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Old Sep 16, 2007, 1:52 PM   #11
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I would try one in a store before passing judgement on build quality and ergonomics. You will probably start seeing it shown up on shelves in the next few weeks.

It should be a pretty nice camera. As for lenses, you can already get some pretty high quality glass for it, especially considering you have Zeiss glass in Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha mount now (plus Sony has already announced that they are working on 8 new lenses in this mount).

Compared to the A100, it will have higher resolution, higher available ISO speeds (boost to ISO 6400), very fast Autofocus (thanks to a beefed up in body focus motor, AF sensor assembly and AF algorithms), all lenses stabilized thanks to Super Steady Shot, a really nice viewfinder and much more.

Of course, we'll see more new lenses being annouced as time passes, with high end Zeiss glass available, too (not to mention that Sony is the second largest shareholder in Tamron and has considerable influence with them).

Sony will also have a Pro body out (probably first quarter 2008 ). The A700 is their Advanced Amateur entry. Sony has already announced it's intention to capture 25% of the DSLR market. So, I would not underestimate them. They're already the largest manufacturer of sensors used in digital cameras, and they're in the number 2 spot in worldwide marketshare of non-DSLR Digital Cameras right now behind Canon.

And don't forget, Minolta made some 16 Millon Autofocus lenses in this mount, and that's not counting third party lenses from Tamron, Tokina, Sigma and others. They'd all be stabilized, thanks to the in body stabilization system, too.

AF speed is similar to stabilization from my perspective. If both are in the body, all lenses benefit from better camera body technology (and I'd be far more likely to upgrade a camera body to get better stabilization and AF speed instead of replacing perfectly fine lenses). ;-)

But, Sony will have more lenses with SSM (Supersonic Motor) technology as time passes, too (right now, you're limited to the 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM and 300mm f/2.8G SSM if you want SSM, which is Minolta and Sony's equivalent to Canon's ring USM or Nikon's AF-S). But, AF with this body should be very fast, even using lenses without SSM.

Note that I am biased, as I shoot with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D right now. With it, I use a Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2, 135mm f/2.8, 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 35-70mm f/4 Macro, 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6; Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8, Tamron 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 and even an inexpensive Vivitar 70-210mm f/2.8-4 from time to time. All are Autofocus, and all of them are stabilized on a KM or Sony DSLR body.

So, this new camera has my attention. ;-)

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Old Sep 16, 2007, 2:28 PM   #12
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Hiya JimC,

Your personal bias aside...I based my comments on just the pictures of course. Have I totally written off the A700? Not yet. But from what I see I'm not that intrigued. Though, it is true, best to put one in my hands to make my final decision.

As for my biases I am admittedly biased more towards cameras and lenses made/designed by Canon and Nikon. That and They are known for their photography equipment. That's why they are the top two companies (of course there are many other reasons).

Any how, it will be interesting to also see Steve review the A700. How it measures up to the D300 and the 40D.

Have a good Sunday!
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 4:25 PM   #13
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Why have manufacturers like Canon and Nikon decided to make their flagship models FF cameras? What are the benefits in brief? I mean, I've read several lens reviews on sites like http://www.slrgear.com and in almost every case they mention how when the lens was tested on a 5D artifacts (e.g. vignetting) was more noticeable than when tested on a sub-frame DSLR like the 20D. Why FF??
But those same reviews also invariably say that chromatic aberation is reduced and in fact although there are more pixels the lower density (larger size of each pixel) means that the lenses are actually less "stressed" in the middle - their resolving power doesn't need to be as high. Although that is now to change with the new 1DsMkIII which seems to have the same pixel density as the 400D/40D.

But essentially bigger is better. In the same way that medium and large format film was preferred for ultimate quality to 35mm film, a larger sensor is better than a smaller one.

The area of the "FF" is more than double that of the 1.6 "crop" sensor. But technology marches on, and certainly Canon with the 40D and it looks like Nikon with the D300 and Sony A700 have a new generation of sensors that are going to significantly outperform the previous generation.

I wouldn't be too surprised to see them pull off the same trick a couple more times over the next 5-7 years.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 8:26 PM   #14
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Just to add my own couple cents' worth, I think that, since the resolution of the APS-C sensors has doubled, from 6 to up to 12 megapixels, noise is becoming more noticeable, since the photosite size is correspondingly reduced. Although sensors have improved, there is also a move to increase sensitivity, necessitating the larger pixels again.

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Old Sep 16, 2007, 10:32 PM   #15
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I was a bit surprised when Nikon held the resolution to 12MP with the D3, despite the larger sensor (which is apparently a Nikon design).

The market will be the judge if Nikon's decision to hold the pixel count to 12MP is the D3 was the right decision, as the megapixel race continues. lol

I would also not be surpised to see Sony's upcoming Pro model go with a significantly higher pixel count in a larger sensor (although it will probably be just shy of a full frame to allow the AS room to work if rumour and speculation are correct), while still keeping the noise levels manageable.

We'll just have to wait and see what they have up their sleeves. But, both megapixels and higher available ISO speeds are what seem to be selling camera anymore, even if keeping the pixel count down while still improving other areas would yield better images overall.


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Old Sep 17, 2007, 12:58 AM   #16
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JimC wrote:
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I was a bit surprised when Nikon held the resolution to 12MP with the D3, despite the larger sensor (which is apparently a Nikon design).

The market will be the judge if Nikon's decision to hold the pixel count to 12MP is the D3 was the right decision, as the megapixel race continues. lol

I would also not be surpised to see Sony's upcoming Pro model go with a significantly higher pixel count in a larger sensor (although it will probably be just shy of a full frame to allow the AS room to work if rumour and speculation are correct), while still keeping the noise levels manageable.

We'll just have to wait and see what they have up their sleeves. But, both megapixels and higher available ISO speeds are what seem to be selling camera anymore, even if keeping the pixel count down while still improving other areas would yield better images overall.

I have to say I was a little surprised too.Having already heard about Canon's 21 MP 1DsM3 FF DSLR/40D a few days earlier. Which is already approaching the limit for APS-C sized sensors. I heard the max is around 24 MP on a podcast with Inside Digital Photo when they were talking with Vincent Versace "legend behind the lens" (1st Nikon/Epson beta tester...blah, blah...). They were talking about the D3 incidentally.

Any how, as you said, whether this move on Nikon's part was worth it remains to be seen.

I'm looking forwards to reading a few D3 test reports for the fun of it. And how it compares to the 1DsMK3 performance wise. When is the 1DsMK3 coming to market? I think I heard December?
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 2:46 AM   #17
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VTphotog wrote:
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Just to add my own couple cents' worth, I think that, since the resolution of the APS-C sensors has doubled, from 6 to up to 12 megapixels, noise is becoming more noticeable, since the photosite size is correspondingly reduced.

brian
Well that's not what the early reviews of the 40D are saying.

In fact they are saying precisely the opposite; that noise is better than the 20D/30D.

Certainly the 1DMkIII has less noise on the same size sensor as the 1DMkII despite an increase in pixel count.

Canon at least seem to make sure that a new generation sensor keeps noise equal to or better than the last even as pixel counts increase.
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 7:30 AM   #18
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JimC wrote:
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I was a bit surprised when Nikon held the resolution to 12MP with the D3, despite the larger sensor (which is apparently a Nikon design).

The market will be the judge if Nikon's decision to hold the pixel count to 12MP is the D3 was the right decision, as the megapixel race continues. lol

I think they have done the right thing, not for the resolution but for the noise (or lack there of). If you look at the Nikon site's sample shots of the D3 they are stunning, even at ISO6400. Only thing I can't tell is what if any noise reduction was used.
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 9:21 AM   #19
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Well.. that would depend on the person buying it. ;-) For landscape and studio work, I can imagine that a lot of photographers want the higher resolution and don't care about the higher ISO speeds.

IOW, the type of users looking to upgrade from a Kodak 14N to another DSLR or medium format back (or users of medium format film waiting for the pixel count to be higher before switching to digital). By increasing the pixel count on the higher end DSLR models the way Canon just did, you attract those types of users.

Of course, there is nothing that says Nikon won't release another higher end camera model that targets users wanting more resolution . We'll just have to wait and see what the manufacturers have in store for us.

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Old Sep 17, 2007, 9:26 AM   #20
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Very true, there are rumors of the D3X which will have similar specs but higher MP count.
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