Sony's More Expensive Vlogging Solution

Hot on the heels of Sony revealing that the ZV-1 (RX100-based) vlogging camera has far exceeded their sales expectations, Sony is back with with the papa bear version of the suddenly growing vlogging family, the US$1800, full frame A7C

bythom sony a7cwlens

Based loosely on the A6600 body—body thickness is deeper—and something like the A7 Mark III sensor and innards, this new camera has me scratching me head. (Note: the A7C's sensor is slightly smaller than full frame than even the previous Sonys: 35.6 x 23.8mm. Couple with the rounding used in naming some lenses' focal length, angle of view on the A7C is going to be ever so slightly tight to some people's expectations.)

There's a bit of a mix going on here that some might like, some might not. For example, while the sensor is stabilized and basically the same as in the A7 Mark III, the tight body constraints mean only one SD card slot (UHS II compatible). We also don't get the directional mic array of the ZV-1, though we do get both headphone and microphone jacks. But the most noticeable trait that will catch videographer's eyes is the 8-bit 4:2:0 video (8-bit 4:2:2 on the HDMI port). 

The viewfinder is squeezed into the back's upper left corner and sticks out significantly backwards, while the Rear LCD is similar to the articulating one you find in the A7S Mark III, though only 921m dot. 

To round out the vloggability, we also get a new collapsing kit lens, the small 28-60mm f/4-5.6 (US$2100 when you buy body and lens). 

Like the ZV-1, the A7C can take still photographs, but it's not particularly optimized for that, and the control placement and customization falls a little short for a still photographer. Moreover, we get the cripple hammer with a 1/4000 mechanical shutter and 1/160 flash sync. 

Sony seems all in on making products for vloggers and YouTubers all of the sudden, but it feels to me that they're just not quite hitting the mark. For the price, I think most people would be expecting 10-bit 4:2:2 video capability. 

Lenses are also stymying Sony. Full on hand-held vlogging requires at least 24mm, and I'd say that you really should target at least 20mm. The ZV-1 rates out at about 26mm in actual use and now we have 28mm in the bigger brother. I also don't understand why the A7C didn't get the fancy directional mic array. Once you start bulking this larger camera up with an external mic I'm unsure it has all that much advantage over just using one of the other A7's or A6xxx's. 

And do vloggers and YouTubers really need full frame? If they do, aren't they already there with a different Sony model? Also, I'd point out that f/4 on full frame is approximately equivalent to f/1.4 on 1", and the ZV-1 is f/1.8, so I'm not feeling a big urge for that f/4-5.6 lens.

Indeed, in looking through Sony's lens lineup, I don't really find one that "feels right" for the A7C for vlogging. The 20mm f/1.8G is on the big and heavy side, and the only Sony lens I think I'd consider. But I did find a few that I'd want to try: Samyang 18mm f/2.8 and the Samyang 24mm f/2.8 immediately struck me as "right." The Tamron 20mm and 24mm f/2.8 also look interesting to try on the A7C.

Support this site by purchasing from the following advertiser:


text and images © 2020 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2019 Thom Hogan-- All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #sansmirror