I went ahead and purchased the Sony Alpha 700 today, along with the Sony 18-200mm lens. I toyed with the idea of purchasing it from the Sony store, but finally ended up buying it at the local Best Buy since they had the exact same price.

I had seriously looked at the Alpha 100 earlier this year, but was put off by the fact that it looked (and felt) so plasticky and flimsy. The body was made in Malaysia and the little kit lens they were bundling it with (the Sony 18-70mm SAL1870) was made in China. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of. However, the fact that I own several Minolta AF mount lenses, both Maxxum and third party, had already narrowed my choices in DSLRS down to the Sony or its Konica Minolta predecessor.

For a while, the great difference in price between the α 100 and the α 700 did not make sense to me, and I had put it down to the “brand new product” hype, but I was impressed with the fact that the Alpha 700 had a much more sturdy body – it has an aluminum chassis and a magnesium alloy body – there is a great picture on the DP review site. I finally felt confident that this camera would be able to handle all my Minolta AF lenses, as well as my heavy manual lenses.

Now, anyone who knows me and is familiar with my Olympuszuiko blog knows I am a fan of Olympus Zuiko lenses. I wanted a DSLR that could could handle my Zuikos and T-mount lenses. Zuiko lenses are traditionally lightweight, but my other Olympus mount lenses are not. The Vivitars, Kiron, Panagor, Spiratone, Panagor, Toyo and Soligor lenses quite heavy.

Other than the mount, the Alpha 700 has very little in common with the Alpha 100. It looks and feels different, and I’ve heard that there are no common components used. The Alpha 700 has a real optical prism, and a newly designed CMOS sensor in contrast to the Alpha 100’s Penta Mirror and noise prone sensor. I am sure that Sony’s next camera (the Alpha 900 will be full frame and have a lot more pixels, but that’s for the professional. As an amateur, I have trouble justifying even the purchase of the Alpha 700!

Which begs the question – why did I purchase the Alpha 700 now, when I know that the price will be several hundred dollars cheaper in a couple of months? My original plan was to buy it during the 08 Easter sales or maybe even during the Father’s day sales. My reasoning was simple… the Alpha 700 is currently made in Japan. I am afraid that Sony will switch the manufacturing to Malaysia or China in order to realize the savings that will enable them to drop the price. I have a great deal of respect for the ability of Chinese manufacturers, and I know that Sony has their own assembly plant in China. But I am willing to pay full price for the “Made in Japan” version.

All in all, I’m okay with the price. The advertised price on the Sony site was $1599 for the 700 body with the Sony 18-200mm lens (27-300mm equivalent on 35mm). I am sure I will wince at the price I paid in a few months, but such is life (and consumer electronics). I remember when the Konica Minolta 7D was selling for $1600 in 2004 with all of 6 megapixels.

As for the Sony Alpha 700, Best Buy matched the price on the Sony website. The best part? The sales personnel – they know so little about the advanced features that they just let me alone to happily fiddle with the cameras. I purchased a Lexar 2Gig Compactflash Card – I figure that should be good enough for now. Add the taxes etc, and it came to a pretty penny.

Sigh. I love my manual cameras and film, but considering the number of rolls of film I shoot, it is getting prohibitively expensive.

Pardon the terrible lighting, I’ll have some better pictures on here soon.


Sony Alpha 700
Sony Alpha 700
Sony Alpha 700
Sony Alpha 700

Sony Alpha 700
Sony Alpha 700
Sony Alpha 700

Text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. All product names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. Thanks for visiting olympuzuiko, have a great day!

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