Sony Alpha 5100 review

September 17, 2014

Overall Rating:


Sony Alpha 5100

  • Features:
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  • Metering:
  • Autofocus:
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  • LCD viewfinder:


  • - Superb resolution and autofocus speed
  • - Lightweight, but tough with a compact body
  • - Advanced video filming capabilities


  • - Only six frames per second continuous shooting
  • - Touchscreen limited to taking pictures only
  • - No input for external microphone



With 24.3-million-pixels, 179-point hybrid autofocus and advanced video, is the Sony Alpha 5100 the most high- tech, entry-level APS-C camera yet? In our Sony Alpha 5100 review Jon Devo finds out


The speed and accuracy of the Alpha 5100’s autofocus is what really stands out. In my brief time using this camera with the Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens, I didn’t get a single out-of-focus shot.

With a half-press of the shutter button, the camera actuates its focusing motors almost instantaneously and locks on to your target stubbornly when continuous AF is engaged. It’s possible to adjust AF drive speed and tracking separately: drive can be set to fast, normal and slow, while tracking duration can be set to normal and high.

1/400 sec @ f/4, +0.3 EV, ISO 100  Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

1/400 sec @ f/4, +0.3 EV, ISO 100 Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

I tested the AF-C function by focusing on a section of leaves in a bush that was being blown in an intermittently rushing wind. Even when set to normal, with a background that was challenging in that it was similar to the subject, the camera tenaciously held onto the section of blowing leaves that I had initially focused on.

Despite the camera’s limited number of physical controls and lack of full touchscreen functionality, navigating and operating the Alpha 5100 is very straightforward thanks to Sony’s simplified and user-friendly interface.

Pressing the centre button allows you to select from PASM modes, as well as scene, intelligent and superior auto modes, panoramic shooting and movie recording, using the multifunctional rear dial, while the inclusion of a power zoom lever on the shoulder of the camera makes it fully operable with just one hand.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity open up the possibilities of wireless shooting, as well as sending images straight to a tablet or similar compatible device for improved image reviewing. I not only found these functions easy to set up, but image transfer speeds proved to be remarkably quick.


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