Considering a Sony a7C - looking for experiences from longtime Sony users

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Brecht_BE New Member • Posts: 10
Considering a Sony a7C - looking for experiences from longtime Sony users

I am looking for a relatively compact full frame camera to supplement my M43 kit. (I am aware that full frame, especially the lenses, is going to be bigger and heavier, but nowadays it doesn't have to be 1 kg for body and lens each.)

The output of all modern cameras with the same sensor size is more or less identical, so I am looking for an enjoyable shooting experience, the process is as important as the results for me. I shoot for my own pleasure, mainly travel, landscapes, architecture, street, some portraits and the occasional cat pics. No sports and no video, so I don't need the best C-AF.

I was looking at a Panasonic S5, it has all the things I need and it appeals a lot to me, but it is still relatively heavy and there are smaller options on the market. I never really considered Sony because their cameras don't appeal to me for totally subjective reasons. The huge amount of lens options is also getting less important year by year, because other systems are growing too. My recent trip to a camera store made me reconsider however. I was also eyeing Nikon Z earlier, so I tried out a Z6 (or Z5?) in a camera store and I didn't understand people raving about the ergonomics, because I barely could fit the camera in my hands. I had to stretch my fingers a lot to reach all the buttons, it didn't feel comfortable at all. I also tried out a Panasonic S5 and a Sony A7III (or IV?), and they both felt a lot better in my hand, not great, but good enough. For what it's worth, I have small hands. There wasn't a Sony a7C to try out, but I suppose it would suit me well, considering I really like the ergonomics of the OMD E-M5III, which is a small camera. So this got me thinking about the 'Sony poor ergonomics' mantra and if I should rethink other preconceptions that I have, maybe they are outdated or just wrong.

If Panasonic made an S5 in a smaller rangefinder form, it would be the ultimate camera for me, but alas, ever since Nikon and Canon came out with their first full frame mirrorless I have been following new camera releases but until now, nothing that really fits the bill, and it doesn't make sense to wait for the perfect camera that maybe will never come. So I am wondering if the very interesting size and form factor of the a7C (for me) would compensate for all the possible negatives. A7III, A7IV, the A7R cameras... don't have advantages over the S5 to me. Considering lenses, both E-mount and L-mount have enough options for me, so this is not an issue.

So these are the things I have doubts about.

  • Menus and interface

I don't mind complicated menus, I use Olympus camera after all, but at least their menus are visually appealing. I am also a fan of the super control panel. Sony menus look really bad. The interface in shooting mode also looks like a mess, with poorly designed and cluttered icons. Everything about the camera's software seems like a relic from 20 years ago. I don't understand why cameras with such good technology are so awkward to use. It just detracts from the overall experience.

  • Colours

I shoot RAW, so this shouldn't matter, but in my experience it does. In the past I had a Nikon entry level DSLR and I always had to tweak the colours, especially the reds that were too orange and the blues that were too purple. Never had this problem with Olympus, the colours were always great, never had to change a thing. So I don't look forward to do a lot of post-processing to get the colours I want. Sony doesn't have the best reputation, so I am cautious.

  • Lack of buttons/dials

I shoot in aperture priority mode 99% of the time, I am used to control the aperture with my index finger (front dial) and the exposure compensation with my thumb (back dial). The Nikon DSLR had only one dial and you had to press a button and roll the dial at the same time for exposure compensation, which I hated. At least the a7C has a separate exposure compensation wheel. Not sure if it would work easily using my thumb for both functions. Buttons for ISO, drive modes and AF modes are nice to have, but I think I could live without them.

  • EVF/back screen

I am convinced that if you don't get a high quality EVF, you should get a great back screen. Seems like the a7C has neither.

  • General shooting experience

I read a lot of comments about this: while the Sony Alpha cameras are technologically very advanced, they are very soulless to use, like a computer that takes photos and not like a proper camera. This is very subjective of course, but seems worrying.

  • Some other settings that are quite important to me. Are they present in the a7C?

In camera RAW editing. Live highlight warnings, vertical and horizontal level gauges; both of these features should be easy to switch on and off. Geotagging with an app.

I would like to hear from people who had similar doubts and made the switch anyway. What are your conclusions? Or even more interesting, people who used Sony Alpha cameras but regretted it. (Although I doubt if they would still be present in this forum?)

 Brecht_BE's gear list:Brecht_BE's gear list
Olympus PEN-F Olympus E-M5 III
Sony a7C
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