Hard on the heels of Pansonic’s lightweight S5, Sony has joined the fray with a compact camera, the Alpha 7C, which is more or less the same size and weight as the company’s A6000 APS-C model. It will be available in kit form with the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame zoom.
The new camera measures 124×71.1x 59.7mm and weighs just 509g with battery and SD card. By comparison, the Panasonic S5 weighs 714g and measures 133x97x82. Both cameras feature a 24MP sensor.
The Alpha 7C is accompanied by an all-new 28-60mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens which Sony claims to be the smallest full-frame zoom of its type on the market. It turns the scale at only 167g. Pansonic’s near-equivalent S5 companion, the 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6, is larger and weighs 350g. However, the Lumix zoom is slightly faster and, to my mind at least, offers a much more interesting range of focal lengths, from an ultra-wide 20mm.
Pricing in the UK is remarkably similar to that of the S5. The Alpha 7C body will be available from next month at a recommended price of £1,900. The 20-60mm zoom will not arrive until January 2021 and will cost £450. At the end of October, the kit will be available at a cost of £2,150.
The new Sony is very interesting from a market point of view, coming as it does on the heels of Panasonic’s S5. The two companies have acknowledged the demand for smaller, lighter full-frame cameras. Both are taking steps to introduce correspondingly lighter lenses to match. Both, I suspect, are designed to squeeze the APS-C market. Panasonic doesn’t do APS-C, but Sony’s new camera offers full-frame capability without any sacrifice in size.
SONY PRESS RELEASE
Sony Introduces Alpha 7C Camera and Zoom Lens; the World’s Smallest and Lightest Full-frame Camera system
Sony today announced several additions to its impressive imaging line-up — the Alpha 7C full-frame camera (model ILCE-7C), the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 (model SEL2860) zoom lens and HVL-F28RM flash.
The Alpha 7C is the world’s smallest and lightesti full-frame body with uncompromising performance, featuring advanced AF (autofocus), high-resolution 4K videoii capabilities and more. When paired with the world’s smallest and lightestiii FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 standard zoom lens, this versatile combination delivers an experience unlike any other, maximising portability and versatility without sacrificing any of the power of full-frame imaging. The HVL-F28RM flash allows users to broaden their photo expressions with outstanding compactness and an intelligent light intensity control linked to camera face detectioniv.
“We are committed to creating the best tools possible based on the needs of our customers,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “The new Alpha 7C camera and FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens pack many of our most advanced imaging technologies in a brand new design that is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera and lens system in the world. This opens up a new world of possibilities for creators, giving them the uncompromised power of a full-frame system in the palm of their hand.”
New Alpha 7C: Uncompromised Full-frame Performance in a Compact Design
The new Alpha 7C combines Sony’s full-frame image quality, advanced AF capabilities and versatile video shooting functions in a stunningly light and compact design. The new camera features a 24.2MP (approx. effective) 35mm full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS sensor and BIONZ X™ image processing engine, offering high sensitivity, outstanding resolution, 15-stopv wide dynamic range and high-speed image data processing.
Measuring only 124.0mm x 71.1mm x 59.7mm (4.9 inches x 2.8 inches x 2.2 inches) and weighing just 509g (18oz)vi, the Alpha 7C is a similar size and weight to an APS-C cameravii, weighing only 1% more than the Alpha 6600. The Alpha 7C achieves the world’s smallest and lightest compact bodyii through an upgraded 5-axis in-body stabilisation system, upgraded shutter units and the utilisation of a monocoque construction which is often used in the bodies of cars and aircrafts. Even in this compact body, the Alpha 7C offers a 5-stepviii stabilisation effect that allows beautiful shots without the need for a tripod. Moreover, the high capacity NP-FZ100 battery provides enough power to capture an industry-leadingix 740 imagesxwhen using the LCD monitor, or 680 imagesxi when using the viewfinder – making it perfect for long shoots.
Outstanding Full-frame Image Quality
Sony’s new Alpha 7C combines high resolution with low noise for excellent image quality at all sensitivities, offering the user stunning image quality for shooting everyday photography and movies such as nature, portraits, sports, street photography and more. Standard ISO extends up to 51,200 and is expandable to ISO 50-204,800xi for low-light shoots. The Alpha 7C also supports 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW outputxii for natural gradations.
Using AI-driven functions, the Alpha 7C’s Real-time Trackingxiii maintains accurate focus automatically while the shutter button is half-pressed. In addition, “Tracking On + AF-On” now is assignable to a custom key and can now be activated at once while the AF-ON button is pressed. Moreover, the intended subject can be specified just by touching it on the monitor when “Touch Tracking” has been turned ON via the menu and is available for both stills and movies. The Alpha 7C’s AF functions also feature Real-time Eye AF for both humans and animalsxiv to achieve fast and accurate focusxv. When using Real-time Tracking (while “Face/Eye Priority in AF” is ON) with a human subject, the subject’s eye and face is detected and locked on in real-time with extremely high precision.
The Alpha 7C provides wide, fast, reliable AF that locks onto the intended subject instantly without losing focus, thanks to its 693-point focal-plane phase-detection AF system covering approximately 93% of the image area, with an additional 425 contrast-detection points to ensure reliable focus, even in busy environments.
The Alpha 7C also features continuous shooting at up to 10 fpsxvi with AF/AE (autoexposure) by using a newly developed shutter unit and refined image processing system. It is also possible to shoot continuously at up to 8 fpsxvii in live view mode, with minimal viewfinder/monitor display lag for easy, stable framing, even with intense subject motion. The Alpha 7C allows up to approximately 223 JPEG (Fine L) images, 115 compressed RAW images, or 45 uncompressed RAW images to be captured in one continuous burstxvii, and achieves highly accurate and reliable AF precision in light down to EV-4xviii. These features make it easier to capture fast moving objects with absolute precision.
Expanded Video Capabilities
Full-frame full-pixel readout without the need for pixel binning makes it possible to capture more than twicexix the amount of data required for 4K video (QFHD: 3840 x 2160)iii, which is then oversampled to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. In addition, the Alpha 7C supports HDR (HLGxx) and S-Log/S-Gamut profiles, Slow & Quick motion, high-speed full HD recording at 120 fpsiii and other advanced features for exceptional, high quality video footage.
Furthermore, the Alpha 7C features Real-time Eye AF (human) for video shooting. The eye is automatically tracked with high precision and reliability so that the operator can concentrate on the content rather than focus operation. Users can also customise AF Transition Speed in seven settings, and AF Subject Shift Sensitivity in five settings, in their preferences. Touch Tracking functionality is also available for movie shooting.
The Alpha 7C features a side-opening vari-angle LCD monitor, making it easy to record selfies, overhead shots, ground-level shots or whatever the user requires. The MOVIE button has been placed to the top of the camera making it easier to operate while recording in selfie mode. Additionally, the Alpha 7C also captures sound in high quality to match that of the image capture and deliver harmonious high-quality video. A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe, allowing the ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected to input digital audio signals directly to the MI shoe for cleaner, clearer audio recordings. Like other MI shoe accessories, no cables or batteries are required, providing unrestrained freedom for Alpha system moviemaking. A headphone and a microphone jack are also provided to accurately monitor recorded sound, and metadata attached to movie footage shot vertically on the camera allows the footage after transfer to a smartphone to also be replayed and edited in portrait mode.
Designed for Reliable Operation
The Alpha 7C is designed with the user in mind. The touch panel LCD monitor is a large touch-sensitive 3.0 type with approximately 921K dots, providing optimal visibility even in bright outdoor conditions, and supporting touch operations. The Alpha 7C also features a high-quality view mode for finer, more natural detail in addition to a 2.35 megadot (approx.) XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ EVF. The Alpha 7C offers functions that simplify operation during and after shooting, such as Fn button customisations and more. It is also dust and moisture resistantxxi to support shooting needs in challenging environments.
To simplify workflow needs, Wi-Fi compatible wireless-communication functions allows images and movies to be directly transferredxxii to a smartphone or tablet for convenient sharing, viewing or saving. In addition to the conventional 2.4GHz band, support for the 11ac standard allows transfer via 5GHz band(IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)xxiii so that users can select that stable and high-speed transfer with low interference. A USB Type-C® connector that supports SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps (USB 3.2) is also provided, allowing fast transfer of images during PC remote shooting and power supply from external mobile batteries.
New FE 28-60mm F4-5.6: The World’s Smallest and Lightestiv Full-frame Zoom Lens with High Image Quality
The new FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 offers the world’s smallest and lightestiv form factor in a standard zoom lens, delivering high optical performance that achieves the high-resolution depiction of full-frame everywhere in the image. Optimal arrangement of the 3 aspherical lens elements effectively suppresses aberrations throughout the zoom range and realises high resolution from corner to corner. A minimum focus distance of 30cm (0.99 feet) (wide-angle) to 45cm (1.48 feet) (telephoto) delivers close-up capability, making it perfect for everyday use or vlogging with a gimbal or grip.
At 5.9oz (167g) and 2.6 inches dia. x 1.8 inches (66.6 mm dia. x 45 mm), along with its mechanical and optimal optical design that features a retracting structure, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 achieves unrivalled compactness and lightness, allowing users to easily carry it all the times. From everyday shooting to scenery, portraits and travel, it’s the ideal lens for any type of on-the-go shooting in a wide variety of environments. When combined with the Alpha 7C, the combination achieves uncompromising full-frame performance with the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera and lens systemi. Even with its compact size and light weight, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 is dust and moisture resistantxxii and accepts a variety of 40.5mm filters.
The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 delivers high-speed, high-accuracy AF allowing for Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF, using a linear motor. In addition to Sony’s advanced AF capabilities, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 features an internal focus design which leaves the lens length unchanged with focus motion and close-up shots, enabling users to easily capture a wide variety of content from regular movie shooting to comfortable vlogging.
New HVL-F28RM: Compact Flash with Light Intensity Control Linked to Camera Face Detectionv
The HVL-F28RM is a compact flash designed to match Sony’s mirrorless cameras for a compact, manageable system, and offers the type of reliable, stable performance that only a genuine Sony product can provide. When compared to the HVL-F32M, the HVL-F28RM features a 12% reduction in volume and 7% reduction in weight. This compact, easy-to-use flash unit delivers the capabilities and dependability to meet the needs of both professional and advanced amateur content creators.
The HVL-F28RM offers consistent GN28xxiv light output, optimised light distribution and continuous flash performance that won’t interrupt the user’s workflow, as well as stable radio wireless communication and multi flash radio control. The new flash also features Sony’s newly introduced flash control linked to camera face detection advanced technology. When used with a compatible camera, the balance between the light falling on the subject’s face and ambient light is taken into account to automatically adjust accurate white balance so that the subject’s face is rendered with natural, lifelike colour. In addition, flash compensation, light ratio, and other detailed flash parameters can be controlled directly from a compatible cameraxxv. A camera custom key can be assigned to call up the flash parameter display so that adjustments can be made while looking through the viewfinder and gripping the camera. Flash parameters are shown in the selected camera display language.
A newly developed “Metal Shoe Foot with Rugged Side Frame”xxvi that also houses the unit’s electrical contacts offers improved resistance to physical shock and impact from all the directions. The Multi Interface foot is fabricated from metal for higher strength. The HVL-F28RM also features a dust and moisture resistantxxii design. When the HVL-F28RM is mounted and locked onto the Alpha 7C, Alpha 7S III, Alpha 7R IV and Alpha 9 II, resistance to dust and moisture is improved so it can withstand challenging outdoor environments.
The HVL-F28RM also features simple, intuitive operation with minimal controls including +/- light level buttons, pairing button, test button and lock lever. Plenty of light is available for bounce applications. The flash angle can also be set as required via 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 120 degree click stops for easy positioning. The new flash also features a built-in wireless radio trigger for reliable flash triggering when mounted on a compatible cameraxxvi and paired with an off-camera unit. When used as a transmitter, the HVL-F28RM can control up to 15 flash and/or receiver units in 5 groupsxxvii at distances of up to 35 metres (114 feet)xxviii for extraordinary lighting control and versatility. The HVL-F28RM is powered by two AA (LR6) alkaline or NiMH batteries. A fresh pair of alkaline batteries can provide power for up to 110 continuous flashes (1/1 manual flash with alkaline batteries)xxix.
Pricing and Availability
The new Alpha 7C compact full-frame camera will be available in October 2020 for an estimated retail price of £1,900/€2,100 body only.
The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens will be available in early January 2021 for an estimated retail price of £450/€500.
A new kit featuring the Alpha 7C compact full-frame camera and FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens will also be available in late October for an estimated retail price of £2,150/€2,400.
The HVL-F28RM flash will be available this winter for an estimated retail price of £250/€280.
For full product details, please visit: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7c
A variety of exclusive stories, videos and exciting new content shot with the newest cameras and other Sony α products can be found at https://www.sony.co.uk/alphauniverse. Sony’s European photography hub is available in 22 languages and details product news, competitions and an up-to-date list of Sony events in each country.
A product video on the new Alpha 7C can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/V-lSoSGNwg4
i Among full-frame interchangeable-lens digital cameras with optical in-body image stabilization mechanism, as of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
ii A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC card is required for XAVC S format movie recording. UHS speed class 3 or higher is required for 100 Mbps recording.
iii Among interchangeable zoom lenses for 35mm full-frame format digital camera bodies, as of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
iv This function is only compatible with Alpha 7C as of Sept. 2020
vWhen shooting still images. Sony test conditions.
vi With battery and memory card included
vii Compared to the size of Alpha 6600, 120.0mm x 66.9mm x 59.0mm and a weight of 503g (With battery and memory card included).
viii CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off.
ix Among full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital cameras with autofocus function, as of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
x CIPA standards.
xiISO expandable to 50 – 204,800 for stills, 100 – 102,400 for movies.
xiii “Tracking” in the menu.
xiv Available on still images only.
xv Accurate focus may not be achieved with certain subjects in certain situations.
xviUp to 10 fps in continuous “Hi+” mode, and up to 8 fps in continuous “Hi” mode. UHS-II compatible SDXC memory card required. Sony test conditions. Maximum fps will depend on camera settings.
xvii Continuous “Hi+” mode. UHS-II compatible SDXC memory card required. Sony test conditions.
xviii ISO 100 equivalent, F2.0 lens.
xix 24p recording. Approx. 1.6x at 30p.
xx HDR (HLG) images can be viewed by connecting the camera directly to a Sony TV that supports HDR (HLG) playback.
xxi Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and water resistant.
xxii Smartphone or tablet must have Imaging Edge Mobile installed. Please use version 7.2 or later.
xxiii Models sold in some countries/regions support IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) wireless LAN only. 5GHz communication may be restricted in some countries and regions.
xxiv 50 mm, at ISO 100 in meters
xxv Visit Sony support webpage for functional compatibility information.
xxvi Design registration application pending.
xxvii In group flash mode. 3 groups (A-C) in TTL or manual flash mode.
xxviiiSony internal test conditions.