Sony A5100 Comparison Review
The Sony Alpha A5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was announced in August 2014 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.
Is the Sony A5100 a good camera? The A5100 has a Camera Elo of 2118. This rating puts the A5100 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the A5100 ranks among the top 40 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 25 600|
|no viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots|
|6 shutter flaps per second|
|400 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Sony A5100 vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony A5100 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|2.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|3.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|4.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|5.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|6.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|7.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699|
|8.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|9.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|10.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony A5100 was launched in the US market at a price of $549. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Sony A5100 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony A5100 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|8.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A5100 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the A5100 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A5100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One convenient feature of the A5100 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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 Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A5100 offers wifi support. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A5100 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|2.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|3.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|4.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|5.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|6.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|7.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699|
|8.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|9.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|10.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Sony A5100 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the A5100.
What type of imaging sensor is used in the A5100?
The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Sony equipped the A5100 with the BIONZ X image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the A5100?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600.
Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?
Yes, the LCD-screen of the A5100 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha A5100?
Sony does not publish a shutter rating for the A5100. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Sony A5100?
Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your A5100 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony A5100?
The A5100 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Sony A5100 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The A5100's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.
Does the Sony A5100 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).
Which battery does the A5100 use?
The camera gets its power from the NP-FW50 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Where can I find the best deals for the A5100?
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
|Camera Model||Sony A5100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 549|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||367 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6 000 x 4 000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25 600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1347|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging|
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||283 g (10.0 oz)|
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