The major new introduction to which I referred on Tuesday (like you couldn't figure it out) is the handsome new Sony A700, an advanced-amateur and low-end pro model intended to compete with the Nikon D300, Canon 40D, and Pentax K10D. It's the successor to the first DSLR from the now-defunct "Mind of Minolta," the Konica-Minolta 7D, just about exactly three years on.
The A700 features a 12-MP CMOS chip very similar to the one in the upcoming Nikon D300—which, interestingly, accomplishes the A-D conversion right on the chip, cutting out one major source of noise—and the same 3-in., ultra-high-rez ~900k-dot (640x480xRGB) LCD (made, I believe, by Panasonic?) that will be seen on the Nikon D300 and D3.
There are reasonably thorough previews popping up here and there on the web, from the usual suspects—Imaging-Resource's is a good one, and PopPhoto.com's short article (by Dan Richards) is accompanied by image samples, including some very high-ISO shots, made in a cathedral in New York. (But see my comments in the last post about sub-100% image samples on the web. More interesting are the comments about the image quality that accompany the pictures.) For some reason I have trouble finding Sony press materials online, and this has got to exist on a Sony site too, but here's a site that's archiving the nifty launch CGI sequence.
I'll leave it to you to go hunt down as many of the features and specs as you want to know about at this point, but see that "C" button on the camera back? It's a customizable button that you can assign a favorite function to, a nice touch. When you switch to manual focus, the C button defaults to AF-on-demand, also nice.
And, of course (tick-pop, tick-pop, tick-pop...that's me being a broken record) the biggie feature the D300 doesn't have is sensor IS, a.k.a. SonySuperSteadyShot (I think there's supposed to be a space or two in there, but I'm old, I get confused), which in the specs Sony has jacked to 2.5–4 stops of claimed steadying power. Oh, goody!! I can't wait—I get all happy thinking of the shots I'm going to make at ISO 800 and ƒ/2 and 1/5th of a second. I'll be a pig in mud.
By the way, the camera body will sell for $1,400, and there are new lenses, which we'll catch up to in due course.
So anyway, we now have five major higher-range DSLR introductions in the past few months, with a sixth promised for October. For those who like to read camera reviews, this is going to make for a very interesting parade of reviews throughout the fall as various sites weigh in. I'll try to keep reminding you, as we go along, that the point still is to take pictures.