If the unanimously positive response of everybody in our office is anything to go by, then they've definitely succeeded: this is a very elegant piece of equipment.
Simple, refined, thin and very light given the amount of features it packs in, this camera is very much part of the family of Sony's T series.
Whatever the rest of the case looks like, though, your attention is immediately grabbed by the huge 3.5 inch LCD screen which takes up all of the back of the camera.
Boasting 920 000 pixels, it is sometimes a little slow when focusing an image, but when looking at photos on the memory card, on the other hand, it's impressively bright and accurate.
All of the navigation is done using the touch screen, so it's impossible to avoid getting marks on the screen.
There are only three buttons along the top of the camera: one to activate playback mode, one to actually take photos and one to switch the camera on an off. Even this last control isn't necessary, as sliding the shutter open turns the camera on automatically.
A fourth manual switch comes in the form of a tiny zoom switch which is pretty tough to use.
The interface itself has not been updated, which is a shame as it doesn't really make use of the new touch screen.
As elsewhere with Sony, the T700 has a confusing system of menus based around two starting points, Menu and Home, and it takes a little while to get used to this quirky system. It would be nice if Sony could show a little innovation on this score, and a more graphical user interface would be a lot more attractive.
In use, the touch screen works well without being too sensitive, and, importantly, you can hold it easily while aiming the camera without accidentally adjusting the settings.
The T700 is a beautiful object, then, and easy to use too, but it's also very fast. Switching it on takes under 2 seconds and saving an image is never slower than 1.2 seconds.
In bright lighting, the AutoFocus is just as snappy, taking 0.87 seconds, although its performance slips away quite quickly in lower light. Because the camera comes with 4 GB of memory already, you won't need to worry if you forget your memory card.
In the open air, the colors are accurate and lively, but inside, under artificial light, the results are a little colder and photos tend to be a little too purple.
The electronic noise management is still quite traditional, with graininess noticeable from speeds as low as 200 ISO and colorful noise visible from 400 ISO. At 800 and especially at 1600 ISO, the blurriness is very noticeable. Printed on A4, the photos are hardly awful, but are still nowhere near as good as those produced by the Sony W300 or the Fujifilm F100fd.
The macro mode is impressive with focusing at 1 cm. Optical stabilization is powerful and allows sharp images to be taken in just a quarter of a second.
Finally, the video doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary, with a maximum resolution of just 640 x 480 pixels. As a bonus, the zoom also works during filming, which is by no means a given on this class of compact.
The flash accurately illuminates scenes with a good burst of light.
- Great design
- Powerful optical stabilization
- Macro mode at 1 cm
- 4 GB internal memory
- No wide angle
- No optical zoom for videos
- Video not in HD
The T700 is a very attractive little camera that takes very decent photos. It's weaker in the video department, lacking a zoom function or the ability to film in HD, but for still photography, it's excellent.