Sony has launched a new full-frame mirrorless camera that follows on from the successful A7 series models, but has been radically redesigned. The Sony A7C combines the full frame sensor and much of the technology of Sony’s A7 cameras with the more compact, box-shaped design of the APS-C A6000 series cameras.
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Sony wants to appeal to a new audience of photographers, vloggers, and content creators who want a new, fresher design and a camera that can handle both video and still images.
The closest neighbor down the Sony lineup is the Sony A7 III, and it’s likely to be priced similarly. So this isn’t a cheap addition to Sony’s full-frame mirrorless range, but it can potentially be seen as an entry-level alternative.
• Read our hands on Sony A7C review
Sony A7C main features
The first and most obvious innovation is the design. Sony opted for a rectangular “rangefinder” design where the viewfinder housing is lost at the top and the EVF is instead positioned in the upper left corner on the back. We were told it was the same viewfinder as the one in the A6600.
On the back is a fully articulated vari-angle touchscreen, a welcome step forward from the tilt screen on regular A7 series cameras.
The menu system is similar to that on existing Sony A7 cameras rather than the new design in the A7S III. This suggests that the A7C has a lot of technology in common with the A7 III, despite its very different physical appearance.
Inside the Sony A7C is a 24.2 MP Exmor R CMOS sensor of the type used in the existing Sony A7 III. It is connected to a BIONZ X processor and has a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200, which can be expanded to ISO 50-204,800. According to Sony, this combination offers a dynamic range of up to 15 f-stops (EV).
The A7C is designed for both video and still images, but Sony hasn’t really advanced the video specs for this model, at least on paper. It can record 4K video at 30p in 8-bit XAVC-S “for easy editing” with oversampled 6K recording and no time limit. That’s a pretty straightforward video spec by current standards, but Sony has to rely on day-to-day ease of use as a selling point. You get at least the S-Log2, S-Log3 and HLG modes from Sony as standard.
In today’s highly competitive video market, that may not be enough to rank the A7c among the best best 4K cameras for filmmaking, but its full frame sensor and “cinematic” look combined with its highly effective AF (below) could make it one of the best best cameras for vlogging.
The A7c also features Sony’s digital audio interface, microphone and headphone jacks, vertical recording capabilities, and the same AF speed and sensitivity settings as the recently launched Sony A7S III.
Sony has an edge in autofocus technology, and the A7C pretty much has the best of all in that regard, borrowing much of the AF technology from the much more expensive one A7R IV With 693 phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast AF points covering 93% of the frame, as well as Sony’s latest real-time AF capabilities for human / animal, left / right eye and real-time tracking.
It’s also no problem for burst shooting, as still images can be captured at up to 10 frames per second with AF / AE or at 8 frames per second in Sony’s Live View mode (a bit slower, but a smoother screen update for tracking yourself quickly moving motifs). The buffer capacity of up to 115 raw files or 223 JPEGs is even more impressive.
The new Sony FE 24-60mm f / 4-5.6 retractable lens
The theme of the Sony A7C is compactness, so it makes sense to get a new compact kit lens, and the FE 24-60mm f / 4-5.6 is just that. It’s much smaller than the existing FE 28 -70mm f / 3.5-5.6 entry-level kit lens and is reminiscent of the 24-50mm kit lens that comes with the new one Nikon Z5.
This lens does not use a power zoom mechanism, just a simple mechanical retractable design that is quick to operate and gives the lens a regular manual zoom ring when extended.
While it’s a kit lens meant to be bundled with the A7C, it has some advanced features including 3 aspherical lens elements, a 7-blade circular aperture, and a linear motor for fast, quiet AF for both still and still images Videos. This lens will be available separately from January 2021.
Sony A7C accessories
The A7C is compatible with the advanced Sony ECM-B1M shotgun microphone with 8 microphone capsules, integrated digital signal processor and external controls. You can also use the A7C with the Sony GP-VPT2BT wireless grip. This has a handle head with tilt and angle adjustments and a shaped handle.
In addition to the A7C, Sony has also announced a new one HVL-F28RM Small and light flash with a guide number of 28 (at 50 mm, ISO 100), which is radio-controlled and can be used both as a receiver and as a commander. It has a wide-angle diffuser panel to cover a 24mm lens, a built-in modeling light, and high-speed synchronization. The Sony HVL-F28RM will be available from mid-November.
Sony A7C price and availability
The Sony A7C will go on sale in October 2020 at the rather high price of $ 1,800 / £ 1,900 / AU $ 3,299 for the body alone. If you want to get the kit with the new 26-60mm lens, pay a touch more – $ 2,100 / £ 2,150 / AU $ 3,899 to be precise.
The A7C will be sold in two versions – a silver and a black finish will be available first in some markets, followed by an all-black limited edition. However, in Australia, both body options will be available starting next month.