The F707 will be history

Started Jul 12, 2002 | Discussions thread
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Mike Johnston
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The F707 will be history
Jul 12, 2002

SamW wrote:

Anyone who thinks that Sony will not replace the 707 anytime soon
is sadly mistaken. Digital photography is the the development
stage, not the mature stage like 35mm. As such, it is highly
likely that Sony will replace it with something even more
technologically advanced. Sony is a consumer products leader and
will surely introduce a new camera that will set the digital world
on fire. I understand that Sony is currently producing 6 mega pixel
CCDs for other companies. I would not be surprised to see Sony
introduce a 6 mega pixel camera to replace the 707 before
Christmas, when sales will be high.

It's not like film camera technology has been standing still. Just to name a FEW of the most obvious developments in the past two decades: autofocus; multi-segment evaluative metering; built-in motor drives and winders; lighter weight and lower adjusted cost due to polycarbonates and improved materials science; press-molded aspheric elements in lenses, resulting in far less spherical aberration at wide apertures; extra-low dispersion, anomalous partial dispersion, and fluorite elements in telephotos, greatly reducing chromatic aberration; and TTL flash metering and CPU-controlled fill-flash. And those are just the bigger developments. The changes are not as dramatic as we've witnessed in the ongoing development of consumer digicam CCD and CMOS sensors, but if you compare a mid-'70s Canon AE-1 with, say, an EOS-3, it becomes a bit difficult to make an argument about 35mm film camera technology being mature and unchanging.

I really like the F707. The image quality is great. The capabilities are just this side of amazing (it's virtually a night scope, for instance--it can take perfectly exposed, perfectly focused, perfectly framed flash shots in pitch darkness. Try that with ANY other camera, digital or film). The lens is excellent. The weight and size are ideal (for me). I like the feel of it and have learned the controls. I love shooting with it.

It's true that digicams are more like computers. But I normally get at least three years out of my computers before I replace them. The best computer I ever had (well, it wasn't even mine--it belonged to my employer) was a Mac Quadra 605. That thing worked eight hours a day, five days a week, doing everything I needed it to do and then some, for SIX years--and during that entire time I had not a SINGLE crash or screen-freeze. The only time it failed was when the little battery on the motherboard that jump-starts the monitor ran out of juice and had to be replaced. Which happened exactly once. That's all.

Within three years, it's probable that something similar that gives better RESULTS than the F707 will be out there available to buy. But in the meantime, I will have taken tens of thousands of shots and printed hundreds, and the F707 will have more than paid for itself. Is the F707 a six-year digicam, the equivalent of my Quadra 605? Beats me. But I think it will be good enough for the next three years, unless things take some unexpected quantum leap.

The only thing I would really prefer is a wider lens. So if the new "F909" has, say, a 24mm-120mm focal-length equivalent lens, well, that might give me a case of buyer's remorse about the F707. But that's about the only thing that could do it.

Also, the introduction of a successor camera could affect the resale value of my F707. But I'm not sure that even THAT matters. Even if an "F909" came out tomorrow, I couldn't afford to buy one, because chances are it would be more expensive than the $999 retail price of the F707 (at least for the first several months, while it's in short supply) and chances are I wouldn't be able to duplicate my good luck in getting my F707 for $563 with the Sears PM deal.

Do I care if an "F909" comes out a little sooner than a little later? Not really. It's going to come out EVENTUALLY, that much I know. The F707 won't be the last digicam Sony ever makes. So do I really care if it comes out tomorrow, or next month, or next Christmas, or a year from now? What's the difference?

You can make yourself crazy going the other way, too...waiting around eternally for the Next Big Thing. The fact is, cameras are for taking pictures with. If you're eternally waiting for the next step instead of buying a decent camera, you're not going to be taking a whole lot of pictures.

It's true that most of my experience comes from film cameras, not computers or digital cameras, but here's one thing I've learned: photography is expensive. If you want to be a photographer, you just kinda hafta drop the cash you need to drop and then get to work. You can't take pictures if you don't have a camera. So you pick your moment, jump in, and just hope you made a good enough decision this time around. If not, well, maybe you'll learn something and have better luck next time.

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Mike

The Sunday Morning Photrographer: "Key Thoughts and the Zen of Fishing" @:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/smp/07072002.html

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