In order to really create a new category of devices, those devices are gonna have to be far better at doing some key tasks.
That’s what Steve Jobs said in 2010, right before unveiling the first iPad. The same applies to cameras as well. Sony has tried this approach with the new A7C and I don’t think it checks the right marks. At least for current Sony APS-C users it doesn’t.
What Sony has done is repackage the A7III features in a slightly bloated a6400 body and sprinkle some modern specs on top. Judging by the reactions I’ve read in various comment sections, Sony could have done so much better.
What APS-C users want
I’m one of them. Jumping to full frame has crossed my mind more than once. I imagined buying into the more expensive Sony cameras would get me nice features such as:
- Better ergonomics and more customization;
- Better photo and video specs;
- The latest and greatest menu system Sony has to offer;
- Better connectivity.
With the A7C I feel users aren’t getting any of that. Granted the new Sony A7C has done some things right. It is the first Sony mirrorless to drop micro-USB and rely solely on USB-C. It has fast WiFi, so transferring RAWs and 4K videos wirelessly should be much faster. It can transfer files via FTP. The SD card slot is placed on the side, rather than next to the battery. The video record button is in a more manageable position. It has a flip screen.
Unfortunately, it compromises too much by trying to stay compact. APS-C users such as myself aren’t bothered by how big the Sony A7III is. Moreover, if we compare the two, the difference is negligible.
The A7C simply isn’t as nice to handle as the other current A7 cameras. Come to think of it, the A6600 handles better than this, thanks to its bigger grip. Furthermore, Sony has sacrificed functionality for the sake of space-saving: the A7C has one “C” button. Even the ancient A6000 has two…
Perhaps the most frustrating issue with the A7C is the return of the A7II dial and buttons and the removal of the front dial. However you look at it, it’s an obvious step in the wrong direction. Oh, and the EVF is smaller than what you get on the A7III. And the minimum shutter speed is only 1/4000s.
Then there’s the menu. People got excited when the A7SIII was announced, especially after hearing Sony officials say every new camera would inherit the new menu system. The A7C doesn’t do that. It has the same old menu which I don’t hate: I’m using an even older version on my a6300. But it shows Sony hasn’t bothered for consistency in its line-up.
I don’t mind the lack of 4K60p. Nor am I a 10-bit video militant. I was expecting these from Sony’s cheapest full frame mirrorless camera. I was however expecting to see them on a camera such as the rumored Sony A5, not on a body that wants $1800 out of your pocket. Buy it with the new kit lens and you’re spending $2100 before taxes.
To me, the new Sony A7C doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it Sony’s idea of an entry-level full frame? Judging by the specs I’d say yes. Is it the first in a new line of cameras that focuses on looks and compactness? Also yes. Is it a vlogger’s dream? Time will tell. The problem is the Sony A7C needs to be just one thing to convince APS-C users such as myself to buy it.