Sony doesn't have a long history of producing SLR digital cameras. As a matter of fact, the Sony Alpha A700 is only their second DSLR. Their first DSLR was the A100, which was released over a year ago. Since Sony's acquisition of Konica Minolta back in 2005, they have slowly started to make their way onto the DSLR scene.
The Konica Minolta influence is evident in both of Sony's DSLR cameras, but Sony has definitely put their own stamp on these cameras as well. The Alpha A700 uses a new 12.2 MP CMOS sensor specifically developed by Sony for this camera as well as Sony's own Super Steady Shot technology for a nice reduction in camera shake.
The A700 improves upon the A100 in many ways and it is more of a “professional” shooter than the A100. The A700 sports one of the highest resolution 3" LCD displays in the entire digital camera market at 640 by 480. The A700 is also a very “smart” camera. It can sense when you have your eye up to the viewfinder or when you are gripping the camera. Overall, this gives the A700 a more user-friendly feel to it, even though the number of buttons and controls can be a bit intimidating at first.
Since this DSLR is mostly targeted at professional or semi-professional photographers, the price is pretty steep, but fair at the same time. To purchase just the body of the A700, with no lens kit, you will end up spending around $1399 or less. There are two lens kits available through Sony for this camera. The first kit includes a DT 16-105mm lens with a 24-160mm equivalent range, which sells with the body of the A700 for about $1900. If you would rather opt for a less-expensive lens kit, the 18-70mm (27-105mm equivalent) 3.88x optical zoom lens kit sells for around $1500.
You are by no means limited to the lens kits that Sony bundles with the A700. This camera is compatible with any Konica Minolta a-mount lenses, Sony “G” series lenses, or Sony wide-aperture zoom lenses. The A700 is a versatile camera, and the fact that it accepts many of the Minolta lenses floating around out there is a very good thing.
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