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Canon M10 vs Sony A5100

The Canon EOS M10 and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2015 and August 2014. Both the M10 and the A5100 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon M10 versus Sony A5100
Canon M10 Sony A5100
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-25,600
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
4.6 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
255 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
108 x 67 x 35 mm, 301 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M10 and the Sony Alpha A5100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon M10 and the Sony A5100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, white).

Size Canon M10 vs Sony A5100
Compare M10 versus A5100 top
Comparison M10 or A5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Canon M10. Moreover, the A5100 is markedly lighter (6 percent) than the M10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M10 nor the A5100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the M10 gets 255 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon M10 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Sony A5100 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
 
Canon M100 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon T6 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon G9 X 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon M3 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679i
 
Canon G7 X 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon T5 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SL1 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon M 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon T3i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Sony A5000 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A6000 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony A3000 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony NEX-3N 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-3 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The M10 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the A5100 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5100 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M10) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon M10 and Sony A5100 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A5100 offers a higher resolution than the M10 (17.9MP), but the A5100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.31μm for the M10). It is noteworthy in this context that the M10 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the A5100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A5100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon M10 are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS M10 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

M10 versus A5100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A5100 offers substantially better image quality than the M10 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
 
Canon M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A5100 provides a faster frame rate than the M10. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10 and the A5100 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M10 and Sony A5100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon M3optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The M10 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M10 and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---

The A5100 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the M10 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M10 was succeeded by the Canon M100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M10 or the Sony A5100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS M10:

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the A5100).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 4.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 255) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2014).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5100 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M10 02:09 A5100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M10 and the Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M10 or the A5100 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon T6o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon G9 X+ +..4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon M3o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679i
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Sony A5000+..4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony A3000+..4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon M10:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A5100:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~

    Specifications: Canon M10 vs Sony A5100

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon M10 Sony A5100
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2015 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Canon M10 Sony A5100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.2 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 753 1347
    Screen Specs Canon M10 Sony A5100
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M10 Sony A5100
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 4.6 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon M10 Sony A5100
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon M10 Sony A5100
    Battery Type LP-E12 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)255 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 108 x 67 x 35 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 301 g (10.6 oz) 283 g (10.0 oz)

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