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Sony Alpha A7C Review

We review Sony's smallest full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sony Alpha A7C, with the new and compact 28-60mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens. If you're looking for a small full-frame camera, then this could be one to consider.


|  Sony Alpha A7C in Mirrorless Cameras
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Sony A7C (1)
 

Quick Verdict

In essense, the Sony Alpha A7C is very similar to the A7 III, but the smaller body has left the camera with a number of compromises, which mean we'd rather have the A7 III, with front and rear command dials, dual SD card slots, better ergonomics, and a larger electronic viewfinder, compared to the rather small EVF on the A7C, and the slightly cramped controls.

There is a wide range of full-frame mirrorless cameras to choose from, from Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sigma, and from Sony as well. We're just not sure the Sony Alpha A7C is one we'd choose. However, the vari-angle screen may be of benefit for vloggers, and those interested in video use. The smaller size may also be useful here, and some people will see this as a benefit.

+ Pros

  • Compact full-frame camera and lens combo
  • Very good image quality and noise performance
  • Vari-angle touch-screen
  • Rapid focus system
  • In-Body Image Stabilisation
  • Good battery life

- Cons

  • Doesn't feature the new Sony menu system
  • Touch-screen has limited functionality
  • Not convinced by the 28-60mm lens
  • Handling compromises due to size
  • No in-camera raw processing
  • Small EVF

 

Sony A7C (5) | 1/40 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 1600

The Sony Alpha A7C is Sony's compact full-frame mirrorless camera, and with a "rangefinder" body style similar to the A6x00 series, the Sony A7C is said to be one of the smallest full-frame mirrorless cameras available (with an electronic viewfinder and IBIS). It offers a 24mp sensor, and a vari-angle screen, which will make it appealing to vloggers and the selfie-obsessed.

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Sony Alpha A7C Features

Sony A7C (14) | 1/25 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 1600

 

Sony like to point out that the Sony Alpha A7C is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera with in-body image stabilisation*. Sony also make a big deal about the camera having a full-frame sensor, whilst being a similar size to some APS-C cameras, in fact, Sony mention that the camera has a full-frame sensor 28 times on the A7C page. *The Sigma fp is currently the smallest full-frame camera.

The full-frame sensor in the A7C is a 24mp BSI CMOS sensor, and Sony say the sensor is capable of capturing up to 15-stops of dynamic range. You get a wide ISO range from ISO100 to ISO51200, which can be extended down to a low ISO50, and up to ISO204800.

The Sony Alpha A7C is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera with in-body image stabilisation*

There are 693 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 93% of the frame. The camera benefits from 4D Focus technology inherited from the Sony Alpha A9. You can also shoot at up to 10fps with continuous AF/AE tracking. Face and eye detection is included and works with people even when they're wearing glasses. The camera will also detect an animal's eyes so that you can focus correctly on the animal's eye. However, you do have to switch between humans and animals in the menus.

There are a wide-range of E-Mount lenses available, but perhaps of most interest to people who are buying the A7C for its size is the new 28-60mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens. This is an extending design, that can be collapsed to make it smaller when not in use. When extended the lens stretches out by roughly another inch.

The camera has P, A, S, M shooting modes, giving you full manual controls, plus Auto, three custom modes, as well as video and slow and quick (video).

For stills photography, there are "Creative styles" that let you pick the "Colour" such as Vivid, Standard, Landscape, Neutral, etc, with options for contrast, saturation, and sharpness. There are "Picture Effects" where you'll find the digital filters, with "Toy Camera" and other creative filters.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC are built-in, and NFC can be used to more quickly connect to your smartphone if your phone has NFC built-in. If yours doesn't then you can use a QR code displayed on the camera to set up the initial connection.

Video options

4K UHD video can be recorded at 25fps in PAL mode, or 30/24fps in NTSC mode. Annoyingly you still need to switch between the modes in the setup menus, rather than just being able to select the frame rate you want. Luckily this time, the camera doesn't insist on formating your memory card every time you switch. S-Log3 supports the capture of a wide dynamic range, which Sony say is up to 14 stops. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) lets you playback HDR content.

For video, there are also "Picture Profiles" where you can set up different profiles with video-centric options, including settings for the black level, gamma, black gamma, knee, saturation, colour mode, saturation, colour phase, colour depth, detail, as well as options to copy the profile and reset the profile.

Slow and Quick video lets you record at frame rates up to 120fps (NTSC) or 100fps (PAL) in FullHD resolution, for slow-motion footage. You'll find microphone and headphone sockets on the side.

Sony A7C (15) | 1/20 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 1600
 

Key Features

  • 24.2mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • E-Mount
  • 5-axis SteadyShot Inside (IBIS, 5 stops)
  • 3inch vari-angle touch-screen, 921K dots
  • 2.359K dot electronic viewfinder (OLED), 0.59x magnification
  • 10fps continuous shooting
  • 693 AF points (phase-detection)
  • ISO100 to ISO51200, ISO50 low, ISO204800 high
  • 4K HDR video recording
  • FullHD up to 120fps
  • Mic/headphone sockets
  • UHS-II SD card slot

Sony Alpha A7C Handling

Sony A7C (11) | 1/25 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 1600
 

The Sony Alpha A7C, as expected, is quite compact for a full-frame camera. With this comes some, understandable, compromises, as the handgrip isn't as big as some cameras, and there are fewer buttons to be found on the camera when compared to the larger A7 Mark III. On the subject of the grip, there is ample rubber coating, and a slightly raised area at the back for your thumb, however, the grip provided isn't perhaps as strong as we've seen on other cameras.

Body and Build quality

The body feels solidly made, and tough. The bottom of the camera has a metal plate, and the majority of the camera body is made from metal (magnesium alloy), with a monocoque body.

The A7C weighs 509g with battery and memory card (without lens), and 674g with the 28-60mm lens (without lens cap).

Sony say the camera is weather-sealed, although we didn't spot any foam or rubber in areas where you might expect them (for example under the battery cover or memory card cover). The 28-60mm lens has a rubber seal on the back, where the lens meets the camera.

Controls and Ergonomics

There are two command wheels on the back of the camera, one that is neatly placed for your thumb, and one is also used as the 4-way controller, with middle button. This can make it a little more awkward to change settings, compared to a camera, such as the A7 III, which features front and rear command dials.

You can customise 6 of the rear buttons on the camera, as well as the video button (on top), and if the lens features a button, then you can customise this as well. You can customise these to do different things depending what mode you're in whether that's photo, video, or playback. There's no AE-Lock button, but you can customise the rear AF-On button to give this function if needed.

The top of the camera features an exposure compensation dial, which is a welcome addition, in comparison to the A6600, however, you do need to keep an eye on it, as you can easily accidentally turn it when getting the camera out of your jacket pocket. This also gives a good indication of the size of the camera when used with the 28-60mm lens, it will quite easily fit in jacket pockets with the lens closed.

The focus system is very rapid, and coped well even in low-light, thanks to being sensitive down to -4 EV. There are 693 phase-detection AF points, and 425 contrast-detection AF points. There are a wide variety of focus options, and it may take you some time to work out the best option for your photography subject, and you may want to activate Real Time AF Tracking. The phase-detection AF covers a wide area of the frame, with 93% coverage, this is almost all of it, except for the very left and right edges.

The screen and electronic viewfinder (EVF)

The 3.0 inch screen has a resolution of 921K dots, which is lower than most of the competition. The screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is great for stills, and better than the 16:9 screen found on the A6x00 series. The screen can be turned to face forwards, or turned back in so that it is protected from scratches. You can easily pull the vari-angle screen out either from the bottom, or from the top, thanks to the gap which is large enough for a fingertip.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a resolution of 2.359m dots, and with eye-detection, the camera will automatically switch between the rear screen or the EVF. The view is clear, and colour reproduction matches the screen, although with 0.59x magnification the view is quite small compared to other cameras around this price, and smaller than the 0.78x magnification offered by the Sony Alpha A7 III. There's also dioptre correction. The rubber surround is small, and not great.

Sony A7C (2)

Menus – The Sony Alpha A7C doesn't benefit from the new, updated menu system that is found on the Sony Alpha A7S III, which is a shame, as it's an improvement, as the new menu system can be used with the touch-screen. However, on the A7C you can't use the touch-screen to go through the menus.

The camera includes "MyMenu" where you can start to add your favourite settings so that you can more quickly access them.

You can use the Fn / Function button to bring up a set of on-screen controls, and these can be customised, with different settings for both stills and video shooting. However, you can't use the touch-screen to select or change these settings. Instead, the touch-screen is mostly used for setting the focus point or zooming into photos in playback.

 

Sony A7C (6) | 1/25 sec | f/8.0 | 30.0 mm | ISO 1600

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 740 (LCD) / 680 (EVF) shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is excellent, thanks to the use of Sony's larger Z series battery. You can use the USB-Type C connection to charge the battery in-camera, as well as use the camera while it is getting power from a USB power supply. You should be able to get up to 140 minutes of video recording from the Z battery.


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Sony Alpha 7 C | Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera with Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Zoom Lens (Compact and Lightweight, Real-time Autofocus, 24.2 Megapixels, 5-Axis Stabilisation) - Silver
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Comments


altitude50 17 21.5k United Kingdom
5 Dec 2020 10:32AM
Sony seem to have got it wrong with this one. Cameras need to be nice to handle especially if you are going to make use of the better full frame lenses. Price point is far too high.
13 Jan 2021 9:53AM
Not a very balanced review, especially the comment in your list of 'cons' "Not convinced by the 28-60mm lens" is not a review of this camera, which can be bought as a body only, like any other ILC.

The whole point of this camera is that is offers the smallest full frame ILC body (with an EVF) available. I'm considering it as second body to my A7iii because it has supreme image quality, especially in low light, and about the best AF system available.
28 Feb 2021 7:37PM
Another example of the reviewer using the review to tell us about his personal taste in cameras, instead of focusing on the photographer looking for a full frame compact rangefinder style camera and how he or she might use this camera.

To me the A7c is like a Lumix GX8, a great camera on it's own (got 3) but with a FF sensor which is a technological prowess and provides fantastic IQ, but all we read is the reviewer trashing the camera mainly because he doesn't like the optional kit lens.

Please focus on the end user and the camera.

Thank you



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