Hands on with the new A700

Started Sep 6, 2007 | Discussions
OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Thanks ...

I'll be getting a loaner unit next week. I'll be in touch. Would be interested in your impressions.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

RichV Veteran Member • Posts: 6,182
Re: This is true ...

The only two with it on their cameras just happen to be HDTV manufacturers - fancy that! I guess Samsung will be next.

Rich

 RichV's gear list:RichV's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony RX10 IV Sony SLT-A77 Sony Alpha a99 Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G +7 more
Mezcalito Forum Member • Posts: 86
Thxs a lot for your comments! What about the AF?

What about the AF? Is it as fast and accurated as they are saying? I know that (maybe) the lens used isn't the best for testing it, but what are your thoughts? Did you tried AF in dim light?

Thxs a lot in advance, and a "bear hug" from Spain,
Mezcalito.

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
What about the AF?

I thought the focusing of the camera was just outstanding. It has a double precision sensor in the centre - two cross sensors at the centre point, precision to 2.8 or larger - and when using just that focusing point it wasn't a problem to lock focus in any lighting even though the max. aperture of the kit lens exceeded using the precision mode. I specifically tested it in some of the dimmer recesses of the gallery, it's located in a former distillery wharehouse so there are lots of dark snooks and cranys, and it wasn't a problem to focus anywhere I wanted.

It also locked even with difficult surfaces. I tried it on smooth and reflective surfaces and it did fine. In the whole time I used the camera I didn't have one problem with focusing, and several times I went out of my way to find difficult situations for it. I would say it's definitely a step or two above the 20D.

And not only does it focus, but it does so accurately. As I said, the only shots that were out of focus were the ones taken in auto point selection, which I didn't realize I was using at the time. Here the camera tends to focus on the closest subject and shots I took of the model being photographed tended to focus on the Sony rep in the foreground as opposed to the photographer and model behind him.
Once I switched out of that it was just perfect.

Outside I did grab shots in single focus mode of people walking by, walking towards, with the lens wide open because that is the way I tend to use lenses when doing photojournalism and performance photography, and each is sharp. I didn't test the continuous focusing mode.
Focusing is definitely not a weak point of the camera.

Next week I'll have the camera for longer so hopefully I'll get around to using everything it has.

The performance of the new kit lens was pretty good too. I wouldn't have a problem using it, and the range of focal lengths is really exceptional.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 19,994
AF at wide angles?
1

Was the AF also very accurate with wide angle lenses, say less than 28mm? The 7D and A100 have lots of trouble with AF at wide angles. I suppose you were using the new 16-105mm kit lens? Was the AF very accurate at 16-28mm?

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Henry Richardson
http://www.bakubo.com

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
AF at wide angles ...

All of the shots at wide angle were dead on. Most wide angle photos were done at the widest setting of 16mm, some with people in the foreground to defocus the background intentionally, some of wide scenics done at infinity. Reliable, predictable results every time.

As I said, focusing is not a problem with this camera. Wide, telephoto, moving subjects, dim light ... nothing seemed to deter it from achieving focus. It was just a brief time I had with the camera, but I searched for difficult situations purposely (most of the shots themselves are hardly works of art The one thing I didn't test was focusing back into the light, something I find a lot of auto focus systems have difficulties with.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

José B
José B Forum Pro • Posts: 19,653
Hi Doug

I ordered the 40D and if you want to do a comparison shoot, please let me know. You have my email address.

Have a nice weekend.

José

Doug Brown wrote:

I'll be getting a loaner unit next week. I'll be in touch. Would be
interested in your impressions.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

-- hide signature --

1DIIN and the four horsemen L lenses capturing the victorious and vogue
Most recent work: http://www.pbase.com/jmb_56/camila_4
http://www.pbase.com/jmb_56/canon_1dmk2n
http://www.pbase.com/jmb_56/canon_30and20d

 José B's gear list:José B's gear list
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Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 19,994
Fantastic idea!

José B wrote:

I ordered the 40D and if you want to do a comparison shoot, please
let me know. You have my email address.

That would be fantastic if you and Doug could get together for a 40D/A700 shoot-off! I am considering these two cameras myself since I currently use a 30D and A100. José, do you still have any of your Minolta lenses so that lenses other than the new Sony kit lens could be compared too?

If you guys can work it out then we want a good, detailed report from each of you!

-- hide signature --

Henry Richardson
http://www.bakubo.com

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 19,994
Re: AF at wide angles ...
1

Doug Brown wrote:

All of the shots at wide angle were dead on. Most wide angle photos
were done at the widest setting of 16mm, some with people in the
foreground to defocus the background intentionally, some of wide
scenics done at infinity. Reliable, predictable results every time.
As I said, focusing is not a problem with this camera. Wide,
telephoto, moving subjects, dim light ... nothing seemed to deter it
from achieving focus. It was just a brief time I had with the camera,
but I searched for difficult situations purposely (most of the shots
themselves are hardly works of art The one thing I didn't test was
focusing back into the light, something I find a lot of auto focus
systems have difficulties with.

Thanks for that info. This is very good news because wide angle AF was a real Achille's heel of the A100 and 7D.

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Henry Richardson
http://www.bakubo.com

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Re: Hi Doug

Hi Jose,

How are you?

Doing any film festival stuff these days? I'm shooting Richard Gere, Shakira and Matt Damon tomorrow. Tried to push Sony to lend the camera early so I could use it for those shoots but the test units are not avaliable yet.

Your idea sounds good. It's unlikely we'd both have the cameras at the same time - your's is on order, mine's at the mercy of the PR firm - but we could do it sequentially, trying them out one at a time.

I'd be interested in using the 40D. The 20D's I have are getting up there in mileage on the shutters.

I'll email you when I have the tester. You have my email address as well. Is the 40D shipping in Canada yet?

Doug B
Torontowide.com

nskn Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: Hi Doug

Doug,

I'd appreciate if you could try out the continuous AF and see how well it manages to follow fast moving subjects (people, vehicles). I've used the 7D & 80-200/2.8 HS G combo to shoot some motorsport events and the fraction of keepers are not very high, mainly due to the poor continuous AF. The improved AF would be the main driver for me to upgrade so any info you could give would be highly appreciated.

OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
High speed ...

I live just up the road from a beach. Lots of jet-ski and kite-surfing action. I'll try to remember to get some shots of that.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 19,994
Other Minolta/Sony lenses in Toronto?

Doug Brown wrote:

I live just up the road from a beach. Lots of jet-ski and
kite-surfing action. I'll try to remember to get some shots of that.

When you get the A700 for your testing will you only have the 16-105mm kit lens? I don't suppose you will have access to other lenses too? Maybe someone in Toronto would be willing to let you use a few other Minolta/Sony lenses for your testing.

As you can probably imagine, after reading your very interesting comments so far there are many people anxiously awaiting whatever else you learn when you have the chance to use it more extensively. Thanks for all you have already written so far.

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Henry Richardson
http://www.bakubo.com

lcmacedo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,425
Thanks for the very good and honest review, Doug! NT
-- hide signature --

You're welcome to: http://www.pbase.com/lucaspix
Always having fun with photography ...

José B
José B Forum Pro • Posts: 19,653
Re: Fantastic idea!

Hi Henry,

Unfortunately I only have one Minolta lens left (that is if I can find it)---24-85/3.5-4.5. Hopefully Doug can have some access to some of the Gs and maybe CZs.

I have no idea when I will get my 40D. I'm either the 1st batch or 2nd batch and the first shipment might (this is the operative word here) get it on Sept. 15th.

José

Henry Richardson wrote:

José B wrote:

I ordered the 40D and if you want to do a comparison shoot, please
let me know. You have my email address.

That would be fantastic if you and Doug could get together for a
40D/A700 shoot-off! I am considering these two cameras myself since
I currently use a 30D and A100. José, do you still have any of your
Minolta lenses so that lenses other than the new Sony kit lens could
be compared too?

If you guys can work it out then we want a good, detailed report from
each of you!

-- hide signature --

1DIIN and the four horsemen L lenses capturing the victorious and vogue
Most recent work: http://www.pbase.com/jmb_56/camila_4
http://www.pbase.com/jmb_56/canon_1dmk2n
http://www.pbase.com/jmb_56/canon_30and20d

 José B's gear list:José B's gear list
Sony a6500 Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32 Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 +14 more
OP Doug Brown Veteran Member • Posts: 3,964
Lens requests ...

Yeah, I requested the CZ 16-80 and 70-200mm G. We'll see what it comes with. Probably the kit. Realistically, there are a lot of people just in Canada alone who want to test these cameras so I don't think sony will be shipping out a lot of high grade optics with them.

There are also two Toronto FC games coming up mid-month. We've covered them in the past and have a pretty good relationship with the team. Soccer is an excellent test of follow focus abilities.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

Legacys_Quest7 Senior Member • Posts: 1,207
Sony colors. Are they similar to the 7D or same as Alpha100? nt
-- hide signature --
Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: This is true ...

RichV wrote:

The only two with it on their cameras just happen to be HDTV
manufacturers - fancy that! I guess Samsung will be next.

Rich

Totally agree.... This and the Memstick slot appear to be were the Company dictated the design to the Camera group.

SO far they are unabtrusive
------------
Ken - KM 5D
http://www.cascadephotoworks.com

Papasha Senior Member • Posts: 2,158
Very encouraging, thank you Doug!!!

I've already put my pre-order, but my number one wish coming from 7D/Alpha-100 was speed and accuracy of AF. If what you observed in this short time will be norm, I am in heaven.

Coming from 20D it is probably hard for you to talk about 'Minolta' colors, but any word about colors would be still much appreciated. Thanks again!

Doug Brown wrote:

I thought the focusing of the camera was just outstanding. It has a
double precision sensor in the centre - two cross sensors at the
centre point, precision to 2.8 or larger - and when using just that
focusing point it wasn't a problem to lock focus in any lighting even
though the max. aperture of the kit lens exceeded using the precision
mode. I specifically tested it in some of the dimmer recesses of the
gallery, it's located in a former distillery wharehouse so there are
lots of dark snooks and cranys, and it wasn't a problem to focus
anywhere I wanted.
It also locked even with difficult surfaces. I tried it on smooth and
reflective surfaces and it did fine. In the whole time I used the
camera I didn't have one problem with focusing, and several times I
went out of my way to find difficult situations for it. I would say
it's definitely a step or two above the 20D.
And not only does it focus, but it does so accurately. As I said, the
only shots that were out of focus were the ones taken in auto point
selection, which I didn't realize I was using at the time. Here the
camera tends to focus on the closest subject and shots I took of the
model being photographed tended to focus on the Sony rep in the
foreground as opposed to the photographer and model behind him.
Once I switched out of that it was just perfect.
Outside I did grab shots in single focus mode of people walking by,
walking towards, with the lens wide open because that is the way I
tend to use lenses when doing photojournalism and performance
photography, and each is sharp. I didn't test the continuous focusing
mode.
Focusing is definitely not a weak point of the camera.
Next week I'll have the camera for longer so hopefully I'll get
around to using everything it has.
The performance of the new kit lens was pretty good too. I wouldn't
have a problem using it, and the range of focal lengths is really
exceptional.

Doug B
Torontowide.com

 Papasha's gear list:Papasha's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony SLT-A77 Sony Alpha a99 Sony a7R II Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* +10 more
Jim Ogilvie Contributing Member • Posts: 799
Re: Lens requests ...

Doug...

If I can be of help with glass for this upcoming week, please let me know. My 7D just died, so I am camera-free, my glass is just sitting on its (gl)ass.

I'm going out of town for two weeks after that (and had planned to shoot quite a bit...now looking uncertain since my own A700 likely won't be in before I go, I do have one on order).

sigh.

My email address can be found on my portfolio site below.

Jim

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http://avicdar.com (my portfolio - please visit!)

-----
KM7D
Sony-Zeiss 135 1.8
Sony-Zeiss 85 1.4
Minolta 50 1.7
Sony 35 1.4G
Tamron 28-75 2.8
Minolta 70-210 F4
Sigma 15-30

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