SAN DIEGO, CA — You’re probably asking why we—a hi-fi mag—are reporting on a Sony A7C camera. The truth is we’re only Part-Time Audiophiles. After hours we each have family life, social functions, and several hobbies that extend beyond our usual hi-fi desires—photography just being one. The more I delve into the world of high-fidelity imagery, I often find just as many correlations between audiophiles as I do photophiles.
It’s true, we at Part-Time Audiophile pride ourselves on
sometimes having the best in-house photography in the American hi-fi press (as evidenced by our show reports). Even our publisher Scot Hull uses a high-end Sony RX1 as his daily shooter. Just as we audiophiles seek attributes like resolution, detail, dynamic range, focus, and color; it’s these same attributes found in the Sony A7C that make photography and camera hunting all equally enjoyable as an auxiliary hobby.
Enter the Sony A7C
So, when Sony—a company also deeply into high-end audio—announced the Sony A7C and two new lightweight companion products it really piqued our collective interest. The Sony Alpha 7C is a compact full-frame mirrorless camera body, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 is a compact full-frame zoom lens, and the HVL-F28RM is a compact hot-shoe flash. More information, photos, and videos are located below. Enjoy!
Sony Electronics Introduces Alpha 7C Camera & Zoom Lens, the World’s Smallest & Lightest Full-frame Camera System
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 full-frame body with uncompromising performance, featuring advanced AF (autofocus), high-resolution 4K video capabilities and more. When paired with the world’s smallest and lightest 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.
“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 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), the Alpha 7C is similar in size and weight to an APS-C camera, with only 1 percent more weight than the Alpha 6600. The Alpha 7C achieves the world’s smallest and lightest compact body 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 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 74011 images when using the LCD monitor, or 680 images 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 for low-light environment captures with low noise. The Alpha 7C also supports 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW output for natural gradations.
Using AI-driven functions, the Alpha 7C’s Real-time Tracking 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 to achieve fast and accurate focus. 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 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 fps 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, and achieves highly accurate and reliable AF precision in light down to EV-4. 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 the amount of data required for 4K video (QFHD: 3840 x 2160), which is then oversampled to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. In addition, the Alpha 7C supports HDR (HLG) and S-Log/S-Gamut profiles, Slow & Quick motion, high-speed full HD recording at 120 fps 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 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 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) 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 Lightest Full-frame Zoom Lens with High Image Quality
The new FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 offers the world’s smallest and lightest4 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 system. Even with its compact size and light weight, the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 is dust and moisture resistant 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 Detection
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 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 detection5 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. 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” 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 resistant 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 camera 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 at distances of up to 114 feet (35 meters) 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).
Pricing & 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 and $2,399.99 CAD. 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 and $649.99 CAD. 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 and $2,699.99 CAD. 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 and $329.99 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.
Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new camera, lens and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony α – Alpha.
About Sony Electronics Inc.
Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Corporation (Japan), one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming, robotics and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K and 8K Ultra HD TVs.
Visit http://www.sony.com/news for more information.
Full Length Video Introduction
Part-Time Audiophile Photography
All photography samples below are taken with the smaller APS-C sensor size format. Just imagine what we could do with the larger full-frame sized sensor found in the Sony A7C.