Is the NEX-7 the ultimate travel photographers camera?

Sony NEX-7 Zeiss 24mm f/1.8

I've been waiting for this camera for a long time. Firstly, since I put my first pre-order in last August. Originally expecting it in November, the delays due to the flooded factory in Thailand have made the wait longer than I thought.

Secondly, you might say that I've been waiting for it my whole photographic life. As a travel / landscape / location photographer, this combination of small size, low weight and high resolution is what I, and I'm sure many others who do what I do, have been wanting for many years. 

I've been posting some medium-format film scans recently. Shot with a Pentax 645. To have the ability to shoot images that will produce files that equal the resolution of those 6 x 4.5 transparencies in such a light, unobtrusive package is quite remarkable. I've tried a few lenses on the camera, and with an 18-55mm zoom, the 16mm f/2.8 or 30mm macro, it looks just like a compact / tourist / snapshot camera to most, and would probably get the attention that one of those would.

Though I never engage in anything like what might be described as "stealth photography" I do like to keep a low profile. The less attention I attract as a photographer, the more opportunity I have to create photographs. Leica users have known this and been taking advantage of the cameras appearance for years. While what I shoot is far removed from street photography, these days just pointing a camera at a building can be viewed as a malicious act. With my recent scanning, I found an image of the Old Bailey criminal courts in London. I shot it with the Pentax 645, and I'm not sure I could do the same these days without having to "explain myself". However using the NEX-7 might be somewhat more "forgiveable".

Imagine the same situation in a crowded marketplace anywhere in the world, on a city street, on the beach, or any other place where others are aware of what you are doing. I have no wish to misrepresent or make anyone look bad, but there is a certain suspicion that has grown up concerning the motives of photographers. Using a DSLR and large lenses seems to confirm those suspicions, and its surely no co-incidence that these are exactly the cameras that press photographers use.

In addition to its innocuous looks the NEX-7 is also much easier to haul up mountains, along coastal paths and through all the other "hazards of the great outdoors" that I constantly experience. I've carried heavy cameras and lenses for years and have the backache that confirms that to me! While there are many smaller cameras that can do a similar job, the NEX-7 takes this to another level. The 24MP, the built-in viewfinder, the photographer-friendly controls and the speed and ease of use, all make this camera "top of the heap". And make no mistake, even a few hours with the camera , have confirmed to me that this is a top of the range, highly specified and yes a "professionals" tool.

It doesn't have the best image quality, its not great in low light, but add up everything else it does, and above all its ability to produce image files that even the most demanding of picture editors will be satisfied with, and you do indeed have the ultimate travel photographers camera, certainly as far as I'm concerned.

Until, of course, somebody comes up with a better one!