No Sony Alpha 200, but a brand new Sony Alpha 700

Sony Alpha 700Finally, the rumours about the name of the new digital reflex camera from Sony were not based on reality (at least concerning the name of the animal). Today, Sony announces its new leading product under the Sony Alpha 700 or Sony A-700 label. Obviously, this is coming back to the naming conventions of Minolta where the figure 7 was associated to the high-end products (9 was for fully pro and 3 and 5 for amateur).

Nevertheless, the general indications of technical characteristics where rahter precise. I let you be the judge. Here are the final/official specs:

  • Magnesium allow for a robust and light-weight body (The Alpha 100 had strong opposition from people feeling it was too “plastics-based”
  • 12.2MP CMOS sensor
  • 5 frames per second (sequences of 17 images in Raw format)
  • 11-point Autofocus
  • 100-6400 ISO (we will wait for the real images to know the quality)
  • 1/8000e second max shutter speed (1/250e flash synch)
  • LCD screen 3″ (7,5cm)
  • Optional battery grip
  • Compatible with CompactFlash and MemoryStick flash memory
  • Minolta flash system
  • HDMI, PAL, NTSC video output

You will notice that, contrary to what many other digital SLR recently announced, there is no LiveView option. It’s not that I think it is very important (I believe that it is mostly useless), but there is a notable difference when you compare to the current wave of SLR launches.

All this puts the Alpha 700 in the same class as the old Konica Minolta Dynax 7D which it should naturally replace and in the competition against the other cameras at more than $1000/1000€ that were launched or announced by Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, etc. However, the price is not officialized yet while the availability is set to mid-October.

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