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  • 12.2 megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor with 4,272 x 2,848 pixel images
  • Improved Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Self-cleaning Sensor Unit for dust removal
  • ISO from 100 to 6,400
  • 5 fps continuous-mode speed
  • New 11-area AF with Eye Start and Grip Start sensors
  • 3-inch, 921,600 pixel LCD
  • Dual CF (type I/II) and MemoryStick (ProDuo) card slots
  • Rugged body with environmental seals
  • Compatible with Sony Alpha and most Konica-Minolta Maxxum lenses

(From Sony literature) Sony is expanding its a (Alpha) digital SLR system with the introduction of the DSLR-A700 camera, which is aimed at photo enthusiasts or serious photo hobbyists. The new model features advanced imaging technologies and ultra-responsive operation, as well as a lightweight, dust- and moisture-resistant, magnesium alloy construction common to enthusiast-class D-SLR cameras. Like Sony's mainstream DSLR-A100 model, the new A700 unit incorporates Super SteadyShot® Inside image stabilization in the camera body and is compatible with most Minolta Maxxum® mount lenses in addition to Sony lenses.


"Discerning photo enthusiasts will be impressed with the rugged construction and outstanding performance of the A700, said Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony Electronics. "We also expect that this new camera will re-define the post-capture experience with HDMI™ output for high-quality playback of images on high-definition televisions."


Picture Quality
The camera's new 12.2-megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor conducts analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion and dual noise reduction right on the sensor itself. Noise reduction is applied to analog signals before A/D conversion and the resulting digital signals are then subject to a second round of noise reduction. According to Lubell, "These digital signals are virtually immune to external noise and interference." Clean, noise-free digital signals are then sent to the newly developed BIONZ™ processing engine. Lubell said this engine has been optimized to process data-rich picture information at high speeds, and to reduce picture noise in the RAW data stage before final image compression and encoding. The results are high-resolution, detailed images with rich tonal reproduction.


Extraordinary Responsiveness
The A700 camera is engineered to be fast and ultra-responsive so as to become "a virtual extension of your own senses," Lubell said, "capturing fleeting moments as you see them." A newly developed, auto-focus system features 11 wide-area sensors, including a center dual cross sensor comprised of two horizontal and two vertical line sensors for exceptional AF precision. An F2.8 line sensor leverages the brightness of fast aperture lenses for even greater precision. Lubell said that extraordinary focusing speed has been realized through improved algorithms and a high-torque focusing drive motor. The large, bright, viewfinder uses a precision-ground optical glass pentaprism and a high refractive index eyepiece lens to provide 0.90x viewfinder magnification and 95 percent frame coverage. Manual focusing is aided by an interchangeable spherical acute matte focusing screen. The camera has a high-performance vertical traverse shutter with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000th of a second to freeze fast-moving action. A high-power coreless motor charges the shutter and mirror mechanism, allowing continuous shooting at up to five frames per second. In JPEG fine or standard mode, continuous shooting is limited only by the capacity of the media card (sold separately), while up to 18 frames can be captured in RAW.


Expanded Creativity
The new camera features fourteen creative styles, including night view, autumn leaves or vivid, which can be selected to enhance images. These effects can then be fine-tuned by customizing contrast, sharpness, zone matching and other parameters. Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) function has been updated on this model so users can choose the desired level of detail recovered in areas of shadow. The advanced mode offers the option of five levels of user selectable correction. Additionally, DRO bracketing creates three images from a single capture with three different levels of DRO. There is an extensive array of customization options to personalize the camera to match shooting styles. The unit's quick navigation interface can be accessed instantly with the four-way multi-selector, and selected parameters can be adjusted directly by control dials. Up to 28 camera settings can be stored in one of three user memories for instant recall. The unit's custom function button can be assigned to 15 frequently-accessed functions. With the supplied remote capture application, the camera can be controlled from a compatible PC via USB without even touching the camera, and files can be stored on the computer instead of the media card.


High-Quality Pictures on an HDTV
The A700 model features an HDMI output for connection to HDTV sets, putting a high-resolution spin on the conventional photo slideshow. When connected to a Sony BRAVIA® LCD HD television, photos are optimized for viewing with the new "PhotoTV HD" mode. This mode brings the look of actual printed photography to the television, reproducing high-quality digital photos by fine-tuning such image parameters as sharpness, gradation and color specifically for photographs. The exceptional viewing experience of this camera also extends to viewing photos on its 3-inch LCD screen. The screen's size and ultra-sharp resolution (921K) makes it possible to check focus and image quality with much greater accuracy.


A Flexible System
The camera will be introduced with two new lenses, bringing Sony's lens and teleconverter catalog up to 23 models. Supplied as a standard kit lens, the new DT 16-105 mm f.3.5 - 5.6 lens features a distinctive zoom range (35mm equivalency of 24 - 157.5 mm); compact, lightweight design; and internal focusing. The other addition is a powerful and compact high-magnification DT 18 - 250 mm f3.5 - 6.3 lens. Sony is also planning to introduce a specialty 70 -300 mm f4.5 - 5.6 SSM G telephoto lens featuring super sonic wave motor auto focus drive system for smooth auto focusing in Spring 2008. Sony's full line of accessories will also expand to include a new vertical grip. Equipped with buttons and switches for the most essential control functions, it offers the same ease of operation and handling as when shooting vertically. It houses two InfoLithium® batteries (sold separately), which will automatically switch to the second battery when the first one runs out. Remaining charges of both batteries are displayed on the camera's LCD screen.


Memory That Keeps Up With The Camera
The model also features separate slots for Memory Stick Duo™ media cards compatible with the Memory Stick PRO-HG™ high-speed data transfer standard, as well as CompactFlash™ Type I/II media cards compatible with the new Ultra Direct Memory Access standard for up to 300x write speeds. Sony is also introducing new 300x high-speed CompactFlash™ memory cards, ideal for high-end photographers requiring fast write speeds. The new models, available in 2GB or 8GB capacity, expand Sony's current line of CompactFlash cards that also include 66X and 133X speeds, with capacities ranging from 1GB to 4GB.


The DSLR-A700 camera body, DT 16-105 mm lens, and DT 18-250 mm lens will be available for about $1,400, $580 and $550, respectively. The DSLR-A700K kit with an 18-70 mm lens will be available for about $1,500, and the DSLR-A700P kit with the 16-105 mm lens will be available for about $1,900. The camera body and DSLR-A700K kit will ship in October and the DSLR-A700P kit in November. All will be available at sonystyle.com, Sony Style retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), at military base exchanges, and at authorized dealers nationwide.


See the Hands-On Preview on imaging-resource.com. Or post your own review below!


Keywords: Sony SLR CF MS APS-C 12MP Anti-Shake


Beachrider

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 22
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review by Beachrider
Review Date: 1/4/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,400.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast accurate focus, strong exposure capability, RAW+JPEG recording, uses all my traditional Minolta stuff
Cons: Many features are accessed through menus, flashing is sometimes 'strange'

Really like this camera. The f/2.8 central cross focus is super, even now. I miss the EVF of newer cameras. Otherwise, really a great camera for someone going to Alpha from still-photography.
dupmeister

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 5
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review by dupmeister
Review Date: 9/25/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,100.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Rock Solid build, very comfortable fit, smooth operation.
Cons: tempermental focus

a simply brilliant product. I purchased the A100 almost a year ago and just recently upgraded to this body. This is a vast step forward in quality and operation. the first thing you will notice is how smooth it works, it fits well in your hands and the shutter button is as light as air and really had to get used to it because for the first few days I was firing shots just by touching my finger to it. I quickly learned that this is not a bad thing at all, especially if you are using a very light weight tri-pod. In addition to the feather light shutter button is the pentaprism system, unlike the other Alphas, this camera has no bulky mirror to slap up when you hit the shutter so there is virtually no vibration.


another plus to this camera is the included remote control and remote software so you can tether it to a laptop and control the camera 100% without touching it.


The only Con I have is the focusing system, which was related to the firmware of the camera, this unit tended to back focus which I initially blamed on a new lens and returned the lens, only to discover that it was the camera itself. I checked the firmware version and it turns out that this unit is still running version 1.0. current release is version 4.0. I updated the firmware and so far the focus issues seem to have lifted. wish I discoverd this before I returned the lens.
touristguy87

Registered: July 2007
Posts: 36
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review by touristguy87
Review Date: 8/5/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,200.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: good between ISO100-800ish
Cons: tends to get very funky beyond ISO800, average low-light focus

This camera caused me to start pulling hairs. It has all the "mechanics" that I wanted except for the limited variation in auto-exposure bracketing configuration, you either get -/-0.3eV, 0.5eV or 0.7eV. Nothing more. But that' ok, it's workable. But at high ISOs I just couldn't get the shots out of it that I wanted. The DRO is interesting, giving excellent contrast, but the Achilles' heel is the in-camera NR which just starts to munch fine-detail above ISO800. And the focus isn't all that great in low light either.


I bought one and an SAL18-250, gave up on them after a month, a month later bought another set, gave up on them after a month, after finally learning about the on-sensor NR. It's a shame really because otherwise this is a nice package but Sony ruined it, for high-ISO shooting in any sense that requires good fine-detail. Good for small images but at larger image-sizes it's easy to see what is not there, everything is just fuzzy. In contrast at low ISo during the day the shots are so oversharpened that it's almost comical, certainly the image doesn't lack for fine-detail at high ISO.


And yes I'm talking about raw not camera jpegs.


Also in low light the WB is very warm, leading to green/brown shots, and at high ISO it gives punched-up, high-contrast green/brown shots with no fine-detail. Not a shirking violet but not very realistic either.
KM5D

Registered: April 2008
Posts: 3
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review by KM5D
Review Date: 5/24/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $859.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: HDMI function
Cons: none

Something is being left out of the reviews of the Sony a700 that I see. I would like to add that there is one wonderful function of this camera that is rarely described and that is the HDMI video function and the included remote control.

I have a Samsung 52 inch LCD HDTV. After taking some photos, I plug the camera into a mimi HDTV cable and that into the TV. The pictures are breathtaking and astounding. I have been an avid amature photographer for 30 years and nothing has ever impressed me as much as this. You cannot imagine the quality of the photos - a computer screen cannot match the effect. It is better than real life and at real life size. The TV screen also works like your screen on the back of the camera with controls to magnify (5.6X instead of 13) from the included remote. You can even see the histogram or move the photo around after magnification or set up a slide show and go forwrd and back at will. Just point the remote at the camera - and all functions can originate from your favorite easy chair.


I thought my HDTV was extremely sharp when there is good 1080 transmission however the resolution and quality of the HDMI output from a photo with the a700 is far better. I can look at that hugh screen from 8 inches away and it stays sharp. The best cable-air programming will let you get to about 2 feet and you begin to see some of the processing that the TV sig goes thru. But there is none with the camera.


If you have the Sony a700 give yourself one of the greatest treats in photography and purchase a mini HDMI cable on ebay (cost with shipping is usually under 10.00.) You will literally not believe your eyes. Please believe me when I tell you that this is not an exaggeration. Of course you must have an HDTV with an HDMI input. This is nothing at all like using the yellow RCA video plug output and you cannot understand this until it is seen.
I also found out some other interesting information and that is that you can use any photo generated on a CF card even if from another camera - but it has to go into the a700 body and then played back thru the TV. I first tried a CF vcard that was in my KM5D and then tried a CF card that was in my Nikon coolpix. Each card worked beautifully.

This effect is so good that I would state that the purchase price of my Sony a700 was justified if only it was an HDTV player and had no camera functions.
If you are a professional think how effective showing a slide show at full HD would be for a wedding photographer showing his work to the married couple. I am sure you could think up a lot of other scenereos where this wound generate more income.

By the way, a 1080 HDTV screen is composed of 1920 x 1080 pixels or about 2 megapixels. Because of that using say a Nikon coolpix or any other over 2MP camera should yield results that are limited only by the screen size in pixels and the lens. Magnification is another item and a lower pixel camera would lose more detail when enlarged. So for those of you with a NIKON D300 which has the same function a truly wonderful surprise awaits you at the cost of a 10.00 ebay auction.

In another vein. I had purchased and returned the Sony a350. I found the live view of no use to me and the screen made the camera bulky and hard to handle with one hand. There are of course some advantages to live view but the flip side of the coin is that you get a small viewfinder and a camera which feels like it is going to fall. The a700 feels and operates like a precision foreign sports car and the a350 more like a Mercury.
Nikola_Konsulov

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 10
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review by Nikola_Konsulov
Review Date: 5/2/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $839.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast Auto-Focus Motor in body w/ Fast AF Lock, Durable Magnesium Alloy Body with Aluminum Alloy Chassis, Very Ergonomic Design, Controls are intuitive, Weather Sealing, Dedicated Vertical Grip
Cons: Nothing Really

This is by far the best camera to date that I have purchased. It has really good handling and gives me some really good image quality throughout most of the ISO range (Version 3 Firmware). It has a fast Auto-Focus motor in body w/ fast AF lock. Let's not forget that it can support a lens with a Sonic Wave Motor as well. It has a more durable magnesium alloy body with aluminum alloy chassis and a very ergonomic design. The controls are intuitive, it is weather sealed and it has a dedicated vertical grip. The shutter is rather quiet and at 5FPS I really do not need anything more in terms of speed. Best yet, all my older Minolta AF lenses work with this body as it is fully based off of the Minolta AF mount. Sony's partnership with Konica Minolta has been very beneficial for both Sony and Konica Minolta.


This camera has been rated as a High-End Amature/Enthusiest camera body. I see nothing amature about this camera. It may not be all-out pro like the Nikon D3 or the EOS 1D Mark III, but it certainly can be used at the Pro level. I would catagorize it as a High-End Enthusiest/Semi-Pro camera. I would limit it to that level only because it does not have 25 or more AF sensors or have a full-frame sensor based on todays current standard for "Pro." If this was 2 years ago and this camera came out when the Sony A100 was released I would have rated it toward the Pro range as far as I'm concerned.


 






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