Sony gave us two days to shoot with the Alpha 700 shortly before it was announced this September. Because the camera was a pre-production model, we can't reproduce any of our images here. But the experience was enough for us to say that ergonomically, mechanically, optically, and operationally the Alpha 700 is just what we like in an SLR. An aluminum chassis and magnesium-alloy outer panels make it relatively heavy, the better for steady shooting and hard knocks. Its contours are more squared-off than on a typical SLR, which makes for a more secure grip. It has in-camera image stabilization, retooled to compensate for higher-frequency vibration such as hand tremors. Its bright, high-magnification viewfinder is an exhilarating change from the tunnel vision of some other models with APS-C-sized image sensors, while its three-inch high-res LCD screen looks as sharp as any we've yet seen on a D-SLR. Important functions can be set with pushbuttons that eliminate the need to scroll through the menu; one button brings up the Alpha 700's Quick Navigation screen, which allows fast adjustment of many functions with a single four-way controller.