Sony a7 III vs Sony a7C
Sony a7 III
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Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
February 27, 2018
November 01, 2020
Sony a7 III vs a7C Overview
These entry-level mirrorless cameras are part of Sony’s Alpha series. They have the same full-frame sensor and offer similar performance. That means a Sony a7III vs a7C comparison must concentrate on the big difference in body and ergonomics.
The older Sony a7 III scores higher on specs, but it isn’t a huge difference.
Neither body is better or worse than the other in principle. It’s usually just a matter of personal preference. Street or travel photographers might prefer the more compact Sony a7C. Others might prefer the Sony a7 III.
The rangefinder design of the Sony a7C means the viewfinder is a little smaller. It also has a slower maximum mechanical shutter speed, poorer performance at high ISOs, and only one storage slot.
However, the Sony a7C has higher frame rates, a bigger buffer, and gyroscopic stabilization. It’s also lighter.
And the a7C offers unlimited video recording, longer battery life, and lower minimum focus sensitivity. That means the autofocus works in darker conditions.
Body and Handling
The Sony a7C isn’t quite pocket-sized. But the flat-topped rangefinder layout makes it smaller and lighter than the Sony a7 III. It a7C looks like a lot of compact cameras.
The viewfinder resolution is the same on both cameras. However, the Sony a7C’s smaller viewfinder and rectangular shape make it harder to handle with long telephoto lenses.
If you prefer shooting in Live View, the Sony a7C’s vari-angle screen is much more flexible. You can use it to shoot in portrait and landscape formats. You can twist it around to face up or down. And you can even swing it out to the side and rotate it 180° for selfies and vlogging.
The Sony a7 III’s tilting screen has the same number of dots and offers the same screen size. However, it can only be tilted to help while shooting in landscape format.
The Sony a7C’s aperture and shutter speed dials are on the back of the camera. But they’re on the front and back of the Sony a7 III. It might seem like a small thing. But it means you can change your exposure settings with your thumb and forefinger without altering your grip. That gives the a7 III a big speed advantage.
Sony a7 III vs a7C Optics
The two cameras have the same Backside Illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and Bionz X processing engine. That means there should be no difference in image quality when using the same lenses. However, the DXOMARK sensor scores rate the Sony a7 III slightly better in low-light situations.
Both cameras have the same 5-axis sensor-shift IBIS (in-body image stabilization) system. So they offer the same five-stop improvement in image stabilization.
They also have the same number of phase-detection and contrast-detection focus points, covering 93% of the frame. However, the Sony a7C’s AF system’s sensitivity in low light is one stop better.
Both also offer these features:
- High continuous shooting speeds
- Face detection and eye tracking
- AE bracketing
- An Anti-flicker mode
But the a7C also incorporates Sony’s latest AI-powered subject recognition system. This offers better AF tracking—especially when your subject’s eyes are temporarily hidden.
You may want to save money by buying a “starter kit” or “kit lens” bundled with either camera. You have several options. B&H offers the following lenses with the Sony a7C and a7 III:
- 20 mm f/1.8
- 24-70 mm f/4 (plus the 24-70 mm f/2.8 with the a7 III)
- 24-105 mm f/4
- 28-60 mm f/4-5.6
- 50 mm f/1.8
These lenses all have shorter focal lengths. They’re general-purpose lenses for everyday shooting.
The 20 mm and 50 mm have a “fast” maximum aperture of f/1.8. It’s ideal for working in low light or creating a shallow depth of field. The other lenses start at f/4, which is not too bad. But you’d probably be happier with f/2.8.
All the lenses are fairly light, compact, and portable. And one or two of them, such as the 20 mm, are equipped with a Dual XD Linear Motor system and internal focusing. That makes the autofocus system quick, quiet, and accurate.
Sony a7 III
The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
6000 x 4000 px
6000 x 4000 px
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
23.8 x 35.6 mm
23.8 x 35.6 mm
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 4000 s
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Sony a7 III vs a7C Video Capabilities
Both cameras offer 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) footage up to 30p. This uses 2.4x oversampling (without pixel binning) to add color depth and dynamic range.
They both feature a Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) picture profile. This allows direct playback to HDR (HLG) TVs. They also both provide the following:
- Time-lapse recording
- A zebra stripes warning to indicate blown-out highlights
- Gamma Display Assist for brighter S-log video display contrast
- Proxy recording
- External ports for a mic and headphones
The Sony a7 III can record in AVCHD format. However, the Sony a7C’s gyroscopic stabilization and unlimited recording are better for video.
Sony a7 III
Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
XAVC S, AVCHD
Sony a7 III vs a7C Features and Benefits
Neither has a built-in flash. But the two models share a long list of other features:
- Support with RAW files
- Electronic levels
- External mic and headphone ports
- Smartphone remote controls
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connections
- Webcam functionality
As you can see below, they share many convenient specs. Notable ones are touch screen capability, weather sealing, and Blue Tooth connectivity.
Sony a7 III
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.
Sony a7 III vs a7C Storage and Battery
The battery and memory card setups are almost similar. The Sony a7C has only one SD memory card slot. But it can take either UHS-I or UHS-II cards.
The Sony a7 III has dual card slots. One is for UHS-I, and the other is for UHS-II cards. You can use these two slots in a variety of ways:
- Shoot in RAW and JPEG, saving each format to a different card
- Shoot stills and video, saving each format to a different card
- Record to one card and then switch to the other when the first card fills up
- Copy files from one card to the other
SD memory cards are gradually being replaced by XQD cards and CFexpress Type A and B cards on high-end cameras. However, they’re still cheap and popular enough to survive for a while longer.
Both cameras take the Sony NP-FZ100 rechargeable battery. The battery life is similar, but the a7C gets 130 more frames from a single charge.
Storage and Battery
Sony a7 III
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
DXO Mark Scores
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Sony a7 III
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'
Sony a7 III
Construction and Durability
Handling and Ergonomics
Value for Money
Overall, there are only a few differences in our comparison of Sony a7III vs a7c:
- Sony a7C: It’s lighter. It has a larger buffer size, lower minimum focus sensitivity, and gyroscopic stabilization. Plus, it has unlimited video recording and a longer battery life.
- The Sony a7 III: Has a faster shutter speed, better high ISO performance, a larger viewfinder, and two SD storage slots.
The performance of these two full frame mirrorless cameras is very similar. It’s best to approach your choice between them based on your photography style and preferences.
If you’re a street or travel photographer and prefer stealth, portability, and convenience, then go for the Sony a7C. This compact full frame camera is also good for videographers.
Otherwise, you might prefer the bigger viewfinder and more traditional ergonomics of the Sony a7 III. That’s especially true if you’re used to using a DSLR with telephoto lenses.
What Camera is Better Than the a7 III?
I should point out that the upgraded Sony a7 IV came out in October 2021. It’s more expensive. But it improves the Sony a7 III’s features across the board, particularly in video capability.
The a7 IV boasts gyroscopic stabilization, unlimited video recording, and three more video formats.
You also get several other upgrades:
- A 33 MP image sensor
- 66 more focus points
- One-stop better minimum focus sensitivity
- An anti-dust shutter
- CFexpress Type A card support
- A full-size HDMI port
- 56% more resolution from the LCD screen and EVF (electronic viewfinder)
If you’re still unsure, get inspired with some of our other popular comparisons:
Sony a7 III
B&H photo video