The new A7C from Sony is an attempt to bridge the gap between the company’s A6000-series models and their A7-series cameras by squeezing the larger full-frame sensor of the latter into the smaller, lighter body of the former.
Consequently both cameras look very similar at first glance, and with only a few hundred £$ separating the flagship Sony A6600 APS-C model from the entry-level Sony A7C full-frame model, many would-be buyers may be wondering exactly how the two cameras compare with one another, and ultimately which is the “best” one to buy.
So we’re bringing you this in-depth Sony A7C vs A6600 head-to-head comparison to help you choose between the two. It’s certainly not a clear-cut decision…
The image sensor is the biggest difference between the A7C and the A6600, and is the main reason why you should choose one over the other.
The A7C has a 35mm full-frame sensor and the A6600 has an APS-C sensor.
The former sensor is physically larger than the latter by 2.3x, which means that as the number of megapixels is the same for both cameras (24.2mp), the image quality from the A7C should be better.
This is especially true with this comparison, as the A7C also has a BSI (backside illuminated) sensor whereas the A6600 does not, which is better at collecting light and again should help to improve image quality.
In short, if image quality is paramount, the A7C is the camera to go for.
There’s a slight difference between the two models here in favour of the A7C, with the newer camera offering a native ISO range of 100-51,200 and the older A6600 running from 100-32000.
Both cameras can be pushed two stops further, to ISO 204,800 on the A7C and ISO 102,400 on the A6600, but only the A7C can drop down to ISO 50 if required.
Both cameras have very similar video recording specs and performance.
The A7C and A6600 offer 4K UHD video recording in the XAVC-S format, up to 30fps at 4:2:0 color depth in 8-bit to the inserted memory card or 4:2:2 in 8-bit over HDMI to compatible third party recorders.
They support the HLG, S-Log3 and S-Log2 profiles.
They can both record Full 1080 HD at up to 120fps, with the dedicated Slow and Quick motion mode offering frame rates ranging from 1fps to 120fps.
There is no 4K 60p or 10-bit recording on either camera.
The Alpha 7C does have a few new features that set it apart from the A6600.
These include the AF Speed settings from the recently released A7S III, no recording time limits at all, a new blue peaking colour, the ability to shoot vertical videos, live streaming support, and dual NTSC and PAL recording on the same memory card without having to reformat it.
In addition, the one-touch movie button has been relocated from its rather awkward position on the rear-shoulder of the A6600 to the top-panel of A7C.
The Sony A7C also supports the new Digital Audio Interface (via the Multi Interface Shoe) to enable use of the ECM-B1M digital shotgun microphone.
The new Alpha 7C has the same hybrid autofocus system with phase detection and and contrast detections points as the A6600, but with more points, greater frame coverage and greater low-light sensitivity.
On the A7C there are 693 phase-detection points and 425 contrast detection points that cover 93% of the frame, with the system working all the way down to -4EV low-light.
On the A6600 there are 425 phase-detection contrast detection points that cover 84% of the frame, with the system working only working down to -2EV low-light.
The Sony A7C has one other improvement – it uses a new focusing algorithm that’s the same as the one used by the recently released A7S III, which is claimed to make the already excellent AF tracking system even more reliable.
Once again the two models are evenly matched when it comes to continuous shooting speeds, but this time the A6600 has a slight edge, at least in terms of out and out speed.
While the A7C offers 10fps burst shooting with Full AF/AE tracking, the A6600 can shoot at a blink and you’ll miss it 11fps.
There is one significant difference between them though that has more of an impact on burst shooting performance – the buffer size.
The Alpha 7C has a much larger buffer than the A6600, being able to shoot at 10fps for up to 223 JPEGs or 115 compressed RAW images in one high-speed burst.
In comparison the A6600 can only manage 116 JPGs or 46 RAW files at full speed before its buffer is full and the burst shooting rate slows down.
Secondly, the fastest rate on the A7C is available with either the mechanical shutter or a completely silent electronic shutter, but the A6600 cannot shoot silently at 11fps, which could be the difference between capturing that candid moment or distracting your subject and missing the shot.
Despite the difference in sensor size, the size, weight and styling of the A7C and the A6600 are very similar.
The new A7C is essentially based on a rangefinder-style A6000-series camera, just slightly bigger and incredibly with a full-frame sensor at its heart rather than a smaller APS-C one.
Somewhat amazingly, at 509g the Sony A7C weighs just 6g / 1% more than the A6600, whilst being ever so slightly bigger in every dimension.
Both cameras have an EVF that is positioned in the left-hand corner and a simplified interface with fewer controls when compared to the other A7-series cameras.
The A6600 has a slightly bigger grip than the one on the A7C, which we prefer.
It also has two Custom function buttons, which many people like, on the top-panel. These have effectively been replaced by an exposure compensation dial on the newer A7C.
On the rear, the A7C loses another Custom button, whilst the AF/MF and AEL switch on the A6600 has been replaced by an AF-On button on the A7C.
Finally, the A6600’s small and inconveniently located movie record button has moved from the shoulder of the rear thumb rest to the top-panel on the A7C, also becoming larger in the process.
The A7C has a very similar 0.39″, 2.36million-dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder to the one used by the A6600.
It features 100% scene coverage and a 120fps high frame rate setting to help track moving subjects more smoothly with virtually no lag.
Crucially, though, it offers a lower magnification of 0.59x, versus 0.70x magnification on the A6600.
The eyepoint is also different – 23mm on the A6600 but only 20mm on the A7C.
The Alpha 7C has exactly the same 3-inch, 3:2 ratio widescreen LCD monitor as the A6600, which both rather disappointingly having the same 921k resolution.
We’d have expected to see a larger, higher resolution screen, perhaps even 16:9 rather than 3:2, on a new camera released in 2020.
There is one major change, though, that’s very welcome.
The A7C’s screen has a fully articulating vari-angle design that’s been inherited directly from recently released A7S III, which is a big improvement on the A6600’s flip-up design, which can be tilted down by 74 degree and up by 180 degrees, but can’t be tilted out to the side.
On the A7C you can flip out the screen to the side, rotate it forwards for easier operation when pointing the camera at yourself, and fold it flat against the back of the camera to stop it from getting scratched.
So while the core specs of the LCD screen are the same on both models, the free-angle design on the A7C means that it’s simply a more versatile screen for vlogging, movie shooting and photography in general.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given their compact size, both cameras only have a single memory card slot.
There are two big differences though.
The newer Sony A7C has a faster SD UHS-II memory card slot, whereas the A6600 uses the slower UHS-I standard.
Secondly, the A7C now has a dedicated memory card port that’s hidden behind a lockable door on the left-hand side of the camera.
On the A6600 the memory card slot is next to the battery in a shared compartment on the bottom of the camera, which is less convenient, especially when the camera is mounted on a tripod.
The Sony A7C uses exactly the same large capacity NP-FZ100 battery as the A6600 model.
The newer A7C offers a CIPA-rated battery life of 740 shots when using the LCD screen and 680 when using the viewfinder, which is somehow slightly longer than the A6600’s 710 shot life (for the LCD screen).
Somewhat surprisingly the A6600 can take 810 shots with the LCD screen or 720 shots when using the EVF, out-performing its newer sibling.
Both cameras can also be powered and charged via a USB connection, which is useful if you’re out and about and have a compatible powerbank to plug the camera into, but the port is slightly different – newer USB-C on the A7C and older micro USB 2.0 on the A6600.
The kit lens that ships with each camera is one of the biggest differentiators between them.
The combination of the Sony FE 28-60mm on the A7C camera is much lighter and smaller in volume than the Sony A6600 and the FE 18-135mm.
But the A6600’s kit lens offers a much more versatile 7.5x zoom range that provides a 28-202.5mm equivalent focal range.
So it comes down to size versus focal range, with the A7C winning the former and the A6600 winning the latter.
The launch price of the Sony A7C makes slightly more sense when comparing it to the A6600 than it does versus the A7 III.
A price-tag of £1899 / $1798 body only or £2150 / $2098 with the Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 kit lens does makes the new Sony A7C more expensive than the A6600.
In comparison, the A6600 costs around £1400 / $1200 body only or £1700 / $1800 with the E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens.
So it costs around £$500 extra to buy the full-frame body instead of the APS-C one, with the price difference narrowing further when comparing the kit lens combos, which in our view is probably worth it.
With the two cameras looking nigh on identical, choosing between the new Sony A7C and the A6600 largely comes down to the sensor size and price, with the A7C being larger in both regards.
There are a few other differences that give the A7C the edge, most notably the auto-focusing, memory card, and LCD screen.
There are also a few other differences where the A6600 actually outperforms the A7C, most notably the electronic viewfinder, battery life and control layout.
You should also consider the lens range for both cameras. They share the same E-mount, but the number of “FE” full-frame lenses from Sony and third-party manufacturers is much bigger than the range of “E” APS-C lenses, which you may want to pair with the A6600 to keep the overall system small.