Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review

Started Mar 10, 2008 | User reviews thread
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fujifil Regular Member • Posts: 326
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 review

If one had to pick *the* single most significant thing about this camera it would have to be the fact that, compared to its peers, the A700 is noisy.

How noisy? - well, surprisingly noisy for a leading edge CMOS camera - noticeably noisier than the Canon 40D, and also noisier than the D300 and Pentax K20D/Samsung GX-20. Chroma (colour) noise can easily be seen in the shadows of ISO 400 images - and that, imo, is quite unacceptable in this price/features bracket.

It's fortunate for Sony that the Olympus E-3 exists - or the A700 would wear the crown for the noisiest camera in that segment of the market, and even then the E-3 is not *that* much worse than the A700 (and some Olympus owners might say it was actually better)

What is also surprising is that this flaw exists despite huge efforts by Sony to combat their reputation for making noisy cameras. The A700 has no less than 4 separate levels of noise reduction! - including NR applied to the RAW files, both before and after conversion to an analogue signal, which cannot be turned off!! Yet, despite these herculean efforts, the noise persists.

Clearly, something is very amiss with the way in which the A700 processes images. It has also been established that there is no *real* ISO 3200 and 6400 - both being mathematical interpretations of ISO 1600. It was expected that ISO6400 would not be *real* - but, until tests, it was generally assumed that ISO 3200 was a genuine sensitivity increase rather than an interpolation of the ISO 1600 data.

While the A700 does have some excellent features, these are (imo) secondary to the final image quality - and if clean images at moderate ISO's are what you're looking for, you'd be advised to try out the competition before sinking your cash into the Sony.


Noise - despite Sony's extravagant claims to produce 'clean high ISO images' with the A700.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A700
12 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Sep 6, 2007
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