Last week, we hinted that Sony was preparing for a new camera release, as Sony themselves hyped up the release noting that this new camera body would be a gamechanger.
After the official announcement on September 14th, we now know that camera is the Sony a7C. Sony says the ‘Alpha 7C is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame body with uncompromising performance, featuring advanced AF (autofocus), high-resolution 4K video capabilities, and more.’
Many expected the a7C to shift in the Alpha lineup below the fantastic A7III, but the specs for the a7C indicate otherwise. The a7C is almost in the same exact tier of the A7III, which is surprising.
Since this camera mirrors the A7 III in many ways, I felt it would be best to walk through a specs comparison of the new a7C and the A7 III. Towards the end of this piece, we’ll compare and discuss how this camera fits in the Sony mirrorless lineup.
Sony a7C – $1,798.00
The Sony a7C features a 24.2 megapixel full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS sensor and BIONZ X™ image processing engine, offering high sensitivity, outstanding resolution, 15-stops of dynamic range, and high-speed image data processing.
The sensor is actually the exact same as the one in the Sony A7 III, which is a good thing. The A7 III is an excellent performer and the sensor is proven. Approximate ~24 megapixels is a great resolution for all types of photography as well and has become the standard for mid-range full-frame bodies.
The autofocus system is the same as the A7 III for the most part. You get 693 phase-detection points and 425 contrast detection pints, plus excellent coverage of the sensor at 93%. Sony has become known for its state of the art and industry-leading autofocus systems, and this camera should maintain that reputation.
The slight difference between the a7C and the A7 III arises in the two cameras tracking abilities. Both offer eye and animal detection plus great tracking, but Sony says the a7C includes updated algorithms that improve tracking and make it better than the A7 III.
Both cameras offer burst rates up to 10 fps, but only the a7C can offer that rate in its silent electronic shutter mode.
The biggest differences between the a7C and the A7 III are in the body design of the camera. The a7C amazingly looks like the a6000 series camera from Sony, but it features a full-frame sensor and powerful features. It measures 4.9 inches x 2.8 inches x 2.2 inches at weighs 509g. It is much smaller than the a7C and weighs 22% less. Now, is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s up to the user, many will prefer the robust feel of the A7 III, while those looking for an ultra-lightweight travel setup will enjoy the a7C design.
Although engineering is incredible, there are certain tradeoffs that need to be made when downsizing. There is no front control dial, only one custom button, no AE/AF lock button, and no AF joystick. Initial users are saying they prefer the handling and control of the A7 III versus the a7C, and the size/weight savings isn’t a large concern.
The viewfinder on the a7C is a 2.36million-dot XGA OLED, which is similar to the A7 III. However, it is smaller and lacks the same magnification power as the A7 III. The LCD is exactly the same as the A7 III, but it is fully articulating which is a nice addition.
The a7C also only features one SD card slot compared to the two SD slots available in the A7 III, which can be another big discerning feature between the two cameras for some photographers.
The a7C was co-announced with a new Sony kit lens, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6, which it will ship with. Compare that to the A7 III and its respective kit lens (FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS), and the a7C kitted out is 30% smaller and lighter than the A7 III setup. So, there is definitely size and weight savings to be had with the a7C.
But, overall, the features of the a7C look eerily similar to the A7 III, with only a few upgrades and additions here and there. There were also features removed to pack so much camera into such a small design, and as I said early, that’s not always a good thing.
Now, here’s the kicker, the a7C is priced at $1798 for the body and $2098 kitted out. That is only a few hundred dollars under the A7 III! Although the size and weight are impressive, I’m not sure this camera is worth that much money. Especially when you can get a feature full A7 III for a similar price, and it’s still a fairly lightweight body.
We would love to hear from anyone out there interested in this lens. Sometimes the weight savings is worth sacrificing a few camera features, but the main thing that surprised me about the a7C announcement was definitely the price. I expected a much lower price point, but stay tuned for reviews and hands-on reports for the a7C, it could surprise us.
P.S. Don’t forget to get registered for our upcoming webinar highlighting Backcountry Journeys’ classic photography tour, Canyons of Utah: Zion & Bryce.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com
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