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Sony Alpha 700 | Digital Camera Review | Control
For those who already have some experience with reflex cameras, digitally or traditionally, will be able to start photographing with the Sony A700 straight away. The command dial on top of the camera offers direct access to the main programmes and the reproduction of the settings in the large monitor are clear enough. Of course it will take some time before you can find all the settings blindfolded or before you know the meaning of certain functions, but that is only a matter of putting enough hours of photographing into it.
Sony Alpha 700 | Digital Camera Sony Alpha 700 | Digital Camera
Sony Alpha 700 SLR camera - Viewfinder
There certainly is no lack of information on the Sony Alpha 700. Not only on the monitor but also in the viewfinder. Pressing the release button halfway down, the various AF points appear in the viewfinder and at the bottom the various camera settings. Entirely in the right corner a symbol shows to which degree the stabilization system is activated. Below the viewfinder there are two infrared sensors detecting when the viewfinder is put to action. After detection the large monitor will be deactivated and limited information is given in the viewfinder. This if very convenient but for those who think this limited information is superfluous, the option can be deactivated through the Set-up menu of the camera.

Sony SLR-A700 - 3-inch LCD monitor
Most exciting and special is the large screen of the Sony A700 D-SLR camera. Compared with the Alpha 100 the Sony A700 has a larger monitor measuring 3 inches (A100: 2.5 inch). But besides the larger format that is a true joy to work with, Sony also took care of the resolution. VGA reproduction quality in a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels (full-colour pixels), or to be precise 921,600 dots as the amount is called confusingly in some publications. It means that there are 307,000 pixels available with each three colours that offer you a resolution of 640 x 480 which is VGA quality reproduction. The combination of high resolution and the large monitor size makes the information appear extensively and clear thus making this a combination that is a joy to work with! And just as is the case with the Alpha 100, the Sony DSLR-A700 is also capable of reproducing pictures tilted when shot vertically for example.

Sony Alpha A700 - DISP button & Joystick
Left of the 3 inch monitor the play button is found. A function that is often used and maybe even more on this camera because of the excellent quality of the monitor. Once in play mode, you can press the DISP button to increase the pictures to create some space on the top of the screen to show a film strip of five pictures next to each other. The joystick lets you now brows through them quickly. An index is also available with 4, 9 or 25 pictures. You might have search to find the right button combinations, but there is a clearly written manual available with the answers, which is probably the fastest way of finding out. The high resolution screen is extremely pleasant for checking the pictures. A small button next to the command dial on the back of the camera functions as digital multiplier. You can zoom in to a picture 13x digitally, depending on the resolution, to discover even the smallest detail.
Sony A700 - Missing Live View function
Crazy things can happen when new cameras are introduced. I immediately compare a new product to its closest competitor and the status of the technical issues as it is at the time of the introduction. And it does occur at times that there are still unfulfilled wishes although the product has a lot to offer and is improved compared to its predecessor. Even if these wishes were not present a few weeks before. Now this happened with the phenomenon of Live View. Olympus using photographers have been familiar with Live View for some years now and the phenomenon has begun to sink in with digital SLR shareholders Canon and Nikon. With the detection of the beautiful 3 inch high resolution monitor of the Sony A700, immediately the longing for Live View arises. Mind you, a couple of months ago I would not even think about Live View for a second, but I really liked the improved Live View from the competitors. Perhaps Sony will apply this handy functionality in the upcoming Alpha DSLR models?

Sony Alpha A700 - Menu & Stipulating settings
The menu of the Sony Alpha 100 does look neat and is easy to navigate. The main settings are divided in four sections with two or more sub tab pages for each one of them. This makes it neat and easy. The joystick will help you to find the function you want to adjust with great ease. Besides the amount of buttons on the camera it is also possible to adjust a button and stipulate a certain setting. For example you can add ISO or resolution to the 'C' button or even white balance or the flash function. Something I regret is that it is not (yet) possible to select one of the storage media to adjust to a button. Personally I think this option should be standard available on the Sony A700 and I think it is a real pity that the chance of opting a dual slot is not used. So writing RAW on one card and JPEG on the other at the same time is not possible. Nor is it possible to swap from one card to the other when the first one is full.

Sony DSLR-A700 - Camera speed & Buttons placement
Operating the Sony A700 is pleasantly fast. Start-up time takes around half a second which is fine for normal use. The LCD screen is activated directly and the camera is ready to take its first picture. The ergonomics are well thought-out and will be accepted seamless by most photographers. You will be able to find most buttons blindfolded after some practicing. The buttons are easy to find and pleasant to work with. They have a clear pressing point. The on/off switch, left of the viewfinder, will not easily be accidentally activated. The only button that is hard to set it the dioptre setting button. But once it is set to the correct setting, you will not have to use it anymore.
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