Compact Full Frame A7C vs EM1 and RX1

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Lichtspiel Senior Member • Posts: 2,688
Compact Full Frame A7C vs EM1 and RX1

After many different camera systems, I have been shooting with micro 4/3 cameras for the last 7 years. Always looking for features and image quality in a small package, Olympus cameras were my choice, besides a quick affair with an (original) RX1.

The Sony A7C certainly delivers a lot of features in a compact, light body, so I figured I'd check it out and see how it (very subjectively) compares to my current cameras (Oly E-M1ii, E-M10ii, etc) as well as the RX1 from what I can recall. The Love/WhatEv/Hate items listed below are those that matter to me - there are of course many other features and differences that are (more) important to you. Most any camera (and phone) can capture great shots nowadays.

First lens I purchased is the Samyang 35/1.8, certainly a capable prime at an affordable price. The 75/1.8 is en route, as well as the Tamron 70-300. All pretty affordable lenses really. Ogling the 20/1.8 but that... is quite an investment.

😍 Sensor - DOF control for subject separation. For me one of the main reasons to consider FF over smaller sensors.
😍 Sensor - High ISO shooting. Getting clean images at ISO12800 (after running them through DeepPrime) is awesome.
😍 Sensor - Dynamic Range. Still manage to blow out highlights, or need bracketing, but it is better than what I have been shooting with.
😍 Auto-focus - Eye and Tracking. The RX1 was awful, lots of missed shots. Not owning any small dog, I haven't rally dug into the tracking option. Generally AF-C and wide focus area seem to work a bit better than with the EM1. Amazing how it still locks focus at near darkness.
😍 IBIS - While not as effective as in the EM1, just having some sort of stabilization built in is a huge improvement over the RX1.
😍 Menu - I like the "My Menu" option as well as the customizable 12-function display. Some of the options I wanted to add to the Function display are not available (like toggling the AF light or Raw compression). My OMDs have the "Super Control Panel" which covers most settings, but is not customizable.

🤔 Pixel count - For me 16-24MP is very much sufficient even with some cropping. The higher MP bodies allow to offset missing telephoto reach, so that's good especially for prime shooters, but of course it comes with significantly bigger file sizes.
🤔 3:2 vs 4:3 ratio - I don't mind cropping so it doesn't matter that much, but except for landscapes, I find 4:3 a more natural ratio. Perhaps just because I have become so used to it over the last years. Certainly for most portrait orientation shots 3:2 is awkward. I also think 4:3 is more efficient, being closer to a square, allowing for relatively smaller lenses (them being round) to cover a more rectangular sensor of the same area.
🤔 Wheels 'n' buttons - this is a bit subjective. The OMDs have a lot of them, honestly I did not even use all of the customizable buttons and switches on my EM1. My only complaint is the lack of a wheel in front - the thumb has to do all the wheel adjusting and button pressing. Of course one can get used to that, but combined with the small grip it is harder to grab the camera without the thumb, so one-handed operation is pretty difficult.
🤔 Battery life - it is tremendous, but that comes at a price, I mean weight. Always trade-offs, I guess. The RX1 had a ridiculously small battery and short life, but one could always throw a bunch of them in a shirt pocket and off ya go.

😞 No Focus bracketing - I use this quite a bit, mostly for macro, and not having it is a real downer. MFT really beats 'em for macro.
😞 No high-res option - Not always needed, but certainly a welcome option. The 80MP HR files from my Oly can be splendid.
😞 Large/heavy telephoto lenses - can't beat physics, a sensor 4x the size needs a larger lens to cover it. Trade-offs galore, when it comes to a compact kit. The Tamron 70-300 is fairly light (545g) but if one wants to go really light the $100 Oly 40-150 coming in at 190g is really hard to beat.
😞 EVF - It's just bad. Yes, sufficient for composing in bright sunlight. I guess. Not even complaining about the size (or the resolution, which is good). Difficult to see a completely sharp image from top to button, with or without glasses. Also the diopter adjustment button... HOW are you supposed to use that with normal-large fingers?? Miniaturization at its finest.
😞 Ergo - It is much better than the RX1, which I used with an add-on grip. However, the OMD just fits "like a glove", while the A7C ergo would improve immensely with a slightly deeper grip, at least for my large hands. Also, a heavier camera with a lighter lens feels more balanced than the reverse.
😞 Sony lossy Raw compression - I know there is an uncompressed ARW, but they're huge. Why no lossless compression?
😞 General sluggishness - similar to RX1, especially when reviewing images, having to wait a couple of seconds for the next (magnified) image is a bit of a bummer. Maybe I need to get one of those UHS2 cards? Using a pretty decent U3 one.
😞 Image review - Having to press a button to magnify an image seems weird to me. Just put magnification on the command wheel, and maneuver with the thumb dial?
😞 Rear display - No touch capability of the screen besides AF and magnification during review... really?
😞 Flash options - some OMDs come with a tiny, tiny tilt flash that also works as a transmitter for off-camera flashes. Brilliant. The RX1 had a little pop-up flash that turned out very useful (leaf shutter -> 1/2000s sync time for lifting shadows).

I am still fairly new to the A7C, so some of the issues I might figure out over time. And to state it again - there are many other differences and reasons to get one over the other.

 Lichtspiel's gear list:Lichtspiel's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Sony a7C Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH Sony FE 20mm F1.8G +3 more
Sony a7C
24 megapixels • 3 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Sep 15, 2020
Lichtspiel's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Olympus E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Sony a7C Sony RX1
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