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Sony A5100 vs A6100

The Sony Alpha A5100 and the Sony Alpha A6100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2014 and August 2019. Both the A5100 and the A6100 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Sony A5100
versus
Sony A6100
Sony A5100   Sony A6100
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP – APS-C sensor 24 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 100-32,000 (100 - 51,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
6 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge420 shots per battery charge
110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g 120 x 67 x 59 mm, 396 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A5100 and the Sony Alpha A6100? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A5100 and the Sony A6100. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The A5100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the A6100 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).

Size Sony A5100 vs Sony A6100
Compare A5100 versus A6100 top
Comparison A5100 or A6100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6100 is notably larger (16 percent) than the Sony A5100. Moreover, the A6100 is substantially heavier (40 percent) than the A5100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A5100 nor the A6100 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549ebay.com
2.
 
Sony A6100 120 mm 67 mm 59 mm 396 g 420 n Aug 2019 749ebay.com
3.
 
Canon M50 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 n Feb 2018 779ebay.com
4.
 
Sony ZV-E10 115 mm 64 mm 45 mm 343 g 440 n Jul 2021 699 amazon.com
5.
 
Sony A6400 120 mm 67 mm 50 mm 403 g 410 Y Jan 2019 899 amazon.com
6.
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999ebay.com
7.
 
Sony A5000 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449ebay.com
8.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599ebay.com
9.
 
Sony RX100 III 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799ebay.com
10.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329ebay.com
11.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499ebay.com
12.
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749ebay.com
13.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599ebay.com
14.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649ebay.com
15.
 
Sony NEX-3 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 n May 2010 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 27 percent) than the A6100, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A5100 and Sony A6100 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the A5100 and the A6100 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the A6100 is much more recent (by 5 years) than the A5100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Sony Alpha A5100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A6100 are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

A5100 versus A6100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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
1.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
2.
 
Sony A6100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.113.6194784
3.
 
Canon M50 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p23.813.3168481
4.
 
Sony ZV-E10 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.213.8213485
5.
 
Sony A6400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.013.6143183
6.
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
7.
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
8.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
9.
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
10.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
11.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
12.
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
13.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
14.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
15.
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A6100 provides a better video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A5100 is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6100 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A5100, the Sony A6100, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Sony A5100none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
2.
 
Sony A61001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon M502360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0/s Y n
4.
 
Sony ZV-E10none n3.0 / 922 swivel Y 1/4000s 11.0/s n n
5.
 
Sony A64002359 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0/s Y n
6.
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n3.0 / 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0/s Y Y
7.
 
Sony A5000none n3.0 / 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
8.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y n
9.
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Sony A3000202 n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
11.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
12.
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s Y n
14.
 
Sony RX100none n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony NEX-3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.
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 reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A6100 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Sony A6100 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A5100 and the A6100 write their files to 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 Sony Alpha A5100 and Sony Alpha A6100 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Sony A5100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony A6100Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon M50Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Sony ZV-E10Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.2YYY
5.
 
Sony A6400Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Sony A5000-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Sony RX100 III-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Sony A3000Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
12.
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Sony RX100-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
15.
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the A6100 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The A5100 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the A5100 and the A6100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The A6100 was replaced by the Sony A6600, while the A5100 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the A5100 and A6100 can be found, respectively, in the Sony A5100 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A6100 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Sony A5100 better than the Sony A6100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5100:

  • More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 120x67mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 113g or 29 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (27 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2014).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6100:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years of technical progress since the A5100 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6100 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A5100 04:09 A6100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A5100 and the Sony A6100 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A5100 or the A6100. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+....4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549ebay.com
2.
 
Sony A6100....4/582/1004/55/5 Aug 2019 749ebay.com
3.
 
Canon M50..+4/579/100..3.5/5 Feb 2018 779ebay.com
4.
 
Sony ZV-E104/5..4/582/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2021 699 amazon.com
5.
 
Sony A64004/5+4/585/1004.5/54/5 Jan 2019 899 amazon.com
6.
 
Sony RX100 IV4.5/5+ +..85/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999ebay.com
7.
 
Sony A50003/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 449ebay.com
8.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599ebay.com
9.
 
Sony RX100 III5/5+ +..82/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 799ebay.com
10.
 
Sony A30003/5+....4/54/5 Aug 2013 329ebay.com
11.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499ebay.com
12.
 
Sony RX100 II5/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749ebay.com
13.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599ebay.com
14.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +..78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649ebay.com
15.
 
Sony NEX-3......70/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, 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.

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    Specifications: Sony A5100 vs Sony A6100

    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 Sony A5100 Sony A6100
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2014 August 2019
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Sony A5100 Sony A6100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 32,000 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1347 ..
    Screen Specs Sony A5100 Sony A6100
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A5100 Sony A6100
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-ShutterYES
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Sony A5100 Sony A6100
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Sony A5100 Sony A6100
    Battery Type NP-FW50 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge420 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    120 x 67 x 59 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.3 in)
    Camera Weight 283 g (10.0 oz) 396 g (14.0 oz)
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