The A5100 is the latest edition to Sony’s increasingly popular mirrorless system and for the price point they’re hitting, this camera comes with a few surprising video features.
The A5100 falls into the budget end of the Alpha mirrorless family, sitting below the A6000 and the A7 variants. It features a 24MP APS-C sensor that’s capable of shooting photos at 6fps and a hybrid AF system that has 25 contrast detection points and 179 phase detect points.
The $2500 Sony a7S introduced XAVC S with 50Mbps recording to the Alpha family, but the A5100 becomes the second camera to deliver this newer codec, and it’s priced at only $550. The diminutively sized A5100 can also record full 1920×1080 at 60fps and even simultaneously record 1080p and 720p.
The A5100 also supports a clean 8bit 4:2:2 signal from the mini HDMI port which again is something we’ve not seen before in a camera with such a budget price point. Add a tiny screenless ProRes recorder like the Atomos Ninja Star and you’d be looking at a very capable little crash camera or B-cam to squeeze into a tight spot. ProRes 1080p 60 from a large sensor camera for well under $1000!
One thing of note, and hat tip to newsshooter.com for this little tid-bit, is that the A5100 is only a “world camera” if you buy the PAL version. In other words, the NTSC one does not have a PAL mode, but the PAL version does have an NTSC mode. Come on Sony! Really?!?
Peaking and zebras are included, and the 3”, 921,600 dot display is fully tiltable 180 degrees upwards to provide monitoring if you’re aiming the camera at yourself. Price-point has to come into play at some point though and audio features are pretty thin on the ground. No external input, no ability to use Sony’s hot-shoe mount XLR adapter and no headphone monitoring either. I can’t say I’m surprised at all though and for the price I don’t think you’ll hear too many complaints about that.
All in all I think this featureset in such an affordable and physically tiny camera is quite a remarkable prospect. As a B-cam or C-cam it makes a pretty compelling option and Sony’s lens mounts are known for being highly adaptable to other brands of glass meaning you won’t necessarily have to have specific NEX mount lenses to go on this camera.