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Thursday, 06 September 2007


I don't know. Most of the shots I would like to take at such lighting conditions and without a tripod would have moving things (mostly people, actually)in them. Mike, what are you dreaming of shooting at such slow speeds and available darkness? Just curious.

"It's the successor to the first and last DSLR from the now-defunct "Mind of Minolta," the Konica-Minolta 7D"

Wasn't there also a 5D just before Minolta closed up shop on cameras?

I can't believe no reviewer has yet mentioned the A700's new immobilizer image stabilization ray, clearly demonstrated in the bottom most photo. The implications for candid photography are immense. We all know that in body IS allows you take pictures at previously unthinkably low shutter speeds, speeds so low that the subjects often move on their own. With the A700's new immobilizer image stabilization ray (IISR), pesky subject motion is no longer a problem. Simply line up up the subject in your crosshairs . . . uh, viewfinder, and engage the IISR. They won't move no matter how long the exposure takes. Great for kids and pets too.

I'm somewhat underwhelmed. The Alpha 700 doesn't appear to offer much on top of the Pentax K10D, which arguably has the nicer lenses available. (Disclaimer: I switched from KM to Pentax one year ago and still have the very nice KM 17-35 lens and a flash standing in my cabinet. At the moment though I am very happy with my K10D.)

Granted, high ISO on the Alpha will hopefully be better, however, it won't be leaps and bounds better. And the Pentax is much cheaper. And smaller, but if that's a good thing is for you to decide.

Compared to the Canon 40D and the Nikon D300 the Sony will have difficulties to prevail. To be frank, while in-body IS is an absolute MUST in my eyes (stabilised 21 and 31mm fixed focals, yummy), not everyone seems to care. And cheap(ish) IS lenses are already avalable from Canon and will most likely soon be from Nikon.

As it stands, and at the chosen price point, the new Alpha, while not a bad camera at all, just doesn't offer enough bang for the buck, or at least something to clearly differentiate it from the competition. As such, it might not be enough to gain significant market share -- particularly in the light of Sony's ambitions targets.


PS. If the Sony sported a near silent shutter/mirror mechanism (as rumour had it), and someone sold me an as-good-as-new 28mm f2.0, I'd still buy one...

No 14 bit, no live view, and what seems to be a less effective autofocus with a single cross sensor.

Sounds like a big yawn for most serious photographers. Way too expensive for the feature set. It should be priced down to compete with the XTi or D40x, around $700

This camera will be famous for its ugly shutter noise. It doesn't sound like a slr, it makes an ugly, loud, beep, very annoying.

Well here's one more day that's started out with a chuckle and a few nods of the head! The technical comments are always good and informative, but it's the "pig in mud" stuff that really gets me here almost every day, and I'm even older than you so comments on the missing dashes, well, I'm right there. I am going to enjoy that IS also, and I will use that ISO800, F2 and 1/5 as often... maybe even 1600... for low-light "mood" shots at wedding ceremonies, at home, with friends, stealth shots on the street at night... a whole host of possibilities that someone who hasn't made a regular habit of that kind of shooting might find addicting. One thing I'm happy about is they left off the live view! From what I've read live view can heat up the sensor and use up the battery faster, two things I'd like to avoid. It's been said that live view, particularly with articulating screen can be useful at times...and I can imagine those times, but after over 40 years of shooting I can also do without it and this is the first Sony I've ever really sat up and taken notice to.
But, your last sentence is what caused the most reflection and the biggest smile and made me push back from the computer, grab my trusty Oly and head out the front door in search of something interesting!

Not sure I'd call the new Sony "handsome," but one thing they got right -- that the makers of IS and VR are still missing -- is SSS (all caps, no spaces). The most significant consequence of Sony's work could be that it puts peer pressure on Canon and Nikon to add sensor stabilization to their line-up.

I don't think moving people in a shot is necessarily bad--I often like it. Depends on the shot, of course.

Looks like Sony has gone back to the old Minolta way of numbering cameras: those starting with a "7" are upper end consumer cameras. I assume that the top of the line camera will be an Alpha 900.

"It's the successor to the first and last DSLR from the now-defunct "Mind of Minolta," the Konica-Minolta 7D..."

Except for the KM 5D, which was the second and last DSLR from the Mind of Minolta.


That's of small concern, though. More important is the 700's continuation, and improvement, of in-camera stabilization. I share your enthusiasm for that feature. It's a difference-maker.

Actually, from my experience, people are quite photograph-able at 1/5 sec. or thereabouts. I have a fair number of band photos taken at that speed, for instance, in dark venues. You do have to shoot a fair number to get a decent set to keep, but it does work. It generally has to be something where a little bit of motion blur of e.g. hands is acceptable. For instance, this band shot of mine:


taken at 1/6 sec.

I've no interest in this camera but its announcement prompts me to say, "Wow! What a time to be a photographer!". Photography has never enjoyed such a broad and deep wealth of superb products. I think we've reached a point where one's skills are not excusably limited by one's budget in any practical terms.

Of course the potential damage from today's frequent hailstorms of new products is that it can lead to P.A.D.D. (photographic attention deficit disorder) and G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome). Many photographers, particularly hobbyists, barely make/take time to become even familiar (forget masterful) with their current camera before they're lusting for its successor.

Hypocrisy Alert: I certainly have my share of cameras and lenses, too. In fact as I write this I have a G9 on back-order and a shiny new Canon 50L f/1.2 on my desk.

"I'll try to keep reminding you, as we go along, that the point still is to take pictures."

Amen, Mike. Amen.

As a K-M 7D and Sony A100 owner I'm delighted. The one thing I hated about the Alpha was there was no place to put my pinky on the grip so I had to outfit it with Body Armour. Seriously, those of us who have hung on to our FF Minolta mount lenses are encouraged not only by the specs on this camera but the future A900 which undoubtedly will follow Nikon's D3 with a FF sensor.

For people who are underwhelmed by this camera, what are you expecting for $1400? This thing has a bright viewfinder, image stabilization, handy controls, vertical grip, compressable Raw, 12 megapixels, access to Minolta AF lenses, lighter weight than the 7D, 5 frames per sec in Raw, faster focusing than the 7D, better battery life. If you shoot with Minolta lenses, like me, this is definitely a step up. And, image stabilization is not only great for low light photography. It works well with long focal length lenses when you are not able to use a tripod or monopod.

Hey wow! Sony's put a lot of the right features together in this camera -- 12MP resolution, body IS, very high ISO with minimal noise, good throughput, improved finder. And the lens does my old favourite Zeiss 16-80 a little better on the tele side with 16-105. Here's hoping the new Sony lens is as good as that Zeiss was reported to be. We certainly have a lot of exciting new choices on the horizon for coming months with Sony, Olympus, Canon and Nikon all debuting new models. A while ago I was tempted to get the present Sony a100 if only for the Zeiss zoom 16-80, but I couldn't get over the deficiencies of the a100 body -- low viewfinder magnification and high ISO noise in particular. But the A700 is a whole other kettle of fish. And did I mention competitively priced as well? Why spend more than necessary for something that may be obsolete in 3 years time.

The price is in line with the 40D and the specs are competitive--excepting for Live View perhaps, but honestly I could care less. I'd trade SSS for Live View any day of the week. $100 bucks more than the 40D seems a good place in the market.

I agree that they probably won't get many switchers at that price and specification, but A100 owners now have a place to go and old guard Minoltans are one more body away from extinction.

Underwhelmed. Apart from in-body stabilization, you've got less camera than a 40D for more money (DPReview's indicating a $1400 price point to the 40D's $1300, 40D adds 14-bit RAW, an extra 1.5fps, Live View).

In fact, it looks like less camera than a K10D on most fronts (excepting the shutter specs and fps/buffer). I'll believe Sony's hype on high ISO noise when I see real results, the A100 was atrocious at high ISO's). No weather sealing(only dust), button-rific interface, single cross-type AF sensor (K10D has 9, 40D has 9, D300 has 15).

This would have been a real head-turner a year ago. It isn't today. In fact it's behind the times.

I'm with you on the IS, Mike.

That computer graphics ad is beautiful.

Mike - I'm intrigued by this camera, but even more intrigued by the fact that you use a Minolta camera, yet hardly ever comment about Minolta lenses? Why? In your bokeh ratings, for example, and in your earlier newsletters, I cannot find any reference to the Minolta 50's, or even the 58mm f/1.2 which is described in some circles as 'legendary' for it's 'bokeh' capabilities (as for me, never used it). I'm not speaking as a rabid Minolta fan. I use X-570 and X-700 cameras and find their qualities (and the lenses' qualities) perfectly fine for my uses. But I'm just wondering why you've never commented on them, as you do with other brands.

Mike H.,
I've never really used any Minolta lenses to speak of. The K-M 7D was my first Minolta purchase, and I have only two lenses for it. One is a Sigma (the 30mm f/1.4) and the other is a Minolta-branded 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom, which was made for Minolta by Tamron in China and is essentially identical (the Minolta is spec'd slightly higher) to the Tamron 28-75mm that's available in several lensmounts.


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