Offering the speed and versatility required by multimedia photographers, the Alpha a5100 Mirrorless Digital Camera from Sony, which comes in black, white and brown color, combines a high-resolution sensor, hybrid AF system, and apt video recording capabilities, all within a compact and convenient form factor. Pairing a 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, this camera is able to record up to 6 fps continuous shooting with notable sensitivity to ISO 25600. Full HD video recording is supported in the high-quality XAVC S codec, with the ability to shoot at 1080p in 60, 30, or 24 fps frame rates. Complementing the multimedia imaging capabilities is the Fast Hybrid AF system, which pairs 179 phase-detection points with 25 contrast-detection points to deliver fast, accurate, and consistent focusing abilities. The a5100 is poised to deliver the all-around performance desired by contemporary photographers while still maintaining the convenience needed for everyday shooting.
In regard to handling, the a5100 sports a sleek design that is characterized by a large 3.0" 921.6k-dot LCD monitor, which features a 180° upward tilting design to permit easier viewing from both front-facing and above angles. Furthermore, the LCD is also a touchscreen, which permits intuitive control over image playback and menu navigation, as well as the ability to release the shutter and touch-to-focus for pinpoint accuracy. Seven customizable function buttons facilitate efficient control over a variety of settings and modes. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, with support for NFC-enabled devices, is also integrated into the a5100 to support remote camera control and image sharing to linked mobile devices.
Included with the camera body is a Sony E-mount 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-75mm. This range of perspectives is well suited to everyday shooting and is further enhanced through the inclusion of Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for minimizing the appearance of camera shake. Power Zoom technology allows for electronic control over the zoom position and the inclusion of one extra-low dispersion element and four aspherical elements helps to reduce chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range as well as contribute to high overall sharpness.
The 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor work together to produce high resolution, well-detailed imagery with minimal noise and notable low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. The sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design, which fills the gaps between neighboring pixels with optimized lenses that match the angle of incidence to increase light gathering ability and produce edge-to-edge sharpness and quality. The processor also contributes to providing a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including Fast Hybrid AF, a top continuous shooting rate of 6 fps, and full HD video recording in multiple frame rates and formats.
The Fast Hybrid AF system utilizes both a 179-point phase-detection system and 25-point contrast-detection system to achieve precise focus in as little as 0.07 sec. Utilizing a Spatial Object Detection algorithm, this fast focusing system first employs the phase-detection AF points to quickly bring the subject into focus and then uses the contrast-detection AF points, with wide AF coverage, to fine-tune the sharpness for ensured accuracy. Beyond supporting single shot modes, this system also provides AF tracking when shooting up to 6 fps in continuous high mode and functions seamlessly when recording full HD movies. This hybrid focusing mode is further accentuated by the incorporation of a touchscreen LCD, which avails touch-to-focus control for critical accuracy in both still and video recording.
For further refinement, a series of distinct AF modes can be selected from depending on the subject. Eye AF is a detail-oriented focusing function that can prioritize a subject's pupil and dedicate focusing performance on that for sharply-rendered portraits; Lock-on AF is a dedicated focusing method for use with moving subjects and adjusts the target frame size as the subject moves throughout the image frame; AF area settings allow you to prioritize specific regions within the frame for increased accuracy; and AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), and Manual Focus modes can also be chosen.
Full HD 1080p video recording is supported at 60, 30, and 24 fps in the high-quality 50 Mbps XAVC S codec. Other recording options include the ability to utilize the AVCHD and MP4 codecs, with support for recording up to 1080p60 video at 28 Mbps. Dual video recording is supported, as well, with the ability to select either XAVC S or AVCHD codecs plus a duplicate MP4 file to be recorded at the same time for greater efficiency when sharing videos online. Additionally, using the integrated HDMI type D output, both 1080i60 and 1080p60 uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 video can be recorded to an optional external recorder.
Complementing the video capabilities of the a5100, a built-in stereo microphone is incorporated into the design and records audio in the Linear PCM 2-channel format for XAVC S movies, the AC-3 Dolby Digital format for AVCHD movies, and the MPEG-4 AAC-LC format for web-quality MP4 videos.
Manual focus peaking and a zebra function are also available, to benefit working in manual focus and to assure highlight detail is retained, respectively. A marker setting can be shown on the rear LCD as well, in order to display a center marker, guide frame, aspect marker, safety zone, and other pertinent features for video recording.
Sporting a compact form factor and using the versatile Sony E lens mount, this mirrorless camera is designed for convenience and intuitiveness. A large 3.0" 921.6k-dot LCD monitor features a 180° upward tilting design to better facilitate taking self-portraits and a zoom lever surrounding the shutter release button helps to easily fine tune compositions when used in conjunction with a compatible power zoom lens. Additionally, this LCD is also a touchscreen, which offers efficient control over camera settings and navigation throughout playback and menu systems. In regard to physical controls about the body, rear-mounted controls give direct access to different shooting modes and camera settings. A dedicated Fn (Function) button, along with seven other customizable buttons, can also be assigned to control any of 47 different settings.
The body also incorporates a pop-up flash, which features a guide number of 13.1' at ISO 100 for additional illumination in difficult lighting conditions.
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables the a5100 to instantly share imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices; no complex set-up is required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and remotely control the camera's shutter.
Additionally, PlayMemories Camera Apps are also supported via the built-in Wi-Fi connection and allow you to personalize the camera's features depending on specific shooting styles. Apps are available to suit creating portraits, detailed close-ups, sports, time lapse, motion shot, and other specific types of imagery.
The included 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-75mm, covering wide-angle to portrait-length perspectives to suit working in a wide variety of situations. It features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed steps to greatly benefit working in low-light conditions and with greater zoom magnifications. One extra-low dispersion element and four aspherical elements are integrated into the optical construction to help reduce chromatic aberrations as well as increase clarity, sharpness, and contrast and the Power Zoom electronically-driven zoom mechanism brings greater efficiency to controlling the zoom position of the lens.