Sony a5100 Brief Review



  • 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • JPEG and RAW
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/4000
  • ISO up to 25600
  • Continuous shooting up to 6 fps (up to 56 frames Fine JPEG and 23 frames RAW)
  • Manual modes
  • Creative filters
  • 179 point phase detection autofocus and 25 point-contrast-detection autofocus
  • Wi-Fi
  • 3” tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Li-ion battery rated at 400 shots
  • Weighs 10 ounces
  • Release Date: 2014-08-17
  • Final Grade: 91 4.55 Star Rating: Recommended

Sony a5100 boasts the smallest mirrorless body with APS-C sensor and built-in flash
Tiny is in--and the Sony a5100 packs quite a few features into the smallest mirrorless body yet.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 9/13/2014

It's no secret the point of mirrorless cameras is to pack big imaging power into small packages. Sony is one of the leaders in this area, and they seem to introduce a "smallest yet" camera every year. The 2014 Sony a5100 takes that "smallest yet" title for cameras with both an APS-C sensor and built-in flash. Small body and big sensor isn't the only thing the a5100 has to offer, however, and you can find it for less than $700 with a kit lens.

The Sony a5100 gets a bump up in speed over the older a5000. The a5100 reaches a respectable yet not astounding 6 fps. You can shoot over 50 frames in a row at that rate, however, and over 20 when shooting RAW files. Shutter speed hits a maximum of 1/4000. Autofocusing is fast as well, with the same hybrid system as the Sony a6000 that allows the camera to choose a focus point in as little as .07 seconds.

There's no viewfinder on the a5100, but Sony has beefed up the LCD screen, perhaps so the missing viewfinder is less noticeable. The screen is a touch-style interface. Perhaps even more interesting is that such a tiny camera still offers a tilting screen--one that can tilt up to 180 degrees for a selfie.

The Sony a5100 includes manual modes and RAW shooting, plus auto and scene modes for the less advanced. There's a good handful of digital filters as well, plus the popular panorama option. The camera also includes wi-fi.

The Sony a5100 has a lot of features in a small package. Perhaps even more enticing, however, is the price--under $700 for the kit is a competative price for the features inside. The camera ships on September 2 and is available for pre-order.

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Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

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