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Category: Tech

Sony’s a7C Is Full Frame For Travel

The Sony a7C is a misunderstood camera. It’s currently the smallest full frame camera on the market with a lot of the internals of the three year old a7III but the a7C is a step up, depending on the direction you’re coming from. A lot of other reviews focus on how the a7C compares to other full frame cameras but if you’re using another sensor altogether, Sony’s developed a very nice step up.

You can watch my full review in the video here or read on.

A Little Basics

So what’s the big deal about full frame? The term full frame comes from film cameras and refers to the sensor in the camera. Light comes in through the lens and hits the sensor, then magic happens and there’s a photo or video. Full frame is a big sensor. Big sensors have more surface area to capture light. There’s also other types of sensors, like micro fourth thirds (1/4th the size of full frame). Smaller sensor means less light. More light typically results in better photos and video. Then why would you ever get a smaller sensor?

Smaller sensors mean smaller cameras and lenses that also weigh less. Smaller sensors are usually less expensive too.

The a7C though is beginning to change that equation.

Minimizing Form Factor

Although it’s not a particularly petite camera compared to a smartphone or point and shoot, the a7C body is 12.4 x 7.1 x 6 centimeters and weighs 509 grams. It is weather and dust resistant, shoots 4K (up to 30fps with a 1.2x crop or 24fps without one), and has a screen that flips to the side. The latter, I point out because Sony’s have traditionally used flip up screens, making it hard to vlog if you’re using an external microphone.

sony a7c

The auto-focus is amazing in every way, colors are rendered nicely, and you can trust all of the auto settings if you want to use them. Auto white balance is especially accurate but for times you want to adjust the ISO or heavily color correct during editing, there is S-Log3.

Customizing Experience

To cut down in size, Sony’s moved the viewfinder off to the left and it’s so small, it’s practically useless. A variety of custom buttons have also not been included (like some of Sony’s larger full frame cameras) but you can map the buttons on the back to anything you want. Sony’s also included a quick function menu as well so you can change the settings you most frequently adjust fast on the fly.

These are all tradeoffs though that narrow the gap between power and portability. With the tiny 28-60mm kit lens the a7C is designed to be as customizable as possible in a smaller form factor. The grip isn’t as big as it could be but for most people, it won’t be a deal breaker. A large battery gives you an impressive 740 shots or 3 hours of video recording.

Additionally, the a7C can save you from bringing a number of accessories thanks to what the USB-C port can do. Charging the camera directly from your laptop and being able to live stream without an Elgato Cam Link is incredibly useful. And that equation I mentioned earlier? Well, the a7C is small, light, and less expensive than previous entries into full frame. It won’t replace your larger Sony camera but if you’re moving into the full frame world, the a7C is a great first step.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro Are Great But Not For Every Phone

The Galaxy Buds Pro are the active noise canceling wireless earbuds we want every competitor to learn from but unfortunately it’s best features are limited to Samsung phones. Still, the Galaxy Buds Pro are physically small with a big battery at heart to power some of the best noise canceling at this size.

You can watch my full review above or read on for the highlights.

Limited Galaxy

The Galaxy Buds Pro have been a quiet release for Samsung but don’t let the name fool you, these are well designed earbuds audio enthusiasts will enjoy. Music and podcasts are crisp, the sound rich, and around 4-5 hours of battery life are average for earbuds this size. What Samsung gets right isn’t one single great feature but instead solidly above average across the board.

Bluetooth 5.0 connections are quick and reliable no matter which phone you’re connecting with. Fast charging gives you an hour of use with a 5 minute top off and the case has wireless charging in addition to USB-C. Waterproof for up to 30 minutes, the Galaxy Buds Pro pack a lot into the best wireless earbuds case on the market right now.

samsung galaxy buds pro

Not For Everyone

Sadly though, the features that really make the Galaxy Buds Pro special are limited to Samsung devices. Take automatic device switching between your phone and tablet – it’s only works with Samsung devices. Charging up the case through your phone’s wireless coil? Samsung devices only. Adjusting the active noise cancelling from ambient mode all the way up to maximum? The most nuanced features are limited to Android devices.

Perhaps none of this is surprising. Samsung is clearly hoping the Galaxy Buds Pro give you reason to keep or upgrade to a Galaxy device, much like Airpods for with Apple. Samsung’s made the best wireless earbuds with ANC of the year so far, it’s a shame not everyone can enjoy the full feature set.

The Narrowing Gap Between Power And Portability

There used to be a time when you had to make significant tradeoffs between power and portability. That was an ancient time known as the early 2010s. Now, a decade later, the narrowing gap between power and portability means we might be closer to understanding the importance of global tourism.

You can watch my video here or read on.

Shrinkage

2020 was the year most everyone couldn’t travel but tech marched on and brought us a few new eye catching leaps forward. The Sony a7C became the smallest full frame camera on the market with a tiny kit lens to match. Apple’s new M1 chip Macbook Air takes leaps toward the rest of the Macbook lineup. I could go on… but the point is these products aren’t stripped down versions of the full sized thing.

The future of portable gear is a merger with power to become a new branch of electronic evolution.

Versatility Domino Effect

Sony’s a7C is immensely customizable and the M1 Macbook Air has 20 hours of battery life. Plucking out those two features shows that portable doesn’t just mean less, it can also mean more useful. Longer battery life has some obvious advantages but look a bit further and it means you don’t always have to bring chargers or extra batteries along. The domino effect is less time spend in airport security lines. Having a 4K video camera in your phone is a travel movie or moment that’s just that much more accessible.

Refocus From Tools

Ultimately, the less you have to think about what will fit in your backpack or how heavy a lens is or that you’re at 1%, the more useful your electronics become. Your focus is best spent on the places you’ll go, people you’re going to meet, and the world around you. As our tech continues to get smaller yet remain powerful (while coming down in price too) it means more of us will get to share. We’ll get to share in different and more creative ways and tell the stories of the world around us.

There’s a quiet revolution in tech that’s happening right now. In the cross-section is a world that’s potentially smaller, more understanding, and filled with more art from around the world.

Bose Built Headphones Into Sunglasses And It’s Back To The Future

The Bose Frames Tenor are sunglasses with headphones built into the frames designed so that only you can hear them. They are expensive. They are ridiculous. But they’re also a lot of fun.

You can watch my full review of the Bose Frames Tenor in this video or read on.

Hands Free

The concept of the Frames line from Bose – a series of sunglasses from casual to sport – seems indulgent but the application is thoughtful. Physically the design doesn’t reveal these are pricey sunglasses with capable speakers embedded in the frames, aside from a bit more thickness, noticeable only if you’re really looking for it. Using polarizing glass Bose didn’t cut corners on the glasses themselves which can be ordered to your prescription if needed.

The real trick of these sunglasses however are the two speakers on either frame that are positioned toward your ears.

Surprising Sound Quality

Although there is some sound bleed – others around you can hear what you’re listening to at higher volumes, from your perspective as a wearer, the audio is clear. Bose has also included two microphones in these Frames Tenor so you can make and take calls, which sound decent, considering there’s nothing dangling anywhere near your mouth.

bose frames tenor

Touch controls and gestures in the frames themselves let you swipe up/down for volume controls, left/right for forward/back, and taps for pause and play. There’s a lot to like about the Bose Frames Tenor which don’t seem nearly as frivolous once you start using them.

Limiting Sports

There are some obvious limitations to the Frames however. First, you have to wear them in bright conditions and sunglasses might not be appropriate in a lot of places (don’t be that guy in the airport or office). The Frames also have a little noise bleed so in quiet settings they might be a bit too loud for your surroundings if you crank up the sound. On the flip side, those limitations can be assets if you look at the Bose Frames Tempo – the sporty version of the Tenor.

On a bike or jog in bright conditions, sunglasses sit more comfortably than most earbuds when you start sweating. Also, having your ears free gives you the opportunity to hear the world around you, whether it be cars in traffic or a jogger passing you on a trial. The portability of the Frames line makes them a very interesting option for runners, bikers, and outdoorsy people in general. The Frames are also a look into the future where we might have headphones embedded in more products or even our ears.

Imaging the possibilities of portable audio Marty.

Bose Noise-Cancelling Earbuds vs. Sony: How To Choose!

Bose and Sony make two of the best over-ear noise-canceling (ANC) headphones on the consumer market. ANC is a feature that uses anti-sound waves to create a silent room between your ears and can nearly eliminate jet engine noise on a flight for example. Until now though the tech to make ANC work was bulky, limiting it to full size headphones. With the new releases of the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, ANC has made its way into portable buds with varying results.

You can see the difference between the Bose QC Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM3 in the video above but here’s a hint: if you value sound quality and good ANC, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Bose QC, Clunky King

The QC are function over design… sort of. The function isn’t all that great (my full review here) except when it comes to two features you may have guessed. It’s hard to compare the Bose QC to the Sony WF-1000XM3 in terms of sound quality and ANC since Bose has brought the over-ear quality to their earbuds. Just about everything else with the physical design could be refined, the touch controls improved, and the Bose Music app enhanced. But for those of you who really care about ANC – frequent flyers especially – the Bose are a class ahead of the WF-1000XM3.

bose quietcomfort earbuds

Sony’s Slimming Down

On the other hand, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are what you wish Bose’s headphones looked like. They are earbuds are smaller and the charging case is slimmer, more pocket-able, and gives you 18 hours of additional charge (versus 12 for the Bose). You can watch my full review of the Sony WF-1000XM3 in the video below.

How To Decide

With the Sony now floating on sale to prices half that of the Bose QC (just keep watching for discounts) they’re a much more attractive option. Unless you’re looking to completely replace your over-ear headphones, fly frequently, or place a high value on premium sound quality and are willing to pay for it, the Sony WF-1000XM3 have a lot to offer. A lot to offer when they’re on sale for significantly less than the Bose QC.

The Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds Are Made For Frequent Flyers

The new QuietComfort (QC) Earbuds are the first generation of noise canceling earbuds for Bose and it shows. These are clunky earbuds with an even clunkier case but Bose is hoping you’ll overlook all of the QC’s shortcomings for its superior sound and excellent noise canceling (ANC). For most people, those two features won’t be enough for the pricey price tag but if you fly a lot, then these Bose could just be for you.

Portable But Not Comfortable

At 3.9 x 2.6 x 2.7cm (1.54 x 1.02 x 1.06 in) the Bose QC are relatively large earbuds which noticeably stick out of your ears. They’re not too heavy – 8.5 grams each – and thanks to Bose’s familiar wingtip design the QC are much more comfortable than they look. These larger earbuds though don’t come with longer battery life, hovering around 5-6 hours per bud. The beefy charging/carry case also has a disappointing 12 hours of battery life although it supports wireless charging. (I think most of us would have preferred a bigger battery rather than the space the wireless coil takes.)

A lot of these physical design drawbacks come from being a first gen product certainly but Bose is banking that you’ll appreciate what’s housed inside – not what’s missing.

Impressive Sound And True Noise Canceling

Where Bose does know a thing or two about is sound quality and noise cancellation. First, the sound quality. It is immersive, full, with vibrant tones across the spectrum from highs to mids to lows. When listening to these QC the thought of “these are huge earbuds” becomes “I can’t believe the sound coming out of buds this small.”

bose quietcomfort earbuds

That’s the same thought when activating active noise cancelling as well. As the world around you melts into silence (a close competitor to over-ear versions) even with a jet engine screaming in the background the QC show off what they’re capable of. With 10 levels of noise cancellation through the Bose Music app you can go from ambient mode all the way to quiet library.

Travel Trades

Given the powerful noise canceling frequent flyers might be tempted to get a pair of the Bose QC. Yes, the touch controls for volume, noise canceling levels, and pause/play aren’t sensitive enough to work reliably and the charging case is an odd shape that’s hard to pocket. It’s true the QC can’t connect to multiple devices and staying connected is something of an adventure you shouldn’t have to deal with at premium prices.

I’m glad Bose added IPX4 certification, meaning they can reliably survive a splash of water so you can use these in light rain. I like the auto pause when you take the earbuds out. But if it weren’t for the exceptional sound quality and ANC it would be hard to justify the price. For most people it still won’t justify the price but if you find yourself on planes or other noisy situations often, the Bose QC could just convince you.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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