Sony DSC-F717 Review
Compared to the Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi
and Nikon Coolpix 5700
Below and on the next page you will find comparison shots taken between the DSC-F717, Minolta's DiMAGE 7Hi and the Nikon Coolpix 5700. Each of these cameras represent the top of the range prosumer digital camera from each manufacturer. All use the same 2/3" 5 megapixel CCD, the DSC-F717 has a 5x optical zoom lens, the DiMAGE 7Hi has a 7x optical zoom lens and the Coopix 5700 has an 8x optical zoom lens.
On paper (specifications)
Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi
Nikon Coolpix 5700
|Street price||US: $999||US: $1299||US: $1199|
|Image sensor||2/3" 5.2 megapixel CCD||2/3" 5.2 megapixel CCD||2/3" 5.2 megapixel CCD|
|Effective pixels||5.0 million||5.0 million||5.0 million|
|Colour Filter Array||RGB||RGB||CYGM|
|Lens zoom||5x, 38 - 190 mm equiv.||7x, 28 - 200 mm equiv.||8x, 35 - 280 mm equiv.|
|Lens aperture||F2.0 - F2.4||F2.8 - F3.5||F2.8 - F4.2|
|Zoom control||Zoom by wire (ring / lever)||Mechanically linked ring||Zoom by wire (lever)|
|Auto Focus||Contrast TTL||Contrast TTL||Contrast TTL|
|AF areas||5 area||3 area / 285 area||5 area|
|AF assist||Yes, laser pattern||No||No|
|Manual focus||Focus by wire (ring)||Focus by wire (ring)||Focus by wire (buttons)|
|Normal focus||50 cm||38 cm||50 cm|
|Macro focus||2 cm (Wide - distorts)||13 cm||3 cm (Mid-zoom)|
|Sensitivity||ISO 100, 200, 400, 800||ISO 100, 200, 400, 800||ISO 100, 200, 400, 800|
|Metering||Multi, CW Avg., Spot||Multi, CW Avg., Spot||Matrix, CW Avg., Spot|
|Shutter speeds||30 sec - 1/2000 sec *1||Bulb, 15 sec - 1/2000 sec||Bulb, 8 sec - 1/4000 sec|
|Apertures||F2.0 / F2.4 - F8.0||F2.8 / F3.5 - F8.0||F2.8 / F4.2 - F8.0|
|Exposure modes||Auto, P, A, S, M||P, A, S, M||Auto, P, A, S, M|
|Histogram||Live, Review, Playback||Live, Playback||Playback|
|Colour space||sRGB (assumed)||sRGB, Adobe RGB *2||sRGB (assumed)|
|Parameters||Sharpness||Sharpness, Color, Tone||Sharpness, Color, Tone|
|Noise Reduction||Automatic, 1/25 sec or slower||Automatic, long exposures||Manually selectable|
|Flash||Electronic pop-up||Manual pop-up||Electronic pop-up|
|External flash||Hot-shoe, Sony acc||Hot-shoe, PC Sync||Hot-shoe|
|White balance||Auto, 4 presets, manual||Auto, 5 presets, 2 manual||Auto, 5 presets *3, manual|
|Continuous *4||2 fps, max 3 images||2/3 fps, max 9 images||3.8 fps, max 3 images|
|Image formats||TIFF, JPEG||RAW, TIFF,JPEG||RAW, TIFF, JPEG|
|LCD Monitor||1.8" twisting body||1.8" fixed||1.5" flip-out and twist|
|Viewfinder||Electronic Viewfinder||Electronic Viewfinder, Tilts||Electronic Viewfinder|
|Storage||Memory Stick||Compact Flash Type I/II||Compact Flash Type I/II|
|Power||Sony Lithium-Ion battery||4 x AA batteries (NiMH)||Nikon Lithium-Ion battery|
|Batt / Charger||Included||Included||Included|
|Weight (incl.)||659 g (23.2 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)||512 g (18.1 oz)|
|Dimensions||162 x 124 x 68 mm
(6.4 x 4.9 x 2.7 in)
|117 x 91 x 113 mm
(4.6 x 3.6 x 4.5 in)
|108 x 76 x 102 mm
(4.3 x 3 x 4 in)
|*1||Only up to 1/1000 sec in shutter priority and manual exposure modes|
|*2||Can be selected in-camera, JPEG images can be tagged with profile|
|*3||All presets can be fine tuned|
|*4||At JPEG Large / Fine|
As you can see on paper the DSC-F717 has some advantages but overall comes up short compared to the competition, consider also that there is a $200 - $300 price difference (list) between the DSC-F717 and the others. It would have been nice to have seen Sony use this product 'refresh' to catch up on a few features such as colour saturation and tone control, user memories, RAW and additional 'added value' features such as timelapse.
Outdoor scene comparison
Camera settings were:
- Sony DSC-F717
Sharpness: 0, WB: Sunny, Aperture Priority (F5.6)
- Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi
Saturation: 0, Contrast: 0, Color mode: Natural (sRGB), Sharpness: Normal, WB: Sunny,
Aperture Priority (F5.6)
- Nikon Coolpix 5700
Tone: Normal, Sharpening: Normal, Saturation: 0, WB: Sunny,
Aperture Priority (F5.6 or nearest)
|Sony DSC-F717||Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi||Nikon Coolpix 5700|
|ISO 100, F5.6, 1/1250 sec||ISO 100, F5.6, 1/1000 sec||ISO 100, F5.4, 1/1176 sec|
|2,137 KB JPEG||3,262 KB JPEG||1,665 KB|
General observations compared to the DSC-F717:
- The DSC-F717 produces a 'flatter' image (less contrast) although with better dynamic range
- The DSC-F717 exhibits the best resolution, but only marginally
- The DSC-F717's shadows have some visible chrominance noise (blotches), this could be related to the general high colour saturation
- The DiMAGE 7Hi exhibits some strange dotted Bayer interpolation artifacts in different parts of the image
- Colour balance between each camera is notably different, especially the Coolpix 5700
- The Coolpix 5700 exhibitted the lowest 'sky noise' followed by the DSC-F717 and then the DiMAGE 7Hi
- All cameras exhibited a certain amount of purple fringing on the bright area at the tip of the tower (second to last crop)
- The DSC-F717 manages to avoid diagonal colour stepping (last crop)
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