Sony’s just-announced α7C is the smallest and lightest ‘full frame’ camera currently available and it comes with a new, retracting 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lightweight lens

The two body colours for the α7C; the silver version is shown with the new FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 kit lens fitted. (Source: Sony.)

Weighing only 509 grams with battery and SD card, the α7C will be offered in all-black and black and silver versions for an SRP of AU $3,299 for the body alone or $3,899 for the body plus FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 kit lens. The new camera replicates many of the features of its popular α7M3 camera in a body that is only marginally larger and heavier than the α6600, as shown in the illustrations below.

It has the same BSI CMOS sensor as the α7M3, with an effective resolution of 24.2 megapixels and the same BIONZ X image processor. Native ISO sensitivity settings range from 100 to 51200, with extensions to ISO 50 and ISO 204800 available for stills shooting. Sony claims a 15-stop dynamic range can be encompassed at low-sensitivity settings. ARW.RAW output is 14-bit on both cameras and the α7C provides the same choice of compressed and uncompressed raw settings.

Built-in 5-axis sensor-shift stabilisation provides five stops of shake correction and the Fast Hybrid autofocusing system combines 425-point contrast detection with 693-point phase detection. Real-time Eye AF face and eye detection is available for human and animal subjects (although only for stills shooting with the latter). Real-time Tracking AF is supported and continuous shooting is possible at up to 10 fps with AF/AE tracking. It also offers improved dust and moisture resistance for shooting in challenging environments.

The maximum shutter speed available with the α7C is 1/4000 second, whereas the A7M3 goes up to 1/8000 second. Both cameras provide an anti-flicker mode that reduces flickering when shooting still images, which can be caused by fluorescent lights. Otherwise, the shutter mechanisms appear to be the same in both cameras since the only option to use the electronic shutter control is in the silent shooting mode. Both cameras also include interval timer recording, which can be used to shoot time-lapse movies.

The α7C’s monitor is the same size and has the same resolution and touch controls as the α7M3. But it is fully articulated and therefore more versatile, whereas the α7M3’s only tilts. However, the EVF on the new camera, although similarly high in resolution, is quite small and poky, compared with the screen in the α7M3. Such are the compromises required with the smaller, lighter body.

The video capabilities of the α7C are similar to the α7M3’s, although it only supports Sony’s proprietary XAVC S codec. But it can record 4K video at 3840 x 2160 (25p, 100M) and also FHD (1920 x 1080 (50p, 50M or 25p, 50M) resolution. The Slow & Quick recording modes are the same in both cameras with frame rates between 1 fps and 100 fps available.  Both cameras use the same NP-FZ100 rechargeable battery, which is CIPA rated for approximately 680 shots/charge with the EVF or 740 with the monitor.

Angled view of the new FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 kit lens. (Source: Sony.)

Concurrently with the release of the α7C, Sony is also launching a new retracting FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 kit lens, which weighs only 170 grams. It’s not particularly fast and has a restricted zoom range that makes it less than ideal for travellers – and totally unsuitable for sports and wildlife photographers. But it produces sharp images with plenty of detail and its size and weight are a huge advantage for those who must travel light.

December will see the release of the HVL-F28RM, a compact flash designed to match the new camera. It is 12% smaller and 7% lighter than the current HVL-F32M flash but provides a consistent GN28 light output, optimised light distribution and continuous flash performance and stable radio wireless communication plus multi flash radio control.The HVL-F28RM also features an improved dust and moisture resistant design. It will be priced at AU$449 (SRP).

Click here to read our detailed First Look at the new camera and lens.