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Compared to...

On paper the A700 offers a similar level of features as the other cameras but the lower end of the price scale. It does include sensor-shift image stabilization, that gorgeous high resolution LCD monitor and a range of usability features (eye-start auto-focus, automatic mirror lock-up) which are a part of its Minolta heritage. On the negative side the lack of a top panel status LCD means you have to use the power hungry rear LCD for status, the plastic body could be seen by some as a negative (although personally it didn't bother me) and of course it's the only one of the four here not to offer Live View.

Positives versus the competition

  • Built-in sensor-shift stabilization (over the EOS 40D and D300)
  • Large high resolution LCD monitor (same as D300)
  • Detailed battery status display (as percentage; same as D300)
  • Eye-start auto-focus
  • Advanced dynamic range adjustment (shadow enhancement) options
  • Automatic mirror lock-up with self-timer
  • HDMI video output (same as D300)
  • Affordable good quality wide zoom (16-105 mm DT)
  • Supplied IR remote control
  • Better value for money (lower end of the scale)

Negatives versus the competition

  • No Live View
  • Mixed metal / plastic body (although doesn't feel any less sturdy)
  • Noise reduction applied to RAW images
  • No top panel status LCD (requires use of battery sapping rear LCD for status)
 

Sony DSLR-A700

Canon EOS 40D

Nikon D300

Olympus E-3
Price (body only) $1400 [check] $1300 [check] $1800 [check] $1700 [check]
Quality zoom price • Sony 16-105mm DT
• F3.5-F5.6
• 24-157.5 mm equiv.
• $550
• Canon 17-85mm IS
• F4.0-F5.6
• 27.2-136 mm equiv.
• $600
• Nikon 18-200mm VR
• F3.5-F5.6
• 27-300 mm equiv.
• $750
• Olympus 14-54 mm
• F2.8-F3.5
• 28-108 mm equiv.
• $500
Dust removal • CCD-shift shake
• Anti-static coating
• Self-cleaning filter
• Anti-static coating
• Dust delete data
• Self-cleaning filter
• Dust-off image
• SSW filter
Sensor type CMOS CMOS CMOS Live MOS
Sensor size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
Sensor area 367 mm² 329 mm² 373 mm² 225 mm²
Image Stabilization Built-in sensor shift Lenses only Lenses only Built-in sensor shift
Effective pixels 12.3 million 10.1 million 12.3 million 10.1 million
Aspect ratio 3:2 3:2 3:2 4:3
FOV crop 1.5x 1.6x 1.5x 2.0x
Image size 4272 x 2848 3888 x 2592 4288 x 2848 3648 x 2736
Live View No • Yes
• Up to 10x magnify
• Mirror flip AF
• Different modes
• Yes
• Up to 1:1 pixel view
• Contrast detect AF
• Mirror flip AF
• Yes
• Up to 10x magnify
• Mirror flip AF
Lens support • Sony Alpha
• Minolta A-type
• Canon EF / EF-S • Nikon F mount • Four Thirds
File formats JPEG, RAW (ARW), cRAW (ARW) JPEG, RAW (CR2) JPEG, TIFF, RAW (NEF 12-bit / NEF 14-bit) JPEG, RAW (ORF)
Auto focus • 11 point
• 1 double cross-type
• 0 to 18 EV
• Eye-start AF option
• 9 point
• 9 cross-type
• -0.5 to 18 EV
• 51 point
• 15 cross-type
• -1 to 19 EV
• 11 point
• 11 cross-type
• -2 to 19 EV
AF illuminator Red lamp pattern Flash strobe White lamp Flash strobe
AF adjustment No No Yes, body and per lens No
Metering sensor 40 segment 35 zone 1005 pixel RGB 49 zone
Metering range 0 to 20 EV 0 to 20 EV 0 to 20 EV 1 to 20 EV
Metering modes Multi-segment, CWA, Spot Evaluative, Partial, Spot, CWA 3D Color Matrix, CWA, Spot ESP, CWA, Spot, Highlight spot, Shadow spot
Exp. comp. +/- 3.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
Exp. comp. EV steps 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV
Manual EV steps 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV
Sensitivity range (boost setting) 100 - 1600, (3200, 6400) 100 - 1600, (3200) (100), 200 - 3200, (6400) 100 - 3200
Auto ISO adjust Max & Min ISO selectable No Max ISO & Min shutter speed selectable Max & Min ISO selectable
Shutter speed 30 - 1/8000 sec 30 - 1/8000 sec 30 - 1/8000 sec 60 - 1/8000 sec
Shutter life 100,000 exposures 100,000 exposures 150,000 exposures 150,000 exposures
Continuous rate (high) 5.0 fps 6.5 fps 6.0 fps (8.0 fps with battery grip) 5.0 fps
Continuous buffer • Unlimited JPEG
• 18 RAW / 25 cRAW
• 75 JPEG
• 17 RAW
• 100 JPEG Norm
• 17 RAW
• ?? JPEG
• 19 RAW
White balance • 6 presets
• Color temp (K)
• Manual (3 mem.)
• 6 presets
• Color temp (K)
• Manual
• 7 presets
• Color temp (K)
• Manual (4 mem.)
• 7 presets
• Color temp (K)
• Manual (4 mem.)
Image parameters • 13 presets / 3 user
• Saturation +/- 3
• Contrast +/- 3
• Brightness +/-3
• Sharpness +/- 3
• Zone -1 to +2

• 6 presets / 3 user
• Saturation +/- 4
• Contrast +/- 4
• Color tone +/- 4
• Sharpness 0-7

• 4 presets
• Saturation +/- 3, A
• Contrast +/- 3, A
• Brightness +/- 1
• Hue +/- 3
• Sharpness 0-9, A
• Quick adjust +/- 2
• 5 presets / 1 user
• Saturation +/- 2
• Contrast +/- 2
• Sharpness +/- 2
• Gradation (3)
Noise reduction control 3 levels 1 additional level 4 levels 4 levels
DR / Shadow adjust. DRO (3 modes plus 5 manual settings) None Active D-Lighting (4 levels) Shadow adjustment
Built-in flash • Manual pop-up
• Guide no. 12 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 13 (ISO 100)
• Manual pop-up
• Guide no. 12 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 13 (ISO 100)
External flash • Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
• Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
• Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
• Hot-shoe
• PC sync terminal
• Wireless flash
Flash sync speed 1/250 sec 1/250 sec 1/250 sec (1/320 sec reduced Guide no.) 1/250 sec
Customizable controls • Custom button
• Preview button
• AF/MF button
• AEL button
• Dials
• SET button
• AF-ON button
• AE lock button
• Dials
• FUNC button
• FUNC+dials
• Multi-selector cent.
• Preview button
• AE-L/AF-L button
• Dials
• Fn button
• AEL/AFL button
• Dials
User memories 3 via 1 dial position 3 via dial positions 4 via menu 2 via menu
Delete in record review Yes Yes Yes No
Storage • CF (inc. UDMA)
• MS Duo / Pro Duo
CF (inc. UDMA) CF (inc. UDMA) • CF (inc. UDMA)
• xD-Picture Card
Viewfinder • 95% coverage
• 0.9x magnification
• 95% coverage
• 0.95x magnification
• 100% coverage
• 0.94x magnification
• 100% coverage
• 1.15x magnification
LCD monitor • 3.0" TFT LCD
• 922,000 dots
• 3.0" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• 3.0" TFT LCD
• 922,000 dots
• 2.5" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
LCD articulation No No No Yes (flip-out & twist)
Top panel LCD No Yes Yes Yes
Battery 11.8 Wh 10.3 Wh 11.1 Wh 10.8 Wh
Battery status Percentage (%) 5 stages • Percentage (%)
• Shots since charge
• Battery aging
4 stages
Vertical grip Yes, VG-C70AM Yes, BP-E2N, BP-E2 & WFT-E3/E3A (WiFi) Yes, MB-D10 Yes, HLD-4
Mirror lock-up Yes, with self-timer Yes, custom function No, exposure delay Yes, 1-30 sec
Other features • Included IR remote • Custom 'My Menu' • On demand viewfinder grid
• GPS record with optional cable
• Retouching
• RAW development
• JPEG edit
Video output HDMI (up to 1080i) Composite HDMI (up to 1080i) Composite
Dimensions 142 x 105 x 80 mm
(5.6 x 4.3 x 3.3 in)
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
147 x 114 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
142 x 116 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 2.9 in)
Weight (no batt) 690 g (1.5 lb) 740 g (1.6 lb) 825 g (1.8 lb) 800 g (1.8 lb)
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