Last year's Sony A7C fell frustratingly short of being the perfect compact, full-frame travel camera. And, according to some new leaks, its imminent A7C II successor may soon arrive with some familiar flaws.
The first leaked photos of the Sony A7C II appear to have landed, courtesy of Sony Alpha Rumors and the Chinese YouTuber Alex NG (below). They suggest that the A7C II will be a relatively minor update that won't improve the camera's electronic viewfinder or ergonomics, which were our two main criticisms of the A7C.
So what's new on the A7C II? From the video below, it looks like the mirrorless camera will add a new front dial, which is traditionally used to change the aperture. That'll go down well with those who found the A7C's controls to be a bit limited. An improved mode dial also appears to separate the stills, video and S&Q (slow & quick) modes for easier access.
But otherwise, the rumored specs suggest the A7C II could again fall just short of being the perfect, mini full-frame camera.
On the plus side, the leaks suggest it'll get the Sony A7 IV's higher-resolution 33MP sensor (compared to the 24.2MP one on the A7C) and Sony's latest Bionz XR and AI processors, which are an excellent combination for snappy and reliable autofocus.
Video performance has also apparently been boosted to 10-bit 4K/60p with 10-bit color depth, plus support for the S-Cinetone color profile. Both of those would be an upgrade on the A7C for video shooters, as that current model tops out at 4K/30p, 8-bit video at 100Mbps.
Unfortunately, the A7C II's viewfinder appears to be the same small, 2.36-million dot affair as before, which we found to be small and awkward to use, and there's no sign of an improved grip to help the A7C II balance better with longer lenses.
Still, there are always going to be limitations and compromises with such a tiny full-frame camera (the A7C weighs just 509g). So, if you can work with that viewfinder and are mainly planning to use compact, prime lenses, the A7C II could still be one to watch.
Analysis: A charming camera that divides opinion
The Sony A7C is a camera that divides opinion and we don't yet know if these A7C II rumors are completely accurate. So, if you're in the market for a full-frame travel camera, it's definitely one to keep an eye on.
In our Sony A7C review, we felt the camera's shooting experience was just too compromised to justify the price tag ($1,799.99 / £1,850.00 / AU$2,399.00). We noted that "the EVF is clear enough in use, but the display is simply too small for a full-frame camera and is uncomfortable to use".
When you combine this with the small grip and the fact that the Sony A7 IV can now be found for less than its original $2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299 asking price, the A7C (and perhaps the A7C II) can be a compromise too far for many photographers and video shooters.
Then again, the A7C is one of the world's smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless cameras (only the Sigma fp and fp L beat it here), and that could be the most important factor for you. The camera has found favor among street photographers who like its inconspicuous size and image quality, and the rumors suggest the A7C II could bring important video boosts, too.
While the Sony A6700 offers a good alternative to the A7C, then, we'll be keeping an eye out for the expected A7C II announcement. Sony Alpha Rumors is pretty confident that the camera (plus an A7CR sibling, with the Sony A7R V's 61MP sensor) will be launched on August 29.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.