Sony Alpha 5100 Review - The Sony Alpha 5100 is one of the most feature-packed entry-level CSCs on the market, complete with a 179-point hybrid autofocus system and advanced video shooting capabilities
Their range of Alpha models have long boasted some of the most impressive and pioneering technology, and the all-new Sony Alpha 5100 is no different.
The model arrives with a 24.3MP Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor, Bionz-X processor and a 179-point hybrid AF system which is as good as any in its class.
There are plenty more impressive features on this NEX-5T replacement, and it could be argued that it’s one of the best specified entry-level CSCs on the market. But does it have a level of performance to match?
Sony Alpha 5100 Review – Features
At the core of the Alpha 5100 sits the model’s impressive sensor. The 24MP Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor is akin to that you would find in an entry-level DSLR, and as such promises both an impressive resolution and a good level of image quality.
The sensor also boasts a substantial ISO range of 100-25600, meaning it should be able to cope well in low light conditions. Add to this the new Bionz-X processor – borrowed from the more advanced Sony Alpha 6000 – and the promise continues to grow, as this chip facilitates area-specific noise reduction for cleaner images at the higher settings.
Alongside the noise reduction credentials the Bionz-X processor also promises a good level of image processing speeds and performance, while the A5100 also delivers a reasonable continuous shooting rate of 6fps.
One of the real highlights of the specification is the AF set-up – another element aided by the Bionz-X processor. The system features a collection of 179-points which cover 90% of the camera’s frame as part of a hybrid AF set-up. This set-up consists of on-chip phase detection as well as 25 precision contrast AF points around the centre of the sensor.
LCD screen and connectivity
In terms of the rear of the camera, the model features a 3in, 921k-dot TFT touchscreen LCD which benefits from a vari-angle configuration, facilitating the turning of the screen about 180-degrees above the camera to face the subject – perfect for selfies.
As you might expect for a new CSC from Sony the Alpha 5100 features both NFC and Wi-fi connectivity. This allows for both the easy transfer of images between the camera and either a smartphone or tablet, as well as wireless control of the camera for remote shooting.
Completing the impressive specification is a comprehensive range of video capture functionality. The A5100 shoots Full HD video at 1920 x 1080p and at a range of frame rates, from 24p through to 60p/i.
The real highlight of the video functionality is the ability to record in broadcast quality XAVC S format at 50Mb/s, or in AVCHD, while simultaneously capturing the smaller MP4 codec – a process akin to capturing Raw and JPEG still image formats.
There’s also the option to shoot 8bit uncompressed 4:2:2 video to an external device should you require, completing what’s arguably a professional-level video capture set-up.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB
Drive Mode: Up to 6fps
Focusing Modes: Multi, Center, Single, 7 custom modes
Shutter Speeds: 30 – 1/4000 sec
Dimensions: 110 x 63 x 36mm
File Format: JPEG, Raw
Power: Rechargeable Li-lion NP-FW50, approx. 400 shot battery life
Connectivity: Wi-fi, NFC, USB 2, micro HDMI
Live Mode: Yes
Exposure Modes: iAuto, PASM, Scene
Movie Mode: Yes
Metering System: Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Built-in Image Stabilisation: No
Dust Reduction: Yes
DoF Prview: Yes
Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
Sensor: 24mP APS-C CMOS
White Balance Bracket: Yes
AF Points: 179
Colour Temp Control: Yes
LCD: 3in, 921k-dot tilting touchscreen LCD
Output Size: 6000 x 4000
PC Socket: n/a
Viewfinder: Type n/a
Cable Release: n/a
Compression: Extra fine, Fine, Normal
Exposure Comp: + / – 3 EV
Memory Card: SD, SDXC, SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, Pro-HG Duo
Built-in Flash: Yes
Lens Mount: Sony E (NEX)
White Balance: Auto, 10 presets
ISO: 100 – 25600
Video: 1920 x 1080 @ 60p, 60i, 24p