Sony’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless α7C released: inexpensive, a powerful video tool

In 2010, Sony released the first "micro-single" camera NEX-5C. The APS-C SLR CMOS sensor is inserted into the extremely compact body, and the design of the interchangeable lens makes people shout "Amazing"! .

As a product positioned in the "grey area" between SLR and DC, Sony still affixed the "α" label to the NEX-5 series, which means that it has a "regular organization" biased towards the professional field.

Ten years later, there are more and more Sony cameras with mirrorless systems.

On the whole, it can be divided into three factions, one is the black card series, code-named RX; the other is the APS-C frame series, code-named Axxxx; the third is the full-frame series, code-named Ax. The volume and performance of the above three martial art models are in an increasing state.

The Sony Alpha 7C (model ILCE-7C, hereinafter referred to as A7C) just released, although it looks very much like the APS-C format micro-single, but from its name, it can be seen that it "rebel", it actually It is a full-frame mirrorless camera.

Unlike the "full-frame benchmark" A7M series, the "image quality flagship" A7R series, and the "video flagship" A7S series, A7C does not seem to have a "gang" that it can invest in.

As the first camera in Sony's new product line, the A7C's question of "who am I, where am I from, and where am I going" seems to be the answer in its name.

The "C" in iPhone 5C stands for "Color", which means colorful. Obviously, this meaning cannot be applied to A7C. After all, it only has two colors of black and silver, and it has not achieved the "colorful black" that Party A said.

So what does this "C" mean? Is it "Cheap"? No, the price of 12499 yuan is not cheap. Is it "ugly"? It seems to make sense, but Sony shouldn't hack itself like this. I read the English dictionary and realized that this "C" should be "Compact", which means "compact".

Indeed, from the outside, it is hard to believe that this is a full-frame camera with interchangeable lenses.

This feeling of surprise is like the first time we saw such a small APS-C format camera-NEX-3, NEX-5 series, and later the full-frame camera RX1 with non-interchangeable lenses ten years ago. . The release of A7C may also have the meaning of Sony's "10th Anniversary Gift".

Smaller size, but it also brings some regrets

Let's look at the appearance first. Compared with other brother models of the A7 series, the "hairstyle" of the A7C has changed, with a flat head shaved, the iconic EVF "warship head" of the A7 series has been cut off, and the EVF is placed in the upper left corner of the back of the fuselage.

▲ Compared with A7M3

Not only has the position of the EVF changed, the pixel density has also been increased, using about 2.35 million dots XGA OLED Tru-Finder ™ Electronic viewfinder.

In addition, the buttons and dials of the fuselage were also drastically cut off. For example, the front dial on the handle, the C1/C2 button on the top, the C3/AEL button on the back, and the joystick are all gone.

Although this may weaken the convenience of control, it looks simpler in appearance. With Sony's new menu design and custom button functions, it may also make up for the freedom of operation.

In terms of body volume, the A7C body is 2.9mm shorter than the A7M3 in width, 24.5mm in height, and 13.6mm in thickness. Overall, A7C looks like A6600 has gained a little weight.

But this also worries me that after the handle becomes thinner, it may make the grip feel worse. Especially the compact body is bound to shorten the distance between the lens and the handle, and users may face the embarrassment of nowhere to put their fingers.

In terms of weight, the difference between A7C and A6600 is minimal, weighing only 509 grams, which is equivalent to the weight of a bottle of Coke. Compared with A7M3, it is 141 grams lighter. With a compact lens, it is very friendly to Vlogger and YouTuber.

▲ Compared with A6600

In order to enhance its video shooting capabilities, Sony has equipped the A7C with an LCD touch screen that can be flipped up, down, left and right, making it easier to take selfies.

The addition of the flip screen also allows the interface interface on the side of the A7C's fuselage to be redesigned. For example, the microphone port is moved up and placed in the closest position to the top of the camera, so that it will not affect the flipping of the screen.

The memory card is placed on the left side. This has the advantage that you don’t need to remove the camera from the stabilizer when changing the card, which makes the operation more convenient. However, Sony also brought us a new regret, that is, there is only one slot for the memory card.

In addition, the micro USB interface on the Sony A7M3 was cut off on the A7C, leaving only one Type-C interface. Some users who like to use the remote control cable while charging may feel uncomfortable.

Fortunately, the A7C uses the classic and easy-to-use NP-FZ100 battery with a capacity of 2280mA, and the battery life is said to be good. The official said that about 740 photos can be taken when using LCD framing, and about 680 photos can be taken when using EVF framing.

According to photographer Lin Haiyin, about 1,000 photos can be taken in actual use. The test results of "Colorful Bee Photo Life Magazine" showed that after 2 hours and 45 minutes of recording 4K video, the battery has 10% power. The battery life performance is still relatively good.

In terms of appearance, Sony offers two options: one is pure black, and the other is a mix of silver + black. I personally prefer the silver version, which looks more retro.

Is it sweet enough for video shooting?

After reading the appearance, let's take a look at the inner "beauty or not" of A7C.

The "heart" of A7C is the same as that of A7M3. Both are equipped with approximately 24.2 million effective pixels full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R ™ CMOS image sensor and BIONZ X ™ Image processor. Therefore, A7M3's high-sense, low-noise performance and good picture quality can be found on A7C.

It also supports a wide dynamic range of 15 levels, which can be presented well in environments with large light ratios. A7C also supports 16-bit in-camera processing and 14-bit RAW output, the color transition will be more natural.

However, Sony's "knife technique" is still "fast and accurate." The maximum shutter speed of A7C is only 1/4000, which does not reach 1/8000 of mainstream professional cameras. It seems that it does not match its professional focus and image quality performance. This should be Sony's product positioning considerations.

▲ A7C JPEG straight out proofs

In terms of anti-shake performance, A7C is worth blowing. Even if the body is compressed to such a small size, it still achieves the function of 5-axis anti-shake. Handheld video shooting should be able to meet the needs of most scenarios.

It can be seen from Sony's recent actions that video shooting has always been its focus. In order to win the "heart" of Vlogger, A7C supports "4K non-stop recording", which solves the pain point of A7M3 that each segment cannot exceed 30 minutes.

In addition, A7C also supports real-time focus tracking function, which can keep the focus frame on the moving object, which is very beneficial for video shooting.

Before the release of A7C, many friends were concerned about who was more "sweet" in video shooting compared to Panasonic S5. The answer is now gradually becoming clear. In terms of portability, A7C is definitely more fragrant, after all, it only weighs a bottle of water. But in terms of video shooting hard power, S5 still looks stronger, after all, dual native ISO, up to 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/30p and other hard qualities are still better.

Compared with the fellow A7M3, A7C has solved some pain points, but it also brought some new regrets. For example, the single card slot design mentioned above. On the whole, A7M3 wins with comprehensive performance, and its shortcomings and strengths are not prominent. A7C is obviously better than A7M3 in video shooting. For heavy users of video shooting, it is a more fragrant machine.

Finally, let's take a look at the price. The A7C National Bank is priced at 12,499 yuan and will be listed in late September 2020.

Based on the price and performance, the target group of A7C has gradually become clear, and can basically be divided into the following three categories:

One is the old users of A7 series cameras. If you want to buy a spare camera, A7C must be the best choice. The second is heavy Vlog users who want to take pictures at the same time, so A7C is worthy of consideration. The third is a novice photographer. If you want to buy a full-frame camera, the A7C is definitely worth it.

At this conference, Sony also released the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens, which can meet the needs of daily shooting, portraits, and travel. But for Vlogger, a zoom lens as wide as 24mm may be better, so you don't have to lift the camera too far.

The price of the lens is 3299 yuan, and the single lens will be available in early 2021. However, in late September this year, you can purchase a set of A7C and the lens combination in advance, the combined price is 14,299 yuan, the price of the set is obviously more suitable.

In addition to the camera and lens, Sony also released a compact and portable flash HVL-F28RM, priced at 2,200 yuan, which will be listed in late November this year.

From the perspective of Sony's "hobby", the highlight of this conference, the A7C, is not surprising that it has a full-frame, interchangeable lens design under such a compact body. After all, since the Walkman era, Sony has always liked to pack more functions in a compact body.

▲ The classic Walkman. Picture from: pinterest

This kind of "small and big" purpose will naturally also be reflected on the camera. We can expect that Sony will bring us more surprises in the size and function of its products in the future.

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