Click on the F707 to take a QuickTime VR tour
It's been about a year since Sony last updated their popular F505 series camera. The last upgrade was from a 2.1-megapixel to a 3.3-megapixel CCD imager, but it was somewhat controversial because the F505V only used 2.5-megapixels for the final image. The F707 now doubles that resolution figure and adds a host of other new features including an eyelevel color viewfinder (EVF) like those found on video camcorders. It's a lot easier to follow fast-moving subjects when the camera is up against your face and the large eyecup makes the EVF perfectly visible even in the bright outdoors. Perhaps the biggest news is the price -- Sony becomes the first to offer a 5-megapixel camera for less than $1000, the F707's MSRP is just $999!
The large and sharp 5x Carl Zeiss zoom lens is still there, covering the 35mm equivalent of 38 - 190mm with a maximum aperture of F2-2.4, the new autofocus system now uses a "hologram" laser-assisted illuminator in low light conditions. The lens delivers its optical information to a 2/3-inch 5-megapixel CCD imager that creates still images as large as 2560 x 1920 pixels. The image data is processed through a 14-bit DXP A-D convertor to insure true color reproduction with a wide dynamic range from highlight areas into the shadows. Images can be saved as compressed JPEG with two different quality levels in 2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 1280 x 960 or 640 x 480 size. If uncompressed TIFF is selected, a 2560 x 1920 TIFF image is created as well as a JPEG in the currently selected image size. The user can apply in-camera sharpening values of +2, +1, -1 or -2 or Picture Effects like Solarize, Negative Art or Sepia if desired. And the ISO sensitivity can be set for Auto, 100, 200 or 400 equivalents.
Shutter speeds are from 30 seconds to 1/1000 second in Shutter priority or Manual exposure modes with 46 steps inbetween. Noise reduction is automatically enabled for 2.5 second or longer exposures. The Burst3 mode lets you capture up to three frames at a rate of 2fps. Two new exposure modes make use of the infrared illuminators built into the front of the lens. NightShot mode is the same as that used on the Sony camcorders and allows you to capture images in total darkness with the subject being lit by the invisible infrared light. The second mode is NightFrame, this lets you use the infrared illuminators to frame your subject but switches to normal color mode with the builtin flash to capture the final image. Aperture priority is from F2 to F8 with 13 steps using a true "iris" type diaphram mechanism for better depth of field control. Exposure metering options now include Multi-Pattern, Center-weighted Averaging and precise Spot metering.
Motion video can be captured in 320 x 240 HQ MPEG mode at 16fps with 10Khz audio sampling for up to 15 seconds in length. These movies will playback in full screen mode on the EVF, color LCD or attached video device via the A/V port. Motion video with audio can also be captured in MPEG-EX mode at 320 x 240 or 160 x 112 at 8fps with the length of the clip being limited only by the capacity of the Memory Stick being used. The F707 comes with a 16MB Memory Stick but can use any size Memory Stick available. You can use the Clip Motion exposure mode to capture up to ten 160 x 120 or 80 x 72 images that are then processed into an animated GIF image good for web pages or email attachments.
The F707's builtin pop-up flash operates at a range of 1.6 to 16.4 feet and includes modes for automatic, red-eye reduction, fill or forced off. There is no flash release button, the flash tube automatically pops-up so that it isn't accidentally forgotten when needed. The optional Sony HVL-F1000 flash can be attached to the accessory shoe on the top of the lens and connected via the ACC port. Sony will also be releasing a new RM-DR1 wired remote control that can activate the camera's shutter via the ACC port.
The battery has also been upgraded, the F505V used the NP-FS11 (3.6v 4Wh), the F707 makes use of the NP-FM50 (7.2v 8Wh) InfoLITHIUM battery which packs enough power for about 150 minutes of recording. The amount of battery power remaining is displayed both graphically and numerically in minutes on the color LCD (or EVF) so you never have to wonder when it's time to recharge. Thanks to lithium technology the battery pack can be recharged at anytime without shortening it useful lifetime.
Cyber-shot F707 features:
- 2/3-inch 5.24-megapixel CCD imager
- Still image sizes: 2560x1920, 2048x1536, 1280x960, 640x480
- 5x (38-190mm) all-glass Carl Zeiss F2-2.4 zoom lens
- TTL autofocus with new hologram laser AF assist
- Manual focus with ring on lens barrel and magnified LCD view
- 1.8" 123,000 pixel color LCD monitor
- High-resolution eyelevel TTL color viewfinder
- Program AE with 3 modes
- Shutter speed priority (30 to 1/1000 in 30 steps)
- Aperture priority (F2 to F8 in 13 steps) with 6-blade iris diaphram
- Manual exposure with EV indicator
- Exclusive NightShot and NightFrame exposure modes
- Auto Exposure Bracketing with +/- 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 steps
- Three shot burst mode at 2fps
- Multi-pattern, Center-weighted or Spot metering
- Four white balance modes including one-push custom;
- Selectable ISO sensitivity (Auto, 100, 200, 400)
- In-camera sharpening (+/- 1, 2)
- Picture Effects: Negative Art, Solarize, Sepia
- 14-bit A/D conversion for wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow
- Adjustable intelligent flash with Red Eye reduction, shoe mount and connector for the optional HVL-F1000 external flash;
- 3:2 picture size ratio option -- same size ratio as a standard 4x6 film print;
- E-Mail Mode and a date stamp function available in three display patterns;
- MPEG-HQ 320x240 up to 15 seconds of full-screen motion video and audio;
- MPEG-EX w/audio 320 x 240 or 160 x 112 length limited only by memory
- TIFF uncompressed mode for highest possible quality image;
- JPEG compressed in Fine or Normal quality
- Voice Memo Mode to add narration to still images;
- Clip Motion 10 Shot GIF Animation;
- A/V output for displaying images and movies on TV sets;
- USB Transfer, allowing digital camera to directly connect to PC;
- Sony InfoLITHIUM NP-FM50 battery pack and AC adapter
- Epson Print Image Matching compatible
The Sony DSC-F707 will be available in September with an MSRP of $999.
Three of Sony's new cameras for 2001; the DSC-F707
along with the pocket-size DSC-P5 and the MVC-CD300.