Sony focuses on size and speed with the A5100
By Simon Crisp
August 19, 2014
Sony has added to its line-up of mirrorless cameras with the A5100, a small but seemingly very capable shooter which fits in between the entry-level A5000 and the more enthusiast-focused A6000. The new camera features a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor, a super-fast autofocus system, a tilting touchscreen monitor, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
The Alpha A5100 (or ILCE-5100, or α5100, depending on how you like to refer to your Sony cameras) boasts some solid photographic credentials. At the heart of the camera is a 24.3-megapixel APS-C size (23.5 x 15.6 mm) Exmor CMOS sensor and the same BIONZ X image processor seen in the A7 cameras. As such, the A5100 has an ISO range of 100–25,600, and can shoot at a respectable 6 fps in continuous mode with AF tracking.
A Fast Hybrid AF system, which can be used for movies or stills, features 179 phase detection and 25 contrast detection AF points. This means the camera can achieve autofocus with DSLR-rivaling speeds of as little as 0.07 seconds. The A5100 can also record Full HD 1080p video at 60/50/24 fps, and in addition to AVCHD and MP4, it supports the more pro-focused XAVC S format at 50 Mbps. The option of clean HDMI output is also there for external recording.
Sony has managed to squeeze all of this into a body which measures just 109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7 mm (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in) and weighs 283 g (10 oz). While those dimensions apparently didn't allow for the inclusion of a built-in EVF like that on the A6000, the rear three-inch touchscreen TFT LCD monitor has a respectable 921,600 dots. The screen also tilts 180 degrees, which should make composing selfies easier. A zoom lever allows for power-zoom lens control.
The camera is compatible with the downloadable Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps, and its built-in Wi-Fi and NFC should make for easy wireless transfer and remote control with compatible Android and iOS devices. The A5100 also has a built in pop-up flash (though it lacks a hot shoe) and it uses the growing range of E-mount lenses.
The Sony Alpha A5100 will be available from September in black, white or brown for US$550 body-only. It will also be bundled with a 16-50-mm F3.5-F5.6 Power Zoom lens for $700.
You can see a bit more about the A5100 in the video from Sony Europe below.
Product page: Sony A5100