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Sony alpha 7c II and 7c R in comparison
Reading Time: 12 minutes - August 29, 2023 - by Lennart Filthuth

Better than the Alpha 7 IV and 7R V?

If we had to design a perfect camera, we would probably come very close to these two - maybe with one exception. Today, we not only introduce you to the new Sony Alpha 7C II and the Alpha 7C R , but also directly answer the question of which camera is the best choice for you. At the same time, Sony introduced the new 16-35 mm GM II, and you can read the blog post with video about this lens right here.

1. The Alpha 7C II

Let's start with the a 7C II. Just as the a 7C was a compact a7 III, the a 7c II is a more compact a7 IV. However, we'll reveal in detail later why it doesn't fare as well in comparison. First, let's take a look at everything that has changed compared to the predecessor.

Sony Alpha 7C II (ILCE-7CM2)

  • outstanding full-frame camera

  • impressive details with 33 megapixels for photos as well as 4K videos

  • 4K 60p and FHD 120p

  • compact size, stylish design

  • AI autofocus for photos and videos

  • Effortless control of settings via touch menu

  • tiltable display

  • improved electronic viewfinder

1. 1. casing and external features

Like the 7c, the 7 c II is available in two different colors. Our test model was the variant with the silver accent. The completely black camera is the second variant; but more on that in a moment.

As with all other new Sony cameras in recent years, we find the operating concept with the separate mode dial, which makes it easier to use hybrid cameras as such. Switching between photo and video with separate, individual settings is simply essential for hybrid use. We also appreciate that there is another dial on the index finger and also a programmable C button for quick changes to settings. Still included are a micro-HDMI as well as a USB-C port, and also again, only a UHS-II SD card slot. There is still no option to use a battery grip. However, there is a handgrip without a battery to make the camera more manageable.

Beyond that, the general dimensions of the Alpha 7C II have also changed. The camera has become a bit thicker to create a bit more space inside.

1. 2 Sensor and processor

A lot has happened inside the camera as well. As already mentioned, it is very similar to the a 7 IV and has accordingly also inherited the 33 megapixel full-frame sensor. In addition to the higher resolution, this also allows for better color and contrast reproduction, especially with skin tones.

If you want to learn more about the different sensors, you can also take a look at our camera basics article on this topic.

However, the processors take up a lot of space, because the dedicated AI processor, which we already know from other new Sony cameras, is also included besides the dual Bionz XR processors.

1. 3 AI autofocus

Actually, we don't have to say too much more about the autofocus. Anyone who has followed the latest Sony innovations already knows what these new algorithms are capable of. So we don't need to dive too deep at this point, but of course we would like to compare the a7c II (and also c R) with the Alpha 7 IV.

If you haven't had a chance to get to grips with AI autofocus yet, feel free to check out our in-depth talk on the launch of the A7r V.

But now let's get to the comparison, because autofocus is one of the biggest arguments in favor of an a7c II and against an a7 IV: In our comparison video, we've included a small sample shot where you can see the Alpha 7 IV's tracking in the left frame and the Alpha 7c II's tracking to the right. The a 7c II is much faster and more reliable in recognizing a human subject - even when the subject turns away from the camera and walks to the outer edge of the image. We have AI-supported body recognition to thank for that. But the whole thing also works with animals, birds, vehicles, etc., so you're much more flexible here.

The AI processor also enables the new auto-framing feature, which the ZV-E1 and the a 6700 already have. Here, the camera crops into the image at a selected level and tracks the subject. This is definitely nice to have.

1. 4 Photo Features

For photographers, not much has changed besides the changes in terms of the sensor, image processor and autofocus. Continuous shooting speed remains at 10 frames per second with full autofocus support. The ISO range is also as usual at ISO 100-51,200 and up to ISO 204,800 in Extended mode, both identical to the Alpha 7 IV. What it doesn't have, however, is the new focus bracketing feature of the Alpha 6700.

Of course, the better image stabilizer brings advantages not only in videos, but beyond that, not much has happened here in the photo area. This is unfair, since the a7C II is exactly the same as the 7IV in the photo department (except for the autofocus), which is a big step compared to the a7C.

1. 5 Video Features

In the video area, however, the most has changed. Where the a7c could still record a maximum of 4K at 30fps in 8 bit 4:2:0, the new Alpha 7c II manages the same video performance as the a7 IV. So her are up to 4K 60fps in 10 bit 4:2:2 possible, even if we have to put up with the same 1.5x crop.

But there's more than just better quality: we also have the a 7 IV's popular software features here. These include color profiles like S-Cinetone, S-Log 3, or even the new Creative Looks. But also the Breathing Compensation, the Autofocus Assistant and the Focus Map are part of it.

Almost most important, however, is the better Active IS image stabilization mode, which is no longer missing in almost any new Sony camera. Although the IBIS can already correct a full two stops more exposure than the 7c anyway, this software support is also very welcome here. The IBIS of the Alpha 7C II is even 1.5 exposure stops better than that of the Alpha 7 IV.

That all sounds very good, so what's bothering us? Well, at this point we come to the second new camera, the Alpha 7C R.

2. Alpha 7C II vs. Alpha 7C R

Sony has installed a higher resolution sensor in the new a 7C R, namely the 61 megapixel sensor of the Alpha 7 R V and that is great so far. So we can choose between a 33 and a 61 megapixel camera here in the new 7c generation. But what else distinguishes the two apart from the resolution?

Compared to the a 7c II, the a 7c R manages continuous shooting at up to 8 frames per second, instead of 10. The low-light capabilities are also a bit slimmed down because of the high resolution. Here, only ISO up to 32,000 or 102,400 in extended mode is possible.

In video, there are also small differences again, as the 7c II only records at 1.2x crop in 4K 60p, whereas the 7c II uses 1.5x crop. In 4K 30p, the Alpha 7C II, like the 7 IV, uses a full-sensor readout with no crop at all, and the Alpha 7C R uses 6.2 to 4K oversampling, which is why we end up with 30p 4:2:2 10-bit with a 1.5x crop here. With the a7c R and a compatible external recorder, we can even record 16-bit RAW, which unfortunately doesn't work with the a 7C II.

One of the biggest differences, however, is probably the price. The a7c II has an MSRP of €2,400. The a7c R costs a hefty 3,700€ MSRP, which is almost 1,300€ more. This rather large price difference includes the external grip for the 7c R, which can be purchased optionally for 180€ for the 7c II.

Sony Alpha 7C R (ILCE-7CR)

  • powerful 61.0 megapixel full frame sensor

  • BionZ XR processor

  • integrated 7-stage stabilization

  • compact size, stylish design

  • AI autofocus for photos and videos

  • optimized for even better creative experiences

  • 4K cinema-quality shooting

  • perfect companion for portrait, landscape and street photographers

3. The new cameras in comparison

3. 1 Alpha 7C II vs. Alpha 7 IV

At this point, let's once again compare the most important aspects of the cameras with their respective big brother. Let's start by comparing the a 7c II with the a 7 IV. Where are the differences and which of the two should you buy now?

From the outside, the a7cII is of course a good deal smaller and also almost 130g lighter. The smaller body only has one UHS-II SD card slot, whereas the 7 IV has a CFexpress Type A hybrid slot and a second UHS-II slot. The image stabilizer of the a7c II is 1.5 exposure stops better and the autofocus is equipped with significantly more features thanks to the AI chip.

The Alpha 7 IV also lacks auto-framing and log recording with LUTs. Instead, it has a much bigger and better viewfinder with 3.7 million pixels. The Alpha 7c II only has 2.4 million pixels at this point. The display is identical in both cameras, whereby the a 7C II has a minimally worse battery life due to the high processing power.

3. 2 Alpha 7C R vs. Alpha 7R V

The comparison between the Alpha 7C R and the Alpha 7R V is less drastic. Again, while there is a striking difference in size and weight, the a 7r V also has a slightly better IBIS and also a higher continuous shooting speed. In video, the a7c R only manages a maximum of 4K 60p, whereas the a 7r V gets up to 8K 24p.

Autofocus is identical on these two cameras, though the a 7R V also lacks new features like auto-framing and log recording with LUTs. In terms of EVF and display, however, the a7c R can't compete. The display of the a7r V is only slightly larger, but almost twice as high-resolution. The viewfinder of the a 7R V is much higher-resolution with 9.4 million pixels and is also larger.

4. What bothers us

However, this is also the big and only sticking point on the new cameras and explicitly on the Alpha 7c R. We don't say that the viewfinder is particularly bad, because after all, these cameras - similar to the a 6700 - are primarily compact, which is why some space has to be saved on the viewfinder, of course. This isn't really noticeable on the a7c II, but it is all the more visible on the Alpha 7C R: The viewfinder is simply too low-resolution to display the 61 megapixels cleanly and without optical errors. Especially if you have already worked with the a7r V and are spoiled accordingly, the EVF of the new a7c R is simply less fun.

5. Conclusion

Without wanting to give Sony any ideas... We're glad that they decided to take this great camera, the Alpha 7 IV, improve it significantly, put it in a compact but sensible form factor, and at the same time offer it for a lower price, in the end customer's interest. After all, they could have just recycled the sensor from the Alpha 7 III and combined it with the better autofocus. So there will now be many who are currently flirting with an a7 IV, but can now buy an even better camera for currently less money.

With the Alpha 7C R, it's a bit different, but even there, we have a really very good camera with a few form factor-related limitations for a much lower price to choose from.

On the other hand, Sony does not make it easy for us to make a decision here, and at this point we want to say again that no matter which camera you choose, there will be a point sooner or later when this camera will be replaced by a better successor. Nevertheless, both the Alpha 7 III and Alpha 7c, as well as the A7 IV are and remain damn good cameras.

Now that was a lot of input and we hope it wasn't too confusing. Of course, if you have any questions about the new cameras, feel free to contact us!

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