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Sony Alpha ILCE-5100 (A5100) Review - Performance

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Sony Alpha A5100 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Alpha A5100 (ILCE-5100) Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos have bright saturated colours, with reliable exposure. Portrait photos taken with the built in flash show good colour and skin tones, with very little to no red-eye, although occasionally the flash seemed to slightly over-exposure photos.

Sony Alpha A5100 (ILCE-5100) Lens test images

Lens Performance - The lens performs well in a variety of situations, although images are a little soft straight from the camera, and slightly sharper images would have been nice. Images become soft in the very far corners when shooting wide-angle. Macro performance is reasonable, although it can be difficult to get an extremely detailed sharp shot when focusing this close to the camera, and images are a little soft when using the full optical zoom of the 16-50mm kit lens. Distortion is low whether shooting wide-angle or telephoto shots. Purple fringing and chromatic aberration is well controlled. There are three settings to provide lens compensation: Shading / Vignetting, Chromatic Aberration, and Lens Distortion, with these being set to On by default. For the power zoom lens, it's not possible to switch off lens distortion correction. 

Sony Alpha A5100 (ILCE-5100) ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low from ISO100, all the way up to ISO800, with noise starting to increase slightly at ISO1600 with a drop in detail, and then again at ISO3200, although results should still produce usable results with good colour reproduction. Noise increases again at ISO6400, with a slight drop in colour saturation and a more noticeable drop in detail. ISO12800 and above shows higher levels of noise again although results may still be usable when resized. Noise reduction is quite strong, and this does appear to remove some fine detail, although it is possible to change the High ISO NR (Noise Reduction) setting from Normal to Low, which should produce more detailed photos. 

Sony Alpha A5100 (ILCE-5100) White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting with a slightly warm result which will be pleasing to many, and for a more accurate result the tungsten preset performs extremely well. AWB does a good job under fluorescent lighting with the fluorescent presets giving a slight colour cast.

Panoramic | 1/160 sec | f/9.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100Panoramic | 1/160 sec | f/9.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - The camera features a panoramic sweep mode where you simply press the shutter button and pan the camera in the direction you want to take the photo. You need to move the camera from one direction to the other at a quite specific speed, otherwise the camera will fail to create the panoramic or alternatively produce a panoramic with a black edge, which will need cropping off later. Results are good, with good detail and a fairly high resolution result, although there is some ghosting noticeable with moving subjects.

Sony Alpha A5100 (ILCE-5100) Digital filters

Digital Filters - When using the picture effects, the camera records the altered JPEG but does not let you use this feature with raw enabled. There are also colour options available which can be customised, letting you set contrast, saturation and sharpness. There are a number of ways to improve dynamic range in harsh lighting conditions, and when in intelligent Auto or Superior Auto+ the camera will automatically use the backlight scene mode if it decides it's necessary. In program mode you can switch DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) or HDR (High Dynamic Range) on, with these featuring Auto or manual settings. The HDR mode combines a number of shots taken at different exposures. Setting the HDR mode to 6EV gives an unrealistic looking image.

Video - The Sony Alpha A5100 records full HD video with stereo sound, and when used with a power zoom lens provides smooth zoom during recording. Optical image stabilisation also helps keep videos smooth with the quality of videos looking good. You can use the zoom ring around the lens, and the lens zooms quickly, alternatively you can use the zoom switch, and this is slower and smoother at zooming in and out. Max ISO for video is ISO12800, and example videos recorded in low light can be found here and here.

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16 Nov 2015 11:39AM
it would be helpful to know what functions the touch-screen has ie; touch focus/shutter?
or just for selecting general menu settings?
first sony camera with touch-screen I"ve seen,
could be useful as a second (smaller/lighter) body to my a6000.

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