Travel Photography with the Sony a7C & Compact Prime Lenses

Travel photography remains my favourite thing about the world, even after having visited almost 40 countries. Being in a new place is what makes me want my camera. I have never been able to focus on video while traveling. The equipment required to shoot great video is generally more expensive than photography, so I often default back to photography. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see this complete frame.Sony Alpha 7C Digital CameraI had a set of full-frame, 24-mm, 40mm and 50mm compact prime lenses and decided to travel to Portugal to see how this setup would perform in shooting great travel video.

Portugal has been a country that I’ve wanted to visit for many years. Portugal is a beautiful country with historic cities and cliff-lined beaches. I thought a road trip through Portugal would make the perfect location to test this gear.

Photo by Cooper Naitove

Form and Focus

Let’s first talk about the Sony A7C. The form factor took some getting used to compared to my A7R III. While it does have a full frame 24mp sensor, the body is much smaller and is more similar to the A6600. It is difficult to shoot handheld video with a light camera because they are more susceptible to camera shake. The A7C’s 5-axis sensor stabilization system was able to compensate for this and produce remarkably smooth handheld shots.

Photo by Cooper Naitove

The fully articulated touch screen monitor on the Sony a7C was also a great feature. Touch-to-focus worked flawlessly. Even though I don’t use autofocus much when shooting video, this function was very useful. This camera is a great video shooter because of its amazing autofocus tracking system. Sony implemented AI-based realtime focus tracking in the Sony a7C. It worked really well. Every time I test a new camera, the first thing I do is to push slowly in on someone’s forehead to check its autofocus tracking. While most cameras will struggle to find focus in such situations, the Sony A7C was able to track focus with ease. It’s almost as if I had a wireless assistant to focus my camera!

Photo by Cooper Naitove

The Lenses

However, I was really there to test these set of 24mm, 40mm and 50mm 2.8 Sony G primes. These lenses should not be confused with Sony’s G master primes. These lenses are visually and physically stunning, but not as beautiful as the G master primes.

You’ve probably read my reviews and know that I don’t like the prime lens workflow for travel photography. A fast zoom is my preferred choice for traveling. I don’t want to carry around extra weight or miss shots due to the wrong focal length. Surprisingly, these lenses solve most of my problems with primes. These lenses were made for travel photographers and are extremely small. They are small enough to fit into a fanny bag, despite their metal construction and 2.8 apertures. It was easy to swap lenses between lenses without having to take my backpack off.

It was also easier to use the same 49mm filter size on all three lenses. This made it easy to not have to carry multiple ND filters and different-sized step up rings for each lens.

Aperture

Photography is becoming increasingly digital, so I was really pleased with the manual aperture rings on the G series primes. Recently, I have been shooting lots of 35mm film. An external aperture control ring makes it much easier to switch between digital and film. To control your aperture in camera, click the lens to the A position.

There’s an aperture de-click button, which is another word for click. The ring clicks in place just like a film lens, regardless of the aperture setting. The ring will rotate smoothly between aperture settings if you activate the de-click switch. This feature is ideal for videography because you can select values between the numbers displayed and fine-tune exposure.

The best thing about these Sony prime lenses? Each one has an assignable button to the side. This button can be mapped to almost any function in the camera. When I shoot with prime lenses, I set mine up to switch to APSC mode. I have mentioned that prime lenses lack flexibility in focal length is one of the biggest problems. You can toggle between full-frame and APSC mode so you can get two focal lengths from each lens. Without having to swap lenses, you can change the scene’s coverage whenever you need to take a detail shot.

These Sony prime lenses are a great choice for video and photo work due to their light weight, assignable buttons, and manual aperture rings. These lenses were the ideal choice for running around Portugal.

Check out these photos by Cooper Naitove using the Sony a7C and compact prime lenses:

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