Sony’s slimmest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sony A7C, has the guts of a Sony A7 III but in a body that more closely resembles its A6XXX series APS-C mirrorless cameras. The Sony A7 III was once already a pretty popular full-frame camera and one that I liked very much too when I reviewed it.
The Sony A7C is designed to offer users improved tracking and eye autofocus, plus an absolutely articulating touchscreen, in an even smaller footprint. It is time to test this camera and see whether it’s any good.
Sony A7C design
The Sony A7C is impressively small considering it has a full-frame sensor and 5-axis stabilisation on the within. It isn’t as compact as Sony’s APS-C cameras but it’s near enough. The Sigma fp (Review) is still the smallest full-frame camera I’ve tested, despite the fact that it didn’t have sensor stabilisation. The A7C has a beefy handgrip, giving it a good in-hand feel. In comparison to the Sony A7 III, the Sony A7C’s electronic viewfinder (EVF) has been moved to the back, on the left, thereby giving you a flat top. The mode and exposure compensation dials have similar positions on the top as on the A7 III, but one of the most customisable operate buttons and the handgrip dial are lacking.
The body is built from a unmarried piece of magnesium alloy, which gives it very good rigidity and sturdiness. The Sony A7C offers good physical connectivity, and you’ll be able to find the headphone, microphone, USB Kind-C, and Micro-HDMI ports, and a unmarried SDXC card slot under flaps on the left side. Unlike the Sony A7 III, the A7C has a flip-out touchscreen which will also be articulated 180 degrees to face you, which could be handy for vlogging.
While this touchscreen is a huge improvement, the A7C sadly still uses Sony’s old-style menu system, as seen on the A7 III, and not the up to date one we got with the Sony A7S III. Touch input may be limited to just picking a focus point, either by tapping it directly or the usage of it as a touchpad when the EVF is active. Lots of the on-screen menus still require you to use the rear buttons and jog dial for interplay.
In India, the Sony A7C body-only price is Rs. 1,67,990, but you’ll also buy it with a 28-60mm kit lens for Rs. 1,96,990. Sony sent me the latter for this review. This lens has an aperture range of f/4 to f/5.6 and it is collapsible, which helps to keep the overall footprint of the camera quite compact for storage or shuttle.
Sony A7C specifications
The Sony A7C uses a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor with 693 on-sensor PDAF points and 425 contrast detection AF points. The BionzX image processor is capable of capturing up to 10fps burst shots with AF/AE tracking, real-time tracking focus with the committed AF-On button, and real-time Eye AF for humans and animals. The camera has a local ISO range of 100 – 51,200, which is expandable.
The A7C also has similar video capabilities as the A7 III. It can shoot at up to 4K 30fps, and there is a committed S&Q mode for slow-motion videos of up to 120fps (1080p). Advanced picture profiles such as 8-bit S-Log2, S-Log3, and HLG are supported.
The 2.35-million dot resolution EVF produces a crisp image, and the framerate will also be bumped up to 120fps for smoother tracking of your subject. I wish Sony had given a proper eye-cup around the EVF which could cover the user’s eye totally. Also, the magnification of the EVF is lower than before because of the smaller size, at just 0.59x in comparison to 0.78x on the A7 III, which makes the size of the viewfinder look smaller than usual. There’s built-in dual-band Wi-Fi which can be utilized for syncing with the Imaging Edge app on your phone.
The menu system of the Sony A7C is pretty much precisely what we’ve seen on other Sony mirrorless cameras such as the A7 III. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s feature-rich and functional once you get the hang of it.
Sony A7C performance and battery life
Performance of the Sony A7C was once pretty solid in the time I spent the usage of it. The low weight of just 509g (body only) makes it easy to carry around and shoot, particularly one-handed. The kit lens is serviceable, but its zoom range is not great and I noticed some focus hunting in low-light situations because of the narrow aperture. You might want to easily keep away from these issues with better lenses, but that would also increase the size and weight of the A7C, which defeats its purpose.
The camera’s ISO performance was once very impressive, as you’ll see from the image below. There’s barely any visible loss in detail even at ISO 1,600, in comparison to ISO 100. Images continue to be very usable even at ISO 12,800, with just a gentle loss in detail beyond that. At the highest local ISO of 51,200, the image is not as sharp but noise is handled very polite. Expanding the ISO is not beneficial unless you absolutely need it, since this introduces visible chroma noise.
Thanks to the solid high ISO performance and the 5-axis stabilisation, you’ll capture handsome low-light photos with minimal blurring even though you would not have very stable hands. Colours are retained polite, noise is at a minimum, and details are very good. The kit lens also produces a very pleasing natural depth with close-up subjects.
With enough light all the way through the day, the Sony A7C captures some excellent-looking landscape and close-up shots. Colours are rich and natural, and JPEGs pack in a number of detail. The autofocus system works pretty much flawlessly each unmarried time. Faces are automatically detected and prioritised, and I found the eye AF to work very polite too.
Video performance was once equally passable. 4K videos pack in excellent details and you’ll easily tap the display to pull focus between subjects. The Sony A7C is excellent with tracking objects too, and doesn’t let go even though your subject briefly drops out of the frame. I tested the A7C as I would use any camera for product shoots and pieces to camera, and the experience was once nothing but great. One object I noticed was once that in case you are the usage of outside power through the Kind-C port when shooting, the plug makes it inconceivable to rotate the display. This issue could have been have shyed away from with better placement of the charging port.
Battery life was once also impressive. The Sony A7C uses the same NP-FZ100 battery as the A7 III, but promises relatively better battery life of 740 shots per charge (CIPA rating). In my experience, it’s in fact conceivable to hit that number and go a bit beyond too, depending on the power saving options you have set, and if you have Wi-Fi on or off.
The body of the Sony A7C is priced precisely the same (at the time of this review) as that of the A7 III, at Rs. 1,67,990 on Sony India’s website, which makes it a no-brainer to select this camera over its older sibling. The A7C offers pretty much the same features as the A7 III, but with improved autofocus and a rotating display, all in a more compact body. Whether you opt for the kit lens bundle, the A7C is comparatively more expensive on Sony’s website, but both these cameras in most cases sell for less on other websites and offline, so it’s just a matter of finding a good deal.
As good as the performance is, there are few things to bear in mind. The touchscreen still has limited functionality, the magnification of the EVF is on the lower side (even if the quality is good), and I think Sony could have chosen a brighter kit lens provided the premium it charges for the bundle.
Overall, the Sony A7C is still a great camera for stills and video which offers all of the benefits of a full-frame sensor in a compact and light body.
Is Mi 11X the most productive phone under Rs. 35,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:50), we hop over to the Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Orbital is to be had on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.