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Sony Alpha NEX-7 Digital Camera Review$1,349.99
The Sony NEX-7, like other Sony DSLRs and NEX cameras, does not allow you to deactivate noise reduction. In the system menu you are allowed to merely select from one of three strengths: low, normal, or high. While the feature is titled "high ISO noise reduction," shooting in RAW and JPEG shows that there is some level of reduction taken even at ISO 100. Overall, though, we found the low level of noise reduction to be effective in producing printable shots at ISO 6400 and lower, with higher NR settings keeping noise lower at the expense of fine detail. More on how we test noise.
Since we test primarily in JPEG to see the full effect of a camera's image processing system, we are quite used to seeing Sony cameras and their required "low" NR setting smearing out fine detail and grain. With the NEX-7, though, we were pleasantly surprised to see the noise reduction was kept to a bare minimum, and much of the fine details in our noise samples were preserved as well as on any DSLR. While you can always shoot in RAW to get the most detail and have the most control over noise reduction in post-processing, the NEX-7 produces very fine images regardless.
The Sony NEX-7 allows for users to select from any ISO setting from 100-16000. The 16000 ISO ceiling is a little odd, but it's 1/3rd of a stop better than 12800. While it seems like a bit of a marketing ploy at first glance, we found that the noise levels were impressive enough at that ceiling our only wonder is why Sony didn't just push it all the way to the next full stop of 25,600.