The Sony Alpha A700 was released late in 2007, at it's time the camera's main competitor was Nikon's D300 and Canon's 40D as these cameras are within a segment called "prosumer" by others, more or less called because of their features and built-material.
The Alpha 700 takes a lot of it's looks from it's predecessor the Konica Minolta Dynax 7D which was a powerful camera back in it's time, it also shares a lot of it's features as well.
Now what makes a Sony function is basically a lot of marvelous engineering as I believe Sony is indeed the leader or the "electronics giant" the following I would list are very interesting features of the Alpha 700
(By the way I always forget about labeling my images but I assure you all of it are mine even the studio photos with very white BG)
- 12mp pixel resolution APS-C sized CMOS (one of the first to incorporate an APS sized exmor sensor
-11 AF points
-5 frame per second burst shooting
-dust reduction system
-Sony's Super Steady Shot (CCD Shake technology)
-Compatibility with legendary Minolta Lenses
-Ultra High Res screen 3" with 920k dot resolution
-Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) found only in Sony Alphas
-Rugged weather resistant body (magnesium I think)
A lot more you can check Dpreview for more info and check under Sony
The A700's front view along with an 18-70mm lens (the lens to tell you the truth sucks) although I have better lenses I'm just lazy to change the darn thing.
Back view with lots of buttons and the very big 3 inch screen as well as dual command dials for quickly changing settings like shutter speed and aperture value, only thing I don't like is that a camera of this class should also include a secondary status lcd on top of the camera but this one uses the big 3 inch screen for stats and settings making it a bit power hungry.
The most superb accessory for a Sony Alpha is The HVL-FM58AM flagship speedlight by Sony and actually by Sony it replaces the previous FM56AM flagship that was a Minolta re-badged speedlight, as you can see the most astounding feature of this flash is it's ability to point at any given direction especially when using it in portrait mode.
View a video sample from youtube
Sample Images (originally taken by moi, these are just impromptu moments)
As you can see in the photo above the color rendering is very vivid and actually I did not do any post processing whatsoever, I just set the camera in Manual, set the color to vivid and set the DRO (dynamic range optimizer) to level 3
What DRO does is it adjusts the level of contrast to match the whole picture so as not to give a washed out look or overly dark contrasty look, in other words it is highly synonymous to that term HDR (high dynamic range) current generation Sony Alpha changed the term DRO to HDR mode as it is more consumer recognizable
More sample images ( again this are my photos so please report it to me if ever you saw it on the internet, I know it sounds arrogant of me but I'm a great photographer HAHAHAHA)
The lens I used is a legacy Minolta 50mm F1.7
All in all, I really love Sony for making a truly magnificent, easy to use and stylish camera, the story behind this is that I actually got it on sale, AV Surfer sold it to me at 50xxx with the inclusion of a Sony portable printer and a bag, the previous SRP was around 60K without lens but they gave me a kitlens and a watch as well.
My advise, before buying something you want make sure to scurry around and about every store you know on selling your given item and good things will surprise you.