Sony has unveiled the latest camera in its Alpha lineup, one which seeks to bring high-end performance in a more compact form. It’s called the A7c and is Sony’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera to date.
So exactly how small is it? Obviously not tiny, but Sony has managed to cram in a full-frame sensor into a body that’s very similar in size and weight to the A6600.
If you want specifics, the body measures 124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm and weighs 509 grams, which is only 6 grams heavier than the A6600 and a few millimetres wider, and taller, but thinner.
Inside, it’s got a new five-axis in-body stabilisation (IBIS) system and has a body built using a similar monocoque construction to what is used in car bodies. That essentially means the supporting structures that give it its durability are built into the external frame.
It also has a proper flip-out screen, making it only the second A7-series camera – after the A7S III – to feature a fully articulating touchscreen.
With its stabilisation system, Sony says you’ll be able to get stunning smooth shots without needing a tripod, making it ideal for handheld vloggers, plus the battery is the NP-FZ100 which can shoot up to 740 stills before dying.
For years, Sony’s A7 lineup has been seen as one of the best for shooting video at a semi-professional levels, often offering premium capabilities without needing to buy a big, expensive cinema camera.
The A7c brings a lot of that in a smaller package and is capable of shooting up to 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) while also supporting HLG for HDR capture as well as S-Log and S-Gamut profiles.
It supports up to 30 frames per second recording at 4K resolution, but only up to 8-bit, which may come as a bit of a disappointment for those who like to colour grade and ideally would want 10-bit data.
Still, it can film 1080p at up to 120 frames per second for those wanting to capture some high frame rate video at a relatively high resolution for quality slow motion.
For audio capture, there’s a 3.5mm input for mics, a 3.5mm output for headphones and a multi-interface shoe which can be used with additional mics or audio input accessories.
Stills, smart autofocus and processing
All of this is captured on a 24-megapixel 35mm Exmor R CMOS backside-illuminated sensor, with the data captured then processed using the Bionz X image processing engine. Combined that means 15-stops of dynamic range and a standard ISO that reaches up to 51,200.
What that means in real daily use is that – essentially – even if you want to shoot in low light situations, you won’t struggle and you’ll be dealing with comparatively little noise.
What’s made the Sony system so appealing over the past few years, however, is its smart autofocusing and real-time tracking. Whether you’re shooting stills or video the camera automatically detects human or animal eyes and can lock on quickly and keep the focus on it.
This AF system is wide too, its 693 phase-detection points covering around 93 per cent of the available image area and combines with 425 contrast-detection points.
Add that to the fact that it has a new shutter unit and can reach 10 frames-per-second in continuous shooting mode with autofocus and autoexposure enabled, and you have one fast and capable compact camera.
Alongside it, Sony has announced another ‘slimmest and lightest’ FE 20-60mm standard zoom lens, which you can buy with it as a kit if you want to.
The Sony A7c will be available to buy in October for £1,900 body-only, with the kit containing the 28-60mm lens and the body coming in late October for £2,150.