Sony facelifts Cyber-shot DSC-F707 as F717
By Ian Burley
Sony’s flagship digicam gets evolutionary makeover
Sony’s innovative Cyber-shot DSC-F707 has been subtly upgraded in the form of the visually similar DSC-F717. The 5 megapixel Sony flagship retains its predecessor’s key features, including the large f/2.0-2.4 Carl Zeiss branded Vario Sonnar 5x zoom (38-190 equivalent) lens, holographic low light AF system and Nightshot/NightFraming system for shooting in total darkness.
The F717 gains a standard flash hot shoe, revised built in pop-up flash, a new manual focus and zooming arrangement, increased shutter speed and ISO range, faster start up time, much faster USB 2.0 PC connectivity (though current Memory Sticks will limit this benefit) and a histogram mode for determining exposure range.
Super simple override mode
Another thoughtful new addition is a super-simple all-auto mode in addition to the usual Program mode. This can be selected instantly via the mode dial and overrides any preferences, like EV+/-, etc. which may be in force in the other modes.
Manual zoom and focus controls
An important enhancement is the new manual focus and zooming control. A switch on the lens barrel sets the collar at the end of the lens to control either focus or zooming operation. Although both actions are motorised, we at DP-Now found the servo action is a reasonable mimic of a fully manual arrangement. It remains to be seen if switching between the two modes is as convenient as it should be with prolonged use. A zoom lever is provided for video camera style zooming useful for action photography.
Faster start up and shot to shot times and a real hot shoe added
Sony has made much of its speeded-up start up time, now down to 1.4 seconds. Shot-to-shot times have been reduced too. Single shot recovery time is now under 2 seconds. Elsewhere, the old F707 ‘cold’ shoe has been replaced by a proper ‘hot’ shoe which opens up many more external flash possibilities.
We have had a brief play with the new F717 and it’s as impressive as ever, if you can get used to the unique long tilting lens and body arrangement. The F717 will ship in October and is expected to be priced similarly to the out-going F707.