The Sony Alpha 5100’s 24.3-million-pixel sensor is the same as that found in the more advanced Alpha 6000 CSC, bringing these high-resolution images to a more affordable consumer camera.
The new camera is also fitted with Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system, which combines contrast-detection AF with 179 on-sensor phase-detection AF points. This gives the Alpha 5100 an AF speed of just 0.07sec, which is just 0.01sec slower than the Alpha 6000.
Selecting the AF point has also been made easier with the addition of the same 3in touchscreen found in the NEX 5T. A simple touch of the screen can select the AF point and, if desired, fire the shutter at the same time. Unlike the Alpha 6000, the 5100 does not feature an electronic viewfinder.
Keeping up with the trend for ‘selfies’, the rear screen of the Alpha 5100 can be articulated through 180° to face the same way as the lens, making taking self-portraits far easier.
Video users are also well catered for, with full 1080p high-definition recording in the XAVCS format with a maximum 50Mbps compression. The processing in the Alpha 5100 is powerful enough that it can record AVCHD 1080p footage, and 720p MP4 footage at the same time, so those wanting high-quality video for TV playback, and lower-quality video for web use can capture both simultaneously.
Like the recent Alpha 7 camera, a zebra pattern highlight warning is also available while monitoring video capture.
Like other recent Sony cameras, the new Alpha 5100 has Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, and can be used with the Sony PlayMemories mobile app for Android or iOS.
Additional modes can also be added to the Alpha 5100 through the PlayMemories Camera Apps feature. This allows users to download additional apps and functions, such as timelapse functionality or the star trail movie application.
One of the latest apps is the Lens Compensation app. This costs a small fee, but it allows you to apply distortion mapping and shading correction for lenses, including third-party lenses used via an adapter.
The Sony Alpha 5100 will be available in the UK from mid-September 2014 priced at approximately £550 (16-50mm lens kit), £760 (16-50mm + 55-210mm lens kit) and £420 (body only).