Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Review
Record mode display
As with the A100 (and the the Konica Minolta SLRs that came before it) the A700 does without a traditional LCD control panel information display and instead employs the more flexible (though more power hungry) method of using the LCD monitor as a record mode display for camera settings, exposure etc. In record mode you can press the Display button to toggle between the full recording mode display, 'enlarged' recording mode display (which has less information) or no display.
Note: apologies for the rather poor quality of some of the screen grabs on the next few pages - we had some problems with the composite video output on our A700.
|Detailed recording mode display||Enlarged recording mode display|
Using the Quick Navi menu
A key difference between the A700 and its predecessor(s) is that you can now change most settings directly from the info screen by pressing the 'Fn' button, which turns the screen into a 'Quick Navi' menu (similar to many other modern DSLRs). Using the multi-commander you simply move the highlight from one setting to another. Pressing the central button brings up a mini menu for that item, allowing you to change settings. It works well and my only complaint is that you can't change the button used to activate the Quick Navi menu - odd when so much customization is on offer - and the Fn button is too much of a stretch for your thumb (so changing settings is impossible if you're not holding the camera with both hands (and it feels unnecessarily fiddly). There is, however, a way to overcome this (see next section).
|Pressing the Fn button turns on the Quick Navi screen. The left, right, up and down arrows on the multi-controller are used to move from one setting to another.||Press the middle button on the controller and a menu appears allowing you to change the setting.|
|Selecting a Creative Style||Changing Exposure Comp. setting.|
Using the direct access buttons
By default you see a dedicated menu - as shown above - when you press one of the external buttons (ISO, DRIVE, WB and +/-) on the top of the camera. An option in the custom menu allows you to change settings directly on the Quick Navi screen by pressing one of these buttons and turning the front control dial. For settings - such as white balance - with additional options, the rear dial cycles through the parameters. The table below shows the (default) function of each dial/button combo:
|Button||Front Dial||Rear Dial|
|ISO||Change ISO (1 EV steps)||Change ISO (0.3 EV steps)|
|WB||Cycle through WB presets||• Presets: Change WB adjustments (+3 to -3)
• Kelvin: Change Kelvin value and color filter
• Custom WB: choose from 3 saved settings, create new setting
|DRIVE||Cycle through drive, bracketing, self timer, remote control modes||• Continuous: Hi or Lo
• Self timer: duration
• Bracketing: EV step and number of frames
|+/-||AE compensation||AE compensation (same as front dial)|
One big advantage of using the Quick Navi screen in this way is that once you've pressed one of the direct access buttons you can use the multi-commander to move to any of the other on-screen settings (thus overcoming the rather awkward positioning of the Fn button).
The screens below show the front dial being turned (not all options shown)
Record review / Play display
The A700 has four different record review (instant playback) / play displays; Image only, Image & information, Image & histograms (including blinking highlights/shadows) and a hybrid filmstrip/image view (shows last 5 shots as thumbs across the top). Record review will use the last selected play mode display format. During record review you can press the delete button to delete the image or the magnify button for a quick close-up view (useful for checking focus / blur). Note that blinking highlights / shadows are only shown in the histogram display mode (which is a pity).
|Image only||Image and basic information|
|Image, full shooting data and histogram (note there are now RGB and Luminance histograms)||'Film strip' thumbnails + image|
Press the 'magnify in' button to display the image at the previously used magnification level. Use the controller to scroll around the image, the rear dial to change the magnification, the center button (on the controller) to switch to loupe mode (example below) and the front control dial to browse through images while remaining magnified.
|Initial magnification (previous used)||Turn the rear control dial to change the magnification level (fro 1.1x to 16x)|
|Press the button in the middle of the controller to switch to loupe mode; move the loupe using the controller, change the magnification level using the rear dial again.||Press the center button again to return to magnify mode, press the magnify button to exit|
The play mode menu allows you to select between 4, 9 or 25 thumbnails in index view. You can jump one page at a time using the rear control dial and you can jump from folder to folder (if you have more than one folder created) by pressing the button in the middle of the multi controller.
|Four image index||Nine image index|
|25 image index|
|Astronomical Clock in PRAGUE by stadros|
from Your City - Clocks
|Glassball on a perforated metal plate_3 by harubux|
Astrophotography fans will be treated to the sight a rare super blood wolf Moon this weekend, and lots of helpful people are offering advice on how best to photograph it.
Accessory maker K&F Concept is offering a range of adapters, allowing the use of non-Nikon as well as Nikon F lenses on the new Nikon Z mirrorless cameras.
Lens maker Tamron has confirmed that new firmware issued at the end of last year to make certain lenses compatible with Nikon’s Z7 camera will also work for owners of the Z6.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has captured a photo of Earth that's being compared to the iconic 'Pale Blue Dot' captured by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990.
GoPro has updated its Fusion ecosystem with new firmware for the Fusion camera and updates to the Fusion Studio software as well as the Adobe Premiere and After Effects plug-ins.
The Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 is a compact and light-weight lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs. We took it on grand tour of Seattle's top tourist spots and found it makes a pleasant, albeit wide, walking around lens.
Olympus has published the third teaser video for its upcoming sports-oriented mirrorless camera, due for release next week.
Fujifilm has announced its new GF 100-200mm F5.6 R LM OIS WR tele-zoom lens. The lens, equivalent to 79-158mm when mounted on a GFX camera, has image stabilization (with a claimed 5 stops of shake reduction), a linear AF motor and weather-sealing.
Amongst all of the camera news yesterday, Sony also announced its new Imaging Edge mobile app, which replaces PlayMemories Mobile. Three desktop applications have also been updated, adding support for time-lapse movie creation.
We've been busy shooting with Sony's newest mirrorless camera, the mid-range a6400. Have a look at our initial samples.
Adobe has taken the new year as an opportunity to introduce an updated Behance with improved user profiles and more prominent project pages.
OPPO's 5x zoom prototype never made it into a production unit but now the company is about to release an even longer optical zoom for smartphones.
Our intrepid team is in San Diego, for the launch of the new Sony a6400. In this short overview video, Carey, Chris and Jordan talk through the main specifications of the new camera, and what they might mean for photographers and videographers.
After further testing, Sigma has updated its lens compatibility notice to highlight what lenses work with Canon's EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera.
The Sony a6400 is the company's new midrange mirrorless camera, whose standout features include an advanced autofocus system, flip-up touchscreen LCD and oversampled 4K footage with Log support. Learn more as we go hands-on with the a6400.
OWC has released the Helios FX 650 eGPU, a modular chassis that works with macOS and Windows computer over Thunderbolt 3.
Adorama has announced the availability of a new studio flash head from its own Flashpoint range.
Instagram has quietly added the iOS-exclusive ability to post images or videos to multiple Instagram accounts at once on the same device.
Sony has announced major firmware updates for the a7R III, a7 III and a9. All three cameras gain improved Eye-AF, the ability to recognize and focus on animals' eyes, and timelapse capability. The a9 gets more sophisticated subject tracking.
Sony has announced the a6400, an updated 24.2MP mirrorless camera with a flip-up rear touchscreen and the processor and autofocus system 'borrowed from the a9'.
We're live blogging at Sony's launch event in San Diego, where the company is rumored to be announcing a new mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor.
The latest CamFi model lets you tether your camera wirelessly to your computer and transfer images directly into 3rd-party apps such as Capture One, Lightroom or EOS utility.
United States Transportation Secretary Eleain Chao introduced a proposed rule change that could make it easier for commercial operators to use drones at night and above crowds of people.
SmugMug Films has released its latest film from its award-winning series. 'Framing the Journey' follows photographer Karen Hutton around the landscapes and cityscapes of Slovenia.
Timelapse+ has announced its VIEW intervalometer now offers support for select Fujifilm and Panasonic camera systems.
The Miami Beach Police Department is using a camera blimp to get around a drone surveillance ban that went into effect in 2015.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its excellent video quality and faster performance make it an impressive camera at a considerably lower price.
What do you get when you combine an iconic camera brand from the past with a crowdfunding campaign for a 'rangefinder' camera? The Yashica Y35, that's what. Watch Chris and Jordan try to make lemonade out of a lemon.
Photographer Jimmy McIntyre has been working with Nikon, shooting a pre-production sample of the new Z 14-30mm lens. We're reserving final judgement until we see a reviewable lens, but it looks pretty impressive.