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Sony A7 versus Canon XC10

The Sony Alpha A7 and the Canon XC10 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2013 and April 2015. The A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the XC10 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (A7) and an one-inch (XC10) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 12 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A7 vs Canon XC10

The physical size and weight of the Sony A7 and the Canon XC10 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A7 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony A7 vs Canon XC10
Compare A7 versus XC10 top
Compare A7 and XC10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XC10 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Sony A7. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A7 is splash and dust resistant, while the XC10 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XC10 has a lens build in, whereas the A7 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the A7 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A7» 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Canon XC10« 4.9 in 4.0 in 4.8 in 36.7 oz .. n Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A6500« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A7 vs Canon XC10

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7 features a full frame sensor and the Canon XC10 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XC10 is 86 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.75. The sensor in the A7 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the XC10 offers a 4:3 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Sony A7 and Canon XC10 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A7 offers a higher resolution than the XC10 (12MP), but the A7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 3.20μm for the XC10) due to its larger sensor. However, the XC10 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the A7, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

A7 versus XC10 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony A7» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Canon XC10« 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Canon XC10
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585Sony A6500
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the XC10 provides a better video resolution than the A7. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7 vs Canon XC10

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7 has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XC10 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7 and Canon XC10 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony A7»2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Canon XC10«- n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 2000 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6300
Sony A6500« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y Sony A6500
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The XC10 has a touchscreen, while the A7 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The A7 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the XC10 uses CFast or SDXC cards. The XC10 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7 only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Sony A7»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Canon XC10«YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon XC10
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
Panasonic GH4« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Panasonic GH4
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
Sony A6300« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6300
Sony A6500« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6500
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

Both the A7 and the XC10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7 was replaced by the Sony A7 II, while the XC10 was followed by the Canon XC20.

Review summary: Sony A7 vs Canon XC10

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony A7 better than the Canon XC10 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12MP) with a 44% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: Larger pixels generate images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1030k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2013).

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Advantages of the Canon XC10:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A7 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

A7 12:06 XC10

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7 or the XC10. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A7»HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Canon XC10«-80/100--- Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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