Originally uploaded by Photonut (Mr. Dave).
Very creative and rich color and composition. Thanks for sharing with us Mr. Dave.
I’m going to address a debate that there is no clear answer to . . . actually, there is an answer: “It depends.”
Ask a handful of photographers which file format you should shoot with and you’ll get some strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Each side has some good points. The problem with the debate is that some folks with strong opinions believe there is only one way – JPEG or RAW. I tend to think that this depends on each photographer’s particular circumstances. [Read more…]
I see a lot of folks on photography forums or letters written in to photo magazines asking where they should start. It seems like I see roughly the same question every day. Lots of times folks know how to point and shoot with their digital camera but don’t necessarily understand what it takes to make a good photograph. [Read more…]
Sony announced the a700 on September 6, 2007. The new a700 is available in body only, kit w/ 18-70mm lens or kit w/ 16-105mm lens. You can find the original press release here.
Don’t be fooled by the hype that Nikon and Canon are the only two ‘serious’ competitors in the DSLR market because with the Alpha A700, Sony are undoubtedly making a push for the front.
This camera has the ergonomics, ease of use, and overall quality I have always had with Minolta’s high end film cameras.
The The Sony ? (Alpha) DSLR-A700 is a solid piece of equipment that combines strong performance with affordability. I reviewed the Sony’s original DSLR, the A100, and liked it, and the A700 is a step up. It has a higher-resolution sensor, is more responsive and feels better built.
Offering a compelling combination of intuitive design and handling, sophisticated functionality and excellent image quality, the Sony A700 is an easy DSLR camera to recommend. Being based so clearly upon a previous Konica Minolta camera has given Sony the benefits of an already installed user-base, eager for a new body to use their lenses with, and a proven design on which to build.
A major advancement for Sony over the last year has been the development of the ‘Exmor’ CMOS sensor. You can expect great images from the Sony DSLR-A700 from ISO 100 through ISO 800, and ISO 1600 is more than useable. The noise at ISO 3200 is not great however, becoming fairly useless when pushed to the ISO 6400 limit. It’s not so much the noise that’s an issue at this ultra high sensitivity – it’s the colour shift being much bluer and flatter due to the excess noise.
Overall then the A700 is a good performer with good overall image quality with a nice range of features – even if on the negative side there are some quirky design decisions which may or may not affect you. Best of all though is the fact that it weighs in at the lower end of the price band for this category of DSLR, that makes it about $400 less than the Nikon D300 and $300 less than the Olympus E-3.
It’s fast 5 fps frame rate and focus acquisition are easily on par with the 20/30D (which is my reference for comparison as I have used them for years) making it a joy to use for fast paced sports or news coverage. The A700 has a great viewfinder – large and bright, it’s also easy to see the outer frame with the information overlay through the eyepiece even with glasses and most importantly, with sunglasses. The camera is heavy, and very solid, inspiring confidence in its long-term durability, and comfortable to hold for extended shoots.
With their Alpha DSLR-A700, Sony has created a midrange digital SLR that keeps up with the “big boys”. The A700 offers an excellent mix of photo quality, performance, features, and build quality — not to mention support for legacy Minolta lenses. Yes, it’s lacking the live view feature of its competitors, but I don’t really miss it, to be honest. While I don’t see Canon and Nikon owners rushing to eBay to sell their gear to buy the A700, it’s a great D-SLR for those with a collection of Minolta lenses. I enjoyed my time with the DSLR-A700, and can recommend it without hesitation.
While the Alpha 100 was Sony’s first dSLR camera and the result of its acquisition of Konica Minolta’s camera division, the A700 is much more stamped as a Sony camera, and probably indicates the company’s intention to anchor itself solidly in the dSLR market segment. Still, although Sony products tend to command a premium, the A700’s price point places it in direct competition with very well established dSLR systems and lacks the Live View function adopted by most others, things that could hinder its success.
Having produced what is arguably the best entry-level DSLR on the market in the A100, Sony has followed it up with another outstanding camera. The A700 is a superb tool for the enthusiast or semi-professional photographer, providing high quality results in almost any conditions. The combination of rugged durability, fast performance, a class-leading AF system, on-board image stabilisation and great handling will prove hard to beat.
It also focuses faster than the Canon EOS 40D, Nikon D80, and Nikon D200 down to EV 4, then gives up a fraction of a second at EV 2 through -1. It’s slower than the Canon at EV -2, but faster than the Nikons. And it focuses faster at all light levels than either the Pentax K10D or the Olympus Evolt E-510.
My conclusion after extensively using the Sony DSLR-A700 in practice and testing it thoroughly can be short. Sony’s Alpha 700 is a beautiful DSLR and offers the demanding photographer as well as the amateur a perfect tool to practice photography on a high level. The camera is not perfect but if you put some effort in getting to know the camera and making it part of your digital work environment, you will soon find that you have a refined DSLR camera in your hands. If you are looking for a new DSLR or ready to get acquainted with an advanced camera system you definitely ought to put the Sony Alpha 700 on your wish list.
A top-of-the-line amateur digital SLR camera, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 will delight Konica Minolta diehards and makes a great choice if you don’t already have a stake in other lens systems.
Even though Sony says the “DSLR-A700 is the perfect DSLR for serious amateurs” I found nothing amateur about this camera. In fact it elevates the “Prosumer” definition and will have the other manufactures working to catch up.
What do I mean by that you say? How about the continuous 5 FPS advance at full 12.24 megapixel resolution? And what about the high-speed processing power of the Bionz™ engine, a quick-response coreless motor to drive the shutter, and dual mirror stoppers to prevent mirror bounce? All this enables the a 700 to shoot continuously to the limit of available memory in JPEG Fine mode. Not too amateur at that.
Despite taking a while to produce this camera, in the DSLR-A700 Sony has delivered a camera that enthusiasts can enjoy with features that will be of value to many professional photographers. A nice step up from the A100, it goes head-to-head against Canon’s recently-released EOS 40D and Nikon’s D300, which is expected in November.
I’m not really convinced by the image quality. Nevertheless, this is not the final production firmware, so let’s not judge too hastily.
. . . .
It seems to mee that there’s just too much noise reduction.
When we later viewed some of the images (unenhanced) on big HDTV screens, it was clear from the sharp, saturated images that the cameras were working very well.
DPReview.com has a thorough hands-on preview of the new a700.
Camera Labs (pre-production preview)
The Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 is certainly an impressive DSLR and a significant step-up from the debut A100. It proves Sony can produce a camera tailored for higher-end enthusiasts while also incorporating the neat gadgets we’ve come to expect from the electronics giant.
Sony Japan sample images.
Photoclub Alpha – More High ISO Samples (ISO 3200-6400)
Real World Sample Set (includes ISO 6400 shots)
Sony a700 product page.
Where to Buy
Looks like Tamron is jumping on the super-zoom image stabilized band wagon the new Tamron 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC lens that was announced today. Bob Atkins has a handy preview article. You can also check out the features in the press release below.
Mr. Morio Ono, President of Tamron Co., Ltd., has announced the successful development of the AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO zoom lens, a high power zoom lens designed for SLR cameras with full-size format(Model A20), now equipped with a Vibration Compensation (VC) mechanism. The AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC is the ultimate high power zoom lens that covers everything from wide-angle to telephoto and macro. Tamron has incorporated a Vibration Compensator, an anti-shake mechanism developed by Tamron, into the highly versatile zoom lens. The new AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO zoom lens offers the convenience, comfort and versatility of a high power zoom lens and the capability to reduce hand-shake blur on SLR cameras using either APS-C size or full size format imagers.
When the AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC is used with a full size format SLR camera, it covers the tremendous focal length range from 28mm in wide angle to 300mm ultra telephoto. When mounted on a DSLR with an APS-C sized imager, the lens covers a 43mm wide angle to 465mm equivalent ultra telephoto* (full size format equivalent, in a diagonal angle of view of 5°20′).
(*) The ratio Tamron uses to convert from full size format to APS-C focal length is 1.55X.
1. VC (Vibration Compensation) Mechanism Reduces Hand-shake
The proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism developed by Tamron features a triaxial configuration using three pairs of driving coils and slide balls around the compensator group of the lens’ optical system. Since the compensator lenses are supported with rolling friction of the balls, the response performance is enhanced and the construction is simple, which results in the compactness of the lens. The lens incorporate a highly accurate gyro sensor for detecting hand-shake, which, combined with a 32-bit RISC CPU, offers comfortable anti-vibration effects.
2. Outstanding Design Realizing High Zoom Power, VC Mechanism and Compactness
The AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.5 XR Di VC integrates optical technologies that Tamron has accumulated as the pioneer and leader of high power zoom lenses in order to realize the desired compactness even while incorporating the VC mechanism. The optical system uses a number of lens elements made from special optical glass materials including XR (high refraction index) glass elements, GM (glass-molded aspherical lens) elements, hybrid aspherical elements, LD (low dispersion) glass elements to compensate for on-axis and lateral chromatic aberrations and AD (anomalous dispersion) glass element. The lens offers high contrast, high resolution performance and flatness of the image field as a one-does-it-all zoom lens designed to match the characteristics of DSLR cameras.
3. Revolutionary MFD of 0.49m (19.3″) throughout the Zoom Range Provides 1:3 Macro Magnification Ratio
The AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD MACRO boasts an MFD (minimum focusing distance) of 0.49m (19.3″) over the entire zoom range, a top-class closing focusing capability among high power zoom lenses for full-size format SLR cameras, which provides the remarkable maximum macro magnification ratio of 1:3 at the 300mm telephoto end.
4. Internal Surface Coatings Minimize Ghosting and Flare
Through the use of “Internal Surface Coatings” (i.e., multiple-layer coatings on cemented surfaces of plural elements) and multiple-layer coatings to prevent reflections from lens surfaces, ghosting and flare due to reflections that occur when light enters through the front element as well as reflections caused by the imager itself in the mirror box are reduced to the absolute minimum.
5. Ultra-high Zoom Power, yet Lightweight and Compact Design Thanks to New Mechanical Devices
Tamron has reviewed the roles that respective barrel parts play in order to achieve the high power, compactness and light weight. As a result, dimensional increases are confined to a mere 17.8mm (0.7″) in overall length and about 5mm(0.2″) in diameter, when compared with the existing AF28-300mm (Model A061), despite the incorporation of the VC mechanism.
6. Zoom Lock Mechanism for Enhanced Portability
The zoom lock prevents unwanted barrel extension when carrying the lens/camera combination over the shoulder.
7. Flower-shaped Lens Hood
A flower-shaped lens hood is included as a standard accessory. The special hood provides optimum shading of superfluous light rays that enter from the rectangular frame outside the image field.
Model Name A20
Focal Length 28-300mm
Maximum Aperture F/3.5-6.3
Angle of View 75°23′-8°15′
Lens Construction 18 elements /13 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 0.49m (entire zoom range)
Maximum Mag. Ratio 1:3 (at f=300mm, MFD=0.49m)
Filter Diameter ?67mm
Overall Length 99mm *
Maximum Diameter ?78.0mm
Diaphragm Blades 9 blades
Minimum Aperture F/22-F/40 (28mm – 300mm)
Standard Accessory Flower-shaped hood
Compatible Mount Canon and Nikon
* values given are for Nikon AF-D cameras.
* The cosmetic design and specs are subject to change without notice.
Photoshop CS3 will be distributed in two editions. One for photographers, graphic designers, etc. and an “Extended” edition for Film, video, and multimedia professionals; Graphic and web designers using 3D and motion; Manufacturing professionals; Medical professionals; Architects and engineers; and Scientific researchers. Visit the product page for the two versions here. Check out Jack Nack’s rundown on the goods. Read the Press Release below. [Read more…]
MELVILLE, NY, MARCH 5, 2007 – Nikon Inc. (www.nikondigital.com) today introduced the new 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor lens – a new compact telephoto zoom Nikkor lens that offers Nikon’s exclusive Vibration Reduction technology in a high-powered 3.6x zoom lens. [Read more…]
MELVILLE, NY, MARCH 5, 2007 – Nikon today introduced the new D40x digital SLR camera that is designed to allow users take spectacular photographs with very high-resolution at the touch of a button. The D40x maintains the same compact size, portability and ease-of-use as its already successful sister camera, the D40, and adds features like higher 10.2 megapixel resolution, faster continuous shooting capability and wider ISO sensitivity. Digital SLR cameras are the tool of choice among the majority of professional photographers but some people have found them to be complex or bulky. With the D40x, consumers don’t have to sacrifice the quality of their pictures anymore. The D40x inherits many advanced technologies from Nikon’s professional models, but was designed specifically to make taking outstanding pictures easy and fun for everyone.“The D40 has become a runaway success for Nikon because it effectively addresses so many of the concerns shared by those who take pictures to preserve family memories and for all-around fun. The D40 and the new D40x eliminate common annoyances such as shutter lag and inaccurate viewfinders, while answering our customers’ needs for superb image quality, fast handling, compactness and, most important of all, simplicity. Now with the D40x, anyone has the choice of higher resolution so they can do even more with their pictures,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon Inc. “Whether people want to make poster-sized prints or make special enlargements from a smaller (cropped) area of a picture, the D40x can produce images that have superb clarity, outstanding detail and vibrant colors. Even regular 4×6 inch prints, and pictures reduced in size for e-mailing, are visibly better when captured with a more capable camera”.
The Nikon D40x is able to capture special moments instantly, virtually eliminating the frustrations of shutter delay typically associated with point-and-shoot digital cameras. The D40x powers-up in a near-instant 0.18 second and can shoot up to 3 pictures per second, non-stop for up to 100 shots. With such great speed, you’ll never need to wait for the camera to get ready for the next shot. The camera reacts instantly when the shutter button is pressed ensuring you never miss a special moment. The images are immediately recorded to the camera’s SD memory card.
The D40x’s 10.2-effective megapixel CCD imaging sensor is complimented by Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II and an improved Nikon Image Processing Engine that together ensure breathtaking picture quality with analyzed exposure, refined details and natural, accurately rendered colors.
The increased image sensor capacity of the D40x isn’t its only advantage. In addition to shooting three consecutive shots per second (versus 2.5 pictures per second with the D40), the D40x also features design efficiencies that allows up to 520** images per charge) and wider ISO sensitivity of 100-1600, plus HI-1 (200-1600 plus HI-1 for the D40).
The back of the D40x is dominated by a refreshingly large and bright 2.5-inch color LCD screen that displays everything from menu options, pictures in playback mode and Nikon’s new visually-intuitive information display system that presents camera and shooting information in a user-friendly, graphically represented way. The camera also features a built-in help menu that can be accessed at the touch of a button and new Assist Images that help you select appropriate settings for many camera features by displaying a sample image typical of that setting.
The D40x’s automated, scene-optimized Digital Vari-Program modes allow users to capture nearly any type of scene without needing to understand the fine points of photography or fumble with camera settings. The D40x includes eight preset modes, including a new Flash Off mode that shuts off the camera’s flash and boosts its ISO so users can easily take pictures in places where flash photography is not allowed, inappropriate or when they prefer the look of naturally lit pictures. As users gain experience with the camera, the D40x offers advanced controls such as Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority modes that offer greater creative control over the look and feel of their pictures.
The D40x’s new Retouch menu offers exclusive in-camera image editing features that add to the D40x’s “fun factor” by providing greater creativity without the need for a computer. Included in the Retouch menu is Nikon’s D-Lighting, which brightens dark pictures and Red-eye correction that automatically detects and corrects red eye – a common condition that occurs in flash photography. Image Trim allows for creative cropping of an image and creates smaller files for easy e-mailing. Other creative features include Image Overlay, Small Picture, Monochrome (Black-and-white, Sepia, and Cyanotype) and Filter Effects (Skylight, Warm filter, Color balance).
The D40x comes packaged with the new 3X 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens that assures superb picture sharpness and optimum contrast, along with the versatility to capture everything from candid portraits to wide-angle landscapes. The D40x is also compatible with all of Nikon’s AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses***, including the remarkably versatile 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens and the new 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor lens.
For flash photography of subjects at greater distances, the light and ultra-compact SB-400 Speedlight proves to be a perfect companion to the D40x, providing a simple solution for adding more power and bounce flash capability. Keeping with the D40x’s remarkable ease of use the, SB-400 Speedlight is as simple as sliding it on, turning it on and shooting.
The D40x will be available throughout the United States beginning April 2007 for an estimated selling price of $729.95* for body only or $799.95*, packaged with the 3X zoom 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens. For more information, please visit www.nikondigital.com.
Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes the Nikon Total Imaging System of consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, Nikkor optics, Speedlights and System Accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN® digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. At the heart of every Nikon camera is Nikon’s In-camera Innovations, making it easy for anyone to take amazing digital pictures. Through the Nikon Spirit Initiative™, the company plays an active role in supporting aspiring and advanced photographers through a variety of philanthropic organizations, educational programs, events and workshops. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the web’s most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.
* Estimated selling prices listed are only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
** CIPA standards, with Built-in Flash used for 50% of the shots
*** Autofocus is supported only with AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses, which are equipped with built-in motors.