Sony says its new alpha 5100 packs pro-quality AF performance and image quality into a portable, lightweight package. The new camera features the same Fast Hybrid AF system as the 6000, which allows it to acquire focus in as little as 0.07 seconds. It also shares the 6000’s image sensor – a 24.3-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor – and BIONZ X processor.
The 5100 is compatible with Sony’s line of E-mount interchangeable lenses.
Unique to the 5100 is its extremely compact design, placing it among the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras in market today.
The Fast Hybrid AF system features focal plane phase-detection AF points with an extremely wide autofocus coverage area (179 focal points) that is teamed with high-precision contrast-detection AF. This combination, says Sony, allows the camera to accurately track and respond to a subject moving through nearly the entire frame, whether shooting still images or full HD videos.
Additionally, the 5100 has an extremely responsive touch screen which works with the AF system to enable Touch Focus, allowing shooters to focus by simply touching the intended subject on any area of the LCD screen – even if it’s at the far edges.
The 5100 also comes equipped with Eye AF and Lock-on AF functions that debuted in the alpha 7/ 7R, a Flexible Spot AF area function, and AF-A mode (automatic switching between AF-C and AF-S) that is also offered in the 6000.
The 5100 supports full HD video shooting in AVCHD as well as the XAVC S codec, which records video at a high data rate of 50 Mbps with advanced compression. XAVC S paired with the advanced focusing system of the 5100 makes for a compelling HD video shooting solution that only a select number of cameras in market today – mirrorless or DSLR – can offer, notes Sony.
With the BIONZ X processor, the camera is able to read, process and output data from all of the sensor’s pixels during video recording, ensuring it produces the highest quality video possible by eliminating aliasing, moiré and false colour artifacts.
The new camera also features dual video recording, allowing it to simultaneously record two files – one in Full HD (AVCHD or XAVC S) and the other in lower resolution MP4 format – to a single installed SD card. This gives videographers a high-quality file for viewing on large screens or working on in post-processing, as well as a smaller, lower data-rate version that is ideal for uploading and sharing.
The mirrorless camera features a high resolution LCD screen that can tilt a full 180 degrees upright, ideal for self-portraits. On top of the camera body there’s a zoom lever for convenient one-handed camera operation and a handy pop-up flash.
The 5100 camera has built-in Wi-Fi, giving consumers one-touch connection with smartphones or tablets for instant image transfer and sharing. A single touch also activates Smart Remote Control, giving users a live image preview through their compatible smartphone or tablet, and allowing them to use the smart device to release the camera’s shutter.
For devices without NFC one-touch capabilities, users can wirelessly transfer images and videos and activate Smart Remote Control through Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile application, available for the iOS and Android platforms.
The camera is also compatible with downloadable Sony PlayMemories camera apps.
UPDATED: The Sony α5100 compact interchangeable lens camera will be available in September in black and white in a kit with a 16-50 mm motorized zoom lens for about $729.99.