These should be better! Sony A7C II and A7CR first impressions

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Today Sony released 2 brand-new electronic cameras, the A7C II and the A7CR along with a brand-new 16-35mm G Master II lens. These cams are the latest in the compact line from Sony. They are essentially "light" versions of the A7 IV and the A7R V.

I believe these electronic cameras are well done, however there are a couple of things that require design attention as this is a discouraging lineup as it is. I love the type element, but I would in fact want to pay more for these electronic cameras to have a little more professional physical functions which I will talk about in this video.

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These should be better! Sony A7C II and A7CR first impressions

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  1. I wouldn’t buy these cameras because of the lower price, but because of the form factor and the compact size. I currently use two Panasonic GX8 bodies. Same form factor, although they are actually somewhat larger. However, the GX8, in spite of being 7 years old, has a viewfinder with the same resolution as these new Sonys but higher magnification (0.77x vs. 0.7x). I do like the button layout of the Panasonic better, but could probably get used to the Sony in that area. But that viewfinder is a deal breaker for me. If I buy a new camera, I would expect the viewfinder to be better, not worse.

  2. I’d rather to keep the camera compact than have a better but bigger EVF. In my opinion, if you really need EVF in general size, you can go with A7M4.

  3. IMO your spot on about size. Personally I am looking for something compact that can also be versatile. One day I might want to be stealthy for street photography and the next have a long lens for portraits.

  4. I thought they do have smaller lenses. Firstly you have the 35mm F1.8 (Which is an amazing lens), and then you have the G lenses (24mm, 40mm and 50mm). You also have the 50mm F1.8 and the 85mm F1.8 which are also pretty light. I am looking at these and thinking they are a great option as a backup/second body. I do wish they had the new tilt and flip screen though.

  5. I’m glad I bought the A7C when it came out because I only shoot adapted manual lenses and would have hated to wait a few years for 2 extra custom buttons, a front wheel, maybe better IBIS (I hear it’s a hybrid system now?), a larger viewfinder, cleaner UI, and more megapixels that I’ll rarely need. Still really cool to see that they’re expanding the line with most of the latest features.

  6. You are correct. These *should* (and easily could) be better. The full-frame mirrorless vendors are following a strategy of release early (and poor-quality) and release often – knowing people will keep “upgrading” until after about 4 upgrades (*cough*) the customer finally gets the camera the vendor could have produced on Day 1.

  7. Great review, thanks! Agree with the smaller footprint should not always equal smaller price point argument. The ACRII is such a compelling platform for hiking/landscape… BUT, like yourself, the EVF & LCD factor in greatly to my personal happy factor when using the A7iv. Coming from a Z6ii, I still enjoyed the user experience more because of how thinks looked while shooting (though I’d never trade the AF, glass, or customization :D). Thanks again!

  8. I’m with you on the joystick. No matter how good a company’s AF system is, I still want to precisely place an AF point, and not use a touch screen to do it. The A7R III(a) is getting a bit long in the tooth, but I still think it’s a bit of a sweet spot in the lineup in terms of features, resolution, etc. I intend to hold on to mine for a while.

    1. Still using the original A7R3, as well. The only reasons I’d see to get a newer body would be AF improvements, better IBIS and focus stacking, but I don’t actually need any of these features, and the A7R3 still has the best battery life (I think?) and better high ISO and dynamic range.

  9. Totally agree that Sony needs to roll out high-end f1.8 or f2 lenses. The 20mm sets the bar. Would love to see a 28mm f1.8 G, made as compact as possible. Would turn the a7c into a Q3. 35mm and 50mm f1.8 G would be great too, but 28 would be my vote.

    1. Absolutely! The 28 f/2 is sensibly small but just meh with the proliferation of 1.8/1.4 primes from Sony and the newer Chinese companies. I gather that it’s not a popular focal length for manufacture because 24 is pretty close and has more appeal as a standalone prime since many zooms cover 28 and 24 conveniently becomes 35 on APS-C.

    2. totally. As a street photography enthusiast I want affordable but small Sony systems.

    3. 35mm f1.8 is a great lens already, also without the G sticker! I would have loved to have the same lens with 24mm focal length. I would have preferred that over the 24mm GM I currently own which is not that good. Slow to focus, horrible focus breathing.

  10. I think they missed a great opportunity to bring back a built in flash like they had on the older a6000 bodies. That was a really cool feature that set those cameras apart. And with the rise of compact Fujis as edc cameras… they should’ve given these C cameras some kind of flash in the body design.

  11. Yes I agree! I wanted the FORM FACTOR not the cheaper price when I bought my two A7C cameras. I totally would have paid more to get better EVF and higher resolution!

    I upgraded from a Sony APSC camera that had a HIGHER magnification EVF than my A7C! 🤨

  12. One of the things about the A7CR that’s eyebrow-raising to me is that in super 35 crop mode it’s still 24ish MP, theoretically opening up the option to use APS-C glass and get similar performance to their 6000-series. That brings smaller lenses while still leaving the option to hook up the big GM/ Art series FF primes as needed. Sigma has a new-ish split line of lenses (the “I” series) that are also much along the lines you described – one branch of compact-as-possible (but slower) and one of still-compact but fully-featured and fast-ish. They only get down to f/2, so maybe the adapted glass or the dedicated manual E-mount (voigtlanders et al) will still be superior.

    1. The a6700 sensor has the same dynamic range as the a7rv sensor in crop mode. But the big issue is that the a7rv sensor is still super slow for video.

  13. Great review and i agree

    I wouldve been happy to pay additional couple of hundreds for better evf and lcd resolution. And i also wish the grip was slightly bigger. They seem to have improved from a7c but still looks pretty shallow.

    I really think sony couldve nailed it here and win over their competitors with this but they were too cautious about internal competitions within amongst their own products.

  14. Very good presentation indeed. To me evf is useful and important to use outdoor under strong tropical daylight. Sony’s invention is never up to consumers ‘ expectation. That means we have to change gear every few years.

  15. Literally the one feature I use the most on the a7C original is moving the focal point, then dialing it in with the manual rings on my lens. A joystick for this work would be awesome.

    ngl, I’m kinda a fanboy of the form factor, so I hope to own both very soon. That being said, I think the II will be my first grab. Thanks for the info and your thoughts!

  16. The perfect lenses for these a7c’s are the a Sigma i- series primes which are Small but very high quality and at lower coat. I think the EVF is very important especially when shooting street in bright sunlight. I use my EVF to check images after shoot when the back of the LCD gets washed out. EVF is key. Sad they didn’t make it better than the a6xxx line but less than the full sized a7 line so as to not hurt sales of the bigger full frame cameras. Work out a deal with the evf mfg to get a better price. Don’t skimp on the stuff that is used all the time. Yes you can use the lid like a phone but if you just want an lcd experience then you’ll just use a cell phone not a real camera to take pix. If you paid $ to take pix with a real camera then an evf is a vital important thing for sure.

  17. Thank you for an unbiased review . I would have bought the A7CR without hesitation IF the viewfinder was better . This kills it for me as a glasses user. I totally agree with you that these cameras or at least the A7CR should be more “pro” with an outstanding viewfinder

  18. I think on first look that Sony has a great camera in the A7C-II. That said, I would add to the wish list a second card slot, and a better EVF. I’m not a hybrid shooter so video specs don’t excite me. If I can get 1080 at 120 I’m happy. I am confused why Sony hasn’t made any changes to their fps rate of 10 or less. They’ve made so many advances in autofocus and subject tracking that it seems as though raising the fps to something closer to 15 would have been made a reality by now. I currently shoot Canon, but Sony has been peaking my interest for some time. Just a few key features and I’ll be switching!

  19. Thanks for the review. I had the A7c but ended up selling it because I couldn’t adjust to the tiny evf. The LCD screen is useless to me outdoors. Why am I the only photog these days who prioritizes the viewfinder?! It’s absolutely key to the photographic experience.

  20. While I agree with you in “the C series should also be top-range”, I think at least some of the models should be more affordable than the full-sized-original and the full-featured-C models. Currently, I’m happy the C models are significantly cheaper than the full-sized ones they’re derived from. And the sacrifices (EVF, single SD card, lack of 8k) aren’t that big an issue – at least for me.

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