Sony DSC-F707 Review
Features & Controls
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.)
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.
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.
This is the optional LSF-H58 "flower petal" lens shade for the DSC-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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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