Sony a700 press release

Tough, responsive α700 delivers stunning next-generation picture quality… from shooting to viewing

5 Sept 2007

  • Superb picture quality with newly developed Sony 12.24 effective megapixel Exmorä CMOS sensor and brand new high-speed BIONZä processor with RAW noise reduction
  • Ultra-responsive operation with fast, high-accuracy 11‑point autofocus and 5fps continuous shooting
  • New ‘Quick Navigation’ function for instant access to camera settings
  • Rugged magnesium body with dust/moisture resistant seals
  • ‘PhotoTV HD’ Full HD image display on new BRAVIA televisions
  • 3-inch 921k dot photo-quality LCD screen and bright, high-magnification viewfinder

Sony today announces its newest addition to the a digital SLR camera system. Aimed at serious photo enthusiasts and semi-professionals, the a700 teams uncompromising performance and responsiveness with superlative HD image quality – from shooting to viewing.

In addition to its rugged build quality and pro-friendly features, the a700 redefines ease of use for such a highly-specified digital SLR camera. Thanks to its intuitive new navigation system, camera settings can be adjusted in moments under the most exacting shooting conditions.

There’s also an extensive new palette of customisation options and creative tools to help photographers take their passion to the next level.

Extraordinary next-generation imaging quality

Key to the superlative performance of the a700 is its all-new 12.24 effective megapixel Exmorä CMOS sensor. This new sensor utilises cultivated CCD imaging and original Column A/D conversion technologies to deliver high-speed and high picture quality. The latest-generation Sony semiconductors and advanced signal processing techniques ensure images with extraordinary clarity, sharpness and detailing plus rich, lifelike colours, tones and textures.

For the first time ever in a D-SLR camera, the advanced Exmorä CMOS sensor performs A/D conversion using dedicated convertors that are located close to each element array on the sensor itself. Analogue noise cancellation prior to A/D conversion is complemented by further on-chip noise reduction once signals have been digitised. 

This results in digital signals that are exceptionally immune from external noise and interference that can seriously degrade analogue signals produced by other sensors.

Digital signals with reduced noise are then fed from the Exmorä sensor to the newly developed BIONZä processing engine where they are subjected to a further RAW noise reduction stage prior to compression and encoding.

With a maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200, the a700 can grab compelling sports/action shots, atmospheric interiors or relaxed portraits in any available light.

Super SteadyShot optical image stabilisation inside the camera body is compatible with the complete range of α-mount lenses. Anti-shake performance has been improved by up to half a stop over the entire focal length range. Equivalent correction now extends from 2.5 to 4 stops (depending on lens, camera settings and shooting conditions). This can drastically reduce the risk of blurred images in situations where a tripod and flash would normally be needed.

Responsive new centre dual cross 11-points autofocus

Responsive, high speed autofocus is a ‘must have’ for any serious photographer. With 11 focus points and 11 lines, the new centre dual cross sensor provides a major enhancement in AF performance under a wide range of real-world shooting conditions. High precision AF can be achieved at open aperture with lenses brighter than F2.8. In addition, lens drive control time has been shortened for object distance calculation and focus position.

An AF illuminator assists with fast, accurate autofocus in low light or with low contrast subjects.

Fast, intuitive navigation and convenient function control

A brilliantly simple new ‘Quick Navi’ interface assures fast, positive operation in high-pressure shooting situations when there’s no time to fumble with function menus. Camera settings can be accessed instantly via the easy-to-use joystick and icons on the 3-inch photo-quality screen. Selected parameters can be adjusted directly without the need to drill down into fiddly sub-menus.

For even greater convenience in the studio or on location, a global ‘snapshot’ of 28 camera settings can be stored in one of three user memories for instant recall. A dedicated Custom button can be assigned to frequently-needed functions such as file size and auto focus area select.

Built to deliver when it matters most

The a700 is engineered to meet the demands of discerning photo enthusiasts who require unfaltering performance in real-world shooting environments. Tough, durable magnesium alloy body panels are complemented by a reinforced aluminium alloy chassis. Weather-resistant silicon seals protect buttons and media card slots against dust and moisture. The camera’s professional feel is underlined by a new shutter release sound and powerful AF drive motor that reduces noise and vibration while focusing.

The newly-developed high performance shutter unit is proven to withstand approximately 100,000 cycles. Maximum shutter speed is 1/8000 sec (1/250 flash sync speed or 1/200 with Super SteadyShot on) to freeze fast‑moving action. A new high-power coreless motor and double-stopper anti-bounce mirror mechanism allows continuous shooting at up to 5 fps. In JPEG Fine or Standard mode shooting is limited only by free media card capacity, while a single burst of up to 19 frames can be captured at 5 fps in RAW.

Easy to handle with optional vertical grip

Lightning-fast performance is complemented by pro-style ergonomics to assist with sure handling in the studio or on assignment. Adding the optional VG-C70AM vertical grip gives relaxed, comfortable access to the ergonomically-positioned shutter release button in any shooting position.

The newly-developed M-Series InfoLITHIUM battery pack delivers up to 650 shots per charge (CIPA rating). Remaining battery power is displayed as a percentage on the display for an accurate indication of remaining power. The optional VG-C70AM grip can be fitted with a second battery. Charge levels of both batteries (when fitted) are displayed separately on screen for unambiguous indication of remaining power.

Expanded creative options

Fourteen new ‘Image Styles’ – including ‘Deep’, ‘Autumn’, ‘Vivid’ and ‘Landscape’ – allow the instant creation of a wide range of moods. Contrast, sharpness, zone matching and other parameters can then be customised further for fine-tuning of a chosen creative effect.

The enhanced D-range Optimiser (DRO) adjusts contrast and hue for beautifully-exposed results with backlit portraits and other tricky high-contrast scenes. Optimisation can be adjusted in five increments, while a new advanced bracketing mode captures the same scene at five different DRO settings to ensure the best possible results.

The addition of a new RAW compressed mode increases storage efficiency without sacrificing the flexibility of manipulating RAW image files. An ‘Extra Fine’ mode is now available for high quality JPEG files. A new 16:9 aspect ratio shooting mode is ideal for framing landscapes and other wide panoramic shots that can be viewed on a widescreen TV or HD-ready display.

Separate media slots are now offered for image storage on a choice of Memory Stick or CompactFlash media. The Memory Stick Duo Slot accepts Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo, as well as the newly introduced Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo that supports high transfer speeds. The CompactFlash slot conforms to the new high-speed 300x UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) standard, allowing continuous image capture up to the limit of flash memory card in JPEG fine mode and standard mode*.

*Number of pictures possible to be taken depends on shooting conditions, specification of memory card and other factors.

‘PhotoTV HD’ picture mode enhances Full HD image display

It’s easy to enjoy the finest quality High Definition images captured with the a700 while you’re at home or assessing shots in the studio.

The a700 includes a built-in HDMI output for connection to any HD-ready TV or display. Images are optimised for subtler, more natural colour and textures on the latest generation of Full HD BRAVIA televisions that support ‘PhotoTV HD’ - the Full HD TV photo viewing style recently announced by Sony.

PhotoTV HD offers a significant improvement over viewing still images on conventional TV sets that are optimised for moving video. It also controls image browsing, zoom, HD slideshows and other functions when the a700 is linked to an HD television.

HD slideshows can be controlled with the supplied IR remote commander that doubles as a remote shutter release for self-portraits and other ‘shooting at a distance’ applications.

Photo quality 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen and high performance viewfinder

A superb new 3-inch photo quality Xtra Fine LCD screen adds an extra dimension to the critical viewing and evaluation of shots captured with the a700.

Its size and ultra-sharp (921k dot) resolution – the highest ever on a D‑SLR camera – makes it possible to accurately check focus and image quality of captured images on the LCD screen.

Featuring a striped pixel array, the Xtra Fine hybrid LCD reveals the finest details with exquisitely natural texturing and colour gradations. A special anti-reflective coating ensures high contrast and excellent visibility when viewing outdoors.

Pressing the rear-mounted Display button selects a choice of new screen viewing modes. Image thumbnails can be tiled as 4-, 9- or 25-up. Alternatively, the last five images can be ‘stripped’ above the currently selected shot – ideal for checking bracketed exposures or continuous advance shooting. There’s also a new RGB histogram mode for confirmation of separate red/green/blue channel levels.

Thanks to a new pentaprism system, the high-performance optical viewfinder with an internal anti-reflective coating provides a large, bright image for comfortable viewing and accurate manual focusing. A choice of optional focus screens – available as a service-fitted item – assists with architectural composition and other specialist applications.

Supplied software

Provided with the a700, Image Data Lightbox SR software simplifies photo library management. Images can be browsed, selected, enlarged, compared and rated while still in RAW format. It also simplifies the creation and maintenance of image collections for special projects, plus batch printing and JPEG/TIFF file conversion.

Image Data Converter SR Ver 2 is an easy-to-use application for viewing and editing RAW files. A powerful new engine effectively doubles processing speeds for faster adjustment of tone curves, white balance, exposure, saturation, contrast, hue, and sharpness. Custom adjustment profiles can be saved and applied to multiple images. Viewing, printing, and basic file management are also supported, and edited images can be resaved as RAW files, or converted to JPEG/TIFF format.

Ideal for studio working, the supplied Remote Camera Control application (PC/Mac) allows the a700 to be ‘driven’ via USB from a connected computer. Shutter release, exposure, focus, drive mode and other settings can all be controlled remotely without touching the a700. Image files can also be stored directly to the computer’s hard drive, bypassing the camera’s media card.

Availability

The a700 Digital SLR camera will be available in a choice of different lens kits from mid-October 2007.

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