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9th September 2007
Sony Alpha A700 DSLR hands on impressions and sample downloads
by Ian Burley
4281: Sony Alpha A700 DSLR hands on impressions and sample downloads

Introduction

DPNow reports from the European launch of Sony's latest Alpha A700 DSLR including hands-on impressions and sample images to download

Magnum Photos' Richard Kalvar endorsed the new Sony Alpha A700 at its European launch in Italy.

Magnum Photos' Richard Kalvar (above) endorsed the new Sony Alpha A700 during the launch day proceedings, though hinted that he was looking forward to a full frame camera from Sony in the near future.

A basic question to ask one's self after having used a camera for the first time is: 'would I be happy to own this camera?' and, in the limited time we had to use a pre production sample, the answer is a qualified yes.

It's clear that a lot of thought has been put into the ergonomics of the A700 and it has been engineered beautifully. It's a big step up from the A100, ostensibly a facelift of the Konica Minolta Dynax (Maxxum) 5D from the year before. Sony is clearly gunning for mid-range DSLR market share, especially those thinking of buying Canon's new EOS-40D and Nikon's forthcoming D300.


Ian Burley introduces the A700 (Video clip thanks to Matjaz Intihar, e-photographia.com)

It was a surprise that Live View is not featured. Sony said that it felt this feature was a low priority among its intended customers and that its fixed high resolution three inch screen wasn't ideally suited to the demands of live view. Cost was also stated as a reason for holding back. It was disappointing that the metallic edge to the sound of the shutter/mirror action, which has characterised all the Sony and Konica Minolta DSLRs to date, remains, if in marginally muted form with the A700. With a maximum shooting contyinuous rate of 5 frames per second, the A700 feels much more responsive than the older A100, but key rivals can offer even faster speeds.

On the positive side, Sony's very confident claims about noise performance, despite the increase in resolution to 12.24 megapixels, was largely confirmed by our simple tests, with only ISO 3200 showing clear signs of excessive noise effects.

Below is a gallery of pictures taken at the launch day to demonstrate certain points, including crops from camera images taken through the ISO range. Just click on the thumbnail to view the larger picture and caption text. On page 2 of this article you can download a selection of original A700 camera JPEG image files. We'd also like to hear what you think of the A700 on the DPNow discussion forum.

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Sample downloads


Journalists at the Sony Alpha A700 launch event had to take turns using the provided pre-production sample cameras as there were five journos to one camera, so time with the camera was quite limited. Here is a short selection of original sample images from A700s we were able to use that day. You can download each image by clicking on its thumbnail below.

It was a bright and sunny day and we were sent up a 1,500 metre mountain for our shooting session. One of the shots below was accidentally taken at ISO 3200 in the bright conditions, but serves as an interesting examination of the ISO3200 mode. The last shot is also at ISO 3200, but this time in a shaded setting.

Please note: these images are provided for your personal value only and may not be used or published for any other use. Copyright remains with Digital Photography Now.

 

 
1/160th second, f/5.6, ISO 100, Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5, @80mm (120mm equiv.), Super Steady Shot ON.   1/320th second, f/10, ISO 100, Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5, @16mm (24mm equiv.), Super Steady Shot ON.
 
1/3200th second, f/11, ISO 3200, Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5, @28mm (42mm equiv.), Super Steady Shot ON.   1/2,000th second, f/2,8, ISO 200, Sony 300mm (450mm equiv.) f/2.8, Super Steady Shot ON.
   
1/125th second, f/8, ISO 3200, Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5, @18mm (27mm equiv.), Super Steady Shot OFF.    
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
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