“The Sony 7C is amazing on many levels. But I can’t get passionate about using it”
For years I have been lugging large heavy cameras around. That’s okay when I am doing photographic work. However, when I’m on holiday or doing something where a photograph is a side issue, I don’t want the heavy gear which would likely get in the way, I want something small and light that I can get good results from.
For any camera, there are four issues I consider when purchasing (apart from price of course):
1. Is the output excellent?
2. Is it the right size (I prefer small/light to large/heavy?)
3. Is the ecosystem at least adequate?
4. Is it enjoyable and engaging to use?
This is the “smallest” full frame camera available currently, sort of. It is easier to carry than a DSLR or full frame mirrorless. The ecosystem is huge; you can get all the stuff you need or want for Sony that is excellent, affordable or even both. And everyone agrees it can produce excellent results. That ticks three of the boxes which just leaves the issue, is it enjoyable and engaging to use?
This camera doesn’t get great reviews, primarily on usability, but I jumped at the chance to buy it anyway. It ticked three very important boxes which left the least important feature for a periodic carry round, that of usability, which brings me to my review.
You can read endless technical reviews and it has lots of high end features, everything works, even if it doesn’t work in the same way as my primary cameras which are not Sony. I’ll be honest, this camera is okay to use but not amazing; it’s like a computer that takes photos. BUT, it’s still worth it for all the good things it does. I knew it would be this way before I bought it, it’s a Sony after all and I’ve never read any reviews that talk about Sony being an emotionally engaging camera system. For me, as one subjective user, there are pros and cons; yours may be totally different.
What I don’t like:
- The viewfinder is a bit small, but still very usable and better than none.
- The menu button is way off where it should be, but there is a fix and I’ve changed one of the function buttons to largely replace it in a more accessible position.
- The settings are largely menu driven, but it is what it is. I tend not to use too many once shooting so that’s not such a big deal for me.
- I don’t feel an emotional connection, it’s just a tool
What I do like:
- Excellent feature set
- Excellent output
- Great menu prompts so anyone new can see what the feature does
- Easy enough to hold
- You can fold in the screen so less likely to chimp
- External connection doors are well thought out
- Plenty of Sony and 3rd party lens options
This is a sophisticated bit of kit. I suspect there may be a wizard inside that compensates for my inadequacies as a photographer. The Sony 7C is amazing on many levels. But I can’t get passionate about using it, it isn’t engaging and that is a shame. Having said that, my long time test now that I’ve used the 7C, would I buy it again if it got nicked tomorrow? The answer is yes. It does what I want and very well. If it was my full time camera, I would be less inclined. But for a travel camera that I need to be light and relatively discrete and with lens options, it works very very well. I give it 4 stars for technical ability but it misses out on the fifth star for lack of emotional engagement.
I bought it with the kit lens, but I’m not impressed with that; I will probably sell it. I have also purchased a Sony 35mm, a Samyang 24mm and a cheap 10mm (which is actually quite good). They are all small and fit in my small camera bag and will give me 95% of what I need while travelling.
I just need the pandemic to go away now so I can actually go on a real holiday once more and use it in earnest.