The newest addition to Sony’s A7 range, rumoured in some detail for several weeks now, is essentially A7 tech in an NEX-style body (or a6000 series if you prefer), but with an electronic viewfinder snuck into the upper left corner, much like we’ve seen in various cameras from Panasonic and Olympus going back to the Olympus E-300 – or indeed Sony’s own NEX-7. The camera is slightly bigger than an a6000-series body, and with the kit lens attached, it’s already a good bit larger than an a6000 series camera with its kit lens.
In spite of the compactness, Sony has managed to equip it with five-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) rated at 5 stops – less than the industry’s leading edge, which could be a consequence of the small overall size of the body relative to its sensor. Presumably for the same reasons, there is only a single UHS-II compatible SD card slot.
The sensor itself is a 24 megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor giving a native ISO range of 100 to 51200, or 50 to 204800 extended. The frame rate maxes out at 10fps. It does video at 30fps and 4k, but with its resolution of 24 megapixels can’t do full justice to it.
The rear touchscreen display has a resolution of 921 thousand dots and the EVF of 2.6 million dots. The battery is an NP-FZ100, same as on the most recent Alpha 7 and 9 models as well as the A6600, and gives 680 shots using the EVF or 740 using the rear display. The controls are relatively sparse and straight-forward, with no front control wheel and an apparent expectation that the exposure will be set based on an exposure compensation setting rather than a specific shutter speed. On the other hand (not literally), back button focus is possible using the AF-ON button.
In terms of connectivity, it offers micro HDMI, USB-C as well as headphone and microphone sockets (again, the mini version). The camera weighs a mere 509 grams – about 90g more than the Sigma fp, which makes it the second lightest full frame camera – according to Sony, this is the cost of having IBIS, which the Sigma fp lacks.
The a7C comes in a silver livery in addition to black, and it’s one of the most tastefully done silver versions I’ve seen in some time. Understated and elegant, only the top plate and topmost portion of the body are silver. As a consequence, the “Sony”, “E-mount” and “α” (alpha) brandings are a little less obtrusive. Furthermore, it has the visual effect of making the camera appear wider and less tall.
The kit lens offered is a new 28-60mm f/4 to f/5.6, which one could compare against the a6000 series’ kit lens, a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6, or 24-75mm f/5-8 in full frame terms. You’d gain 2/3 to a stop in depth of field versatility and light gathering at the expense of some zoom range at the wide angle (the 60mm vs. 75mm isn’t nearly such a big deal).
With a fully articulating, side-flipping rear touch display, the camera has been positioned to appeal to vloggers, although the 2100 Eurodollar kit price might not ($1800 or £1900 body-only). Shipping has been announced to start in October.