Sony DSC-F707 Review

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Features & Controls

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Sony F707

This is one camera that instantly attracts attention because of the relatively huge looking lens it has. It is a superbly sharp, all-glass 5x Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonar with a maximum aperture of F2-2.4 and a focal range of 38-190mm (35mm equivalent). The focal range is further extended by a 2x digital zoom feature. It is threaded for 58mm accessories. (Note: The use of a filter may decrease the hologram AF's effective distance or disable it altogether.)



Sony Cyber-shot F707

The F707 features high-speed scan autofocus and a new "hologram" focusing assist device to insure properly focused pictures no matter what the light levels are. This new autofocus system uses a Class 1 laser to paint a grid pattern on the subject and is perfectly safe, even when aimed direclty at someone's eyes. I found it nearly impossible to "fool" the AF, the only out of focus pictures I ever got were when I was using the manual focus mode. To use the manual focus, you flip the switch on the side of the lens and then turn the ring at the end of the lens barrel, the LCD (or EVF) image is magnified while the ring is being turned and the distance to the subject is displayed as well. The manual focusing ring's rate of adjustment is proportional and depends on whether you turn it slowly or quickly. Slow turns yield a fine amount of adjustment whereas a quick turn will give you a much courser (faster) adjustment from close to distant.

Sony Cyber-shot F707

Along the top front of the lens are two infrared illuminator LEDs, these are used by the exclusive Sony NightShot and NightFrame exposure modes. NightShot is the same as that found on most Sony camcorders and generates a green-tinted image in total darkness. Sony claims the NightShot mode is good from 0.3m to 4.5m but realistically I wouldn't try to photograph anything much beyond a couple of feet unless using an external Infrared illuminator. NightFrame uses the infrared illuminators to let you see and frame your subject in total darkness but it then switches to regular color mode and uses the flash. This modes is highly useful and will be further explained on the next page.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

This is the optional LSF-H58 "flower petal" lens shade for the DSC-F707.





Sony Cyber-shot F707

On the left side of the zoom lens we find the focus control for automatic or manual, the AE lock button, the spot metering button, the white balance mode button and one-push manual white balance button. The big rocker switch on the front controls the zoom lens and it's my only complaint about the F707 as its placement is ergonomically poor. It does have a nice, 2-speed (slow/fast) action depending on how far you depress the rocker switch.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

The most noticeable difference between the F505 and F707 is the EVF (electronic viewfinder). This solves my biggest gripe with the F505 in that it was an LCD-only camera, now it can be used like a conventional camera thanks to the small color viewfinder. There is a diopter adjustment knob on the top and the switch just to the right allows you to select the EVF or color LCD as your viewfinder. You can also use the EVF to review images and make menu selections, it shows the same information as the larger color LCD.

As EVFs go I'd have to rate the F707's as one of the better ones. Some EVF displays are incapable of rendering the color of a scene and tend to wash it out, the Sony EVF is high resolution and displays color very well. I don't much care to navigate the menu with it, I'd rather do that on the big color LCD, but in a pinch it's handy to have this capability.



Sony Cyber-shot F707 Sony Cyber-shot F707

The camera body swivels independantly of the lens, or is it the lens that swivels?   Either way the result is the same, you can tip the body and color LCD up to 90-degrees upward or about 50-degrees downward. The tripod socket is on the underside of the lens so this gives you great flexibility in the viewing angle.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

The intelligent, multimode flash pops up from the top of the lens automatically when needed unless you have the flash mode set to disabled. The F707 is one of but a few cameras to use true TTL (through the lens) flash control to give you proper exposures regardless of the lens' focal length. Most cameras use a sensor mounted on the front of the camera and the exposure can be affected by strong reflections off of the subject or surrounding area.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

The Sony HVL-F1000 flash can be attached to the accessory shoe on the top, the sync cord plugs in to the port on the side of the lens. Besides giving you a lot more flash power and range, the HVL-F1000 can be tilted for more natural looking bounce illumination.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

Controls on the top: Mode dial with positions for Setup, Movie, Play, Auto, Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual and Scene (Twilight, Landscape or Portrait) modes. The power switch is built around the base of the Mode Dial. Out on the grip is the Jog Dial used to set shutter speeds, apertures and other things. The big silver button is the shutter release and next to that is the Exposure Compensation button, hold it in and turn the Jog Dial to set an EV override. Next to the Mode Dial is the switch to enable NightShot or NightFraming exposure modes.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

Controls on the back: Display button controls information shown on EVF or LCD. The center button enables the thumbnail index mode or extended exposure information during playback. The MENU button calls up the onscreen menu system in Record or Play modes. The 4-way selector is used to navigate menus and control playback functions. When in record mode the 4-way is used to change the flash mode, macro mode and selftimer, the Quick Review feature is enabled by pressing it "left." The CHG indicator is both for the flash and when the camera is plugged into the battery charger. The FINDER / LCD switch controls the video signal to the EVF or LCD.



Sony Cyber-shot F707 Sony Cyber-shot F707

Below the color LCD on the back is a small door that covers the AC charger jack and the A/V out port for the audio and video connection to a TV or VCR. The video out signal is user selectable for NTSC or PAL format. The high-speed USB port is on the bottom of the lens, near the front.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

On the side of the fingergrip is the combination battery and Memory Stick compartment. Sony includes a 16MB Memory Stick and any size may be used.



Sony Cyber-shot F707

The F707 is powered by the "M" series 7.2v 8Wh NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM battery pack. Sony claims it is good for approx. 2500 still images (150 minutes) using either the EVF or color LCD. The NP-FM50 packs twice the power of the 3.6v 4Wh NP-FS11 used on the older F505/F505V. Also included is the AC-L10 combination battery charger and AC power supply which fully charges the battery pack in aprox. 150 minutes.



Sony RM-DR1 remote control

This is the optional $49.95 Sony RM-DR1 wired remote control for any Sony digicam with an ACC port on it.







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