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Sony A7C: A Compact Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera For Enthusiasts And Vloggers

The company also introduced a 28-60mm zoom lens and external wireless flash

The new Sony a7C small and compact full-frame mirrorless camera with the new FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens

Today, Sony introduced three digital imaging products: The Sony a7C full-frame mirrorless camera, which the company says is its smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera body to date, nearly as small as the a6600, which has an APS-C-sized sensor. The Sony a7C will be available in late October for $1,799 (body only) and $2,099 with the new Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 (model SEL2860) kit lens, which is the second new digital-imaging product announced today. That lens will also be sold as a standalone zoom in early 2021 for $499. The third new product is the Sony HVL-F28RM, a wireless external flash unit, will be available later this winter and sell for $249.

Sony a7C Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Body

The new Sony a7C full-frame mirrorless camera (top view).
The new Sony a7C full-frame mirrorless camera (back view).

At the moment, there are several full-frame mirrorless Sony camera bodies on the market, including the Sony a7R IV, a7S III, a9 II, plus older models.

So, where does the a7C fit in and who’s the target audience? During Sony’s NDA briefing last week, the company presented the following list of the five current full-frame Alphas, including the new a7C, and how they’re characterized, using just one word to describe each model:

Additionally, during Sony’s NDA press briefing, the company noted that the main target groups for this camera would be lifestyle shooters and new user enthusiasts who don’t yet own a full-frame cameras. But Sony would also be targeting vloggers and existing full-frame camera owners who may want a second full-frame camera.

(It’s interesting to note that Sony did comment on the fact that the Sony RX1 advanced point-and-shoot, which did include a 35mm full-frame image sensor, is a smaller model than the new a7C—but it lacks an image stabilization system. Sony also mentioned that the RX1 is not an interchangeable-lens camera like the a7C.)

Sony also sited various studies that said photographers and content creators were more likely to step up to a full-frame model if the camera had a smaller size and lighter weight. But to achieve its small size, measuring just 4.9 inches x 2.8 inches x 2.2 inches and weighing just 18 oz., Sony needed to produce new hardware, including a new smaller in-body image stabilization mechanism, a new compact shutter unit and a new compact eye-level viewfinder.


Here’s a list of some of the features found in the new Sony a7C:

  • A 24.2-megapixel CMOS ExmorR BSI full-frame sensor, with 693 phase detection points focal plane, covering 93% of the frame, as well as 425 contrast-detection points.
  • Sony’s BIONZ Z image processing engine
  • Real-time tracking autofocus initiated with AF On; Real-time Eye AF (human/animal).
  • Burst modes with up to 10fps continuous shooting with mechanical or electronic shutter plus AF/AE tracking.
  • 4K 24p/30p video recording with full pixel readout and beautiful bokeh, plus no time limitations for video recording.
  • Additional video features, including HLG/HDR, S-Log3/2 for seamless editing.
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization — reimagined and compact.
  • Class-leading battery life on the NP-FZ100 battery: 740 shots (CIPA rated), which includes using the LCD.
  • 4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity and USB-C 3.2.
  • A 3-inch 921,000-dot swiveling LCD screen.
  • A 2.4 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, positioned in the camera body’s corner, like Sony’s RX-100 series point-and-shoots.
  • A magnesium-alloy construction, with dust and moisture resistance seals.
  • Up to ISO 204,800.
  • A 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system.

Sony says that the new model has 14 stops Dynamic Range. They’ve also optimized ergonomics for those who are on the other side of the camera, including vloggers. Also, the a7C full-frame mirrorless camera will be available in black and silver color variations.

Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Zoom Lens

The new Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Zoom Lens.

Like the newly announced full-frame camera body, Sony was also looking to build an equally compact but just as capable standard zoom kit lens for the new a7C. Sony said the new zoom is the “world’s smallest and lightest full-frame E-mount standard zoom lens.” Also, it will be offered as both a kit lens and as a standalone, but the standalone version won’t hit the market until 2021. At press time, there was no price for the zoom sold as a standalone lens.

Prominent features on this lens include:

  • A retractable design. Sony noted that it doesn’t haave a motorized extension, but does have a manual extension.
  • It includes 3 aspherical lens elements and a 7-blade circular aperture.
  • A Linear AF motor for fast, precise and silent AF
  • Lightweight at just 5.8 oz.
  • Close focusing distance: approximately 12 inches (wide angle) and approximately 18 inches (telephoto).
  • Dust and moisture resistant.
  • Accepts 40.5mm filters

Sony HVL-F28RM Wireless Flash

The new Sony HVL-F28RM wireless flash on the new Sony a7C full-frame mirrorless camera.
The new Sony HVL-F28RM wireless flash (front view).
The new Sony HVL-F28RM wireless flash (back view).

Sony’s new wireless flash, the HVL-F28RM, is also compact and constructed to fit in with the small size of the new Sony’s full-frame alpha mirrorless camera. 

The Sony F28RM comes has a guide number of 28 and includes Sony’s latest imaging technology, including Sony’s flash control, which is linked to the camera’s face detection technolgy. Sony says that, “when used with a compatible camera, the balance between the light falling on the subject’s face and ambient light is evaluated to automatically adjust accurate white balance so that the subject’s face is rendered with natural, lifelike color.”

In terms of functionality, the new model, which is part of Sony’s radio wireless line of flashes (as opposed to its optical wireless line of flashes), will be able to be used as both a receiver and controller, and can control up to 15 flashes in 5 groups.  The new flash will also run on two AA batteries.

Sony notes that this flash unit does not swivel, but you can angle it at various angles–at 0-, 20-, 40-, 60-, 80- and 120-degree clicks. 

For more on these new products, read Sony’s press release below: 

[[press release:]]

Sony Electronics Introduces Alpha 7C Camera and Zoom Lens, the World’s Smallest and Lightest[i] Full-frame Camera System  

New HVL-F28RM Compact Flash is also Announced

SAN DIEGO, CA – September 14, 2020 – Today, Sony Electronics Inc. announced several additions to an already impressive imaging lineup — 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 lightest[ii]  full-frame body with uncompromising performance, featuring advanced AF (autofocus), high-resolution 4K video[iii] capabilities and more. When paired with the world’s smallest and lightest[iv] FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 standard zoom lens, this versatile combination delivers an experience unlike any other, maximizing 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 detection[v].

“We are committed to creating the best tools possible, based on the needs of our customers,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics. “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-stop[vi]  wide dynamic range and high-speed image data processing. 

Measuring only 4.9 inches x 2.8 inches x 2.2 inches (124.0mm x 71.1mm x 59.7mm) and weighing just 18oz (509g)[vii], the Alpha 7C is similar in size and weight to an APS-C camera[viii], with only 1 percent more weight than the Alpha 6600. The Alpha 7C achieves the world’s smallest and lightest compact bodyii through upgraded 5-axis in-body stabilization and shutter units, and the utilization of magnesium alloy monocoque construction, often used in the bodies of cars and aircraft. Even in this compact body, the Alpha 7C features a 5-step[ix] stabilization effect that allows for shooting snaps without a tripod. Moreover, despite the compact body, the high-capacity NP-FZ100 battery provides enough power for long shooting durations and to capture up to an industry-leading[x] 740 images[xi]when using the LCD monitor, or 680 imagesxi when using the viewfinder.

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 from ISO 50-204,800[xii] for low-light environment captures with low noise. The Alpha 7C also supports 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW output[xiii] for natural gradations.

Advanced Autofocus

Using AI-driven functions, the Alpha 7C’s Real-time Tracking[xiv] maintains accurate focus automatically while the shutter button is half-pressed. In addition, “Tracking On + AF-On” is now assignable to a custom key and can 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 animals[xv] to achieve fast and accurate focus[xvi]. 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 tracking 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 percent 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 fps[xvii] 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 burst[xviii], and achieves highly accurate and reliable AF precision in light down to EV-4[xix]. These features make it easier to capture fast moving subjects in challenging environments.

Expanded Video Capabilities

Full-frame full-pixel readout without the need for pixel binning makes it possible to capture more than twice[xx] 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 (HLG[xxi]) and S-Log/S-Gamut profiles, Slow & Quick motion, high-speed full HD recording at 120 fpsiii and other advanced video features for additional creative freedom.

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 customize 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, low ground-level shots or whatever the user requires. The MOVIE button has been positioned on the top of the camera making it easier to operate while recording in selfie mode. The new Alpha 7C not only records high-quality video, but also high-quality audio. 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 can 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. Headphone and microphone jacks 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 the smartphone or similar device, to also be replayed and edited in the vertical position.

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 921 thousand dots, providing optimal visibility even in bright outdoor conditions, and supporting touch focus, tracking and shutter 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 customizations and more. It is also dust and moisture resistant[xxii] to support shooting needs in challenging environments.

To simplify workflow needs, Wi-Fi compatible wireless-communication functions allows images and movies to be directly transferred[xxiii] 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)[xxiv]  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 three aspherical lens elements effectively suppresses aberrations throughout the zoom range and realizes high resolution from corner to corner. A minimum focus distance of 0.99 foot (0.3m) (wide-angle) to 1.48 feet (0.45m) (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 length (66.6 mm dia. x 45 mm length), along with its mechanical and optimal optical design that features a retracting structure, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 achieves unrivaled compactness and lightness, allowing users to easily carry it all the time. 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 percent reduction in volume and 7 percent 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 GN28[xxv] light output, optimized 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 detectionv advanced technology. When used with a compatible camera, the balance between the light falling on the subject’s face and ambient light is evaluated to automatically adjust accurate white balance so that the subject’s face is rendered with natural, lifelike color. In addition, flash compensation, light ratio, and other detailed flash parameters can be controlled directly from a compatible camera[xxvi]. 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”[xxvii] that also houses the unit’s electrical contacts offers improved resistance to physical shock and impact from all 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, durability to dust and moisture is improved, even when used in 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 groups[xxviii] at distances of up to 114 feet (35 meters)[xxix] 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 late October and will be sold for approximately $1,799.99 USD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens will be available in early 2021 and will be sold for approximately $499.99 USD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

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 and will be sold for approximately $2,099.99 USD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

The HVL-F28RM flash will be available this winter and will be sold for approximately $249.99 USD . It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

[i] An Alpha 7C with an FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 lens mounted. Among full-frame interchangeable-lens digital cameras, in combination with an interchangeable zoom lens. As of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
[ii] Among full-frame interchangeable-lens digital cameras with optical in-body image stabilization mechanism, as of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
[iii] 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.
[iv] Among interchangeable zoom lenses for 35mm full-frame format digital camera bodies, as of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
[v] This function is only compatible with Alpha 7C as of Sept. 2020
[vi] When shooting still images. Sony test conditions.
[vii] With battery and memory card included
[viii] 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).   
[ix] CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off.
[x] Among full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital cameras with autofocus function, as of Sept. 2020. Sony survey.
[xi] CIPA standards.
[xii] ISO expandable to 50 – 204,800 for stills, 100 – 102,400 for movies.
[xiii] Limited to 12-bit when compressed RAW is used for continuous shooting, BULB shooting, or when long-exposure noise reduction is [ON].
[xiv] “Tracking” in the menu.
[xv] Available on still images only.
[xvi] Accurate focus may not be achieved with certain subjects in certain situations.
[xvii] Up 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.
[xviii] Continuous “Hi+” mode. UHS-II compatible SDXC memory card required. Sony test conditions.
[xix] ISO 100 equivalent, F2.0 lens.
[xx] 24p recording. Approx. 1.6x at 30p.
[xxi] HDR (HLG) images can be viewed by connecting the camera directly to a Sony TV that supports HDR (HLG) playback.
[xxii] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and water resistant.
[xxiii] Smartphone or tablet must have Imaging Edge Mobile installed. Please use version 7.2 or later.
[xxiv] 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.
[xxv] 50 mm, at ISO 100 in meters
[xxvi] Visit Sony support webpage for functional compatibility information.
[xxvii] Design registration application pending.
[xxviii] In group flash mode. 3 groups (A-C) in TTL or manual flash mode.
[xxix] Sony internal test conditions.

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