The tiny model in Sony’s Alpha 7 family of full-frame mirrorless cameras is the Sony 7C. It was first introduced in 2020 and has many characteristics with the Sony 7 III from 2018, including the same 24-megapixel sensor and CPU, in-body image stabilization, and 10 frames per second burst shooting. It does, however, include certain enhancements, such as a completely articulated screen and an upgraded autofocus technology. The downsides of its diminutive size include a much smaller and less comfortable viewfinder, fewer knobs and buttons, and a single SD card slot.
Physique and handling
Although having a similar appearance to an a6000-series model, the a7C feels far more durable than those cameras do. It is housed in what Sony refers to as a magnesium alloy monocoque, which is a combined chassis and shell made out of a single piece, much like the “unibody” architecture employed by US automakers. By doing this, the camera is guaranteed to be rigid throughout. It also means that there are fewer body seams to weatherproof.
The grip is significantly shallower than that of recent Sony a7 models, but if you put your 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 a 45-degree angle to the camera without requiring you to wrap all of your fingers around the grip’s front.
The A7C shares almost the same outstanding spec list as its sibling when it comes to the main photography gear. Its 24-million-pixel BSI-CMOS sensor has expanded settings from ISO 50-204,800 and a normal sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200. It is coupled with the same high-end Alpha 7R IV Bionz X processor, which enables shooting at 8 frames per second with live view in between frames or 10 frames per second with a 115-frame raw buffer. A new, smaller shutter unit offers a top speed of 1/4000sec, which is a little slower than before, although this may be increased to 1/8000sec by switching to silent mode.
693 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points, distributed over 93% of the frame, are used by the hybrid autofocus system. Real-time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking, two of Sony’s AI-based autofocus technologies that are best in class, are included. Similar to the A7 III, the reduced IBIS unit makes a 5-stop stabilization claim.
One drawback of the camera’s small size is that it only has one SD card slot, as opposed to the two slots seen in the majority of full-frame cameras with comparable price tags. Thank goodness, it supports the quick UHS-II standard. In light of the intended audience, I don’t believe the single slot is actually a problem; after all, individuals who prefer the security provided by being able to back up photographs in-camera during a significant shoot can still purchase the A7 III.
Either Full HD or 4K resolution video can be captured at up to 120 frames per second. When the device is turned to face forward for vlogging, the built-in microphone and headphone jacks are positioned so as not to obstruct the screen. For HDR TVs to display a wider range of tones, Hybrid Log Gamma is available. S-log is also an option for people who choose to color grade their video in post-production. Nevertheless, because the camera can only generate 8-bit colors, this constrains its adaptability.
For connecting to your smartphone using the free Imaging Edge Mobile software for Android and iOS, Sony has incorporated both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. By tapping the Fn key while the video is playing and then launching the app, copying photos to your phone is especially simple. Even when it’s turned off and tucked away in a bag, you can still connect your phone to the camera, peruse your photos, and copy them over. But, it’s unnecessarily complex to set up the needed always-on Bluetooth LE first time around, as you have to search and alter various menu options. Regrettably, in-camera raw conversion, which all of the other top brands have been providing for years, is still not available for editing your photographs before sharing them.
Remote control of shooting is possible via a Wi-Fi connection, with a live view display and a decent assortment of options available to modify from the app. But curiously, you can’t define the focus point, and instead have to let the camera select for itself, which is a fairly basic problem. The lack of any capability for using a wired shutter release makes this situation worse because it prevents the A7C from having a properly functioning remote control. For a £1900 body, this is a rather major error.
It is hardly surprising that the A7C performs similarly to the A7 III given that they have the identical sensor, Bionz X image processor, and 693-point phase-detect AF system. Also, it boasts comparable image quality, low-light sensitivity, and 10 fps burst speeds. The buffer, focusing performance, and picture stabilization have all seen some improvements with the A7C.
The A7C can shoot continuous bursts for nearly 11 seconds longer than the A7 III since it has a larger buffer that can store up to 115 RAW shots as opposed to the A7 III’s 89. You can shoot again a little bit earlier as it clears up a little bit more quickly. In addition, you get the impressive subject-tracking feature seen in the A7S III and other recent models as well as Sony’s most modern AF algorithms.
After you select your focus point with your finger, whether you’re following race cars, birds, or humans, the object remains firmly tied to you. This camera is fantastic for sports, wildlife, or other action genres because it operates rapidly and smoothly.
It also boasts face and eye tracking that is smoother and more precise than its competitors — both with animals and people — much like all of Sony’s other recent cameras. Although though Canon’s focusing has significantly improved with the R6 and R5 models, Sony’s is still a little quicker, smoother, and more dependable.
The brand-new five-axis image stabilization mechanism on the A7C was created to accommodate the compact body of the A7C. It provides 5.5 stops of shaking reduction for images, allowing for shooting at or slightly below 1/15th of a second. But we’ll talk more about that later. It doesn’t handle video properly.
The absence of a mechanical shutter in the A7C and A7 III is another minor distinction. The hybrid electronic shutter used by the A7C, in contrast, can occasionally result in small distortions with out-of-focus backgrounds when shutter speeds are high. I didn’t find any problems with it myself, and I don’t think the typical user will either, although purists might not like it.
As of right now, the A7C performs on par with or better than the A7 III while having inferior handling and controls. Yet, how the images appear is what matters most to most people.
Overall, the judgement on the Sony A7C is straightforward: You will likely be pleased with how the A7C feels in your hand if you haven’t already worked with a Sony A7 III and grown to love the ergonomics, let alone an A7R IV or A9/A1, and you’ll only feel mildly frustrated if you customize the buttons and dials a lot and are used to having one or two extra Fn/C buttons and/or dials.
Other than that, you’ll be pleased with the A7C’s actual performance if you can afford the price, which isn’t exactly entry-level once you add a lens or two. The feature set is very alluring when you consider the camera’s well-rounded performance for not just casual everyday photos but also everything from fast-action sports/wildlife to adventure/travel. The autofocus is unquestionably the best available (aside from the high-powered Sony A9 II and Sony A1, of course). Well, and keep in mind vlogging.