Click for our main menu

Sony dSLR alpha 700

First Look posted 10/09/2007
Conclusion posted 10/18/2007

Sony dSLR alpha 700
Click to take a QTVR tour of the A700

Sony's new a700 (officially known as the DSLR-A700) displays the evolution of the Maxxum SLR camera line after Sony's acquisition of Konica-Minolta technologies in 2005. The a700 is based on the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D yet expands that camera's capabilities with a myriad of new ideas from Sony. I suspect Sony and Minolta fans will be very excited by this camera.

The a700 dSLR (that "a" is the Greek letter alpha) features a 12.24 megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor, Sony's "Creative Style modes", high-speed shooting, Super SteadyShot® image stabilization, Eye-Start® Autofocus system and Sony's innovative Anti-Dust Technology to provide the photographer abundant new technology packed into a familiar, durable, magnesium alloy body that is dust and moisture resistant.

The alpha 700 accepts Minolta a-mount lenses, Sony's “G” Series lenses with motorized auto focusing and Sony's wide-aperture zoom lenses. A new APS-C size, CMOS imager with on-chip noise-canceling provides the quality you need to make the most of all those high-performance lenses. Sony’s line of accessories include a new vertical grip. Equipped with buttons and switches to control most functions, it offers the same ease of operation as when shooting vertically. It even houses two InfoLithium® batteries. And you can choose from a long list professional-quality flash units and system accessories to suit every photographic requirement.

Sony's Super SteadyShot® stabilization technology moves the image sensor in response to camera shake, enabling every lens to benefit from automatic blur reduction. This technology can facilitate sharper images even in lower light or hand-held shots that would normally require a tripod. And the 40-segment honeycomb sensing system provides multi-pattern measuring for superior exposure control accuracy in a wide range of lighting conditions.

The alpha 700 uses the Sony Bionz™ Image Processor. Utilizing hardware-based Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuitry, Bionz improves camera response time, handles Dynamic Range Optimization processing and prolongs battery life. The combination of the Bionz engine, a quick-response coreless motor to drive the shutter, and dual mirror stoppers to prevent mirror bounce all enable the alpha 700 to capture scenes at 3 - 5 fps, even shooting at full 12 megapixel resolution. Sony has optimized the Bionz processor to quickly process picture information and reduce noise in the RAW data stage, before final image compression and encoding. The results are high-resolution, detailed images with rich tonal reproduction.

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. The alpha 700 utilizes both a static-free anti-dust coating on the imager's filter and a anti-dust vibration system that automatically shakes the sensor to dislodge dust each time the camera is turned off.

The a700 uses Memory Stick Duo™ media cards compatible with the Memory Stick PRO-HG™ high-speed data transfer standard, and CompactFlash™ Type I/II media cards. The memory slots are compatible with the Ultra Direct Memory Access standard for up to 300x write speeds. Sony has introduced 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.

On the subject of image preview, Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony has said “We ... 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.” Imagine viewing your 12 megapixel images in full resolution on a HDTV! You don't have to wait, Sony provides this ability right now. You can even use the included Wireless Remote.

The DSLR-A700 camera body's MSRP is $1,399.99.

alpha 700 Features

  • Rugged Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Sony a Alpha/Minolta-A bayonet lens mount
  • 12.24 MP Exmor™ Imaging Sensor
  • Bionz™ Image Processor
  • Super SteadyShot® Image Stabilization
  • Continuous 5 Frames-Per-Second Advance at 12.24 MP
  • Eye-Start® Autofocus System
  • 11-Point Center Dual Cross AF Sensor
  • Easy-to-Use Exposure Mode Dial
  • Anti-Dust Technology
  • XtraFine™ 3.0”1 LCD Screen with 921k Pixels
  • PhotoTV HD Viewing with HDMI™ Output
  • Wireless Remote Control
  • Powerful Supplied Software
  • Dynamic Range Optimizer
  • Advanced Pentaprism Viewfinder
  • 40-segment Honeycomb Sensing System
  • Up to 650 Shots with NP-FM500H InfoLithium® battery
  • Uses CompactFlash™ Type I/II media, Memory Stick Duo™ or Memory Stick PRO Duo™
  • Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, PictBridge, DPOF compatible

In the box:

  • DSLR-A700 camera body
  • M-series Lithium-Ion Battery (NP-FM500H)
  • Battery Charger w/cord (AC-VQ900AM)
  • Wireless Remote (RMT-DSLR1)
  • Video Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder strap with eyepiece cap and Remote Commander clip
  • Body cap
  • Accessory shoe cap
  • Software/USB Driver CD-ROM

NOTE: No Memory Stick media is included.

The DSLR-A700 camera body MSRP is US$1,399.99. The DSLR-A700K kit with an 18-70 mm lens is available for about $1,500. See our buy box for current pricing and online vendors.

Physical Views

Sony dSLR alpha 700

Sony dSLR alpha 700

Sony dSLR alpha 700 Sony dSLR alpha 700

Sony dSLR alpha 700

Sony dSLR alpha 700

Sony dSLR alpha 700

Here is the Sony alpha 700 compared to the Canon EOS 40D.

Continue on to
Page Two

US visitors Alpha DSLR-A700 Digital Camera - Body Only (12.24MP, 4288x2856, CF/MS Duo/MS PRO Duo Card Slot)

$ 859.00 at US1Camera
$ 999.00 at Vanns.com

UK visitors DSLR-A700 Digital Camera Body Only

£ 635.00 at Misco.co.uk
£ 596.79 at Dell
£ 563.99 at Warehouseexpress.com
£ 569.00 at Jessops

Sony dSLR alpha 700 Specifications

Camera Type

Camera Type

Digital SLR camera with built-in flash and interchangeable lenses

Lens mount

Sony mount; compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount

Lens compatibility

Sony a lenses and Konica Minolta MAXXUM / DYNAX lenses

Image Capture


Exmor™ CMOS sensor

Image sensor size

23.5 x 15.6 mm (APS-C type)

Total pixel number

Approx. 13,053,000 pixels

Effective pixel number

Approx. 12,246,000 pixels

Anti-Dust system

Charge protection coating on low pass filter and image-sensor shift mechanism


Recording media

Memory Stick: Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo,
Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo
CompactFlash card: Type I, Type II (UDMA / Microdrive)


Dual slot for Memory Stick Duo / CompactFlash

File system

FAT 12, 16, 32

Image format

JPEG, RAW (ARW 2.0 format), RAW + JPEG

Image size

RAW: 4288 x 2856, L (12M, 3:2); 4272 x 2848,
M (6.4M, 3:2): 3104 x 2064, S (3.0M, 3:2): 2128 x 1424,
L (10M, 16:9); 4272 x 2400, M (5.4M, 16:9): 3104 x 1744,

S (2.6M, 16:9): 2128 x 1200

Color space

sRGB, Adobe RGB

Noise reduction 

Long Exp. NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec.
High ISO NR: High / Normal / Low, available at ISO 1600 or higher

Creative Style

Base Styles: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Adobe RGB
User setting registration: 3 style boxes; Standard, Vivid, Neutral,
Adobe RGB, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night view,
Autumn leaves, B/W, Sepia
Adjustable Items: Contrast (-3 to +3 steps),
Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps),
Brightness (-3 to +3 steps), Zone Matching (-1 to +2 steps)

D-Range Optimizer

Mode: Off, Standard / Advanced: Auto / Advanced: Level
Advanced Level setting: 5 levels
DRO advanced bracketing: 3 frames, H/L selectable

White Balance


Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash

Color Temperature / Color filter, Custom

Color temperature

2500 - 9900 k with 19-step Magenta / Green compensation

White balance bracketing

3 frames, H/L selectable

Super SteadyShot


Image-sensor shift mechanism


Approx. 2.5 EV - 4 EV decrease in shutter speed
(varies according to shooting conditions and lens used)



Fixed eye-level system with optical glass type pentaprism

Field of view



0.9x, with 50mm lens at infinity

Eye relief

Approx. 25 mm from the eyepiece,
Approx. 21 mm from the eyepiece frame at -1 diopter

Diopter adjustment

3.0 to +1.0 m-1


Quick return mirror

Focusing screen

Spherical Acute Matte

Auto Focus System


(TTL) phase-detection system


CCD line sensors

No. of focus points

11 points

Sensitivity range

0 EV to +18 EV (at ISO 100 equivalent)

Focus mode

Single-shot AF, Automatic AF, Continuous AF, Direct Manual Focus, Manual

Focus area

Wide focus area (Auto, 11 areas), Spot focus area,
Local focus area (11 local areas, selection with the multi-selector)

Eye-Start AF system

On/Off selectable

AF illuminator

Type: built -in, LED
Range: approx. 1 m - 7 m

AE System

Light metering

Type: TTL metering
Cell: 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
Range: 0 EV to 20 EV (+2 EV to +20 EV with Spot metering)
(at ISO 100 equivalent with F1.4 lens)
Mode: Multi segment, Spot, Center weighted

Exposure setting

Auto, Program AUTO (with Program Shift), Shutter priority,
Aperture priority, Manual, Scene selection (Portrait, Landscape, Macro,
Sports action, Sunset, Night view/portrait)

Exposure compensation

+/-3.0 EV, 0.3 EV / 0.5 EV steps selectable

AE bracketing

Bracket: Cont. / Bracket: Single, with 0.3 / 0.5 / 0.7 EV increments,
3/5 frames selectable

ISO sensitivity (REI)

AUTO: ISO 200 - 1600 (lower limit / upper limit selectable)

ISO range

ISO100 - 3200 equivalent (Up to ISO 6400 as expanded ISO range.)

ISO steps

1/3 EV step


Built-in flash system

Manual popup; approx. GN 12 (in m at ISO 100);
coverage of up to 16 mm (in the focal length);
approx. 3 sec. recycling time; flash-ready indicator

Flash metering system

ADI flash / Pre-flash TTL / Manual flash

Flash mode

Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync, Slow sync, Manual flash,
Red-eye reduction, High speed sync (with external flash)

Flash compensation

+/- 3.0 EV (0.3 / 0.5 EV steps selectable)

Flash bracketing

3/5 frames, 0.3 / 0.5 / 0.7 EV steps selectable

External flash

Sony a System Flash
Wireless control: available



Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type

Speed range

1/8000 sec. - 30 sec., bulb

Flash sync speed

1/250 sec. (Super SteadyShot off), 1/200 sec. (Super SteadyShot on)


Drive mode

Single-frame advance, Continuous advance (H/L selectable),
Self-timer (10 sec. / 2 sec. delay, with mirror-up function)

Continuous advance rate

Hi: approx. 5 fps max., Lo: approx. 3 fps

No. of frames recordable w/continuous advance

RAW: 18, cRAW (compressed): 25, RAW+JPEG: 12, cRAW+JPEG: 12, JPEG (Extra fine): 16, JPEG (Standard/Fine): until memory card is full

Camera Function

Depth-of-field preview

Yes (by pressing Depth-of-field preview button)

Auto review

10 sec. / 5 sec. / 2 sec. / Off selectable

LCD Monitor

LCD screen size

7.5 cm (3.0-inch) TFT

Total number of dots

921,600 (640 x 3 (RGB) x 480) dots

Field of view


LCD brightness setting

+/-5 steps


Print function

Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, PictBridge, DPOF setting



HDMI type C minijack
1920 x1080i 59.94/50 Hz, 1280 x 720p 59.94/50Hz,
720 x 480p 59.94 Hz, 720 x 576p 50 Hz


USB2.0 (Hi-Speed), USB Connecting (Mass Storage, PTP, Multi LUN)

Sync. terminal

Adaptable to sync. terminal of opposite polarity

Video Out

NTSC / PAL selectable (in Menu)

Remote Control


With optional RM-S1AM or RM-L1AM


With supplied RMT-dSLR1

PC control

Image data transfer and camera control with supplied software


Power source

Battery: Solely with the Rechargeable Battery Back NP-FM500H (7.2 V)
AC adapter: AC-VQ900AM (optional) (7.6 V)

Battery charger


Battery life

Approx. 650 shots (CIPA measurement)

Power saving mode

Shut down after 1/3/5/10/30 min



(WxHxD) Approx. 141.7 x 104.8 x 79.7 mm (excl. protrusions)


Approx. 690 g (w/o batteries, memory card, body accessories)

Operating temperature

32-104 F (0-40 C)

(Specifications as provided by the manufacturer)

Continue on to
Page Two

Return To Our
Reviews Menu


Note: All photographs and page content
Copyright © 2006 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.

Nothing on this page may be used, distributed or
copied without the author's prior permission.