Back to basics - really liking the a5100 ...

Started Dec 7, 2014 | User reviews thread
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blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 12,129
Back to basics - really liking the a5100 ...

Like so many of you, I could not resist a deal on the a5100.

Putting it next to the a6000 and the a7, I am glad that I did. The a5100 is bringing back the Nex-5 feel, when a APS-C camera felt like a P&S. It can travel in a camera bag sideways, or in a belt pouch without being noticeable. I had forgotten how small this camera really is.

Sure, it feels very light, very plastic, even flimsy, and it doesn't quite fit in a pocket, but I prefer it over the RX100 series cameras.

I put on the E20 lens, which I find more practical than the E1650 for most of the time, especially when handing it to others to take a quick snap. The PDAF works fine, and the a5100 functions like a P&S when others use it, yielding keepers.

Funny thing: I left CIZ on, and the zoom lever on the a5100 does let you zoom in (up to 2x) directly with the E20 lens (up to 40mm), so many don't even notice that it is using a prime lens. Except that it remains f/2.8.

As to IQ? It matches the a6000. The body has fewer controls, but it works the way that I intended to use it (for snaps). Focus is very accurate (no need for EVF indoors) with subjects. Outdoors, the WiFi lets you use your cell phone if lights are too bright. The flippy screen is actually a plus, as the alternative is a 2Mp cell-phone image (front view camera), even though it does not tilt down.

As to the review parameters - this camera is great for quick (social) action. It is small, it is 'always' ready, everyone can grab it, and it tracks moving subjects fairly well (with this lens). But I am a tad harsher on the other categories, since you do have more control with the larger bodies, and if you do landscape/portrait/low-light/still-life work, you most likely will chose larger lenses and bodies. This is not the camera for that - this is a camera to have with you, when the other cameras are at home

I would not consider it a system camera, but the ability to throw it in the bag, and mount any other lens with it, makes it a lot more appealing than using the a6000 for that role - for space and weight savings. If the a6000 wasn't discounted as much as well, this a5100 would be a real steal, but for many reasons, the a6000 is more camera. But when keeping in a bag, purse or belt pouch, nothing can beat this a5100 camera.

I use the E20, but the E1650 'kit' lens is not that much larger - both are very small lenses.

Please note that I put Gariz half-cases on the other bodies, which makes them a tad taller.

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 blue_skies's gear list:blue_skies's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a5100 Sony a7R II Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Sony 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 +35 more
Sony a5100
24 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Aug 18, 2014
blue_skies's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Sony a5100 Sony a6000 Sony a7 Sony RX100
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