The NEX branding may have gone, but what else is new about Sony’s 20.1-million-pixel Alpha 5000 – its latest APS-C-format CSC on the market? Read the Sony Alpha 5000 review...
Sony Alpha 5000 review – Noise, resolution and sensitivity
Sony’s Image Data Convertor software is sluggish, even on a top-spec laptop. It was challenging to get the best out of the raw files, and in my opinion when support for the Alpha 5000’s uncompressed .ARW format is updated on third-party processing software such as Adobe Camera Raw, more detail should be recoverable.
For an entry-level CSC, the Sony Alpha 5000 offers a relatively broad sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000, as did last year’s Alpha 3000. However, ISO performance appears to be better, with the Alpha 5000 resolving around 30 lines per mm (lpmm) on our test chart at its base sensitivity of ISO 200 – a slight improvement on the Alpha 3000’s 28lpmm.
Luminance noise only begins to impact the number of lines resolved at around ISO 800-1600, whereupon significant detail begins to smudge. Even at ISO 6400, though, 26lpmm is achieved, putting the camera’s ISO and noise-handling capabilities among the top end of models in this class.
The Bionz X image processor in the Alpha 5000 can apply area-specific noise reduction and has been fine-tuned to tackle it very well, colour noise especially. However, looking at the shadows in images shot beyond ISO 500, it appears that noise reduction works a little too well. Some luminance noise can help to define detail and texture, and without it surfaces can look unnaturally smooth and painterly.
These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution at the specified sensitivity setting.