Alpha A700 camera: the advanced amateur dSLR is announced
Finally! The news Alpha photographers hve been waiting for. Sony has announced their new Advanced Amateur dSLR, henceforth known as the A700, I like the name — it conjures up great Minoltas of the past, such as the X700, the Maxxum 7000 and the Maxxum 7D.
But the new model is a wide departure from those older SLR cameras. The feature set is very impressive, and if the picture quality lives up to Sony’s claims, Minolta A-mount shooters will be very happy indeed.
The A700 addresses almost all of the concerns I listed in my last post about Alpha A100 improvements. In addition to the vertical grip and PC sync we already knew was coming, the 12.2MP A700 feature set includes:
- Optical glass pentaprism with interchangeable focusing screens
- New 11 point enhanced auto focus system, claimed to be much faster than the A100.
- Individual compartments for both Compact Flash and Memory Stick memory cards
- Remote capture application offering tethered shooting via USB (yes!)
- Continuous 5 frames per second, limited only by memory card size in JEPG, a healthy 18 frames can be captured in one burst when shooting RAW.
- Sony claims the new dSLR is dust and moisture resistant. Is that the same as weather sealing?
- New Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) function that sounds similar to built-in HDR (High Dynamic Range).
- Ultra sharp 3″ LCD screen
- The press release stresses in great detail that the A700 has been optimized to significantly reduce noise.
- The initial Sony press release doesn’t mention ISO, but Engadget and several other sites claim the camera will offer 3200 ISO with some sort of extender mode to get the ISO to 6400
The new vertical grip will carry two InfoLithium(R) batteries and can automatically switch between cells when one battery is exhausted.
Body only price will be “about” $1,400. US. The A700K kit with a 18-70mm lens will set us back around 1,500, while the A700P kit will offer a 16-105 lens will go for $1,900. Sony is taking orders now. The body and A700k packages should be shipping in October, while the A700P will be on dealer’s shelves in November.
What’s missing? Live view. As I have said before, I’m not a fan of Live View so that isn’t a big disappointment for me.
That’s just the high-level overview. I’ll have more information and analysis after the dust clears and I can delve deeper into the A700’s features. in the meantime, A-mount shooters can take a deep breath and relax. If the press release is accurate, the A700 won’t be taking a back seat to anything else in it’s class. For the first time in a long, long while, we have a camera that boasts great features at an affordable price. Move over Nikon and Canon. There’s a new shooter in town!