Need for Speed: Sony's New Mirrorless Camera Is a Swift Shooter


AUGUST 18, 2014

By Greg Scoblete

Sony has added a new mirrorless camera to its lineup that trickles down several advanced features from its higher-end mirrorless models into a kit that advanced amateurs can afford.

The new A5100 packs a 24-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with the same hybrid autofocus system featured on the A6000. The A5100's hybrid AF offers 179 phase detection points and 25 contrast detection points. According to Sony, the camera can acquire focus in just .07 seconds. Users can lock focus on subjects by touching them on the A5100’s 3-inch touchscreen display (the display can also be tilted at up to a 180 degree angle). Eye AF and Lock-On AF, features that originally debuted on the A7/A7R, have also trickled down to the A5100.

Geared toward enthusiasts, the A5100 can burst at up to 6 frames per second with continuous AF engaged for up to 56 frames (JPEG Fine L resolution), giving it a longer burst rate than the A6000. 

The A5100 will offer several step-up features from the existing A5000 including five customizable buttons, auto object framing, Zebra functions, AF tracking duration during movie recording and support for the XAVC S2 codec. Sony has used the XAVC codec to support 4K recording but the A5100 won't record at 4K. Instead, it tops out at 1920 x 1080/60p. Users will be able to record HD video in two formats (XAVC/AVCHD and MP4) simultaneously to a single memory card.

Rounding out the feature set is built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for wireless file transfers. 

The A5100 will be available in September with a 16-50mm lens for $699 ($549 body only). 

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