Sony A5000

Rating:

Mirrorless cameras have become more and more popular in past years, as a great alternative to full DLSR cameras because of their more compact form factor (about the size of a point-and-shoot camera), high quality image sensors, and interchangeable lenses.

Enter the Sony A5000.

Sony is known for making high quality cameras in general, especially in the realm of DSLRs and video-centric cameras, so it’s no surprise that their mirrorless line is one of the best on the market. In this review, we take a closer look at the Sony A5000, which is the older model of Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras (current model on the market is the Sony A6000) but is tremendously good value for those looking for high quality images in a more compact camera.

Sony A5000 Review

The Camera, The Body, and the Lens

On first sight, the Sony A5000 is almost comical in appearance. The body of the camera is about the same size of some point-and-shoot cameras I have owned in the past, but the lens is both thicker than the camera body and tall enough to make it lift the body a tiny bit when sitting on a flat surface.

Sony A5000 Review

However, don’t be fooled, there’s a ridiculously solid camera inside, and I quickly found out.

The Sony A5000 uses a 20.1MP Exmor R APS-C HD CMOS sensor, which is a commonly used sensor format in the world of crop frame SLRs (Canon T6i, Nikon D5500). The A5000 also uses an E-mount for its lenses, which opens your lens selection to all of the E-mount lenses available in Sony’s arsenal for cameras, of which there are plenty.

The A5000 comes stock with a kit lens, which is a 3.5-5.6 16-50mm zoom lens. With the kit lens attached, it’s been relatively easy to fit the camera into larger pockets, day bags, and purses without any trouble, so it has been a fantastic companion for almost any occasion.

Sony A5000 Review

Capable of ISO 100 to 16000, the Sony A5000 is very adept at shooting in low light situations with less noise in the image compared to other cameras, which makes sense when you find out that it has a Bionz X processor under the hood doing the heavy lifting of image processing for sharper and clearer images in lower light. There is also a fold-out LCD screen which means you can take photos from more difficult angles than other cameras would allow, and you can also take selfies with much greater accuracy.

Sony A5000 Review

Video can be shot on the A5000 at a high-definition 1920×1080 resolution, either at 60i or 24p, allowing for a lot of flexibility in the look and feel of your shots. Personally, I preferred the 60i setting because it allowed for a much smoother image, whereas the 24p can give you a really cinematic feel, but just doesn’t look right for what I was trying to capture.

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(Video shot from Sony A5000 at 1920×1080 @ 60i)

Photos can also be shot in quick succession, up to 4 FPS, meaning you can capture those action shots pretty easily. Once you do have your action shot or footage, you can use the built in Wi-Fi and accompanying Sony camera apps to pull the photos and videos directly from your camera onto your phone, which is perfect for mobile photographers and videographers who want to just grab a sample or two to share.

The Shooter

To preface my experience with the Sony A5000, I have shot photos and videos with many cameras including point-and-shoots, DSLRs, and even the old hand-held style video cameras, I’ve had a lot of habits built into my shooting that usually come out and shape my experience with new cameras.

I can tell you this: the Sony A5000 is a super solid camera.

Also, from here on out, all images are photos taken from the Sony A5000. Aside from minor colour correction and very few lighting adjustments, there has been almost no modifications to these images. In addition, I believe that all of these images were shot using the Intelligent Auto+ setting, meaning that we did not fiddle with on-camera settings before taking these shots.

Sony A5000 Review

To start, let’s just say it takes some getting used to the compact frame and large lens nature of the camera. The weight distribution felt a little off in my hands, and the buttons are pretty tiny for my fat fingers. This is not a bad thing, however, but I wanted to make readers aware that it will take some time to get used to (and find!) a grip that works for you. However, within about 15-20 minutes, I was comfortably holding it one handed in an awkward angle with the fold-out LCD angled towards me to clearly see what I was shooting.

Sony A5000 Review

In addition, the Sony UI, both software and hardware interfaces, can be a bit confusing. Different button sequences lead to different results than I am used to, but once you get the system down, you’re changing ISO, shutter speed, and aperture levels on the fly and adjusting your shots to make it perfect. However, as a caveat to my own criticism, this is hardly an issue as you will adjust very quickly.

Sony A5000 Review

That said, my most used setting was the “Intelligent Auto+” preset, as evidenced by these images. It pretty much takes away any sort of manual fiddling, making it perfect for the camera to share with other people in various situations, while still getting very high quality shots. I’ve had the best low light performance on IA+, and it really takes away most of the headaches of slowly calibrating camera settings for the current lighting situation (which may change) that most people probably won’t want to be doing.

Sony A5000 Review

With the kit lens, up close and personal food shots, as well as wide room shots, are very easy to capture, with the only shortcoming with how the Sony A5000 chooses focal points, specifically on Intelligent Auto+ mode, when you’re getting close to an object. It can be fixed by moving the camera a little further away from the object, but if you’re looking for that up close and personal feel in your photo, you might want to look at a different lens for the job. (Or crop liberally!) However, wider shots were amazing quality on the kit lens, allowing us to cover an entire room while still taking a really high quality photo.

The Bottom Line

Sony A5000 Review

The Sony A5000 is a fantastic camera if you’d like quality just shy of a DSLR, with a form factor slightly larger than a point-and-shoot, and quite smaller than even the smaller end of DSLRs. Its high performance hardware, coupled with interchangeable lenses, fold-out LCD, low light performance, and really smart and clever auto shooting modes make it an awesome buy, especially for the previous generation of Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras.

This product is perfect for: Casual photographers – those people who value high quality images and need it for certain situations, while needing the portability and flexibility of a smaller body and interchangeable lenses.

Key things to be aware of: The weight distribution of a mirrorless camera takes some getting used to if you’ve never used one, as does the interface for adjusting settings.

Final review score: 5. Fantastic camera, incredibly versatile and flexible, and performs admirably well for most situations. Definitely great value.

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Jon Lim

Jon Lim is a professional developer, writer, and an avid technologist. He has written creatively for the past 16 years, and professionally for 4 years.

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