Sony Alpha 7C R - a COMPACT full-frame 61MP camera (does it compare to the Alpha 7R V?)

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to review the Alpha 7R V last year before its official release, which was enough to make me immediately upgrade from the Alpha 7RIV to the 7RV as there were several key improvements I knew would be a game changer for my landscape & astrophotography. Features like the fully articulating screen, in=built bulb timer settings and focus stacking, not to mention a far better processor, significant AI autofocus improvements, and better image stabilization.

So I was intrigued to be able to now road test the Alpha 7C R Sony ahead of its release, a new full-frame camera, which shares most of the RV features in a smaller, more compact body. In particular, I was most interested to see how it actually stacks up next to the Alpha 7R V - a model I believe is Sony's best full-frame camera to date and hard to fault!



Officially the Alpha 7C R specs have the body weighing in at around 515 grams - that's over 200 grams (30%) lighter than the RV at 740g, no mean feat when you consider there's almost ALL the same technology contained within the newer, smaller model.

But what happens to the weight difference when paired with GM lenses? You might say this is not a fair comparison using a zoom lens against a prime lens but if the point of using the Alpha 7C R is as a lightweight, compact workhorse then you might well operate this body more often with lightweight prime lenses than more heavier zooms as a matter of choice.

sony a7cr vs a7rv with lenses attached

The 7C R combo is almost 500g lighter - and it’s very noticeable when you pick up the two cameras with these lenses attached.


The Alpha 7C R is also noticeably smaller in every way - the body looks and feels more like the crop-sensor A6000 range than it does a full-frame camera, which I think is the whole point of this offering - a camera that has all the best full-frame features but in a much more compact body.

Sony a7cR 124 mm L  x 711mm H  x 634 mm D (at widest hand grip point)

Sony a7rV 131 mm L x 969 mm H x 824 mm D  

Moving the viewfinder down to integrate with the main camera body saves 25% on height and having a smaller hand grip saves 25% on depth as well.  

sony alpha 7c r vs sony alpha 7r v
sony alpha 7c r vs sony alpha 7r v


While the new camera deliberately shares many of the same features with the RV, there are still quite a few differences worth noting. There are several new menu design features introduced in the Alpha 7C R which are a first in any Sony full-frame model I’ve seen. 

Brand New Touch Screen Features on the Alpha 7C R

  • Touch shutter and record icons both available on LCD screen
  • Touch icons for changing shutter speed, aperture and ISO on LCD screen (so no need for moving any dials)
  • Touch screen playback icon allows you to easily switch between shooting/playback
  • Other touch icons give you quick and easy access to drive mode, focus area, white balance, creative look, subject recognition target, and changing how touch focus operates on screen
  • The Touch screen allows you to swipe up to switch screens between Fn menu and normal shooting

These additional design features mean that for the first time you can effectively operate the camera without really ever having to touch a dial on the camera or press the shutter button, everything is in one place, this is a first!

touch operations lcd screen sony a7cr

Differences to the Alpha 7R V

  • 4k vs 8k video
  • Fully articulating but not tilting screen (i.e. more like the a7IV than the a7rV)
  • One memory card slot vs two
  • 7-axis stabilisation rather than 8-axis
  • 8 fps vs 10 fps in continuous shooting mode
  • 2 custom keys vs 4
  • No joystick for moving focus point
  • No exposure compensation dial

Downsides of the new Alpha 7C R design

I found a few design features that I felt I would miss compared to those on my Alpha 7R V. I tend to use the viewfinder as well as the LCD screen to shoot quite often, either to check composition and identify distracting objects that are not easily visible when solely relying on the screen, or in bright conditions when the screen is hard to see, and I always use the viewfinder when shooting wildlife, sports and weddings. So I found the size of the viewfinder on the Alpha 7C R pretty small and not very easy to look through, especially with glasses on which I wear full-time.

I also like to utilise my custom keys (and any other keys on the camera that can be customised) for quick access to functions otherwise hidden deep in the menu that I use often, so I think I could struggle to go back to a body which has less custom buttons available overall.

When focusing, I mostly use a single spot focus point, so I really like using the joystick to zoom my focus point around the screen quickly when I'm using the viewfinder and the Alpha 7CR doesn’t have a joystick. Obviously if you are shooting using the screen and not the viewfinder this is not such a big deal as you just select the focus point by using the touch focus operation, but for me knowing how much I like the joystick this felt like a bit of a step backward to the days of using my 7R II.


It's hard to compare apples with apples with pre-release models and existing models as you can't edit the RAW files until Lightroom gets updated (which can take a few months after its official release). However I tested the two cameras side by side in 3 very different landscape scenes - astrophotography, testing the image stabilisation with hand held shots in a low light forest scene and testing the AI subject recognition and frame rate at a sports game to see if there were any noticeable differences in handling and image results. Here are my thoughts:


The Alpha 7C R performed just as well as my RV in the field (as I would have expected) and I have to say that the new touch screen is very handy to use in the dark so you don't have to fumble for any camera dials - I could change everything I would need to for night photography (changing drive mode to shoot a series of bracketed shots in a row, white balance, shutter speed, aperture and ISO all on the same screen) and then use the same screen to actually take the shots - it's a very useful feature!

sony a7cr vs sony a7rv astro owharoa falls
Sky: 10 images stacked for noise at 8 sec f/1.8 ISO 6400, Foreground: 2 min f/1.8 ISO640 (shot on 24mm f/1.4 GM)

It's not an exact comparison due to several factors as the moon (which was about 30% off to the right out of image) cast different light between the 2 images as it dropped lower by the time I shot the image on the left. Also I don't have a L bracket for the Alpha 7C R so the composition wasn't exactly the same shooting vertically. Nor could I process the RAW files using my normal Lightroom process before stacking in Starry Landscape Stacker so the processing isn't identical. But on the whole I'd say the cameras are a match for match performance wise.


I need to point out that there is 7-axis vs 8-axis image stabilisation between the 2 cameras. I don't know if this affected my results but with a lot of pixel peeing, it's possible there is a slight difference in sharpness between the 2 cameras at 1/6 of a second when shooting handheld with the Alpha 7R V performing ever so slightly better (BUT this is way slower than I would ever shoot handheld in real life - I'd be using a tripod normally). Having said that, it could also be the way I was handling the two cameras as I took the shots OR the fact I can't fully process the RAW files on the Alpha 7C R using the same Lightroom techniques yet for a true comparison.

Regardless, I'm VERY impressed with these handheld results from BOTH cameras at such slow speeds -I think it goes to show that I need to trust the ability of my image stabilisation more often!

Settings: 1/6 sec, f/16, ISO 500


I took a few shots at my son's football game using high burst mode and my new 70-200 f/2.8 GM II with the 1.4 teleconverter attached also. I wanted to see if the AI subject recognition performed as well and whether the difference in frame rate (8fps vs 10fps) was noticeable in this type of shooting.

I didn't notice any real difference in performance between the 2 cameras though it was audibly noticeable the 2 fps difference while shooting in Hi+ burst mode. The sound the Alpha 7C R makes is a bit noisier/clunkier than the RV, and I found it harder looking through a smaller, lower resolution viewfinder if I'm being honest. I also found I had to turn the screen to face inwards otherwise my nose kept pushing the screen which was then moving the focus point which was annoying on 'spot tracking', but the actual results were very similar.

High burst mode on the Alpha 7CR at 1/1600, f4, ISO 200 (shot on 70-200 f/2.8 GM II with 1.4 teleconverter and APS-C mode)
High burst mode on Alpha 7RV at 1/1600, f4, ISO 250 (shot on 70-200 f/2.8 GM II with 1.4 teleconverter in APS-C mode)

Regardless of which camera I used, I'm impressed with the ability of these newer Sony cameras with better subject recognition to keep locked on tracking the subject - even when my son moved directly behind another player it kept tracking him rather than switching to the person in front.


There are several key customers that I can see wanting to seriously consider purchasing the Alpha 7C R.

Firstly, I think photographers who want the highest resolution Sony camera with the latest technology available but contained in a lightweight, compact body more reminiscent of a crop-sensor size camera are going to fall in love with this new model.

I can also see that photographers who want to carry a second, much smaller camera body with all the latest features and newer Sony menu system will also be very interested too.

Would I buy this camera?

If I hadn't only recently upgraded to the Alpha 7R V it would be a no brainer - I'd happily buy the Alpha 7C R to use as my main camera because it has ALL the same features that I love about the RV - the bulb timer, focus stacking, better bionic processor, better AI subject recognition and more. And to have it as a second camera body it's very tempting BUT as I'm currently using my Alpha 7R IV as a second body and it's still a great camera, it's hard to justify (for now).

Price Point

The Alpha 7C R will be available in NZ at the end of September at a retail price of $5,399 NZD (which is a full $1,000 cheaper than the current NZ retail price on the RV, and only $600 more than the RIV which now has significantly older technology (4 years old) and still carries the old menu system.

If you are looking for the right time to break into the Sony full-frame high resolution camera market, this could well be your perfect chance.

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