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Sony Alpha a7c Mirrorless Digital Camera Review

The Sony A7C appears to be targeted largely towards vloggers and online content makers, i.e. the individuals who create all of the videos we spend hours viewing each day on YouTube and Instagram. This is similar to the way so many new cameras are being introduced right now.

According to Sony’s study, this group is looking for the strong performance of a full-frame sensor in a compact form factor (body). In addition, they want enhanced features to make their life simpler when filming their newest masterpiece on the big screen.

It’s possible that the Sony A7C will be just what they’re searching for, as it manages to squeeze a powerful full-frame sensor into a body that’s far smaller than that of most of its competitors.

Sony Alpha 7c Mirrorless Digital Camera Full-Frame

$1,798.00
2 new from $1,798.00
3 used from $1,775.00
as of May 15, 2022 2:52 pm

Features

  • World’s smallest and lightest1 full-frame camera
  • Advanced 24.2MP2 Back-Illuminated 35mm Full-frame Image Sensor
  • 4K Movie3 w/ full pixel readout, no pixel binning or crop and HDR4
  • 15-stop5 dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO6 50 to 204,800
  • 693 phase-detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93% image coverage

In reality, when it was first announced, Sony claimed that it was the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera at the time of introduction. However, if you read the fine print, you’ll discover that the Sony A7C is really the smallest and lightest full-frame camera that also accepts interchangeable lenses and features in-body image stabilization. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the A7C is a remarkable piece of engineering.

This means it will be of interest to a broader number of people other than simply vloggers as a result of this. Among those who could be interested are hobbyists seeking a tiny camera to use as a second body, or novices wishing to upgrade from a smartphone but who don’t want the size of a DSLR camera.

At the same time, due to the Sony A7C’s tiny size, several concessions had to be made in order to make it work. I spent some time with it to determine whether or not they are severe enough to be counted against it and whether it deserves a spot on our list of the best mirrorless cameras. Continue reading for a comprehensive evaluation of the Sony A7C.

Key specifications

  • 24MP BSI CMOS full-frame sensor
  • Bionz X processor (same as in the a7 III)
  • ‘Real-time tracking’ AF system with human head, face, eye, and animal recognition
  • Oversampled 4K video at up to 30p, including 8-bit S-Log and HLG
  • Continuous bursts at up to 10 fps
  • Fully articulating 921k-dot touchscreen
  • 2.36M-dot EVF with 0.59x mag.
  • Mic and headphone sockets
  • Dual-band, 2.4 and 5Ghz Wi-Fi
  • Large ‘Z-type’ battery, rated to 740 shots per charge

The Sony a7C is available at a price of around $1799 ($2399 CAD) or with the new collapsible 28-60mm F4-5.6 kit zoom for around $2099 ($2699 CAD).

Sony a7C Release Date

With a starting price of $1,799 for the body-only version and a price of $2,099 for the kit lens combination, the Sony A7C was announced in late 2020. In July 2021, such pricing was still in place at the time of writing this article.

What’s new in Sony a7C and how it compares with other cameras

With regard to the a7C’s fundamental specs, it shares a significant deal in common with the current-generation a7 III. The most significant distinction is the scale of the organization. Sony has updated its in-body stabilization technology to allow it to be housed in a considerably smaller package than it was previously.

Key takeaways:

  • Truly compact form factor
  • Latest AF implementation is a big step up from the a7 III
  • Otherwise, broadly as capable as the a7 III
  • Fully articulating touchscreen is good but touchscreen use is limited

What’s instantly noticeable about the Sony a7C is how similar the camera body is to that of Sony’s a6600 model, which is a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view. According to Sony, the camera is the world’s smallest interchangeable lens full-frame camera with in-body image stabilization, which is an awkward way of admitting that Sigma’s fp model is smaller.

Sony a7CSony a7 IIINikon Z6Panasonic S5
MSRP (body only)$1799$1999$1999$1999
Pixel count24MP24MP24MP24MP
Sensor techBSI-CMOSBSI-CMOSBSI-CMOSBSI-CMOS
AF systemOn-sensor PDAFOn-sensor PDAFOn-sensor PDAFDepth from Defocus
(Contrast Detection-based)
Image stabilization5-axis5-axis5-axis5-axis + sync with lens IS
CIPA ratingUp to 5EVUp to 5EVUp to 5EVUp to 6.5EV
Maximum frame rate10 fps10 fps12 fps
(12-bit Raw)
7 fps (AF-S)
5 fps (AF-C)
Flash Sync speed1/160 sec1/250 sec1/200 sec1/250 sec
High Res modeNoNoNoYes
Viewfinder
res / mag
2.36M dots/
0.59x
2.36M dots / 0.78x3.68M dots
/ 0.80x
2.36M dots / 0.74x
Rear screen0.92M-dot fully articulated touchscreen0.92M-dot tilting touchscreen2.1M-dot tilting touchscreen1.84M-dot fully articulated touchscreen
AF joystickNoYesYesYes
Top-plate settings displayNoNoYesNo
Video captureUHD 4K 24p
(full sensor)
UHD 4K 30p
(1.2x Crop)
UHD 4K 24p
(full sensor)
UHD 4K 30p
(1.2x Crop)
UHD 4K 30p
(full sensor)
UHD 4K 30p
(full sensor)
UHD 4K 60p
(1.5x Crop)
Log/HDR modesS-Log2 / 3 / HLG
8-bit
S-Log2 / 3 / HLG
8-bit
N-Log
10-bit (HDMI)
V-Log/V-Gamut
HLG
10-bit
Memory cardsSingle SDDual SDSingle XQDDual SD
Battery life (CIPA) LCD/EVF740 / 680710 / 610380 / 310440 / 470
USB-chargingYesYesYesYes
Dimensions124 x 71 x 59 mm127 x 96 x 74 mm134 x 101 x 68 mm133 x 97 x 82 mm
Weight (CIPA)509g650 g675 g714 g
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Sony A7C review: Design and controls

When it came to the A7C, Sony knew it would have to make some tough decisions since, while its 24MP full-frame sensor is basically identical to the one found in Sony’s flagship model, the A7 III, its chassis is significantly smaller.

Its answer was to eliminate some controls, such as the front dial and the joystick (which, if you’re using the autofocus mode, allows you to adjust the focus point), and replace them with a touchscreen. Although you can set the AF point using the touchscreen, some people prefer the tactile feedback that comes with physical controls. In addition, unlike many full-frame cameras, it only has one memory card port – not a fatal defect, maybe, but one that will cause annoyance for certain users.

A further disadvantage of the Sony A7C is that it has a menu layout that is outdated when compared to the one that Sony launched with the A7S III camera. That’s a real shame, especially given the lack of controls.

Having said that, there is a lot to appreciate about the design of the A7C. The fact that it is so compact is, without a doubt, the most striking feature – and it is extremely small for a full-frame camera. I placed it next to my Sony A7R IV to serve as a point of comparison, with the Sony A7C on the left of the photograph below.

In the top image, you can see the cameras from the rear, at an angle, and with their touch LCDs extended out to their full length. The upper controls may be seen in the bottom image, which is a good representation. The A7C was equipped with the new 28-60mm kit lens, while the A7R IV was equipped with the 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. To give you a sense of the magnitude of each camera, I’ve included a 12-ounce Coke in the picture.)

There are a number of additional appealing features about the Sony A7C that is not limited to its small size.

It has several unique features, including a swiveling touchscreen LCD that swings out from the camera like a camcorder, making it simpler to see what you’re recording in a variety of various situations.

Sony did a fantastic job with the design of the 28-60mm zoom lens for the A7C kit, which is tiny yet powerful. Again, the marketing department at the company was hard at work here, claiming that it was the “World’s smallest and lightest full-frame standard zoom lens,” which may very well be accurate given that it weighs only 5.8 ounces.

But it would be meaningless unless the camera was consistently competent, which it is: it performed an excellent job taking both images and video, with the quiet focusing system, in particular, standing out as particularly impressive.

However, the tiny eye-level viewfinder, which was a new development, did not appeal to me as much as the previous iterations of the feature. Although it boasts a high resolution of 2.36 million dots, the OLED EVF on the Sony a7R IV didn’t provide me with the same level of comfort as the one on my Sony a7R IV. I think I’d be able to get used to it over time, but I’d still prefer something a little bigger in terms of space.

Sony A7C review: Body and handling

When it came to the Sony A7C, Sony knew it would have to make some tough decisions since, while its 24MP full-frame sensor is basically identical to the one found in Sony’s flagship model, the A7 III, its chassis is significantly smaller.

Its answer was to eliminate some controls, such as the front dial and the joystick (which, if you’re using the autofocus mode, allows you to adjust the focus point), and replace them with a touchscreen. Although you can set the AF point using the touchscreen, some people prefer the tactile feedback that comes with physical controls. In addition, unlike many full-frame cameras, it only has one memory card port – not a fatal defect, maybe, but one that will cause annoyance for certain users.

However, even though the a7C’s size is much smaller than those of prior a7 cameras, it retains virtually all the features of the a7 III. The reduced size, on the other hand, brings with it certain modifications to the ergonomics and shooting experience.

Key takeaways:

  • Monocoque construction lends a very solid feel
  • Grip is shallower than other Sony full-frame models, but not uncomfortable
  • Three dials, but you use your thumb for all of them
  • No AF joystick, but touchpad AF makes up for this somewhat
  • EVF is on the small side
  • Truly excellent battery life

Despite the fact that it appears quite similar to an a6000-series camera, the Sony a7C itself feels incredibly robust in a manner that comparable cameras do not. A magnesium alloy monocoque, as described by Sony, is a single-piece chassis and shell that is similar to what automobile manufacturers in the United States would refer to as a ‘unibody’ structure. This guarantees that there is no flex or gives in the camera at any point. It also implies that there will be fewer body seams to seal against the weather as a result of this.

In comparison to more recent Sony a7 models, the grip is noticeably shallower. However, if you place your index finger on the shutter button and then wrap the rest of your fingers around the grip, you should find that it settles comfortably and securely with your hand at 45 degrees to your camera, eliminating the need to wrap all of your fingers around the grip’s front.

A further disadvantage of the Sony A7C is that it has a menu layout that is outdated when compared to the one that Sony launched with the A7S III camera. That’s a real shame, especially given the lack of controls.

Having said that, there is a lot to appreciate about the design of the A7C. The fact that it is so compact is, without a doubt, the most striking feature – and it is extremely small for a full-frame camera. I placed it next to my Sony A7R IV to serve as a point of comparison, with the A7C on the left of the photograph below.

In the top image, you can see the cameras from the rear, at an angle, and with their touch LCDs extended out to their full length. The upper controls may be seen in the bottom image, which is a good representation. The A7C was equipped with the new 28-60mm kit lens, while the A7R IV was equipped with the 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. To give you a sense of the magnitude of each camera, I’ve included a 12-ounce Coke in the picture.)

There are a number of additional appealing features about the Sony A7C that is not limited to its small size.

It has several unique features, including a swiveling touchscreen LCD that swings out from the camera like a camcorder, making it simpler to see what you’re recording in a variety of various situations.

Sony did a fantastic job with the design of the 28-60mm zoom lens for the A7C kit, which is tiny yet powerful. Again, the marketing department at the company was hard at work here, claiming that it was the “World’s smallest and lightest full-frame standard zoom lens,” which may very well be accurate given that it weighs only 5.8 ounces.

But it would be meaningless unless the camera was consistently competent, which it is: it performed an excellent job taking both images and video, with the quiet focusing system, in particular, standing out as particularly impressive.

However, the tiny eye-level viewfinder, which was a new development, did not appeal to me as much as the previous iterations of the feature. Although it boasts a high resolution of 2.36 million dots, the OLED EVF on the Sony a7R IV didn’t provide me with the same level of comfort as the one on my Sony a7R IV. I think I’d be able to get used to it over time, but I’d still prefer something a little bigger in terms of space.

Sony A7C review: Image quality and video

With regard to overall picture quality, the Sony Alpha A7C captures very well exceptional photos in strong light circumstances and under regular shooting conditions — which is no less than you’d expect from a full-frame camera for about $2000.

Regardless of whether I was shooting in direct sunshine or on a cloudy day, the A7C’s 24MP sensor delivered photos with a wide dynamic range and clear, crisp details, regardless of lighting conditions.

I loved that it could record 10 frames per second in burst mode, either using the shutter or in quiet mode, and that it has a very excellent focusing system. Among the features I like was the fact that you have access to many of the same flexible AF modes that you would find on other Sony Alpha full-frame cameras, such as Real-time Eye AF (which can be set for animals, as well).

The development of new versions of Sony’s integrated technology was required in order to reduce the size of the body. For example, they had to develop a new IBIS system, which I thought performed just as well as the systems used in other cameras. They also had to create a new small shutter device, which turned out to be functional as predicted.

In low light, though, it doesn’t become quite as hot as most other cameras. Increasing the ISO works OK up to a point around ISO 12,800, however, beyond that, you’ll start to notice some picture noise appear. This, in turn, will soften sharpness a little while also adding some colored noise into the image, which will have an adverse effect on image quality.

Given the Sony A7C’s intended demographic, it is a touch underpowered when it comes to video performance in several areas. While it can film in 4K, it can only do so at a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second, and it only does so in a cropped format; you’ll have to switch to 24p to obtain full-width footage. There is also no 10-bit recording available – the highest resolution available is 8-bit.

Having said that, it only suffers when compared to more costly full-frame versions, and the footage it captures is in no way inferior — in fact, it’s crisp and clear in comparison. In this case, too, the high-quality autofocus is beneficial.

Key takeaways:

  • Image quality is excellent in both JPEG and Raw shooting
  • Camera uses electronic first curtain shutter, which can damage out-of-focus rendering at very high shutter speeds with wide-aperture lenses (appears fine at F1.8, 1/4000 sec)
  • Clumsy Raw compression means you need to shoot large, uncompressed Raw files if you want to exploit the camera’s full dynamic range
  • Uncompressed files have plenty of dynamic range, letting you shoot in difficult lighting conditions

The a7C is capable of shooting 4K video in 24p resolution from the full width of the sensor and 30p resolution from a small crop of the sensor. The camera has headphones and microphone connectors to aid in the capturing of clear audio, as well as zebra markings to aid in the setting and maintaining of exposure. Furthermore, focus peaking is available to assist in establishing and maintaining focus, although the autofocus is typically reliable enough to rely on.

When in movie mode, you’ll see a distinct set of Fn menu choices that you may configure, as well as a different set of Fn button assignments than when in normal mode. However, the most important parameters, including exposure, white balance, and color mode, are carried over from the stills to the video capture mode without modification. Because you’re likely to have to alter a considerable number of settings each time you go between the two modes of shooting, switching between them can be a time-consuming process. Most of the Sony a7C’s competitors do a better job of allowing you to distinguish between the two.

Because all video is 8-bit, grading options are limited, even if you record in one of the camera’s Log modes (which can be accessed through the camera’s “Picture Profiles” menu). There will be more options available for dedicated videographers who are color grading their film as a result of this.

The a7C’s 4K footage shot at 24 frames per second is the most detailed available; however, it also has the greatest rolling shutter, which means that quick movement by the camera or subject might seem skewed or warped when the film is played back. This is less of an issue in 30p mode, but because it applies a 1.2x reduction, it makes it more difficult to get wide-angle images (especially with the kit zoom, which already does not stretch very far). 1080p video is soft and prone to aliasing, therefore this is not recommended for professional use.

Sony A7C review: Battery Life / Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & NFC

The Sony A7C is equipped with the same high-capacity battery, the NP-FZ100 from Sony, as the company’s other Alpha cameras. It has a CIPA rating of 740 shots per charge when using the LCD and 680 shots per charge when using the EVF in this situation.

It also comes with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities, making it a great choice for those who want to connect wirelessly. Moreover, because it is capable of operating at both 2.4 and 5 gigahertz frequencies, you can transfer photos to your smartphone fast and simply. For those searching for professional-level connectivity, the A7C may also be used to transmit files through FTP across wired and wireless LAN connections and tether a computer or smartphone by USB.

Sony A7C review: Conclusion

People with larger hands will, I’m sure, find the A7C’s tiny controls to be a hindrance, as would those with smaller hands. However, I am confident that the majority of people will appreciate being able to carry something that is not as hefty as the usual full-frame camera. Or, more accurately, something that is far lighter than virtually any other full-frame camera.

While its tiny size necessitates certain concessions, most notably the absence of several controls available on larger Sony Alpha cameras, I found the A7C to be perfect enough for the vast majority of jobs I put it through.

In order to attain its tiny size, the Sony a7C sacrifices only a few functions in exchange for its compact design. Although its image quality is great and its autofocus is excellent, its tiny viewfinder detracts a little from the shooting experience. Although its video and menus aren’t as sophisticated as those of its competitors, the device’s compactness and battery life make it a formidable combo.

Most significantly, both the image quality and focusing performance are outstanding – there’s a lot to appreciate about this camera overall. The Sony A7C isn’t exactly inexpensive, but if you’re seeking full-frame performance in a small package, it should be towards the top of your wish list.

What other say about Sony A7C

Overall, the Sony A7C is still a great camera for stills and video which offers all the benefits of a full-frame sensor in a compact and light body.

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Alternatively, you might spend a few hundred dollars extra and get the Canon R6, Panasonic S5, or Nikon Z6 II. If you’re interested in both video and photography and have the necessary funds, I believe all of them are superior options. In the end, though, Sony’s primary competitor is the Sony A7 III, which is particularly strong in the photography department. Personally, I’d like to use the camera only for the purpose of handling things. The A7C, on the other hand, is a fantastic alternative if you prefer something smaller, a little better at vlogging, and with more advanced focusing capabilities.

GoodProductReview

Overall, the verdict on the Sony A7C is straightforward: if you haven’t already gotten used to the ergonomics of a Sony A7 III and have grown fond of them, let alone an A7R IV or A9/A1, you will likely be very pleased with the way the A7C feels in your hand, and you will only experience moderate frustration if you do a lot of button/dial customization and are used to having one or two additional Fn/C buttons.

eDigitalReviews

The A7C is not a cheap camera, with a starting price of $1,800. It is a lower-cost full-frame camera, which makes it somewhat more accessible to enthusiasts and people who are just getting started in the photography industry. However, it is not as competitively priced as the Nikon Z5 or the Canon EOS RP.

It’s true that the A7C is also a “parts bin” camera, essentially a smaller version of the A7 III from 2018, but those components have been proved, so it doesn’t take away from the A7C’s allure in our opinion.

10BestCameras

The Sony a7C is a slimmed down, full-frame camera built for travel, but its small size limits its versatility, and some aspects feel a little dated.

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Sony A7C Price and availability best Sony A7C deals

# Image Details
1 Sony Alpha 7C Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera - Silver (ILCE7C/S)

Sony Alpha 7C Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera - Silver (ILCE7C/S)

2 Sony a7C Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Alpha 7C Interchangeable Lens Body Only Black ILCE7C/B Bundle with Deco Gear Case + Extra Battery + Flash + Filters + 64GB Card + Software Kit and Accessories

Sony a7C Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Alpha 7C Interchangeable Lens Body Only Black ILCE7C/B Bundle with Deco Gear Case + Extra Battery + Flash + Filters + 64GB Card + Software Kit and Accessories

3 Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-60mm Lens (Silver) ILCE7CL/S + 64GB Memory Card + 2 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-60mm Lens (Silver) ILCE7CL/S + 64GB Memory Card + 2 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

4 Sony a7C Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Body FE 20mm F1.8 G Lens SEL20F18G Silver ILCE7C/S Bundle with Deco Gear Photography Backpack Case, Software and Accessories

Sony a7C Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Body FE 20mm F1.8 G Lens SEL20F18G Silver ILCE7C/S Bundle with Deco Gear Photography Backpack Case, Software and Accessories

5 Sony a7C Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Body with 28-60mm F4-5.6 Lens Silver ILCE7CL/S Filmmaker's Kit with DJI RSC 2 Gimbal 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizer Bundle + Deco Photo Backpack + Software

Sony a7C Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Body with 28-60mm F4-5.6 Lens Silver ILCE7CL/S Filmmaker's Kit with DJI RSC 2 Gimbal 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizer Bundle + Deco Photo Backpack + Software

6 Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-60mm Lens (Black) (ILCE7CL/B) + 64GB Memory Card + 2x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-60mm Lens (Black) (ILCE7CL/B) + 64GB Memory Card + 2x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

7 Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) (ILCE7C/B) + 2 x 64GB Memory Card + 3 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) (ILCE7C/B) + 2 x 64GB Memory Card + 3 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

8 Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) (ILCE7C/B) + 64GB Card + 2 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + LED Light + More (Renewed)

Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) (ILCE7C/B) + 64GB Card + 2 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + LED Light + More (Renewed)

9 Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Silver) (ILCE7C/S) + 2 x 64GB Memory Card + 3 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

Sony Alpha a7C Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Silver) (ILCE7C/S) + 2 x 64GB Memory Card + 3 x NP-FZ-100 Battery + Corel Photo Software + Case + External Charger + Card Reader + More (Renewed)

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1 thought on “Sony Alpha a7c Mirrorless Digital Camera Review”

  1. I think the scope of use is pretty limited here. For those of us who just want a smaller form factor but full frame performance, it’s fantastic. Coupled with a smaller prime, it’s absurd the level of quality that comes in at a nearly pocketable size. This goes beyond simply the scope of someone who’s looking to vlog or whatnot. The other huge factor is the Sony ecosystem. There are a lot of fantastic lenses and it’s a very mature platform. Nikon’s selection- for example- is dismal, bulky, and costly.

    Etc, etc. There’s this tendency to compare it to costlier larger cameras or Sony’s own offerings. As a camera, it’s fantastic on it’s own merit.

    Reply

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