Sony A7c: a pro-level camera at an affordable price

The Sony A7c will give you high-quality photographs without breaking the bank, says Matthew Partridge

One of the defining features of a serious camera is the size of its sensor. Smartphones and cameras intended for casual snaps typically have a sensor smaller than one inch. “Prosumer” and enthusiast cameras tend to have larger ones, affording better image quality (especially in low light). Many professionals prefer to go with “full-frame” sensors, which are an attempt to replicate the 35mm format used in the days of film. Sadly, these tend to be exponentially more expensive, as well as bigger and heavier, which is why APS-C (or “crop” sensor) cameras are often considered the best compromise for hobbyists.

The good news is that recently several camera companies have been trying to produce full-frame cameras priced at a level more affordable for non-professionals. The A7c is Sony’s attempt to break into this market. Weighing (and looking) almost identical to the a6100, a6400 and a6000, it is compact enough to fit in a large jacket pocket and comes with all the features you’d expect from the latest Sony cameras, including a fast, accurate autofocus that is regarded as the best available, and which can automatically track subjects’ eyes. This extends to video recording and the camera has the capacity to record long clips. The body stabilisation feature allows you to take pictures at very slow speeds without camera shake. The colours seem both vivid and natural.

There are a few downsides. Firstly, in order to make it look more compact, the camera has been designed in a “rangefinder” style, with the viewfinder to the left of the lens, and the viewfinder is smaller than those for typical cameras. It also lacks a built-in flash. And although the A7c is relatively cheap compared with most full-frame cameras, it is still roughly double the price of crop-sensor alternatives.

Still, the A7c remains perhaps Sony’s most advanced camera and costs only around half to two-thirds the price of its other flagship models (such as the A9 and A9 Mark II). As someone who shoots a lot of theatre, where the level of light is limited, I normally have to use special lenses to ensure that the photographs don’t end up becoming too grainy. With the A7c, however, I am able to get large numbers of high-quality pictures using just the FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lens.

The Sony A7c costs £1,900 for the body only and £2,150 with the 28mm-60mm zoom lens. See sony.co.uk.

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