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Old Dec 13, 2007, 1:27 PM   #11
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JimC wrote:
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According to Pop Photo's tests, the A700 "focuses faster than the Canon EOS 40D, Nikon D80, and Nikon D200 down to EV 4...
Yep - you win here too (the E3 is up there too!):
http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4911...cus-page2.html

-> The double cross AF center is brilliant IMO...
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 1:42 PM   #12
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An important thing to keep in mind for sports shooters and anyone else who uses AI-Servo:

Pop Photo like most reviews DOES NOT APPEAR TO TEST FOCUS TRACKING. Initial focus lock is only part of the equation. It is equally important how well the camera can TRACK a moving subject.

Every competent, currentsports shooter I have ever spoken with uses AI-Servo for much of their work. NHL asside, many wildlife photographers do too.

Now, that doesn't mean competant shooters are firing off 15 shot bursts. That is usually not the case. But, most will acquire and track a subject before firing. And, when they do shoot a burst they expect a good keeper rate. Put simply, if a camera gets a great first shot, but can't track well and (if you were to do so) had only a 30% in-focus rate in a 10 shot burst it isn't going to be a very good action camera.

So, the tests popular photo did, while important information, is only PART of the story. And for all sports photographers and most wildlife photographers, the missing part of the story is an important one.

This isn't to say the results wouldn't fall exactly in line with initial focus tests, but you never know until it's put to the test. That's why it's important for anyone wanting a camera / lens solution for sports and wildlife you really want hands-on feedback from those that really do that kind of work in the field.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:00 PM   #13
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That Luminous Landscape Field Test article did include some interesting comments about the Sony A700 from a Canon 20D shooters perspective for sports use:

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With centre focus point selected, the focus tracking on the A700 was just excellent and the camera's 5 frames per second gave an abundance of usable photos of peak action moments because of the quick focusing. While the 20D has the same 5 frames per second rate, I find when you mix focus acquisition into the equation its slower and less accurate focusing module causes the frame rate to drop.
later down:

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In use the A700 felt faster.
and later:

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And I caught every joyful moment of it happening right in front of me at 5 frames per second (while seat cushions fans were hurling out of the stands like giant Frisbees bounced off my head and back) Each frame was sharp and perfectly exposed with the A700.
I dunno... that sounds like it just might be OK for sports to my eyes, coming from a Canon shooter. ;-)

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...%20-A700.shtml

It's a very fast camera.

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:18 PM   #14
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I've mentioned this before, too.

Here's a quote discussing taking photos of a low flying stunt plane from a boat using a preproduction a700 in continuous mode.

Sony was so confident in the camera's Auitofocus tracking for this purpose, they took a group of journalists out on a boat and had a plane flying over buzzing the boat, getting closer and closer each pass so they could see how the AF and Burst mode worked.

Quote:
With a 5 fps JPEG burst rate limited only by the capacity of the card, this new camera never choked on those 12.2MP shots. And the AF did exactly what it was supposed to -- track the plane both as it was approaching, and as it roared across the frame.
http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4570...dslr-a700.html

Also note the ""evil grin on his face" part: :-)

Quote:
I first opted for 3 fps, but, as the stunt pilot buzzed the boat at progressively closer distances (you could clearly see the evil grin on his face), I went to 5 fps, with AF set to autotrack across the 11 points of the frame.
Our own Dannee Saylor (who has worked with Steve for years) was also there on that boat, and was impressed with the camera.


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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:26 PM   #15
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Jim,

Don't misunderstand - not knocking the a700 at all. As my post indicated, readers just need to be careful when looking at reviews like pop photos - since they don't tell the whole story. I think the luminous landscape article is much more useful IMO. Those are the types of field tests I advise people to look for.

To that point though, it would be interesting if the author also compared the a700 to it's present day competition - not a 2 generation ago model . I.E. I doubt many people would be waffling back and forth on whether to buy an A700 or find a 20d somewhere. The comparison needs to be made to current cameras to be relevant.

Still, those type of field tests are more along the lines of what I think are useful for action shooters. And any camera that has better accuracy/speed than the 20d is certainly a capable sports camera.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:26 PM   #16
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JimC wrote:
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Sony was so confident in the camera's Auitofocus tracking for this purpose, they took a group of journalists out on a boat and had a plane flying over buzzing the boat, getting closer and closer each pass so they could see how the AF and Burst mode worked.
You don't have to tell me... May be the Canon guys should consult with Sony folks !!! :-):lol::-)
-> When "bright" and "sunny" the Sony is the fastest in AF:

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:40 PM   #17
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NHL wrote:
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-> When "bright" and "sunny" the Sony is the fastest in AF:
Not just "sunny", according to those charts. ;-)

It's faster down to lower than EV 4, which is only around 1/4 the amount of light JohnG would find in his dimmer high school gyms (which are probably at around EV 6, where you'd be getting around 1/250 second at ISO 1600 and f/2, or 4 times as bright as EV 4). ;-)

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:45 PM   #18
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Jim
-> That was a joke
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 3:08 PM   #19
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JohnG wrote:
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To that point though, it would be interesting if the author also compared the a700 to it's present day competition - not a 2 generation ago model .
Yes, that would have been nice (if the author would have been using a newer model Canon).

More experienced sports shooters trying the camera would probably do Sony a lot of good from a PR perspective. I doubt most new Sony a700 owners really appreciate how responsive the camera is compared to other models in it's market niche.

So, you should drop a hint to your wife that you want a new Sony DSLR-A700 for Christmas (perhaps with a new Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM, Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, Sigma 100-300mm f/4, and some TCs to go with it for starters).

Then, you could give perspective buyers an evaluation of it from an experienced Sports shooters perspective, and try to figure out how you're going to get all of that Canon gear sold in time to pay for the new Sony Flagship DSLR model when it's launched. :-)

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:47 PM   #20
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JimC wrote:
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So, you should drop a hint to your wife that you want a new Sony DSLR-A700 for Christmas (perhaps with a new Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM, Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, Sigma 100-300mm f/4, and some TCs to go with it for starters).

Then, you could give perspective buyers an evaluation of it from an experienced Sports shooters perspective, and try to figure out how you're going to get all of that Canon gear sold in time to pay for the new Sony Flagship DSLR model when it's launched. :-)
Believe me, I'd love to give it a try. If Steve wants to send the equipment my way I'd be glad to do a review Unfortunately I can't get my wife to buy me expensive CANON gear. If I told her I was investing in another camera system I might be out on the street :-)
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