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* 12.2MP CMOS sensor, Sony says sensor is "all-new for this camera"
* More rugged body, magnesium alloy and polycarbonate construction
* Environmental seals
* Continuous 5 fps shooting, no buffer limit in JPEG Fine/Normal mode with sufficiently fast memory card
* All-new shutter, vertical traverse, 1/8,000 max speed, 1/250 or 1/200 x-sync (slower when Super SteadyShot is turned on)
* Viewfinder is glass pentaprism, 95% coverage, 0.9x magnification.
* DRO (Dynamic Range Optimization) has been revised to include five user-selectable levels in D-R+ mode
* 922K-pixel LCD, 267 ppi vs 160 ppi for typical 230K-pixel 2.5" monitors
* Dual CompactFlash (type I/II) and Memory Stick Pro Duo card slots
* Lithium-ion battery good for 650 shots
* New lens for high-end kits: 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6
- Goes wider than any other kit lens, is equivalent of 24mm at wide end, vs 27mm equivalent for others. Doesn't sound like much, but the difference is 83 degree coverage for 16mm vs 76 degrees for 18mm.
* Super Steady-Shot image stabilization enhanced
* Both Eye Start and Grip Start sensors for AF
* Predictive autofocus has been enhanced
* Direct HDMI output built-in
- New Sony Bravia televisions will have special PhotoTV setting, optimized for still pictures. Higher resolution, more gradation, richer color. More natural contrast, not as pumped as standard TV mode
* New vertical grip with full controls, holds one or two batteries for extended runtime
* Sony's goal: "Number One total picture quality among mid-class DLSRs"
- New sensor with on-chip A/D converters
- New image processor (entirely new BIONZ design)
- RAW noise reduction, fast & low-noise processing optimized for CMOS
I do think the reason why it was not so much discussed is that Sony waited too ,long with the A700. IMHO this was not enough of a "committment". At that point it seemed that Sony will release one new DLSR eery 12-18 months. But this is not a camera SYSTEM.
Now, a few months later it looks differently. Old Minolta users start to gain trust in Sony since they released 3 more DSLRs and announced alos a fullframe camera for 2008.
This is looking now a lot more like a " camera-system" then it did 6 months ago.
If Sony not only promises good cameras and good image quality, but also delivers it, there will be e better chance for them to gain market share with the so important semi-pro market.
But there is tough competition out there: Pentax really is pushing now, Nikon as the new "king" and Canon in battle with Nikon to get the crown back.
IMHO the pre-announced Sony fullframe DSLR will determine, how Sony will live over the next 2 years and whether Minoltians switch to different brands or not. This ff-DSLR will give us a hint, how serious Sony wants to get in the photo-market.
In the meantime, the Sony Alpha 700 is an excellent tool to take pictures with