Hands on with the new A700

Started Sep 6, 2007 | Discussions
Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Hands on with the new A700

This morning I attended the Canadian launch of the Sony A700. Thought some of you might like to hear my impressions.

It's a very solid, professional feeling camera with some unique features. With grip it's slightly larger than the Canon 20/30D w/grip, but lighter in weight. Very comfortable combination, and all the test cameras had the grip attached.

The Sony grip includes all of the main controls for focus selection and exposure found on the back of the camera itself, and is one of the most well-thought out I've seen. The grip is magnesium, and the information screen on the back of the camera switches to portrait orientation when using the camera for vertical shots.

Also, the location of the shutter release on the grip is very sensible. They cut the grip down on the front so the release is more in line with the lens. More comfortable, more stable, and easier to access the control buttons.

You can shoot in 16:9 ratio format (the only DSLR that does this) and you can output in that aspect ratio to select Bravia TV's in HDMI format. When the television is selected to photo mode the results are amazing. Like having a 37 inch computer monitor. Much, much more detailed than looking at photos on an ordinary TV, or even an HD television.

The LCD on the back is very high resolution. Very nice feature. Easy to see the true detail and exposure of a photo.

The price will be $1599 CDN body only, $2050 CDN body w/ the new kit lens which is a 24 - 160mm equivalent . The lens has an ED element and two aspherical elements. But it is APS only, no good for full frame which Sony are rumoured to be working on.

Results from the lens were good to very good. After only about 50 exposures I'd say my rough impression is that it's better at the wide end than at the telephoto.

The A700's top speed is 6400 ISO. I shot several frames at this setting and you'll be shocked to know ... it's actually useable. If only for smaller prints or in Hail Mary situations, but in a variety of circumstances it did quite well considering. Certainly there is noise, against some backgrounds and lighting colour blotchiness, but in others the photos were little different than the 20D at 3200 ISO, and even in a few frames close to the 20D's 1600 ISO. It varies with the lighting and how much shadow information there is in the shot. In bright perfect lighting it's really good for the speed we're talking about, however, that's not likely to be the circumstance in which you'd need such an extreme setting.

There are environmental seals around all the buttons and switches but the Sony reps went out of their way to stress the camera is not considered water-proof or even splash-proof.

Max. frames per second is 6 fps. but their technical person said the sensor is capable of doing 10fps.

They've tweaked the included software and it is now faster than previous versions.

I had the camera to myself for about twenty minutes. The launch was at the Jane Corkin Gallery in The Distillery District. We were allowed to shoot at random outside as well as use a studio setup w/model. The images I shot ranged from 100 - 6400 ISO. I'd say they were pretty impressive. With further familiarization with the camera I'm sure it would be easier to match settings to the subject and achieve even better results.

Eleven point auto focus - feels much quicker than my 20D, with a double cross high precision sensor in the centre for lenses 2.8 and larger.

Focus was off in just a few of the early frames as I had it in auto focus point selection mode, once I switched it to centre point they were dead on. Even grab shots of people walking by were perfectly sharp.

The viewfinder is nice and big, and very bright. Really nice.

The back LCD is easy to see, even in the bright sunshine of midday here, and gave a good representation of the final results.

It's a seriously impressive camera.

BTW: I asked one of their executives about the full frame direction - no comment. When we would be seeing the highest level pro model - no comment. Is the A100 discontinued - 'the A100 will carry through the Christmas season'

Very good presentation, well executed and informative, all of the Sony people were well-versed in the product. Good professional effort all round.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

InTheSky Contributing Member • Posts: 600
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Have you asked when it will be possible to buy one ! i cannot wait to play with it !

(i'm in Montreal ... but will probably buy it in Ontario to save the Quebec taxes ... ).

Regards,

Frank

 InTheSky's gear list:InTheSky's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony 50mm F1.4 Sony 16mm F2.8 Fisheye Sony 20mm F2.8 +12 more
cylegault Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Thanks for the information. But I will ask something that many of us are dying to know, how does the shutter actually sounds like? I am really getting tired of my 7D and 5D slapping sound!

CYL

goodwrench Contributing Member • Posts: 854
Thank you.

I've been waiting for this camera. Any other tidbits would be nice.

You say 6fps but all the specs say 5 fps. Did you measure it at all?

thanks again.

Garth

B McCarthy Regular Member • Posts: 451
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Thanks Doug,

Nice to hear from someone who acually used the camera. Did you use your own media, can you show us a few of your shots.
--
http://www.pbase.com/bmccarthy9

tony turnbull Contributing Member • Posts: 552
Re: Thank you.

Should be 9/28/07 from sony style

ck3
ck3 Senior Member • Posts: 2,925
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Thanks for the report - looks very promising

Carsten

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Release dates in Canada ...

Body only - late Sept.
Body plus kit - mid-Nov.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

InTheSky Contributing Member • Posts: 600
Re: Release dates in Canada ...

thank you !

 InTheSky's gear list:InTheSky's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony 50mm F1.4 Sony 16mm F2.8 Fisheye Sony 20mm F2.8 +12 more
OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Shutter ...

Beautiul. Very quiet and discrete. SONY had a woman photographing during the presentation. This was in a large gallery, high ceilings, lots of echo. It was barely noticeable.

This was one of the most impressive things about the camera that I forgot to mention.
Doug B
Torontowide.com

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Yes, they let us use our own cards so I would say these were definitely production level units. There were about half a dozen of them.
Sorry, can't share results.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

Sol Veteran Member • Posts: 3,426
Nice report. Thanks Doug. n/t

Doug Brown wrote:

This morning I attended the Canadian launch of the Sony A700. Thought
some of you might like to hear my impressions.

It's a very solid, professional feeling camera with some unique
features. With grip it's slightly larger than the Canon 20/30D
w/grip, but lighter in weight. Very comfortable combination, and all
the test cameras had the grip attached.

The Sony grip includes all of the main controls for focus selection
and exposure found on the back of the camera itself, and is one of
the most well-thought out I've seen. The grip is magnesium, and the
information screen on the back of the camera switches to portrait
orientation when using the camera for vertical shots.

Also, the location of the shutter release on the grip is very
sensible. They cut the grip down on the front so the release is more
in line with the lens. More comfortable, more stable, and easier to
access the control buttons.

You can shoot in 16:9 ratio format (the only DSLR that does this) and
you can output in that aspect ratio to select Bravia TV's in HDMI
format. When the television is selected to photo mode the results are
amazing. Like having a 37 inch computer monitor. Much, much more
detailed than looking at photos on an ordinary TV, or even an HD
television.

The LCD on the back is very high resolution. Very nice feature. Easy
to see the true detail and exposure of a photo.

The price will be $1599 CDN body only, $2050 CDN body w/ the new kit
lens which is a 24 - 160mm equivalent . The lens has an ED element
and two aspherical elements. But it is APS only, no good for full
frame which Sony are rumoured to be working on.

Results from the lens were good to very good. After only about 50
exposures I'd say my rough impression is that it's better at the wide
end than at the telephoto.

The A700's top speed is 6400 ISO. I shot several frames at this
setting and you'll be shocked to know ... it's actually useable. If
only for smaller prints or in Hail Mary situations, but in a variety
of circumstances it did quite well considering. Certainly there is
noise, against some backgrounds and lighting colour blotchiness, but
in others the photos were little different than the 20D at 3200 ISO,
and even in a few frames close to the 20D's 1600 ISO. It varies with
the lighting and how much shadow information there is in the shot. In
bright perfect lighting it's really good for the speed we're talking
about, however, that's not likely to be the circumstance in which
you'd need such an extreme setting.

There are environmental seals around all the buttons and switches but
the Sony reps went out of their way to stress the camera is not
considered water-proof or even splash-proof.

Max. frames per second is 6 fps. but their technical person said the
sensor is capable of doing 10fps.

They've tweaked the included software and it is now faster than
previous versions.

I had the camera to myself for about twenty minutes. The launch was
at the Jane Corkin Gallery in The Distillery District. We were
allowed to shoot at random outside as well as use a studio setup
w/model. The images I shot ranged from 100 - 6400 ISO. I'd say they
were pretty impressive. With further familiarization with the camera
I'm sure it would be easier to match settings to the subject and
achieve even better results.

Eleven point auto focus - feels much quicker than my 20D, with a
double cross high precision sensor in the centre for lenses 2.8 and
larger.

Focus was off in just a few of the early frames as I had it in auto
focus point selection mode, once I switched it to centre point they
were dead on. Even grab shots of people walking by were perfectly
sharp.

The viewfinder is nice and big, and very bright. Really nice.

The back LCD is easy to see, even in the bright sunshine of midday
here, and gave a good representation of the final results.

It's a seriously impressive camera.

BTW: I asked one of their executives about the full frame direction -
no comment. When we would be seeing the highest level pro model - no
comment. Is the A100 discontinued - 'the A100 will carry through the
Christmas season'

Very good presentation, well executed and informative, all of the
Sony people were well-versed in the product. Good professional effort
all round.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

-- hide signature --

Sol
http://solarviewphoto.com/

'Charter Member of the Konica Minolta 7D Adoption Society & SSM Club'
'Hey Sony, make me an offer I can't refuse!'

'There would be so many more happy digital photographers in the world,
if the 100% zoom button on their computers, was permanently disabled.'
. . . . where is my 100% Lupe, anyways ??' -Sol

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Sorry, that should be 5 FPS (nt)
-- hide signature --

Doug B
Torontowide.com

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 19,802
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Thanks for your report! It sounds like the A700 is very nice. By the way, did you shoot RAW or JPEGs?

-- hide signature --

Henry Richardson
http://www.bakubo.com

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Panasonic ZS100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
Ausgezeichnetcom Senior Member • Posts: 2,484
check out the video, the guy takes some shots and you can hear the shutter

Oh, the website is banned from here, for some unknown reason, but google cameralabs and you'll find it.

He shoots at 7:13 of the footage.

Greetings,
Bernd

ck3
ck3 Senior Member • Posts: 2,925
Re: check out the video, the guy takes some shots and you can hear the shutter

I guess it's banned because they published photos taken with a pre-production model. That is indeed something you just don*t do.

Carsten

Olles Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Thanks for this nice report - good to see a somehow ojective-ized view from a canon owner (and we all know that those cameras are also wonderful ones...)

Ausgezeichnetcom Senior Member • Posts: 2,484
Possibly.

It's still the first way to hear the A700.
Bernd

Bob Myers1
Bob Myers1 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,152
Well done ...Thanks Doug !!! [nt]
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Bob Myers WB7SBW

Sonolta 7D Lens 28-100mm 28-300 Tamron 170-500 Sigma 10-20 Sigma 90mm Tamron macro
2 - Olympus C21oo 2 - B3oo 1 - B-Macro

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OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Re: Hands on with the new A700

Thanks. I use an Olympus E510 as well. I consider it to have better image quality for general purpose photos than the Canons (two 20D's and XTi)

Too bad I can't show the photos. I have a great exploded view of the camera after I got the hea of their video dept. to lift the display case off it.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

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