Sony Alpha A5000: A Small Beast for the Newbies

INTRODUCTION

Sony has been in the market for quite some time and they already established a very good reputation when it comes to electronics, especially with its cameras – from producing DSLRs, to manufacturing camera sensors for mobile phones. And with people nowadays showing great interest in photography, one has to own a decent camera to practice their talent and owning a mirrorless camera would be a great start.

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Mirrorless cameras are interchangeable lens cameras that don’t have the mirror and optical viewfinder that define a DSLR. In most other respects, they’re extremely similar: with only a few exceptions, most mirrorless cameras these days are built around the same sized sensors as DSLRs, increasingly have similar lenses available, and can offer the same image quality.

Sony offers a number of interchangeable-lens cameras in its Alpha line. But how about an entry level camera for the beginners, eh? Let’s look on what the Japanese have for us. Announced at the CES 2014 in Las Vegas, the Sony Alpha A5000 proves to be worthy of your hard-earned cash – showing no signs of aging, at least for now. Let’s take a quick look on its specs.

KEY FEATURES:

  • 21MP Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor (5456 x 3632 maximum resolution)
  • AVCHD 1920 x 1080 30fps and MP4 1440 x 1080 30fps video recording
  • BIONZ X™ engine for superb detail and noise reduction
  • 180° tiltable, 3-inch 460,800 dot LCD display
  • Simple sharing and control with Wi-Fi® and NFC One-touch
  • Image modes: RAW, RAW & JPEG, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard
  • Media formats: Memory Stick XC-HG Duo and SDXC memory card
  • Built-in stereo microphone and monaural speaker
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7mm
  • Weight: 210g camera body only
  • Rechargeable NP-FW50 battery pack for 420 shots

HARDWARE OVERVIEW

As with nearly any Sony camera, the front lacks any control save for the lens release – that’s all. There are also barely any buttons on the top. There is a shutter release, on/off switch, pop-up flash button, and video record button. You’ll also find the pop-up flash and stereo microphones here. There is a wheel/D-pad and a single customizable button for accessing settings and shooting modes. The dedicated button that activates video recording is situated on the rear of the camera, below the shutter.

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The 3-inch screen also tilts upward, which is perfect for self-portraits. The pop-up flash also serves as a bounce flash if you pull it back a tad. As for the build quality, the A5000 feels fairly decent. It isn’t the beastly yet elegant feel like, let’s say the A7 and A7r give you, but it still is quite good with its matte-black plastic body, and most especially for its asking price.

EASE OF USE

The world’s lightest interchangeable-lens digital camera, as Sony claims. At 210 grams, it is pretty light and actually small. It can actually stay in your jacket for a while and Sony defined what really a mirrorless camera has to be – compact and portable. Still, some people with bigger hands (like me) would prefer a bigger camera because of ergonomics but nonetheless this will work on most occasions.

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As with any mirrorless camera, they were originally designed to be used in auto mode and forget about all the rest. Let’s just say Sony did a good job here and justified the very few buttons to operate with. Most people will use these type of cameras for portraits and social media purposes so it’s really good to have Wi-Fi built-in. In addition to this, it also has NFC. This functionality allows for the camera to be controlled via a smartphone or tablet through Sony’s PlayMemories App.

IMAGE QUALITY

For an entry-level camera, the A5000 offers a relatively broad ISO sensitivity range of 100-16,000 and its performance appears to be good, with noise handling among the best for in this class. The Bionz-X image processor offers superb detail. It can apply area-specific noise reduction and has been fine-tuned to work great with the color noise. White balance is also superb – which produced a more natural look, showing no bias with any color.

It has an approximately 20.1 megapixels effective, and can shoot RAW, RAW & JPEG, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard formats and compatible with Sony E-mount lenses.

CONCLUSION

I have yet to conduct a full review on the camera but the spec sheet and feedback from other users will make you ask: Should you buy the A5000? Let’s all go down to the point: This camera will be used by beginners and enthusiasts – Probably people who are upgrading from a standard compact camera or people who wants to level-up their Instagram game that needs a replacement for their smartphone. Nevertheless, at 22,999php, this camera proves to be enough for those people who are indeed newcomers to the world of photography. If that sounds fair then this camera would definitely be a sensible buy.

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It all boils down with your needs. Will you use a three-year old camera as your first buddy as you explore your artistic side in the world of photography? Sure you can have lots of option. You can always look on Sony’s deep portfolio as they offer a wide-range of camera for everyone’s liking, but the Sony Alpha A5000 still has the charm, and a great value for money.

 

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