Sony a7c II – A Compact Encounter

After the release of the BIONZ XR Processor, Sony has been slowly revamping the entire Alpha line-up to include this hardware upgrade and bringing in the highly regarded AI Autofocusing system. What started in the a7r v, soon passed into the a6700 which we looked at *here*, and now it is the turn of the a7c, with the introduction of the Sony a7c II, alongside the higher resolution a7c R.

Sony a7c II Digital Camera Body Only

At first glance, these two new cameras are pinned as being a compact a7 IV, and a7R V respectively, with each pinching the sensor from its bigger brethren. In the case of the a7c II, the camera boasts the advantage of a newer processor and AI AF. A big spec bump over the a7 IV, this processor poses an interesting question as to what trade-offs there will be to attain this benefit. 

Is the a7c II just a smaller a7 IV, or is it a genuine contender against the widely popular a7 IV?

Key Features at a glance:

  • Share Content On The Go
  • Advanced AI Processing Unit
  • Professional Image Quality
  • Compact
  • Hybrid Photo/Video Shooting 
  • FHD 120p Recording
  • S-Cinetone & S-LOG Recording
  • 4K Slow Motion
  • Improved EVF
  • Fully Rotating Screen

In the hand 

As someone with big hands, and who has previously stated that the full-size Sony bodies are only comfortable with the addition of the VG-C4EM battery grip, the compact body size was a lot more comfortable than expected. Using the camera without the additional, unpowered GP-X2 handgrip, didn’t prove to be detrimental to the camera’s feel.

You can get the a7c II with the 28-60mm lens which makes a great starter kit, but it's always worth testing a camera with a few more lenses. The camera felt easy to handle with the 40mm f2.5 G lens attached, and I would imagine the camera feels right at home in the city for street and travel photography. I meanwhile, strapped my trusty 200-600mm G OSS lens to the a7c II and went off to photograph some of our local alpacas. 

Click on any image to view in full resolution!

Alpaca taken on Sony a7c ii

The handling even with the big lens was very comfortable, over the short time we were there, it didn’t become uncomfortable, and it handled the weight of the 200-600 very well.

My personal preference is still for a full-sized body, however, there is certainly a time and a place for a smaller body size. Being only 3mm deeper in size, and marginally heavier than the original a7c, photographers looking to upgrade to the Mark II, won’t notice much of a change in the hand. 

Pro-Camera Auto Focussing

Every time the new focussing system gets going, it always impresses as to just how easy it finds and tracks subjects, and to have this focusing power in smaller bodies, such as this and the A6700, would have been incomprehensible only a short time ago. A real nod to just how far camera technology has come in a relatively short period of time. The user experience was very much one of a shrunk professional setup.

This begs the question as to what other considerations there would be between purchasing the a7 IV and the new a7c II. The size will be a love or hate thing, it’ll either work for you or not, so definitely worth getting both in hand to help with this decision.

The a7c II does have the benefit of the processing unit and AF system, however, the a7 IV lends itself more to the needs of a professional photographer, with the inclusion of 2 card slots, one being a CF Type A to allow for redundant shooting not available on the a7c II, with its singular UHS-II SD Card slot.

Alpaca taken on Sony a7c ii

Where does this leave Sony to go?

The a7c II more than holds its own against its full-sized counterpart, to the point where it becomes an interesting point to ponder as to what updates a potential a7 V will have in order to put some space between the compact and full size. Might we see a boost in megapixel count, with the a7 V becoming a Nikon Z8 and Canon R5 rival?

The a7C II will no doubt be a strong contender as a second camera body for a Sony user, someone who wants a smaller and compact, but familiar and well-performing body. Being able to switch lenses from a professional set-up to a compact travel set-up saves an unfathomable amount of time and muscle memory when shooting in differing scenarios. That, and it is kinder on the wallet!

Alpaca taken on Sony a7c ii

As an entry point into Sony's full frame, the a7c II would unequivocally be a consideration for users upgrading from the original c, as well as those wanting to make a leap from older crop sensor cameras within Sony’s lineup. 

The benefits of full-frame sensors have been well-covered for years, and to have this, with as much power and performance as is on tap here, in the form factor of the a7c II, gives what I feel is, one of Sony’s best all-round cameras on the market at present.

For those wanting more resolution, there is the a7c R, which is being labelled as a potential Leica Q3 killer, keep checking back for more on this camera soon.

Convinced Yet?

If you like the sound of this Sony mirrorless camera you can learn more and purchase it here:

View the whole Sony a7c Range >

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  • By Aled Phillips
  • 28 Nov 2023

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