Sony just announced its new full-frame mirrorless camera with compact size and lightweight design – welcome the Sony a7C. With its 24.2MP sensor, it can take stills with up to 10fps, record (Up to) 4K30p, or FHD 120p video with XAVC-S 4:2:0 8-bit codec in S-Log2, S-Log3, or HLG. It features a capable AF, vari-angle LCD touchscreen, viewfinder, 5-axis IBIS, and more. Along with the camera, Sony announced the new Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lightweight kit zoom lens and the Sony HVL-F28RM compact and lightweight flash.
It is not that long ago when Sony announced the long-awaited a7S III mirrorless camera. It did not even start shipping yet and Sony is giving us yet another new Alpha full-frame mirrorless camera body. This time, it is the a7C which, feature-wise, is similar to the Sony a7 III with a smaller body resembling the Sony a6000 series. Let’s take a look at it.
Sony a7C – Full-Frame with Compact Body
Based on the company research, many users want the full-frame look but in a more compact body than the Alpha 7 series offered till now. That’s why Sony decided to bring the a7C to the market. The camera is indeed the a fusion of the APS-C Sony Alpha 6000 series and the Sony Alpha full-frame series. Sony claims, that the a7C has the world’s smallest body among full-frame interchangeable-lens cameras with optical in-body image stabilization.
The camera features full-frame 24.2MP Exmor R CMOS (BSI, back-illuminated) sensor (from the a7 III) along with the BIONZ X image processor (same as a7R IV and a9 II). The sensor features 5-axis IBIS (in-body image stabilization) with up to 5.0 stops compensation. The ISO range is 100-51,200 (extended ISO up to 204,800). Sony also used a newly developed compact electromagnetic-drive shutter unit. Naturally, the camera uses Sony E-Mount to take advantage of numerous native full-frame lenses.
First, let’s get some photography features out of the way. The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000s. The camera can take photos at up to 10fps with continuous shooting (in Hi+ mode, 8fps in Hi mode) with AF and AE. The buffer can take up to 223 jpeg images (115 RAW images). According to Sony, the camera has up to 15 stops dynamic range for photographs.
The video capabilities of the a7C are more or less on par with the Sony a7 III. This camera is clearly a hybrid stills/video device. For superior video specs, you would need to spend the extra cash on the a7S III.
The internal codec is XAVC-S and all recording modes are 4:2:0 8-bit only. One can film in up to 4K 30p or FHD at 120p with no recording time limit. Sony also included HLG, S-Log2, and S-Log3 gamma curves.
Sony claims they improved the color reproduction / color science (like in the a7R IV) and the camera is supposed to have up to 14 stops dynamic range (we will run our Lab Test measurements as soon as we get our hands on the camera). Thankfully, the camera records oversampled 6K image – full-pixel readout without binning. In theory, oversampled image should always be sharper. There is no crop factor when filming in full frame mode
Just like with the a7S III – both NTSC and PAL clips can be stored on the same memory card. The Sony a7C also includes metadata for vertical shooting so the clips rotate automatically in the NLE.
The camera also has an HDMI output – 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW.
With the latest Sony mirrorless and cinema cameras, we got used to a very capable autofocus and according to the company the new a7C is no exception. Sony included fast Hybrid AF, Real-time Eye AF (for both humans and animals) and Real-time Tracking for movies. There are 693 phase detection AF points, 93% coverage, and EV-4 sensitivity.
AF-ON quick focus in manual focus is possible. Just like with the a7S III, The AF settings are quite detailed – there is selectable AF sensitivity – transition (7 steps) and AF “stickiness” (5 levels).
Camera Body and Connectivity
As I stated earlier, the camera body resembles he Sony a6000 series. Its dimensions are 124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm and the weight is 509g (including the Sony Z-type battery). The body is made out of magnesium and it is dust and moisture resistant. There is a dedicated movie button on top of the camera body.
Like the a7S III, the new a7C also features a vari-angle (flip-out) LCD. The 3” display features 921k dots and it enables touchscreen operation. There is also a 100% XGA OLED 0.59x 2359k viewfinder.
Connectivity includes 5GHz WiFi, USB-C (which can also be used for charging and extends therefore the shooting time), and a new Digital Audio Interface (via Mi Shoe ) to use the new digital microphone MB1M.
Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 Compact Kit Zoom Lens
Sony also announced a new compact kit lens to go with the new lightweight body. The Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 full-frame zoom lens weighs only 167g. It features three aspherical elements, internal focusing with silent linear AF motor. Like the a7C body, the lens is also dust and moisture resistant. It has a 7-blade circular aperture and 0.3m minimal focus distance.
Sony HVL-F28RM – Compact and Lightweight Flash
Another compact accessory to go with the new Sony a7C is the HVL-F28RM flash. It has GN28 (at 50mm / 100 ISO), wide angle 24mm diffuser, high speed sync, modelling light, and bounce sheet. It is compatible with radio control both as receiver or commander.
Price and Availability
The Sony a7C camera will be available already in October 2020. The estimated retail price for the camera body only is €2,100. The camera with the kit lens will cost €2,400. Please note that these prices can still slightly change. The camera body will be available in 2 colors, all black and back with silver upper top.
The Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lens will be available as a kit lens together with the camera, or, as a standalone lens. It will be available for purchase from January 2021. The estimated retail price is €500 (subject to change).
The HVL-F28RM flash will be available from mid November 2020 and the estimated retail price is €280 (subject to change).
What do you think about the new Sony a7C? Do you think such small full-frame cameras are the way to go? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.