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Sony α7C Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Sep 10, 2021 at 10:24 am
Sony α7C Picture
8.4
Travel Photography
8.5
Landscape Photography
8.0
Sport & Wildlife Photography
8.0
Vlogging
8.7
Studio Video
6.1
Action Video
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Tested Lens
Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6

The Sony α7C is a relatively compact full-frame camera. It's a mirrorless interchangeable lens model with a lightweight design that's not much bigger than the crop-sensor Sony α6600. JPEG image quality is fantastic, and it has remarkable RAW noise handling capability, making it well-suited to low light photography. Its video quality is excellent in both 4k and 1080p, and it has an amazing autofocus system with advanced real-time tracking that does an exceptional job tracking moving subjects when recording video. The camera feels incredibly well-built, and unlike the Sony α7 III, it has a fully articulated screen to help you shoot from different angles. It also has an exceptional battery life that should last through long days of shooting. However, it's not the most comfortable camera, as Sony compromised a bit on ergonomic features to achieve its compact form factor by having fewer dedicated dials and buttons and a less comfortable viewfinder than some of its Alpha series counterparts.

Our Verdict

8.4 Travel Photography

The Sony a7C is great for travel photography. It's fairly lightweight and portable, especially considering it has a full-frame sensor. It captures incredibly high-quality images and performs well even in low light, and it has an exceptional battery life that should last through long days on the go. It also has an excellent autofocus system that reliably keeps moving subjects in focus. That said, it's not the most comfortable to use since its size and design can make for a somewhat cramped handgrip when coupled with larger lenses, especially if you have larger hands. Its menu system can also be a bit cumbersome to navigate.

Pros
  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Remarkable image quality.
  • Exceptional RAW noise handling capability.
  • Fantastic autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Handgrip can feel a bit cramped.
  • Menu system is somewhat hard to navigate.
8.5 Landscape Photography

The Sony a7C is an impressive camera for landscape photography. Its image quality and RAW noise handling capability are remarkable, and it has excellent dynamic range to bring out a wide array of detail in high-contrast landscape shots. It's also weather-sealed to protect against rain and humidity, though we don't currently test this. All in all, the camera feels incredibly well-built and is very portable for a full-frame camera, but its design leaves less room for a comfortable handgrip, especially for those with larger hands.

Pros
  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Remarkable image quality.
  • Exceptional RAW noise handling capability.
  • Fantastic autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Handgrip can feel a bit cramped.
  • Menu system is somewhat hard to navigate.
8.0 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Sony a7C is very good for sport and wildlife photography. It delivers remarkably high-quality images with minimal visual noise even at higher ISO levels. It also has a fast max shutter speed and a good continuous shooting speed, although its buffer emptying time may interrupt your shooting if you manage to fill the buffer. Its autofocus system is excellent and does a particularly superb job tracking moving objects. It also has both human and animal eye-tracking settings, which are great for photographing athletes or wildlife, respectively.

Pros
  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Remarkable image quality.
  • Exceptional RAW noise handling capability.
  • Fantastic autofocus performance.
  • Good continuous shooting speed.
Cons
  • Handgrip can feel a bit cramped.
  • Menu system is somewhat hard to navigate.
  • Buffer empty time is a bit long.
8.0 Vlogging

The Sony a7C is very good for vlogging. It's relatively compact and portable for a full-frame camera, and it has a fully articulated screen so you can monitor yourself while recording. It has in-body image stabilization, which is great, but the camera doesn't do a good job smoothing out camera shake when moving at a moderate pace. On the upside, it has an exceptional autofocus system that ensures your face stays in focus, and its overall video quality is excellent. There's no recording time limit, either, and its battery life is fantastic, with no instances of overheating during testing.

Pros
  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Great overall video quality.
  • Fantastic autofocus performance.
  • Fully articulated screen.
Cons
  • Handgrip can feel a bit cramped.
  • Menu system is somewhat hard to navigate.
  • Video stabilization is disappointing.
8.7 Studio Video

The Sony a7C is excellent for studio video. Its video quality is impressive, whether shooting in 4k or 1080p, and it has good internal recording capability, though its recording format options are a bit limited, and its menu system can be hard to navigate. It supports several S-Log and HLG log picture profiles for more in-depth color grading in post. Its battery life is also exceptional, and it doesn't have a recording time limit and shouldn't overheat, though this can vary in real-world conditions. You can also keep using it while its charges via USB. It comes with a full array of inputs and outputs, including a headphone jack and stereo microphone input, and a micro HDMI port with clean HDMI output so you can use an external recorder without overlays. It only has one SD card slot, which may disappoint more serious videographers.

Pros
  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Full array of inputs and outputs.
  • Great overall video quality.
  • Fantastic autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Handgrip can feel a bit cramped.
  • Menu system is somewhat hard to navigate.
6.1 Action Video

The Sony a7C is a mediocre choice for action video, though it's not meant for this use. While it's compact relative to other full-frame mirrorless cameras, it's not designed to be mounted on a helmet or other action video rigs. It's weather-sealed but not fully waterproof, although we don't currently test for this. Unlike many models, it can record and playback FHD video at up to 120 fps, which is good for generating slow-motion footage, but its 4k frame rate options are more limited.

Pros
  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Can shoot in FHD at up to 120 fps.
  • Great overall video quality.
  • Fantastic autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Handgrip can feel a bit cramped.
  • Menu system is somewhat hard to navigate.
  • Limited 4k frame rate options.
  • Video stabilization is disappointing.
  • 8.4 Travel Photography
  • 8.5 Landscape Photography
  • 8.0 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 8.0 Vlogging
  • 8.7 Studio Video
  • 6.1 Action Video
  1. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  2. Updated Sep 10, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Sep 03, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Black (Body Only)
SEE PRICE
B&H
Black W/ 28-60mm Lens
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Amazon.com
Silver (Body Only)
SEE PRICE
B&H
Silver W/ 28-60mm Lens
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B&H

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
7.1
Design
Portability
Height
3.2" (8.1 cm)
Width
5.6" (14.2 cm)
Depth
2.5" (6.3 cm)
Volume
44.2 in³ (724.0 cm³)
Weight
1.12 lbs (0.51 kg)
Weight With Lens
1.49 lbs (0.68 kg)

Note: You can see the camera's portability with the lens attached and with the lens fully extended.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

  • Body is made of magnesium alloy and feels sturdy and robust
  • Buttons and dials feel premium and provide great physical feedback
  • Fully articulating screen mechanism feels sturdy
  • Battery compartment and inputs/outputs are covered by solid-feeling hinged doors
  • SD card slot has a dedicated compartment with a hinged door on the side of the camera, so you can access it even while the camera is mounted on a tripod

Design
Body
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
E-Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Sony α7C camera body
  • Sony FE 28–60 mm F4–5.6 lens
  • Lens cap
  • Rear lens cap
  • Sensor cap
  • Hot shoe protection cover
  • Shoulder strap
  • NP-FZ100 battery
  • AC adapter
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • User manual

7.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No

  • Grip may feel somewhat crowded with a full-frame lens, particularly for those with very large hands
  • Rubberized texture provides a secure hold
  • Buttons and dials provide good physical feedback
  • Dedicated video recording button makes it easy to shoot video at a moment's notice
  • Changing aperture and shutter speed is easy, though changing ISO requires you to press the separate 'ISO' button first
  • Most controls are well-placed, though some like the 'Menu' button are a bit harder to reach comfortably, and it can be easy to accidentally block the EVF sensor, causing the screen to turn off
  • Fully articulated screen allows more flexibility than the Sony a7 III
  • No eyecup around the viewfinder, which can be uncomfortable
  • If you'd prefer a camera with better ergonomics and more physical buttons and dials, consider the Sony α7 IV.

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.59
8.6
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Fully-Articulated
Screen Max Brightness
725 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
6.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Imaging Edge Mobile

  • Menu system is okay to use, but more complex settings can be difficult to find
  • Can't use touchscreen feature to navigate menu
  • Can create a customized menu and remap a wide array of camera controls, though there are some options that are only available when customizing a button
  • 'Fn' menu is well-organized and makes it easier to access frequently used settings
  • Guide mode can help explain certain features to novice users

Design
Assistance Functions
Level Display
Dual-Axis, Photo & Video
Grid Lines
Photo & Video
Histogram
Photo & Video
Zebra Pattern
Photo & Video
Focus Peaking
Photo & Video
Waveform
No
7.0
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
4.0 - 5.6
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/4.0
Minimum Focal Length
28 mm
Maximum Focal Length
60 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
60 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
77.2%
Light Falloff
60.7%

Note: The Sony Alpha 7C has an 'APS-C/Super 35mm' mode that allows it to adapt its sensor to compatible APS-C lenses.

Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.2 MP
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
50
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
Ver.2.0

Note: This camera has extended low ISOs of 50, 64, and 80. Its extended high ISOs are 64,000, 80,000, 102,400, 128,000, 160,000, and 204,800.

9.6
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Sony NP-FZ100
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
680 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
140 min
Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/4,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes

Note: While the max shutter speed is 1/4000s when using the mechanical shutter, this camera's electronic shutter speed goes up to 1/8000s.

7.3
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
4 fps
High Speed Continuous
10 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
9 fps
Raw Buffer Size
46 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
170 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
10 s
9.4
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
98%
Face Tracking Success Rate
79%
Face Detection Distance
181" (460 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
93%
Advertised Focus Points
693

Note: The Sony Alpha 7C is advertised to have 693 phase-detection autofocus points when using a full-frame lens, 299 phase-detection AF points when using a full-frame lens in APS-C mode, and 221 phase-detection AF points when using an APS-C lens in APS-C mode. It also has 425 contrast-detection AF points.

8.3
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/8 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes

Note: We conducted this test at a 60mm focal length instead of the usual 70mm we usually use because the kit lens has a max focal length of 60mm. For that reason, the results may not be fully comparable with other cameras we've tested.

Photo Image Quality
9.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
SNR 18% After Exposure Recovery
32.69 dB
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
12.3 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 800
11.2 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 3200
10.2 f-stops
9.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo Sharpness
JPEG Sharpness At Base ISO
1.083 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.1782 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.207 pixels
RAW Sharpness At Base ISO
2.302 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 800
2.321 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 3200
2.332 pixels
9.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Color Accuracy
Color Difference (dE2000) At Base ISO
7.27
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 800
6.73
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 3200
6.42
9.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.10 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
39.46 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
38.57 dB
9.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
41.07 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
40.32 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
39.05 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
37.02 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
34.85 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
32.09 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
29.18 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
26.16 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
22.97 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
20.84 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
8 bits
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
7.2
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.16 x
8.2
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
60 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
N/A
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0
9.8
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
9.7
Face Tracking In 4k
9.9
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes
4.7
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
Walking Test In 4k
21.53 pixels/frame
Running Test In 4k
44.53 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
Yes
4k Video Stabilization Crop
1 x
8.5
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
8.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.9
6.8
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
4.7°
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
16 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
N/A
9.9
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
9.8
Face Tracking In FHD
9.9
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes
7.4
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
Walking Test In FHD
7.40 pixels/frame
Running Test In FHD
21.09 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
Yes
FHD Video Stabilization Crop
1 x
8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
8.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
8.5
8.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.0°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony a7C comes in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Silver'. We tested the 'Black' model with the Sony FE 28–60 mm F4–5.6 kit lens, though you can also buy it in either color without a lens.

Let us know if you come across a different variant or your Sony a7C doesn't correspond to our review, and we'll update it.

You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Cameras

Sony α7 IV

The Sony α7 IV and the Sony α7C are both mid-range mirrorless cameras from Sony. They share some similarities, including incredibly sophisticated autofocus systems that reliably track moving subjects, as well as high-resolution full-frame sensors that deliver sharp, detailed photos and perform well in low light. However, the α7C is much more compact, making it easier to travel with but means it has fewer physical buttons and dials, a much smaller viewfinder, and just a single SD card slot. The α7 IV also has better internal video recording specs, making it a better option for more advanced video work.

Sony α6000

The Sony α7C is better overall than the Sony α6000. While it isn't as portable, the α7C has a larger full-frame sensor, giving it better low-light performance and better overall image quality. Its autofocus system is also more effective and reliable. The α7C is also better for video work since it can record in 4k, offers more frame rate options, and has better internal recording capability. Still, the α6000 offers a lot of value for its price, especially if you're new to photography.

Sony α6600

The Sony α7C performs similarly to the Sony α6600, although it has a slight edge thanks to its backside-illuminated full-frame sensor. As a result, out-of-camera image quality and high-ISO performance are a bit better on the α7C. The cameras are similar in size, although the α6600 has a couple of extra custom buttons and a larger, more comfortable EVF. Both cameras are weather-sealed, feature in-body image stabilization, and use Sony's highly effective autofocus system; however, the α7C uses a newer version with more settings to fine-tune AF performance.

Sony ZV-1

The Sony ZV-1 and the Sony α7C are different camera types geared toward different uses, but that said, the α7C is more versatile since you can switch out lenses. The α7C uses a full-frame sensor, feels better built, is weather-sealed, and has an electronic viewfinder as well as in-body image stabilization. It delivers better image and video quality, especially in low light, and has a much longer battery life, as well. The only real advantages of the ZV-1 are its portability and simplicity, which make it a solid beginner vlogging or travel camera.

Discussions