speed, aperture or focus settings, or two photos (one with
    flash and the other without).”

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Be sure to get the new Firmware too… and that 10-18mm lens is great!

  • Hi David & Trey – Oh My!!!! After we met, and following your posts Trey, I rather expected that this was coming.

    I have been taking quite a few low-light/high ISO with my 7D which is not renowned for performance in that area. My wallet is resisting the 5D MkIII urge. I will be really interested to follow this experiment. It will affect my spending decisions for sure. Frankly my main concern, after quality, is the long term future of Sony Corporation. Japan Inc. is in disarray. Sony more so than some. (I am an ex-Sony employee btw) The investment decision for us amateurs is a delicate one.

    I think you are right. The days of DSLR are numbered. If mirrorless are going to take the ground between “simple” P&S and Phase One type equipment, that’s where I should put my hard-earned cash.
    Decisions, decisions!

    As always – Thanks for sharing.

  • What are you using for a telephoto on the NEX-7?

    Very happy NEX-6 owner here, haven’t thought of it as something that could come close to a big DSLR. I’ll be very interested to hear how this experiment goes 🙂

  • Paul Saumets

    Awesome experiment. Been following you for the past 6 months and am about to pull the trigger on my first DLSR. Can’t decide between waiting for the imminent NEX 7N or the D7100. Thoughts? I believe you were recommending the D7000 mid level before you got your NEX7. Thoughts?? Can’t wait to see the updates.

  • I find the nikon 1 too limiting, it can’t do brackets, a major bummer if ya want real hdr pictures. accessing the menus because a tedious chore. i like how its small super fast AF and w/ adapter you can use otehr lens btu does to 2.7 crap factor its unrealistic to put a telephoto on it and shoot handheld because you have to keep super still or else blurry images. i personally feel the sensor is too small. I can not sell a picture thats 16×20 and when ya print it you see the resolution but in comparison to a 36 or 24 MP image, printing it larger retains its detail. I personally use the nikon 1 for street photography, candid shots but certainly not for landscapes or anything i plan to print large. it really takes little thought to use it which is what i like about, easy, quick and cost me only $200.

  • Paul Ferzoco

    I’ve been following your bog for awhile, have loved most of your work, took one of your courses, and have tried to learn from your work. About the only I haven’t done is buy the same equipment and told as you. After a 40+ year hiatus from photography I decided to hey back to my love upon retirement. I started many years ago with the wonderful but VERY heavy Canon A-1, a great camera. Now, being close to 70 I found the full size DSLRs way to much to handle gracefully so I choose the NEX-5n, a very nice camera. I traded up to the NEX-7 to gain the eyepiece and customization features, the flash mount, internal flash and the sensor. I have since picked up a second NEX-7. These Sony systems are ⅓ the weight, ⅓ the size and ⅓ the price. I can carry two or three cameras with different lens configurations and avoid time-consuming lens swaps in the field. I can carry a camera with full lens underneath a reason jacket during inclement weather. I also look less like a photographer with professional equipment walking around the street which helps me avoid thieves. For all these reasons you will love them.

    The SEL1018 is a great lens. It’s sharp and wide. And, incredibly, has OSS! My Zeiss 24mm doesn’t even have OSS (which it should have at nearly $1200.). The little 18-55 kit is very good also.

    With the addition of a Metabones canon adapter I can us my Canon L lenses FF plus gain a one stop aperature advantage. Plus my excellent FD L lenses also work perfectly with adapters. Most any lens will.

    Although you are an Infinitily better photographer than I, I am certain you will love working with these cameras. I look forward to seeing your results. Good shooting.

  • Hi Trey, I went out and bought the NEX 7 based on your reviews and have loved it. I have even bought adaptors for a variety of different manual film lenses and am having a ball with it. I used to own a Nikon D90 and also upgraded that to a D800 based on your reviews. I find that I get more use out of the NEX 7 now just from ease of use and the fact that the full frame lenses for the D800 are ridiculously expensive compared to what I can buy lenses for the NEX 7. I will be watching this space with great interest!

  • Kelly Saxton

    I am so glad I asked you about the Sony on Wednesday night, and am really looking forward to following the China Experiment! Thanks for posting this, its great to read everyones comments as well. We have literally just hung up the phone from ordering the Sony NEX-6 so am super excited, all the best in China.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    really cool Matt! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Cool – I am interested in the Metabones thing too!

  • Alan Morris

    Great real world test !! I took my NEX7 only to Israel for 2 weeks and did not miss my Nikon DSLR. Curious as to which tripod/ballhead you plan to use since the NEX7 is so much lighter than a DSLR?

  • Jaak Ennuste

    Hi, this is right thing to do. I have been using Lumix m4/3 cameras, currently GX1 for street photography for long time. These prime lenses are so razor-sharp.

    But lately I had to move “back” not to DSLR, but still bulky SLT. I started to shoot ballet photography and full frame phase detection focusing in Sony a99 just works better in low-light-fast-moving situations. I have been advocating hybrids for more than 2 years, but there is still few areas, where it does not suite so well.

    My new ballet photography site:

  • Michel Vos

    I didn’t know that drug dealers use the metric system. Interesting.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Cool! 🙂

  • Sounds like a wash to me. Shooting landscapes off a tripod, all you need really is a sensor and a sharp lens. You probably always shoot low ISO, so noise shouldn’t be an issue. And frames per second doesn’t come into play. (I shoot sports and it does!) and, since Sony makes the Nikon sensors, all you’re really doing in this case is swapping a big box with a sensor for a small box with a sensor. Makes sense when you’re on the road. I’m still a 5D3 user shooting architecture with tilt-shifts, so, I’m not willing to change. And I need the 1D for fast frames per second. Besides, im old fashioned about looking through a viewfinder. I can’t see the back screens without glasses (awkward) and the electronic viewfinders dont give a realistic enough image for me. But it would be nice if they packed it all into a smaller box. I can’t agree that Dslr’s are a dying breed though. Just a tool that some types of photographers don’t need.

  • My wife has switched from the Canon T2i to the Sony NEX-7. I am shooting more and more now with my NEX-6, while my 5DM2 sits idle. I agree the 10-18 is a fantastic lens. You might also want to try the Rokinon 8mm (manual focus), which is an amazing little lens at a great price. Good luck in China!

  • I recently sold my Canon 1DS and I felt a literal and figurative weight lifted off my shoulders – that thing weighed around 1.5kilos (us aspiring Scottish Drug dealers like to work in kilos haha) and was so cumbersome. I used to dig my heels in with the whole ‘DSLR’s-are-dead’ thing but the results from your Sony shots speak for themselves. If I can get a small camera that can produce that sort of quality then count me in. Good luck with the china experiment chief – I like that name sounds all military and black-ops… should consider getting a black helicopter to take you on your travels!

  • Paul Newell

    looking forward to your results using only thr nex7

  • Karen Brown

    I’ve been dating my Nex 7 but Trey has inspired me to jump in and get to know it better. Just bought the 10-18 and 55-210 lenses so I think I’m kitted out enough to go on a jaunt and see what happens. I’ll be watching the China experiment!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    haha andy 🙂

  • I’m sad that I sold my trusty A77. The kit lens that came with mine (16-50 2.8) was pretty epic. Great cameras that don’t get the press they deserve. was good for finding some decent old minolta glass. 🙂

  • Can’t wait to see your China photos!

    I’ve been using Minolta since ’88 (X-700) and stuck with them when they became Konica-Minolta (I still have my KM7D) and then Sony. I have been using the A77 since it came out. Same sensor as the NEX-7. My wife upgraded her Oly E-PL1 to a NEX-6 a few months ago and loves it. I keep trying to convince her to buy the lens adapter so she can use all my Minolta and Sony A-mount lenses, but she says the camera becomes too bulky, thus defeating the attractiveness of the NEX (small size, light weight). Oh well, I keep trying!

    I think the EVF is great. I can’t go back to the OVF. Being able to review and delete photos right after taking a bunch, without having to look down at an LCD screen is great. I also love the Focus Zoom thing to help nail manual focus. That + focus peaking are so useful.

    Minolta/Sony come out with great innovations. AF, wireless flash, in-body anti-shake, and EVF are all amazing. Can’t wait to see what Sony has up their sleeves for the future!

  • gavz

    Doh, no shipping to Australia :(. Checked out your photoblog Bill – great shots! Yeah, I keep thinking of upgrading to the A99, but I’m not sure if I’ll notice a huge difference. Anyone else out there upgraded to the A99? Is it worth the extra $$$?

  • Wow, cool. I wish I could afford to get one for my trip to China, I’ll have to carry a 5D !! and a couple of lenses and flashes. I will not get in much sight seeing as my daughter who lives there will be having her first child so we’ll probably be staying inside mostly. I do hope to get out to Olympic park and shoot something there.
    I’ve looked at the NEX7 ever since Sony put them in their stores, but when I start playing with it my wife drags me away saying you don’t need another camera. :0), oh well, one day. I look forward to seeing your results from your trip.
    Have fun.

  • It might be worth noting that Nikon has been using Sony Sensors in their latests cameras anyway. So if you’re shooting a Nikon, you’re really shooting Sony.

  • Sara Creekmore

    I sold my Nikon and purchased a NEX5N right before the NEX7 came out, I’ve got the OED which I love. I’m considering an upgrade and would like some feedback on camera speed. The NEX5N is a little slow on bracketing and continuous shooting when I’m doing birds in flight, I’ve noticed a definite lag, while it thinks. I’ve been told the NEX7 is about 20% faster, anyone have any experience with this.

    I love the lighter weight and more compact camera but miss a nice 300m lens and the speed of the Nikon D300s. Suggestions?



  • zuluzebra

    Drug dealer you say? I have connections! hehe! 😉

  • I know you already have the NEX-7, but I would seriously consider the NEX-6, or even the a57 better choices for pure image quality. And this is just my VERY narrow opinion, but if you’re going to compare them, then I would stick to STRAIGHT OUT OF THE CAMERA IMAGES…….again, just my own opinion.

    I’m a big believer that SLR is toast….mainly because live view IN THE VIEWFINDER is infinitely better for an artistic photographer. And the NEX is a great line….but if they’ve made one mistake so far, it’s with the 24mp sensor. It’s not bad….it’s just not as good as the succeeding generation’s 16mp sensor.

    You have some beautiful images there :))

  • davewolanski

    I recently dumped my Canon 5D MKII for the Olympus OMD to avoid being a pack mule! Other than some service issues, I love the switch!

  • I bought my first camera in August of last year. A Lumix Micro Four Thirds. I’ve been pretty happy with it. Attached is the currently best sunset I’ve taken with it.

  • asiafish

    How do you like the 55-210? I am saving my pennies for the 10-15 and already own and love the 16-50, 24ZE and 50OSS, but other than slow zooms there just isn’t anything longer than 50mm.

  • I love my Sony A57. I have been shooting now for 1 month and I love it. All prior pictures I took were from a camera phone. Here is my latest sports photography.

  • Hey Bill just read your full review, great work.

  • Erin

    Have you posted any pics / youtube videos yet of the China experiment? I just looked through your youtube channel and I don’t see anything! I am buying a new camera within the week and I debating between the D600 and the NEX7. I can’t wait to see the results of your experiment!!!

  • Elai

    Hey trey, wondering why you chose the Sony NEX system while Samsung’s NX system has better pancake lenses and similar body sizes?

  • Steve Kay

    I saw your visa problems on fb. We just received ours yesterday. I hope you are using a competent visa service. Since we are in Delaware, we go through Oasis China Visa Service, in D.C. They are in the same building as the embassy, and have helped us over a speed bump or two in the past.

  • chamel

    Kevin is this the camera you bought Panasonic Lumix Dmc-Gf5Kbn Micro 4/3?

  • The photo above was taken with the GF3. I currently use the GX1 as my main camera.

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