Everything You Need To Know About The Sony Alpha A5100 Camera

What Is The Sony A5100?

woman taking picture

If you're looking for a ready-to-go, high-tech camera that is both comprehensive and mobile, consider the Sony Alpha A5100. This camera is the perfect entry into the world of digital photography and designed for newcomer photographers.

It has a host of features that are easy to use, whether you are transferring digital media across WiFi, taking selfies, or posting videos to YouTube. Read on to learn everything you need about one of Sony's most versatile, comprehensive cameras.

How Does The Sony A5100 Work?

camera on desk

Sony already has a storied assortment of E-mount lenses, in which the A5100 is compatible.

If you were to cradle the Sony A5100 in your palm, you'd be able to find a popup flash along the top surface. Next to the flash is the shutter release, zoom collar, and also the movie setting recording button and power switch. In the back of the camera rests another control wheel, except this one can tilt in four different directions. The rear control wheel has default options:

  • Display views
  • ISO sensitivity
  • Exposure compensations
  • Picture controls
  • Drive modes

The rear also has four buttons to access the menu, play videos or preview shots, help for assistance, and recycle. There is also a fifth button that accesses the photo capture menu mode which is an alternate. The menu mode can maneuver for you to select the preferred selection. You can also change button functions here as well, or access the 35 help button options.

Wired Connectivity

The A5100 is similar to its previous model, the A5000, by housing a left-side flap on its body to house the Sony multiple USB ports, HDMI port, and also SD memory card in between those.

What Makes The Sony A5100 Unique?

size comparison

The Sony A5100 is small. Very small. Measuring 110 x 63 x 35 mm, the 283 gram comes with a battery but no lens. You can mount the kit zoom to add to the same place, which adds 30 mm the overall weight. Even with its size, the camera still offers some essential functions and offerings.

A Higher Degree Of Focus

The APS-C sensor is located on the A5100, which originated from the Sony A6000. Additionally, the A5100 benefits from 24 megapixels and 179 auto-focus points, which work to consistently focus on your photo object and track motion action, like sports, with a high range of success.

Touch-sensitive Capabilities

The A5100 has a high-resolution screen with touch capability, a first for a Sony camera. The screen is 920kx460k; you can access the autofocus area with a simple tap. Also, bring the focus closer among multiple subjects, even when recording movies.

Wifi-capable

The A5100 has Wifi-connectivity, and also can be used to download apps designed to broaden and enhance the processes.

Screen Size

The 16:9, a 3-inch screen can be angled 180 degrees upwards for self-portraits or "selfies," but cannot be angled down. High definition movies are also large enough to be displayed well with the screen ratio without any squinting or difficulty on your part.

Monitor Brightness Control

Even in the advent of sophisticated technology, digital camera monitors and daylight clash and make for darkened, difficult sights. But Sony has a solution: the monitor brightness control. This control setting allows for settings to adjust the brightness and align to daylight, to make the environment more visible; however, this functionality does not come without a decrease in overall battery life.

Multi-purpose USB port

The Sony A5100 has multiple USB ports running along its sleek framing, which serve a variety of purposes:

  • Removing image and movie multimedia from the camera
  • Ports the RM-VPR1 remote
  • Serves as a battery charge supply and recharges the internal A5100

Charge Batteries Almost Any Time, Anywhere

Even though there may be some users out there that do not like to charge a camera battery while it is still within the device, the Sony A5100 removes the inefficiency of you having to carry your charger with you everywhere. Since charging happens inside the A5100, you'll never have to keep extra material with you.

With charging directed by the USB port, you earn more options such as ports featured in modern vehicles, planes, buses, or laptops. You can also use external batteries to recharge your camera.

The A5100 also carries an NP-FW50 Lithium Ion pack, which reviewers have described as useful for at least 400 shots. Unfortunately, you cannot take photographs when the phone camera is charging.

Virtual Mode Dial

To access the A5100 shooting modes, most experienced camera users would opt for a mode dial—or circular tracking wheel—to select the mode for the moment. Sony included a virtual mode dial that can be found through the menu button, or by pressing the button positioned in the back wheel, on the rear of the camera. (This is the default configuration.)

Both methods result in accessing the same on-screen mode dial. You can use this and spin through a selection of modes, options, photo and movie options. Preview mode composition frames before integrating appropriately.

Five Camera Filters For You To Choose

If you disable RAW mode, you will then have the option to select from five primary camera filters, each with its filters. Here are your options:

  • Toy Camera, which also has five sub-filters
  • Pop Color
  • Posterisation, which comes in color or a black and white selection
  • Retro
  • Soft High Key
  • Partial Color, with primary color selections
  • High Contrast Mono
  • Soft Focus, and a choice of low to high focus settings
  • HDR Painting, also with low to high focus  
  • Rich Tone Mono
  • Miniature, with auto, top, bottom, right, left, middle, or middle horizontal, watercolor, and illustration - all with low to high focus

Optional Wired Remote

The RM-VPR1 is a wired remote that can take exposures beyond 30 seconds on the Sony A5100. The remote is advantageous to avoid manually pressing the shutter for more extended shots.

Current Pricing for the Sony A5100

man taking picture

The camera comes with a 16-50 mm lens, rechargeable battery, AC charger, shoulder strap, micro USB cable, and a lens cap. For the body only and no accessories, the camera has a price of $$. Used options for the A5100 begin as low as $343.

The A5100 16-50 mm standard is bundled with a 50 mm lens for $$$, and also with a 55-210 mm lens for $$$.

Public Perception: Here’s What The Buyer’s Think

Sony a5100 16-50mm Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Flip Up LCD...
  • Ultra-fast auto focus with 179 AF points and 6Fps
  • Capture life in high resolution with 24MP APS-C sensor.Lens compatibility Sony E-mount lenses
  • Instant sharing via smartphone with Wi-Fi and NFC1

The public considers the Sony A5100 in varying degrees, but most of the opinions positive and forthcoming. Some have cited the benefit of using the camera as a paramount component for vlogging.

Avid Facebook or Instagram users may also find the camera more appealing than a bulky DSLR. Those that also like to take selfies may discover the A5100 enticing, especially given its flip-up screens. It allows users to take photos according to lighting, proper angles, and focus.

Users also applaud the WiFi-ready A5100 and the ability to transfer photos or videos to any of their devices within signal range. For social media users, this feature compliments their habits and makes posting multimedia online seamless and efficient.

The A5100 is heralded by many as a product for the “aspiring photographer” or amateur who desires to move beyond smartphones or simple, point-and-shoot cameras.

The camera also offers a middle ground for those who do not wish to graduate into a high-end camera just yet, as well; the help buttons and options are available if required. Other users have cited that the camera’s weight is an advantage over Canon products.

Video creators comment that the A5100 has high-speed focusing capabilities, and can record up to 50 megabytes, with an uncompressed output for the HDMI. The onboard sensor makes for an excellent quality of imagery with videos and stills.

The helpful descriptions for the camera modes were also used to guide others to their next steps. One minor disappointment that video users may find is that the camera does not have an external power source or microphone output. Also, internal charging is arduous and can take five hours.

More cons for the A5100 is that it does not have control surfaces, which may be a detractor for experienced photographers. Even so, the one mode dial makes up for what the A5100 lacks with overall ease of access and switching to the camera adjustments like aperture, ISO, or shutter speed.

Users may also find the touchscreen slightly underwhelming in part because few of the controls integrate with it; however, newcomers may not notice such things.

The Sony A5100 knows what it is: a starter camera for the photography newcomer. Consumers will find the camera affordable, full of useful options, easy to accessorize, easy to transport.

How The Sony A5100 Compares To The Competition

The Sony A5100 has some distinct advantages over its market competitors, such as:

  • An interchangeable lens
  • Touchscreen
  • Continuous focusing when you record movies
  • A large number of lenses
  • Longer battery life, up to 400 shots
  • Fast phase detection autofocus capabilities
  • Records higher quality movies (1080p)
  • Takes higher resolution photos (24.7 MP)
  • The camera shoots faster (6 fps)

But even with its benefits, the Sony A5100 lacks some key components:

  • No viewfinder whatsoever
  • Image stabilization not available with, or without, the lenses
  • The camera lacks external microphone port
  • External flash attachment not supported
  • Shorter battery life

And if you are considering to purchase the A5000, Sony's previous model, expect to spend $400—a minimal price difference when compared to the $449 A5100. Also, the A5100 has much better video options, sensors, detection autofocus, and a much more responsive touchscreen and range.

Experienced shooters will probably gravitate towards the $748 A6000, a bigger, sturdier camera that can shoot 11 frames per second and doubles the speed of the A5100.

The Sony A6000 and A5100 have many similarities, but also some notable differences. The A5100 is slower, has fewer comforts, and lacks an EVF, or electronic viewfinder, burst shooting, or an extended iso machine. The lack of machinery can save you $100.

What We Think About The Sony A5100

display

The Sony A5100 is a must-have for newcomers or amateur photographers who pride simplicity, high-quality photography and videos, and ease of use. The camera is a basic introduction to digital photography and is the quintessential starter phone before moving up to a DSLR.

The capabilities of the A5100 won us over, especially the touchscreen. With the functionality, you can film movies by touch, or adjust focus from one subject to another, a feature not offered on its competitors.

Sony really underutilized the touchscreen; you cannot swipe your images like a smartphone, or view in playback. You won't be able to use any type-press to access any settings. Just reposition your focus area.

The A5100 has a target audience that may not care or want to adjust any of the settings but may opt to quickly access anything that could upset their photo.

Our Verdict

The Sony A5100 series is at the lower end of the companies marketplace, yet it been earning high marks for its high-quality video and sensors. The mirrorless options are considered the most impressive among the group. The A5100 provides an all-amazing performance for those that do not want the size of the A6000.

The bottom line: With the A5100, you will save more money and gain a camera worth its specifications, with nearly the same image quality as its next level A6000.

This A5100 camera builds on what works and what is perfect for testing out new approaches to photography at any group level. The screen is also comprehensive enough to read without any difficulty and, functionally, works better than most touchscreens in competitor cameras.

If you are considering to purchase a camera, then select the Sony A5100 for a smooth transition into the world of photography for your personal or professional projects.

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