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Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Sony A700 DSLR unveiled, previewed
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(Thursday, September 6, 2007 - 00:01 EDT)

Sony has today unveiled a new Alpha-series single-lens reflex digital camera with twelve megapixel resolution from a new CMOS sensor with analog-to-digital conversion and noise reduction on-chip.

The Sony A700's "Exmor"-branded imager takes a dual-pronged approach to noise reduction, with separate stages both before and after the A/D conversion takes place. It is mounted on a moveable platter inside the A700's magnesium alloy body, allowing for what Sony calls "Super SteadyShot" image stabilization. A newly developed "BIONZ" image processor is coupled with the high-res imager and a new shutter mechanism to yield shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 second and a full five frames per second shooting speed. In Raw file format, the Sony Alpha A700 burst depth is limited to 18 frames, but if your flash card is fast enough then you can shoot JPEG (fine) mode images until either storage or battery run out. A new eleven-point focusing system offers an f/2.8 line sensor for improved precision with fast aperture lenses, and is unusual in that it's central point is a dual cross type, incorporating two horizontal and two vertical line-type sensors for increased accuracy. Predictive autofocus is also said to be improved.

The Sony DSLR-A700 offers a glass pentaprism viewfinder with 0.9x magnification and 95% frame coverage. Images can be reviewed on the A700's 3.0" LCD display, which has an impressive 921,600 subpixel resolution (which equates to 640 x 480 pixel resolution with three colored subpixels per pixel). Unlike recent DSLRs from some of its competitors of late though, the A700 doesn't offer any form of live view mode, so you can't use that high-res LCD to frame your shots. Images on the A700 are stored on either CompactFlash Type I or II cards (including Microdrives), or on Sony's own Memory Stick Pro Duo card format. Power comes courtesy of an NP-FM500H "InfoLithium" battery that should be good for around 650 shots on a charge. Other features of note include ISO sensitivity from 100 to 6400, both eye-start and grip-start sensors for autofocus, HDMI connectivity for hi-res displays, improvements to the Dynamic Range Optimizer function, and the addition of environmental sealing (the extent of which we don't currently have details on).

The Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 will ship from October 2007, priced at about $1,400. A DSLR-A700K kit with a DT 18-70mm f/3.5 - 5.6 zoom lens will ship at the same time, priced at about $1,500. A second kit will follow, including a new internally focusing DT 16-105mm f/3.5 - 5.6 zoom lens (equivalent to 24 - 157.5mm on a 35mm camera). This DSLR-A700P kit will be available for about $1,900, and the lens it includes will be available separately from November priced at $580. Sony is also announcing a new DT 18 – 250 mm f3.5 – 6.3 zoom lens that will cost about $550, availability unknown. Finally, the company says it will offer a 70 -300 mm f4.5 – 5.6 SSM G zoom lens with super sonic wave motor from Spring 2008.

For more on the Sony α DSLR-A700, keep a close eye on our preview article.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A700
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera TypeSLR
ManufacturerSony
Model NumberA700
Dimensions5.6 x 4.1 x 3.1"
141.7 x 104.8 x 79.7mm
Weight690.0 g
24.1 oz
Planned Price$1500.00
Planned AvailabilityOct 2007
Image Capture
Sensor TypeAPS-C Sony CMOS
13.10 megapixels (total)
12.20 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier1.50
Aspect Ratio3:2, 16:9
Image Dimensions4272 x 2848 (12.2 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 5.0 frames per second for 18 Raw or unlimited JPEG (fine) frames
Image Quality3 levels
Image Preview / Review
ViewfinderYes, SLR type; fixed eye-level pentaprism, 95%, 0.9x, 21mm relief, -3 to +1 diopter
LCD3.0", 921,600 pixels
Playback Zoom12.0x max
Lens
Lens TypeInterchangeable Lens
3.9x optical zoom
55mm lens thread
Lens MountSony Alpha (Minolta A) mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length18.0 - 70.0mm (actual)
27 - 105mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Rangef/3.5 - 22 (W), f/5.6 - 36 (T)
Focusing System11-point TTL phase detection (center sensor is double-cross) with eye-start AF with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing RangeNormal: 16" - infinity (38 cm - infinity)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
Shutter Speed30 - 1/8000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes40-segment honeycomb pattern, center-weighted, spot
Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Color Temperature from 2,500K to 9,900K, Custom, Manual
Internal FlashGuide Number: 12
Modes: Automatic, Fill, Red-eye reduction, Rear sync, Slow sync
Range: Lens dependent
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Creative
Scene ModesPortrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports action, Sunset, Night portrait, Night view
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
Storage
Recording MediumCompactFlash Type 1, CompactFlash Type 2, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Microdrive
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatCCD-RAW, RAW, cRAW (ARW 2.0), JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
Connectivity
VideoYes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherDC input, Multi-connector, Sync termimal, Remote terminal, HDMI Type-C minijack
Power
Battery TypeLithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary NP-FM500H
Product Bundle
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary NP-FM500H Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory0.0MB
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Tripod MountYes
Remote ControlYes
More Photos
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

SONY’S NEW D-SLR CAMERA SETS HIGH PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 5, 2007 — Sony is expanding its α (Alpha) digital SLR system with the introduction of the DSLR-A700 camera, which is aimed at photo enthusiasts or serious photo hobbyists.

The new model features advanced imaging technologies and ultra-responsive operation, as well as a lightweight, dust- and moisture-resistant, magnesium alloy construction common to enthusiast-class D-SLR cameras.

Like Sony’s mainstream DSLR-A100 model, the new A700 unit incorporates Super SteadyShot® Inside image stabilization in the camera body and is compatible with most Minolta Maxxum® mount lenses in addition to Sony lenses.

“Discerning photo enthusiasts will be impressed with the rugged construction and outstanding performance of the A700, said Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony Electronics. “We also expect that this new camera will re-define the post-capture experience with HDMI™ output for high-quality playback of images on high-definition televisions.”

Picture Quality
The camera’s new 12.2-megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor conducts analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion and dual noise reduction right on the sensor itself. Noise reduction is applied to analog signals before A/D conversion and the resulting digital signals are then subject to a second round of noise reduction.

According to Lubell, “These digital signals are virtually immune to external noise and interference.”

Clean, noise-free digital signals are then sent to the newly developed BIONZ™ processing engine. Lubell said this engine has been optimized to process data-rich picture information at high speeds, and to reduce picture noise in the RAW data stage before final image compression and encoding. The results are high-resolution, detailed images with rich tonal reproduction.

Extraordinary Responsiveness
The A700 camera is engineered to be fast and ultra-responsive so as to become “a virtual extension of your own senses,” Lubell said, “capturing fleeting moments as you see them.”

A newly developed, auto-focus system features 11 wide-area sensors, including a center dual cross sensor comprised of two horizontal and two vertical line sensors for exceptional AF precision. An F2.8 line sensor leverages the brightness of fast aperture lenses for even greater precision. Lubell said that extraordinary focusing speed has been realized through improved algorithms and a high-torque focusing drive motor.

The large, bright, viewfinder uses a precision-ground optical glass pentaprism and a high refractive index eyepiece lens to provide 0.9x viewfinder magnification and 95 percent frame coverage. Manual focusing is aided by an interchangeable spherical acute matte focusing screen.

The camera has a high-performance vertical traverse shutter with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000th of a second to freeze fast-moving action. A high-power coreless motor charges the shutter and mirror mechanism, allowing continuous shooting at up to five frames per second. In JPEG fine or standard mode, continuous shooting is limited only by the capacity of the media card (sold separately), while up to 18 frames can be captured in RAW.

Expanded Creativity
The new camera features fourteen creative styles, including night view, autumn leaves or vivid, which can be selected to enhance images. These effects can then be fine-tuned by customizing contrast, sharpness, zone matching and other parameters.

Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) function has been updated on this model so users can choose the desired level of detail recovered in areas of shadow. The advanced mode offers the option of five levels of user selectable correction. Additionally, DRO bracketing creates three images from a single capture with three different levels of DRO.

There is an extensive array of customization options to personalize the camera to match shooting styles. The unit’s quick navigation interface can be accessed instantly with the four-way multi-selector, and selected parameters can be adjusted directly by control dials.

Up to 28 camera settings can be stored in one of three user memories for instant recall. The unit’s custom function button can be assigned to 15 frequently-accessed functions.

With the supplied remote capture application, the camera can be controlled from a compatible PC via USB without even touching the camera, and files can be stored on the computer instead of the media card.

High-Quality Pictures on an HDTV
The A700 model features an HDMI output for connection to HDTV sets, putting a high-resolution spin on the conventional photo slideshow.

When connected to a Sony BRAVIA® LCD HD television, photos are optimized for viewing with the new “PhotoTV HD” mode. This mode brings the look of actual printed photography to the television, reproducing high-quality digital photos by fine-tuning such image parameters as sharpness, gradation and color specifically for photographs.

The exceptional viewing experience of this camera also extends to viewing photos on its 3-inch LCD screen. The screen’s size and ultra-sharp resolution (921K) makes it possible to check focus and image quality with much greater accuracy.

A Flexible System
The camera will be introduced with two new lenses, bringing Sony’s lens and teleconverter catalog up to 23 models. Supplied as a standard kit lens, the new DT 16-105 mm f.3.5 – 5.6 lens features a distinctive zoom range (35mm equivalency of 24 – 157.5 mm); compact, lightweight design; and internal focusing. The other addition is a powerful and compact high-magnification DT 18 – 250 mm f3.5 – 6.3 lens. Sony is also planning to introduce a specialty 70 -300 mm f4.5 – 5.6 SSM G telephoto lens featuring super sonic wave motor auto focus drive system for smooth auto focusing in Spring 2008.

Sony’s full line of accessories will also expand to include a new vertical grip. Equipped with buttons and switches for the most essential control functions, it offers the same ease of operation and handling as when shooting vertically. It houses two InfoLithium® batteries (sold separately), which will automatically switch to the second battery when the first one runs out. Remaining charges of both batteries are displayed on the camera’s LCD screen.

Memory That Keeps Up With The Camera
The model also features separate slots for Memory Stick Duo™ media cards compatible with the Memory Stick PRO-HG™ high-speed data transfer standard, as well as CompactFlash™ Type I/II media cards compatible with the new Ultra Direct Memory Access standard for up to 300x write speeds. Sony is also introducing new 300x high-speed CompactFlash™ memory cards, ideal for high-end photographers requiring fast write speeds. The new models, available in 2GB or 8GB capacity, expand Sony’s current line of CompactFlash cards that also include 66X and 133X speeds, with capacities ranging from 1GB to 4GB.

The DSLR-A700 camera body, DT 16 – 105 mm lens, and DT 18-250 mm lens will be available for about $1,400, $580 and $550, respectively. The DSLR-A700K kit with an 18-70 mm lens will be available for about $1,500, and the DSLR-A700P kit with the 16-105 mm lens will be available for about $1,900. The camera body and DSLR-A700K kit will ship in October and the DSLR-A700P kit in November. All will be available at sonystyle.com, Sony Style retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), at military base exchanges, and at authorized dealers nationwide.

Pre-orders begin online today at www.sonystyle.com.

# # #

Editor’s Notes: Camera performance is measured using Camera Imaging Product Association (CIPA) standards. The viewable area of LCD displays is measured diagonally. Available storage capacity of Memory Stick Duo™ and CompactFlash™ media may vary. A portion of the memory is used for data management functions. For additional information about Sony products, your readers can call toll-free (888) 222-SONY or visit Sony's web site at: www.sonystyle.com. Press releases and digital images are available for the news media at Sony Electronics’ news and information web site at: www.sony.com/news.

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