A honest A7C hands-on experience review from a Fuji fanboy

First of all, I would like to thank Sony Singapore for providing the loan for Sony A7C, Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM and Sony FE 85mm F1.8. The units were loaned and had returned back to them. All the shots shown here are taken by me and some shots were edited with minor adjustments with Lightroom Classic.

In this review, I will discuss less about the specifications and the hardware of this camera. What I will going to share is more towards my experience of using the Sony A7C. Before I start my review, I have to let everyone knows that I actually have a day with the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 OSS. That’s because the staff has prepare the wrong lens for me and they are responsive and replace it with the 24-70mm the following day. Let’s begins…

Sony A7C with articulating screen
Sony A7C – back
Sony FE 85mm F1.8 . Sony A7C . Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM

Design

When I first unbox it, I am really surprise how compact and small is this rangefinder style camera is. It comes with a large and comfortable enough hand grip for me to hold onto the camera body. I quickly make a physical comparison with my Fujifilm X-E3. And wow! The Sony A7C is almost the same size as the Fujifilm X-E3 and yet it pack with a Full Frame sensor and an IBIS. I am impressed by how amazing Sony has put up lot of effort in designing this camera. For easy reference, I have create a reference table below.

Sony A7C124 x 71 x 60 mm (4.88 x 2.8 x 2.36″)
Fujifilm X-E3121 x 74 x 43 mm (4.78 x 2.91 x 1.68″)
Sony A7C . FE 24-105mm F4 F OSS @105mm . f/8 . 1/4000” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-105mm F4 F OSS @105mm . f/8 . 1/400” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-105mm F4 F OSS @105mm . f/4 . 1/500” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-105mm F4 F OSS @48mm . f/4 . 1/320” . ISO 100

It comes with a fully articulating screen. Because of the way how I photograph my subject, this is not my prefer screen. When I do low angle shoots with the screen flip out and adjusted to the low angle viewing mode, I seems to have some parallax error and the shots turn out to be not the way it intended to be.

But having say that, this articulating screen is probably the best way to benefits many people and their needs.

Built

This little compact camera has a magnesium alloy body and it feels great to hold on my hand. Some people commented that the silver finish make it looks plasticky and less premium. But I feel that its look is clean and sleek and it also doesn’t seems to spell cheap built quality too. The weight at 509 grams is feel just right too. I still feel the weight but not too heavy until it soar my wrist.  

Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @70mm . f/5 . 1/640” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @70mm . f/8 . 1/80” . ISO 160
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @70mm . f/5 . 1/2000” . ISO 100

Performance

Awesome, crisp and full of details are what best describe about the image quality. Despite being complain by many photographers about using the old sensor, the quality is not being compromise. The AF speed is pretty decent and fast. The eye-AF focusing is fantastic and literally lock to the subject very well. Noise at high ISO is well-controlled and clean. Basically, I think there is nothing much to complain about. Sony know this sensor still can perform well and very usable in the years to come. It also make sense by cutting down the cost to make it becoming one of the most appealing and cheapest full frame camera in the market.

I am surprise that the 5 stops IBIS performs reasonably well too. It helps to stabilize my shots well especially at night.    

Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @35mm . f/2.8 . 1/40” . ISO 800
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/2 . 1/100” . ISO 250
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @35mm . f/2.8 . 1/40” . ISO 2500
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @52mm . f/2.8 . 1/10” . ISO 1600

Battery

The NP-FZ100 battery is stunning good. I manage to run through a full day with just one battery (approximate close to 1000 shots). Anyway I only receive one battery for the testing. If you are using it for travel and you get to charge it on a daily basis, then one battery is actually sufficient. But for a person like me who prefer to have redundancy or backup, two is the minimum.

Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @52mm . f/2.8 . 1/10” . ISO 1600
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/2 . 1/100” . ISO 2000
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 GM @85mm . f/2 . 1/50” . ISO 3200

Best lenses to work with

Small lenses, such as compact prime lenses, are definitely the best options to pair with this camera. Throughout the course of using this camera for 2 weeks, I realize I do not like to use it with the 24-70mm F2.8 GM and I think that 24-105mm F4 lens is the “biggest” lens that you can pair with and still comfortable to hold.

Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 GM @85mm . f/2.8 . 1/200” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @69mm . f/2.8 . 1/80” . ISO 250
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 GM @85mm . f/16 . 1/160” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @70mm . f/2.8 . 1/80” . ISO 320

Feedback

The first thing I have to say is that I have a big hand. And basically I only need 3 fingers to hold camera, leaving my little finger dangling. I think an additional grip for my little finger to rest upon is sufficient. I hope Sony will include an additional base in the package for the next generation of A7C.

The second thing I hope the second generation of A7C will have a bigger EVF. It is a pain for me to view a small screen. I know the target audiences are basically vloggers but having a bigger EVF shouldn’t do much harm.

The third is the AF joystick. I hope Sony will implement the joystick as I believe many photographers would love to have it as it helps to improve the flow of selecting the AF points.

Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/2.8 . 1/160” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/5 . 1/500” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @24mm . f/16 . 1/80” . ISO 100

Who is this for?

Beside vloggers and travelers. With this competitive pricing and compact body size, it is attractive for people who want to start to use a full frame camera but do not wish to burn a hole in the pocket. Having said that, provided that the buyer is not planning to invest in bigger and pricier lenses in the near future.

Having said that, the suggested price of this A7C is even cheaper than the flagship X-T4. If you are a photographer who has this budget and wants to upgrade from a DSLR era, will you get a A7C or the X-T4? Looking at the starting price can be deceive as oftentimes consumers forget to include the lenses and accessories they intend to invest in. So before investing into a system, consider all the factors and most importantly, it makes you want to bring it out and shoot with it.  

Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/7.1 . 1/160” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/7.1 . 1/160” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @70mm . f/8 . 1/4000” . ISO 100
Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @24mm . f/2.8 . 1/160” . ISO 3200

Conclusion from a Fuji Fanboy

Overall, it is a great camera with awesome eye-AF capabilities. I have to highlight again the size of this camera also spells that it work comfortably with small lenses. The old menu system does need to spend some time to learn and familiar with it. But of course, you can customize the menu for your needs. The SD slot is allocated to another side of the camera, which is unusual but might be a good move to position the card away from the battery slot area.

With its IBIS in such a small compact size camera, I am looking for a day when Fujifilm will implement the IBIS in their future X-E series (the newly launch X-E4 is not an IBIS camera). I can see there is a healthy competition and it’s not about full frame versus APS-C but how technology can improve our photography experience further in the future.     

Sony A7C . FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @70mm . f/2.8 . 1/160” . ISO 500
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/2.8 . 1/250” . ISO 1600
Sony A7C . FE 85mm F1.8 @85mm . f/2.8 . 1/250” . ISO 2000

For more of my photos, do follow me below:
https://www.instagram.com/alwinkok_
https://www.instagram.com/alwin.portraits

Disclaimer:
1. All the shots taken here were shot by me.
2. I reserve ownerships to these images
, if you wish to use my images for whatever reasons, please notify me and we can see how to works thing out.

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