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  • Cheryl Tan

Sony A7c First Impressions: A Modern Retro Hybrid That’s Really Fun To Use!

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of buzz about this new camera from Sony. The rumour mill was all over the place, some were right and many were wrong.

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We are proud to give you our first impressions of the all-new Sony A7c, the world’s smallest full-frame camera with IBIS!

This is a fun little camera that looks the business, and for a lot of street photographers, lifestyle photographers and videographers, they’ll really enjoy this for the price point.

Design-wise, it’s beautiful with a bit of retro styling to it. It’s a two-tone camera with excellent build quality. The graphite silver top plate matches really well with the black body and it does look quite similar to a Fujifilm camera, and maybe even a Leica D-Lux 7. Combine those with Sony DNA and you get the A7c.

The side-opening vari-angle LCD rotating display we saw in the ZV-1 and the A7s III is also in this camera, and we’re probably gonna see this display on future Sony cameras too.

In terms of buttons, there aren’t as many custom buttons, but that’s because Sony wants to keep this camera as simple as possible. A big plus is where the Menu button is placed, it’s right smack in the middle of the camera on top of the display.

If you’re wondering if the menu system is the same as the one in the A7s III, no it’s not. Sony hasn’t confirmed if there will be any plans to upgrade the menu system to the new one, so we’ll have to see if it comes in a future software update.

The dials on the top plate don’t have a locking mechanism, but there’s a lot of tension to them so you will have to exert some force to change the settings. It’s a good thing since if you’re used to throwing the camera in your bag, you won’t have to worry about your settings changing.

There’s also a record button on top, which is excellent since you’ll get easy access to record and you don’t have to fiddle around in the settings and such to start recording.

Speaking of video, you get 4K up to 30fps and 1080 at 120fps.

Normally, on Sony cameras, you either put the card in at the bottom or on the right side. Not with this camera. The card slot is now on the left side, with a door above it for the mic input jack and a door below that houses the HDMI port, USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone port.

In terms of battery life, it’s the same battery used across the Sony Alpha series, and you’ll get around 680 to 700 shots per battery. Of course, this depends on how much video is being shot in addition to the photo aspect, but it’s pretty good for a camera this size.

The sensor inside is the same 24.2MP BSI sensor that you’ll find in the A7 III, the camera will support ISO 100-51200 and the electronic and mechanical shutters can go up to 10fps continuous shooting.

The camera can compensate up to five stops with the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) and it’s a different IBIS from the ones in other Sony cameras. Due to the size of the A7c, Sony engineers had to work to fit IBIS into the camera and it still works relatively well.

The A7c feels like a street photographer’s camera; it’s small, lightweight and has a bit of a retro vibe to it. Some of the pamphlets and brochures will say this camera is meant for YouTubers and vloggers and yeah, that’s true, but as a photographer, this is a really enjoyable camera to use.

The colour science that everybody’s talking about from the A7s III is also in the A7c and Sony’s really making a lot of improvements in their camera systems.

One thing about the A7c is that bigger lenses do feel a bit unbalanced because of how small the camera is. We recommend using primes in the range between 20mm to 50mm because that’s a really nice size with this camera. A 24-70 or 70-200 lens will put a lot of extra weight on the camera, and we have no information on whether there’s going to be an external camera grip available either.

The standard grip is small and people with larger hands might find their pinky fingers without a place to rest. That being said though, the ergonomics of the camera are good and it feels great to hold.

You get a 2.36-million dot EVF and while it’s not flagship by any stretch of the imagination, it works well in the A7c. You’ll notice that the EVF is small though, and even though you might think it’s not going to work, you’ll get used to it after a day or so. There’s a high frame rate mode and it’s bright and clear.

Street photography is definitely something the A7c was made for, and the detail in photos is stunning. The colour science is slightly different in the A7c, and it’s a nice baseline to start editing skin tones.

Low light performance is great as well, with 15 stops of dynamic range. Of course, the dynamic range will be best at ISO 100, but even at ISO 320, a lot of detail can still be rescued from the shadows and highlights.

The autofocus system is the same one found in the A7R IV and A7s III, with S-Log 1, S-Log 2, S-Log 3 and HLG supported. It’s a pretty full-featured video camera. If you just want something nice and easy for YouTube or social media, this is the camera for you.

For more information about the Sony A7c (S$2,499 for body only) or to support us, get it on Amazon here.

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