Sony a5100 Camera Review – Video and still photo performance

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Buy it on Amazon – (affiliate link) VIDEO INDEX:

00:08 – Hardware overview
01:43 – Removable lens demonstration
02:30 – Built in flash demonstration
04:51 – Help button feature demonstration
06:16 – Still image samples
06:39 – Video footage samples
07:35 – HDMI output demonstration
08:46 – Conclusion and final thoughts

There is a lot to like with this camera. Aspiring photographers who are ready to graduate beyond their smartphones or point and shoots will appreciate the help button feature that provides helpful tips based on shooting mode.

Video creators will also like its fast focusing, the 50 megabit recording mode, and its full frame 4:2:2 uncompressed HDMI output.

Image quality is excellent both for stills and video thanks to the large sensor that’s packed inside the rather small camera body. It also incorporates plain english descriptions for each camera mode to explain exactly what it’s about to do.

But there are a few compromises. Experienced photographers might find themselves frustrated by the lack of control surfaces. With only one dial on the camera, a few button pushes are required to switch between aperture, shutter, and ISO adjustments.

Video creators will be disappointed to learn that the camera cannot be operated off of external power. And charging the battery inside the camera can take as long as 5 hours. The a5100 also lacks an external microphone input.

The touch screen is also problematic. Most controls don’t take advantage of it and it’s very difficult to see in direct sunlight.

But this camera isn’t being marketed as a pro-level piece of gear – it’s aimed squarely at photographic newcomers who are looking to transition to a real camera. And for those consumers this is a very capable camera with attributes found in much more expensive cameras.

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DISCLOSURE – I purchased this camera with my own funds

38 Comments
  1. Vegan Fitness Goddess says

    Very informative video. thanks a bunch!

  2. Morris Getman says

    Another like from me, years since the video was published. This is literally the only review out of dozens that I've watch about this camera, that clearly states the two major drawbacks for professional applications. How come all those youtubers omitted the power fail by Sony, I don't know. I almost bought a couple of these for timelapse work. Would be SO frustrating to know I can't power the damn things.
    Lon, you've got talent for reviews, so keep it up and thanks a lot!

  3. JessAndMelina says

    I’m trying to charge mine and it won’t charge.

  4. Ma B says

    Does it take photos (stills) while recording videos?

  5. TAEBIATCH says

    problem… how do i switch it to mf?

  6. Zatoichiable says

    Can you power the camera using powerbank?

  7. Melvin Chong says

    Will the camera overheat when using an external recorder, since it does not need to power the LCD display ?

  8. MikeD says

    Awesome video.
    Checkout my first Vlog with the Sony a5100
    https://youtu.be/csg3zYOmnEY

  9. Traveling Carpenter says

    What I miss in your review is the sound quality of the built in microphone. And not when it comes to talking, but what about filming a concert, or while being outside with heavy winds… How does it perform in these conditions?

  10. Titim Tim says

    Which one is better? canon g7x or Sony a5100? What do you think?

  11. Cassy Athena says

    Thanks, great review

  12. Naeem Ur Rehman says

    is there any way i can output the video out of this and use it inside my computer via wifi or usb quailty doesn't matter i couldn't afford hdmi in card for my pc

  13. Esmir Mehmedovic says

    Nice Review ! πŸ™‚

  14. Recis Dempayos says

    Hello! Thank you so much for this review. Just to confirm, the samples you've included in this video were taken with the camera kit lens? I'm anticipating getting this camera and will have to rely on the kit lens for taking videos, initially, due to budget constraints.

    Keep up your review style; it's full of energy, especially when you opened up in the intro.

    Looking forward to your response! More power! ☺ 😊 πŸ˜€ 😁 πŸ˜ƒ

  15. trever pitts says

    now this camera is 499

  16. BryanENVY says

    With all that's being said… I must take a moment to appreciate this camera for being the one I shoot videos with

  17. Viajando Y Aprendiendo says

    This would have beenl be the perfect camera to record my travel videos if it had an external mic connector. Too bad Sony didn't think of that πŸ™

  18. Ndifreke Inyang says

    Hi. thanks for the review. pls would you advise this for a cake decorator for taking pictures of her cakes?

  19. Bruno Bicalho says

    Really nice review, I have an a5100 and I'm using the AC Adaptor ACPW20 instead of the battery… It's the best way to capture and record videos without the overheating of record inside the a5100 and no needs to change batteries… I used for 2 hours without any problem.

  20. GlitterismyCRACK says

    Trying to decide between this camera or the Canon SX60 HS for indoor videos. Any help would be appreciated tia.

  21. mosqui15 says

    Lon – Thank you for the video.

    Do the newer alpha versions have a mic connection and function whilst connected to the power source?

    If not; is there a camera similar to the a5100 that you would recommend that has these 2 features?

    Thanks

  22. mosqui15 says

    Lon – Thanks for the video. I have been getting informed about this camera and thought it would be a great pick for our church services (video service). Nonetheless, I just found out that it has no mic connection nor works connected to power.

    Do you happen to know if any of the newer alpha models have these capabilities?

    If not, is there a camera with similar video quality that has these 2 features that you would recommend?

    Thanks a bunch

  23. meskisz says

    Just bought it. Cant wait to try it :). probably the best what you can get for this value from mid range top of the notch, yet compact cameras.

  24. Andrey Brooker says

    when u say 30 min of video do u mean battery wise or memory wise ?

  25. MrFreshography says

    Hi, does the screen switch off when HDMI is plugged in. I want to use an external monitor to record video and am hoping this could address the overheating. I was trying to see if your screen switched off at 7:59 but couldn't see for sure πŸ™‚

  26. zmashd says

    My biggest question about this camera is: can you hear it focusing through the internal mic? if so, how loud is it?… no video I've watched so far covers that subject, which for me is really important and even affects whether I'd purchase it or not. Β :/

  27. gambitrocks says

    Amazing camera, but that microphone and especially the power issue is a huge caveat for live broadcasters.Β 

  28. ZDimitris says

    can't decide between the a5100 and the rx1000m3. I'm atracted to the faster autofocus and tap to focus touchscreen of the a5100 but the rx100m3 fits in my pocket. Better quality images and video on the a5100 but again i never owned a digital camera before. I used my phone's camera most of the times so i really don't know what would work better for me between the two. Not sure if i really need a viewfinder or if i really need to do timelapses to go for the rx100m3, on the other hand probably i'm gona do some sports shooting so the a5100 will be better on that. So frustrated… πŸ™‚

  29. Elite GamingWolf says

    i,ll have to up my budget to get the 55-210 lens. im not sure 55 lens alone could shoot helicopters flying by or boats out farΒ 

  30. GhostPanic says

    Great review, but can I ask one small favour? Would you do a video review showing how easy or fiddly it can be to change the manual shooting options on the A5100, Because alot of people want to know this important information who are looking to upgrade from the NEX5 series which had a top function button and top scroll dial which made manual use very easy, but since this new camera is lacking both it seems to be one of the reasons people are confused about buying this camera, (I know i am). This is an important deal breaker if the manual selections take too long.

  31. Ken Dickson says

    Can you not use something like a Rode mic through the hot shoe…???

  32. everythinggirl07 says

    What is the audio like with this camera when recording a video? I really need to know asap because i want to either get this camera or the canon 600d. thanks!

  33. totallydubbedHD says

    Excellent video – just nabbed on for Β£300 on AmazonUK with a 16-50mm lens – really looking forward to it!

  34. 813AngelaG says

    Do you know dimensions of camera with kit lens on and camera turned off.

  35. dzhoshkun84 says

    Just got mine. What i have noticed when the camera is ON that the zoom lens are wobbly (the inner part of the lens). Is this ok for these Sony lens?

  36. MrApplewine says

    Not working while plugged into power seems like a crazy flaw. Does it do that if you plug it into a USB power only plug? Does it have a DC power jack? Did the older Nex series do this too?

  37. Mike guitar says

    nice review Sr… thanks

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