First camera. Have had many since. I have enjoyed none of them as much as the A5100. Small, light, no viewfinder, nice screen, good audio, nice picture and more. Im still waiting for a comparable upgrade in 2019.

Key Features

  • 24.3MP APS-C Exmor HD CMOS Sensor.
  • BIONZ X Image Processor.
  • Gapless On-Chip Lens Design.
  • 3.0″ 921.6k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD.

Offering the speed and versatility required by multimedia photographers, Sony’s Alpha a5100 Mirrorless Digital Camera combines a high-resolution sensor, hybrid AF system, and apt video recording capabilities, all within a compact and convenient form factor. Pairing a 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, this camera is able to record up to 6 fps continuous shooting with notable sensitivity to ISO 25600.

Full HD video recording is supported in the high-quality XAVC S codec, with the ability to shoot at 1080p in 60, 30, or 24 fps frame rates. Complementing the multimedia imaging capabilities is the Fast Hybrid AF system, which pairs 179 phase-detection points with 25 contrast-detection points to deliver fast, accurate, and consistent focusing abilities. The a5100 is poised to deliver the all-around performance desired by contemporary photographers while still maintaining the convenience needed for everyday shooting.

In regard to handling, the a5100 sports a sleek design that is characterized by a large 3.0″ 921.6k-dot LCD monitor, which features a 180° upward tilting design to permit easier viewing from both front-facing and above angles. Furthermore, the LCD is also a touchscreen, which permits intuitive control over image playback and menu navigation, as well as the ability to release the shutter and touch-to-focus for pinpoint accuracy.

Seven customizable function buttons, along with top and rear dials also facilitate efficient control over a variety of settings and modes. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, with support for NFC-enabled devices, is also integrated into the a5100 to support remote camera control and image sharing to linked mobile devices.

24.3MP Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor

The 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor work together to produce high resolution, well-detailed imagery with minimal noise and notable low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. The sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design, which fills the gaps between neighboring pixels with optimized lenses that match the angle of incidence to increase light gathering ability and produce edge-to-edge sharpness and quality.

The processor also contributes to providing a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including Fast Hybrid AF, a top continuous shooting rate of 6 fps, and full HD video recording in multiple frame rates and formats.

Fast Hybrid AF System

The Fast Hybrid AF system utilizes both a 179-point phase-detection system and 25-point contrast-detection system to achieve precise focus in as little as 0.07 sec. Utilizing a Spatial Object Detection algorithm, this fast focusing system first employs the phase-detection AF points to quickly bring the subject into focus and then uses the contrast-detection AF points, with wide AF coverage, to fine-tune the sharpness for ensured accuracy.

Beyond supporting single shot modes, this system also provides AF tracking when shooting up to 6 fps in continuous high mode and functions seamlessly when recording full HD movies. This hybrid focusing mode is further accentuated by the incorporation of a touchscreen LCD, which avails touch-to-focus control for critical accuracy in both still and video recording.

For further refinement, a series of distinct AF modes can be selected from depending on the subject. Eye AF is a detail-oriented focusing function that can prioritize a subject’s pupil and dedicate focusing performance on that for sharply-rendered portraits;

Lock-on AF is a dedicated focusing method for use with moving subjects and adjusts the target frame size as the subject moves throughout the image frame; AF area settings allow you to prioritize specific regions within the frame for increased accuracy; and AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), and Manual Focus modes can also be chosen.

Full HD Video Recording

Full HD 1080p video recording is supported at 60, 30, and 24 fps in the high-quality 50 Mbps XAVC S codec. Other recording options include the ability to utilize the AVCHD and MP4 codecs, with support for recording up to 1080p60 video at 28 Mbps.

Dual video recording is supported, as well, with the ability to select either XAVC S or AVCHD codecs plus a duplicate MP4 file to be recorded at the same time for greater efficiency when sharing videos online. Additionally, using the integrated HDMI type D output, both 1080i60 and 1080p60 uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 video can be recorded to an optional external recorder.

Complementing the video capabilities of the a5100, a built-in stereo microphone is incorporated into the design and records audio in the Linear PCM 2-channel format for XAVC S movies, the AC-3 Dolby Digital format for AVCHD movies, and the MPEG-4 AAC-LC format for web-quality MP4 videos.

Manual focus peaking and a zebra function are also available, to benefit working in manual focus and to assure highlight detail is retained, respectively. A marker setting can be shown on the rear LCD as well, in order to display a center marker, guide frame, aspect marker, safety zone, and other pertinent features for video recording.

Body Design

Sporting a compact form factor and using the versatile Sony E lens mount, this mirrorless camera is designed for convenience and intuitiveness. A large 3.0″ 921.6k-dot LCD monitor features a 180° upward tilting design to better facilitate taking self-portraits and a zoom lever surrounding the shutter release button helps to easily fine tune compositions when used in conjunction with a compatible power zoom lens.

Additionally, this LCD is also a touchscreen, which offers efficient control over camera settings and navigation throughout playback and menu systems. In regard to physical controls about the body, two top dials and a rear-mounted control give direct access to different shooting modes and camera settings. A dedicated Fn (Function) button, along with seven other customizable buttons, can also be assigned to control any of 47 different settings.

The body also incorporates a pop-up flash, which features a guide number of 13.1′ at ISO 100 for additional illumination in difficult lighting conditions.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables the a5100 to instantly share imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices; no complex set-up is required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and remotely control the camera’s shutter.

Additionally, PlayMemories Camera Apps are also supported via the built-in Wi-Fi connection and allow you to personalize the camera’s features depending on specific shooting styles. Apps are available to suit creating portraits, detailed close-ups, sports, time lapse, motion shot, and other specific types of imagery.

Other Camera Features

The Sony E-mount affords compatibility with an extensive number of lenses and lens adapters.

An advanced 1200-zone evaluative exposure metering sensor delivers consistent and accurate results using multi-segment, center-weighted, or spot metering modes.
Auto Object Framing is an intelligent shooting mode that can automatically analyze the scene and subjects within it and determine an aesthetically pleasing composition. The subsequent imagery will be cropped according to subject matter, resulting in a well-balanced composition that utilizes Face Detection and Tracking Focus to ensure high image quality and sharpness.

Clear Image Zoom can be used to magnify the center of scenes by 2x to effectively extend the reach of any focal length lens. This digital zoom technology uses an intelligent interpolation process to minimize the amount of image degradation in order to produce realistic, high-quality images.

Picture Effect modes allow you to apply creative settings and emphasize certain facets of individual images for a richer, more aesthetic picture quality. Posterization (Color/B&W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera (Normal/Cool/Warm/Green/Magenta), and Soft High-Key, Soft Focus (High/Mid/Low), HDR Painting (High/Mid/Low), Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature.

(Auto/Top/Middle(H)/Bottom/Right/Middle(V)/Left), Watercolor, and Illustration (High/Mid/Low) modes are available.

Superior Auto mode is an intelligent automated setting that can quickly identify the current shooting environment and adjust crucial camera settings to deliver optimized results. This mode also utilizes Auto HDR and Hand-held Twilight modes, which employ image compositing techniques to better handle difficult lighting conditions.

Anti-Motion Blur automatically corrects for subject movement in order to deliver clean, sharp imagery in low-light conditions. This is accomplished by recording six sequential frames and compositing portions of each image to ensure overall sharpness.

Hand-held Twilight Mode automatically composites details from six sequentially-recorded images in order to attain higher overall image sharpness when working in low-light conditions.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) works to improve images featuring backlit subjects or scenes with high contrast where details can be lost in the shadows or highlights. This mode can be controlled automatically or fine-tuned using five settings.

Creative Style settings provide control over how the camera processes images based on six different predetermined styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Black & White, and Sepia. Within these settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can also be adjusted depending on personal preference.

A Soft Skin Effect helps to minimize the appearance of wrinkles or blemishes in portraits
In-camera creation of 4K slide shows is possible for rich playback to ultra high definition televisions. An HDMI port is incorporated into the camera’s design too, to enable direct connection to HDTVs.

TRILUMINOS Color support is afforded by the a5100 to produce rich, natural colors when imagery is viewed on a TRILUMINOS Display.

Convenient USB charging allows you to charge the included lithium-ion battery in-camera via USB connection from either an AC outlet or PC source.

Sony Alpha A5100 Reviews

It’s not a bad camera at all, however the reduced price and some new features are not enough to make this a good second camera for my purposes. I’m not giving it 3 stars because it doesn’t suit my needs, I’m giving it 3 stars because it is just an average camera that lacks some functionality.

The lack of a viewfinder makes it useless for framing and pulling focus outside due to glare. There are only a handful of Creative Styles and for some crazy reason, there is not a Neutral style. Portrait is okay in a pinch, but the image degrades more in post. The camera is way too small to marry it with larger lenses. Cine lenses dwarf this unity and make it near impossible to get a good footprint on the tripod.

This particular unit appears to be noisier than the a6000 in similar situations even though they share the same sensor. Also, the AWD is horrible and can take up to 10 seconds to adjust to changing light. I found that AF-C is much slower than the a6000 in similar shooting situations using the same lens. The a5100 does not have dials for Mode. A single wheel is used for Aperture and Shutter, so quickly adjusting them is tedious.

There is not a Function button (like the a6000 has) so quickly adjusting focus mode, focus type, white balance, zebras, peaking, etc. is not possible. Like I said, it’s not a bad camera, but for video/film making it’s not up to par with the features of the a6000. To me, it’s an average 3-Star camera.

Best Camera at This Price Range!

I’m doing a video review because there’s just too much to talk about for this camera. I compared this to my Canon T3i and it’s like apples to oranges. Pros *Small form factor (BOTH A PRO AND A CON) *Easy to use *Beats my Canon in low light Cons *No hotshoe or mic input (EVEN THOUGH I NEVER USE THIS FEATURE, I RECORD DUAL SYSTEM SOUND) *No viewfinder.

Little wonder

It’s so easy taking a beautiful shot with this camera, even in low light. paired with the 35mm f/1.8 OSS it’s like a dream. i prefer it over the a6000 who has very poor battery life and lcd screen. better in low light and autofocus than the Nex 7. i had issues with the touchscreen and had to disabled it, that’s why i don’t give 5 stars.

Great camera!

I use this camera for traveling, vacations, street photography, nature, etc. I have a SEL2870 lens and a B+W XS-Pro Clear Nano Filter. I think that is the best lens for this camera (for my budget and for what I shoot). I’m very happy with the camera and lens. I like the touchscreen focus.

The touch screen also works with apps (a keyboard pops up for logging in, etc) but not for the regular menu which depends on the use of the button/dial. My old camera was the Nex-C3 with SEL1855. Both are small and easy to carry sample photo – My one complaint so far (and I’ve only had it for a week now) is the HDR setting isn’t the same as the a6000 where you can adjust the exposure diff (1-6EV); the a5000 just has auto HDR even though the manual says otherwise I did not know this until I received the camera and I just happened to have tested an a6000 before ordering my a5100. I’ve been into photography for several years.

I’ve taken classes at the Washington School of Photography, I’ve exhibited at the National Press Club and FotoWeek DC. As for the pros, cons, and best uses, those depend on your lens mostly. It doesn’t matter to me that there is no viewfinder. I prefer natural lighting and almost never use flash, so lack of hot shoe doesn’t matter.

Battery life is adequate, but I recommend a 2nd battery and/or portable charger. I also updated the firmware when I got the camera and the camera now uploads photos to my phone over wifi. Updating firmware was a little tricky as before you connect the USB, you need to select the mass storage mode on the camera.

Sony Alpha A5100 Digital Camera
5 (100%) 2 votes


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