We’re used to getting new Sony a7 fashions that look rather a lot just like the earlier model—it’s extremely simple to see how the first-generation mannequin advanced into the present a7 III. The newest addition to the household, the a7C ($1,799.99, physique solely), shakes issues up a bit. It takes its design cues from APS-C fashions just like the a6600, however squeezes a stabilized full-frame sensor into related confines. A front-facing display screen provides some attraction for vloggers, and the general dimension (and very good battery life) make it a digicam that you do not thoughts carrying.
The Take-Wherever Full Body
We have seen small full-frame cameras earlier than, some with mounted lenses (like Sony’s personal RX1R II), and others with swappable optics, however restricted options—the tiny Sigma fp, launched final 12 months, is smaller, however would not have a viewfinder or a mechanical shutter.
The a7C’s compromises are far fewer. Its viewfinder is smaller, and it would not have the twin reminiscence card slots that enable professionals to depend on the a7 III for paid gigs and occasions, however it nonetheless sports activities a 24MP full-frame sensor, a 5-axis IBIS system, and a mechanical shutter that may hearth at as much as 10fps.
Sony a7R IV (left) and a7C (proper)
It is surprisingly small, too—you possibly can see it above, facet by facet with the a7R IV. It isn’t simply an a7 with the raised viewfinder hump shaved off, however a digicam that is smaller throughout. It measures 2.Eight by 4.9 by 2.Four inches (HWD) and weighs simply over a pound with out a lens connected.
And the selection of lens goes to matter for this one—I might positively go together with a smaller lens. Sony is introducing a brand new package zoom with the a7C, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6. It skips stabilization (the function is constructed into the digicam physique), and provides $300 to the price of the digicam—the package is $2,099.
Sony is not promoting the FE 28-60mm by itself but, however picture retailers have listed it for round $500 with gross sales beginning February 2021. The package represents a $200 financial savings, and is the one technique to get the retractable zoom for now, secondhand market apart.
There are a pair others that can pair nicely with the digicam. Sony provides quite a few prime choices, starting from the vlog-friendly FE 20mm F1.Eight G to the high-end FE 24mm F1.Four GM. I attempted the digicam with the slim Sigma 45mm F2.Eight DG DN Modern and located the pairing to be completely good.
FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, 60mm, f/5.6, 1/125-second, ISO 100
As for aesthetics, Sony is promoting the digicam in two variations. We obtained it in black for overview; it appears very like the a6600 and others. The silver model solely swaps out the colour of the highest plate; I’ve solely seen photographs, however it’s fairly, and the one I might get if I used to be shopping for.
A Good, Not Nice Management Structure
Photographers invested within the Sony system count on robust management from a7 cameras—entrance and rear management dials have been the usual since day one, and a small focus management stick was a really welcome addition to more moderen entries.
The a7C drops the entrance dial—you continue to get a devoted high dial for EV adjustment and two rear dials, however it’s a extra tough digicam to navigate changes to shutter and aperture for those who’re working in full guide mode—your thumb has to do a little bit of a dance to maneuver between the 2 dials. Sony and Sigma promote lenses with their very own aperture management rings, although, and for those who use these, the guide expertise is a little more pleasing. Nonetheless, I missed having a dial beneath my index finger.
Likewise, dropping the main focus joystick is not surprising—the a6600 physique model has by no means had it, and this one follows that motif fairly squarely. In the event you sometimes use the autofocus set to a large space you will not miss it, and Sony’s autofocus is wise, quick, and correct sufficient which you can depend on it to select the fitting topic…however for those who favor to set the world of focus manually, an a7 III will make you a bit happier.
The contact display screen does work to alleviate some issues. You possibly can, if you’d like, faucet to set a spotlight level, and for those who dive into the menu system and switch it on, you can too use it as a contact floor for focus management when utilizing the digital viewfinder.
However different contact capabilities are restricted. Menus, for instance, aren’t contact delicate, and have the identical dense construction—principally web page after web page of textual content—that is been the hallmark of Sony cameras for years.
Sigma 45mm F2.Eight DG DN Modern, f/2.8, half,500-second, ISO 100
There have been some enhancements over time, together with a My Menu web page that permits you to bookmark continuously adjusted settings, however the a7C debuts after the high-end a7S III, a mannequin that sports activities all-new menus with a slicker interface that cuts down on scrolling and higher separates video and nonetheless settings.
Except for that, there’s nothing uncommon concerning the a7C’s controls. You get the anticipated hotkeys for Menu, Play, and Delete, and Fn launches Sony’s on-screen overlay menu. An AF-ON button is included, and prompts the digicam’s monitoring autofocus system out of the field, however I might nonetheless suggest tweaking focus settings versus the default (extra on that once we talk about autofocus beneath).
An LCD That Flips
The a7C sports activities a vari-angle, touch-sensitive LCD. It is the second full-frame mannequin from Sony to incorporate the function, which has lengthy been obtainable from different digicam makers. Vloggers will be capable of monitor video footage when recording walk-and-talks, and photographers can extra simply body up selfies.
It is a 3-inch display screen with 921okay dots of decision. It is the identical high quality show you get with the a7 III, however is a bit dated in 2020. Opponents, even the compact Panasonic S5, a $2,000 mannequin, sport a 1.8-million dot contact display screen with an identical vari-angle design.
Sigma 85mm F1.Four DG DN Artwork, f/1.4, 1/1,250-second, ISO 100
The a7C’s viewfinder can be a compromise of kinds. It is noticeably smaller to the attention than you get with different full-frame fashions, providing simply 0.59x magnification, and its optics require you to have a fairly dead-on view to get a transparent view of the body.
You will nonetheless get a transparent, sharp (2.4-million dot) view of the world, simply not a giant one. In the event you love utilizing an eye-level viewfinder, I believe you may be happier with a digicam with a bigger one—the a7 III, Panasonic S5, and Nikon Z 5 are all reasonably priced full-frame fashions that embrace greater viewfinders, and for those who do not thoughts an APS-C format sensor, the Fujifilm X-T4 suits the invoice as nicely.
It is situated on the left nook, just like the optical viewfinder in a rangefinder digicam, fairly than centered behind the lens. It modifications the way in which you maintain the digicam, and for those who’re right-eye dominant, it means the digicam blocks much less of your imaginative and prescient, supplying you with a bit extra situational consciousness.
I am left-eyed, although, and whereas I am keen on rangefinders, I’ve by no means been capable of recognize that facet of the expertise. It additionally provides a wrinkle for utilizing the contact display screen—my nostril continuously activated the contact pad focus operate. In the event you use your proper eye as a substitute—about two thirds of the inhabitants does—it is not a priority.
Connectivity and Energy
The a7C helps exterior microphones, both through a 3.5mm jack or with choose digital fashions through the new shoe. It additionally has a 3.5mm headphone connection, a UHS-II SDXC reminiscence card slot, micro HDMI video output, and a USB-C port for knowledge switch, charging, and webcam use (when paired with Sony’s desktop software program).
FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, 54mm, f/22, 1/60-second, ISO 640
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included as nicely. The a7C pairs together with your smartphone and Sony Imaging Edge Cellular software program, a free obtain for Android or iOS. The app copies photographs to your telephone for fast social shares and edits, and in addition works as a distant management.
Energy is supplied by Sony’s newer, higher mirrorless battery, the NP-FZ100. Its EVF is a bit much less energy hungry than bigger a7 and a9 collection cameras that use the identical cell, extending life a bit. The a7C is rated for a best-in-class 740 photographs, or 225 minutes of video seize. It is practically double the lifetime of full-frame mirrorless cameras from different manufacturers.
Quick, Dependable Focus
The a7C sports activities the newest and biggest Sony autofocus system, one which’s a bit extra succesful than what you get with the older a7 III. Out of the field, the digicam picks the purpose of focus by itself, utilizing scene recognition, in addition to face and eye detection (for individuals and pets) to assist it discover the fitting topic.
FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, 28mm, f/4, 1/100-second, ISO 100
The AF-ON button, on the rear, works somewhat in a different way. It engages the monitoring system, locking onto a goal and following it if it strikes, or for those who transfer the digicam. I favor to make use of Sony cameras with this mode enabled for just about each kind of pictures.
As for protection space, you possibly can set the monitoring system to select the topic for you or set a extra slim space of curiosity. It isn’t as simple to maneuver the sq. Versatile Spot space about with out a focus joystick, although, one of many downsides to the smaller digicam physique.
Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.Four LM, f/1.4, 1/1,600-second, ISO 100
Will you miss it? I discover the versatile spot to be most helpful for unpredictable topics and lengthy lenses. The a7C would not steadiness nicely with a giant lens just like the Sigma 100-400mm or Sony FE 200-600mm, and I would not count on to make use of it for that kind of seize. With a lighter lens, utilizing the contact display screen to maneuver your autofocus space round is rather a lot simpler to do.
See How We Check Cameras
No matter subject material, you will not need for velocity. It is capable of observe motion at 10fps, and might hold capturing for an extended length—count on about 84 Uncooked+JPG pairs, 118 Uncooked photographs, or 224 JPG photographs.
Sigma 85mm F1.Four DG DN Artwork, f/1.4, half,000-second, ISO 100
The mechanical shutter is audible; its higher-pitch click-click-click is a little more noticeable to the ear than the extra dampened sound from bigger a7 our bodies. It is also restricted to flash sync at 1/160-second and provides 1/4,000-second as its quickest velocity; the a7 III and a7R IV each sync as rapidly as 1/250-second and assist 1/8,000-second exposures.
In the event you replenish the buffer, you may wait 15 to 30 seconds for all the photographs to jot down to reminiscence, and whereas you can snap extra photographs within the length, you possibly can’t swap to video recording. It is a longstanding ache level with Sony cameras—they will shoot rapidly, and for longer durations, however you are locked out of some capabilities as photographs are dedicated to reminiscence.
24MP Full-Body With IBIS
The a7C’s imaging prowess is a recognized amount—the sensor is identical that you just discover within the a7 III. The 24MP chip is not bleeding-edge know-how, however it completely was when it debuted in early 2018. It sports activities a BSI design for superlative constancy, even at greater ISO settings, and is mounted on an IBIS system that, in our testing, netted constantly blur-free photographs at shutter speeds so long as 1/8-second at a 50mm focal size.
FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, 28mm, f/4, 1/640-second, ISO 100
The JPG output is clear and detailed via ISO 6400, although that feat is desk stakes for a full-frame digicam in 2020. The JPG output at ISO 12800 and 25600 exhibits some smudging of very high quality strains. Extra element is wiped away by noise discount at ISO 51200 and 102400, however you may get very usable outcomes at both setting, so long as you do not thoughts a rougher look. There is a noticeable step again in high quality on the high setting, ISO 204800, however that is to be anticipated—it is an excessive, even for a full-frame digicam.
Adobe hasn’t added assist for the a7C’s Uncooked format as of but—the digicam is not scheduled to ship to clients till the top of October—however I used to be ready to make use of a beta construct of the Adobe DNG Converter to course of a7C photographs in Lightroom.
As anticipated, the Uncooked output is, for all intents and functions, an identical in high quality to what you get from the a7 III. Anticipate a bit extra readability, and a bit extra grain when evaluating with the JPG output made with the identical publicity settings. Element is superb via ISO 51200, although output is decidedly grainy at greater settings. There’s sufficient grain to detract noticeably from picture high quality at ISO 102400, and pictures on the high ISO 204800 setting are veiled by a layer of tough, heavy noise.
The front-facing display screen, IBIS system, and robust (albeit not top-end) 4K video capabilities make the a7C an interesting choice for vloggers and different video-first creators. Its video toolkit matches the a7 III, with 4K UHD recording at 24 or 30fps, 1080p at 120fps for slow-motion playback, and quite a few colour choices, together with a flat profile for grading, and black-and-white and vivid colours if you wish to change the look of your footage with out working with modifying software program.
The a7C looks like a half-hearted effort for vloggers. It would not leverage any of the autofocus or metering enhancements from the compact ZV-1, a point-and-shoot focused at video creatives. The ZV-1 will hold your face correctly uncovered when recording walk-and-talk footage, and incorporates a Product Showcase focus mode that is helpful for YouTubers who swap between speaking and displaying off what they’re speaking about.
The IBIS system does a superb job conserving footage regular for essentially the most half. I did discover some shake in handheld footage, however utilizing a small handheld grip can assist clean issues out—the Sony GP-VPT2BT doubles as a grip and tabletop tripod, and could be a stable addition for vloggers. I might additionally take into consideration a wider-angle lens—the Sony FE 20mm F1.Eight G is a superb choice for those who can afford $900, and the Tamron 20mm F2.Eight is value a glance for those who’re on a finances.
FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, 34mm, f/4.5, 1/40-second, ISO 160
For extra normal video use, the a7C is aggressive, however not class-leading. It data at 4:2:Zero 8-bit internally, and helps 4:2:2 8-bit output through its micro HDMI port, for higher-quality recording to an exterior system just like the Atomos Ninja V. However I do not count on loads of a7C house owners to succeed in for a Ninja or one other equally cumbersome exterior recorder—it is counter to the idea of a small digicam.
If video is your bailiwick, the Panasonic S5 appears a bit extra succesful. It data 4K at as much as 60fps; samples footage at 10-bit high quality, retaining twice the knowledge as 8-bit footage so you might have a bit extra leeway for colour correction; and, for those who’re sticking with the starter lens, its bundled 20-60mm zoom captures a wider view, a greater match for walk-and-talk vlogs.
If You Worth Dimension Above All…
The Sony a7C is the full-frame digicam for globetrotters, city explorers, hikers, and anybody else searching for a small, light-weight, full-frame mannequin. In the event you’ve been mulling upgrading from an APS-C digicam, however are turned off by the scale greater than the price of entry, the a7C has loads of attraction.
FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, 60mm, f/5.6, 1/60-second, ISO 100
And, whilst you do need to reside with a smaller EVF than different fashions, there are fewer compromises than you’d count on. Sony managed to squeeze an efficient 5-axis IBIS system into the a7C’s body, and seal the physique (and plenty of appropriate lenses) for defense from mud and splashes.
Nonetheless, Sony did make a number of missteps when placing the a7C collectively. We just like the front-facing display screen, however want it supplied a bit extra contact performance, and it is puzzling as to why the vlog-friendly focus and metering modes launched with the ZV-1 aren’t right here. It is also lacking the newer, easier-to-navigate menus launched with the a7S III.
Likewise, photographers who recognize a bit extra guide management will miss having a dial built-in into the handgrip, and the main focus management stick means you are much less prone to take full benefit of the digicam’s in any other case superlative autofocus system.
The Sony a7C actually has attraction to the fitting photographer—one who places emphasis on dimension and is most at residence with compact zooms or smaller prime optics. It is simply not as versatile because the a7 III, a digicam that is nonetheless on sale, and nonetheless our Editors’ Alternative.
The Backside Line
The Sony a7C is a slimmed down, full-frame digicam constructed for journey, however its small dimension limits its versatility, and a few features really feel somewhat dated.
Sony a7C Specs
|Dimensions||2.Eight by 4.9 by 2.Four inches|
|Sensor Decision||24 MP|
|Sensor Kind||BSI CMOS|
|Sensor Dimension||Full-Body (24 x 36mm)|
|Lens Mount||Sony E|
|Reminiscence Card Slots||1|
|Reminiscence Card Format||SDXC (UHS-II)|
|Battery Kind||Sony NP-FZ100|
|Show Dimension||Three inches|
|Show Decision||921600 dots|
|EVF Decision||2.Four million dots|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB-C, Wi-Fi, micro HDMI, Microphone (3.5mm), Headphone (3.5mm)|
|Most Waterproof Depth||Zero ft|
|HDMI Output||4:2:2 8-bit|