Take a Sony A7III, put it on a diet and season it with a fully articulated display and a sprinkling of video functionality: you will get this A7IIIc, a camera that preserves the heart of the most famous full frame of the Japanese house but in a lighter and more skimpy outfit.
The operation is obviously dictated by the need of all those users who choose a mirrorless (also) for reasons of size. If with the “Alpha” trend Sony has reduced the burden of those who, until recently, had to bear the weight of a reflex, it is undeniable, however, that this has never translated into a truly compact machine.
In this sense, the objective of this Sony A7IIIC is stated: to bring all (or almost all) the benefits of the A7III into a body lightened by about 20%, both in volume and weight. The price is also down: the price list shows 2,100 euros for the body alone, 200 euros less than the older sister. Which, however, in terms of street price, now travels at prices well below 2,000 euros.
Let's start immediately from the design, an aspect that is not negligible for a camera that presents itself – right from the name – with the title of “compact” of the house. the difference in dimensions and weight compared to the standard A7III can already be felt at the very first handle: with less than 6 cm of depth and a weight of just over half a kilo (compared to the 650 of the A7III), the new "C" class is consecrated as the smallest full frame on the market today, getting closer to an a6600 than a classic A7. In short, precisely that kind of car that is (easier) to carry around but without falling into the impalpable object: the body (monocoque) in magnesium alloy makes itself felt.
It goes without saying that the streamlining operation involved some sacrifices in terms of ergonomics and functionality. The shutter has been made smaller and this affects the minimum exposure times (which drop from 1/8000 to 1/4000). The joystick, the index-side dial, the two customizable C keys and one of the two memory card slots disappear from the equipment.
The ocular section has also been revised (downwards): the electronic viewfinder of the new Sony A7IIIC, while maintaining the same organic matrix (OLED XGA), all shifted to the left, is decidedly smaller and more chaste. A compromise that certainly will not appeal to those coming from a reflex or a mirrorless of the previous Alpha 7 series.
Thankfully, what is lost in the viewfinder is compensated for by the improvements on the main display, now fully articulated. The coupling, already appreciated on the ZV-1 first and on the A7S III, then, suggests that Sony has now made a choice of field, and not only to satisfy the videomakers: the variable adjustment screen on the single axis (like the one that characterized the first three generations of the Alpha 7 series) seems retired.
We close with the ports, all located on the left side: in addition to the aforementioned slot for the SD card, we also find the input for the microphone and headphones, the USB Type-C connector and the HDMI one.
Under the dress, it was said at the beginning, the heart of a real A7III beats. The sensor is the same 24.2MP full frame as its older sister, the same goes for the battery (Z-Type) and for the AF system based on 693 phase detection points; stabilization is always on the body and on all 5 axes, the processor (Bionz X) is the one already seen on the A7R IV and A9II.
From the latest alpha series, the A7c also retrieves the eye focusing system in real time (also sensitive to animals) and the so-called real-time tracking for continuous tracking of moving subjects.
With this kit available, the A7c can in fact replicate all the activities already seen on the A7III, with a few small additions: shots up to 24 megapixels over a sensitivity range between ISO 100-51,200 (extended to 204,800), burst up to 10 frames per second (with AF / AE tracking) and capacities up to 115 raw and 223 jpeg.
On the video side there is support for 4K up to 30 fps with the possibility of working in HLG and SLog3 and Slog 2 Pro compatibility. Below all the main technical features
- Dimensions: 124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7 mm
- Weight: 509g (including battery)
- 24.2MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS (BSI) server
- Bionz X processor
- ISO sensitivity: 100-51,200 (extended 204,800)
- Max. SS 1/4000
- In-body stabilization 5-axis / 5 stops
- Video format: XAVC-S 4K 30p FHD 100p 6K oversampling
- Dynamic Range (stills): up to 15 stops
- Sampling: 4: 2: 0 8bit
- HDMI output 16-bit processing & 14-bit RAW
- Output: Full-pixel readout w / o binning (FF)
- AF: 693 phase detection points with 93% coverage
- Eye AF / Human, Animal
- Burst up to 10 fps (continuous shooting AF / AE)
- Variable angle 921k 3.0 ”LCD display
- EVF 100% XGA OLED 2359K
Despite the few hours of living with the car, we do not shy away from exposing ourselves to some first summary judgment on the experience of use. What emerges in the first instance of this A7IIIc is its atypicality within the current Sony lineup. In form, but also in substance, the A7IIIc appears quite different from its older sister: not only because it is smaller and lighter, but also because it is a little more anonymous and certainly less refined. The EVF so small and sacrificed but also the lack of the joystick and the C1 and C2 shortcut keys are a blow to the heart of all alphists.
On the other hand, it must be said, the A7IIIc is immediately appreciated for its decidedly more jaunty character and devoted to portability. The presence of the articulated display but also the big red feel for the REC on the upper part of the body – two elements already seen and appreciated on the ZV-1 – wink without "ifs" and "buts" to the world of videomakers. But here they can count on a full frame sensor stabilized on the five axes that makes all the difference in the world. At the level of dynamic range
The A7IIIc can churn out excellent 4K working across the pixel (without binning). Improved, compared to the standard A7III, the display in focus peaking mode (which here also uses a shade of blue to improve the contrast on "hot" subjects) and the versatility in terms of orientation: videos shot vertically should not be flipped being edited.
It goes without saying that a machine of this type was designed to work in conjunction with a pancake or in any case with a compact lens. From this point of view, Sony's sample collection is not particularly exuberant, quite the contrary. The 28-60mm F4-5.6 announced at the same time as the car and offered as a kit with a surcharge of 200 euros is almost an obligatory choice for those who want to travel light, considering its 167 grams of weight. Of course, in terms of pure quality, we are not at the top of the E attachment catalog.
It is not a vlog camera nor a classic Sony mirrorless camera. The new A7III is a truly sui generis machine, in some ways hybrid, which denotes enviable handling but also some limitations. Two above all: the truly sacrificed optical viewfinder and the absence of programmable keys, essential especially on a machine with such unintuitive menus.
It must be said that the price, at the moment, is not a sufficient incentive: at the same figure (2,100 euros, which become 2,400 with the 28-60 mm combined) it is better to orientate on a standard A7III, richer and more refined, although heavier.
The situation could change if the price tag falls below the 1,800 euro threshold: at that price, the A7IIIc would become decidedly more attractive, especially among all those budding videomakers who have always wanted a full frame but never dared to do so because of the costs. Associates. Both in terms of weight and economically.