We purchased a Sony A5100: our compact camera collection grows…


For travel photography, the small cameras are getting ever more attractive. We fell in love with them already quite a while ago, with the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-H3 and the DSC-W170 with its Zeiss lens. We used them very often on our first website http://www.autoprova.net, where you can still admire them and the photos they shot. Of course there we show also the Hasselblad, and our other workhorses, the Canon and Nikon cameras. Just look at this site, on http://autoprova.net/how_we_photograph_cars.

But quite a lot has happened since then. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel


So we went to purchase a Fujufilm X10, with its built-in Fujinon 1.2 to 2.8 lens, 7.1 to 28 mm, equivalent of 28 to 110 mm. We like it for its nice handling, excellent picture quality, also in low light situations due to its fast lens, its speed of focus, its superb finish and sturdiness. It does not like humidity though, and after a rainy photosession it now refuses to shut itself down, so we always have to remove the battery to stop it earlier than the standard 15 minute delay.


We then got lucky, and won a prize camera in a photo contest organized by the dynamic PR people of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a Canon G9 X. Just look at our report on http://www.autoprova.net/a_winning_picture_and_the_canon_powershot_g9_x and also  http://www.autoprova.net/fiat_launches_500_%E2%80%9Ccatwalk_edition_canon%E2%80%9D_on_brussels_show%E2%80%A6

This compact Canon has been our workhorse ever since, and this is now 1 ½ years ago. Many of the pictures on our new website,  www.autoprova.be, are shot with this little gem. It has WiFi connectivity and also excellent video qualities, with also superb audio, just listen also to the background music on our first You Tube video clip, at the presentation of the Range Rover Velar. Here is the link: http://www.autoprova.be/2017/04/01/new-range-rover-velar-unveiled-in-the-flesh-in-a-brussels-church/

Or just the You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRE6qf3itMY&feature=youtu.be


This Canon is totally fine, but when you want to use it as a vlog camera, there is just this thing: you cannot swivel the LCD screen so you can see yourself in front of the camera when vlogging or for instance taking a selfie.

Besides, as you guessed, there are a lot of vintage lenses around, as I still have a host of vintage Canons (AEI, etc) Nikons, and their lenses. These vintage lenses are beauties when it comes to picture quality. So with the right adapters, you can put them on a modern camera body. So this time, if we still would use a compact camera, we went for one with interchangeable lenses. And so the choice fell on the Sony A5100.


The reason is because it is compact, and it has all the works: throws in all the goodies of the Sony a6000, which means that it has a 24MP CMOS sensor, Bionz X processor, on-chip phase detection covering 92% of the frame and Wi-Fi with NFC. And this tilting LCD, flipping upward 180 degrees.

The cameras can record 1080/60p video, supporting the XAVC S codec, allowing for bit rates of 50Mbps. It also has the ability to simultaneously record 720p video while recording at higher resolutions.


Unpacking the a5100 revealed the mini USB connection cable, used for charging, the battery is charged when on the camera… 

There is more. It has Hybrid AF system with 25 contrast-detect and 179 phase-detect points, and 6 fps continuous shooting with subject-tracking.

The body is compact and feels quite solid. On the front of the camera are the AF-assist lamp and lens release button. On the back you’ll find the iconic Sony control dial, the menu button, the playback button and a question mark button, to guide you around…


On the top, there is the on/off switch, the buttons for movie and pop up flash. On the left side are the I/O ports, which are under a plastic cover. A hatch inside the main door lets you access the Multi Terminal port, allowing for easy battery charging. On the opposite side of the camera you’ll find the spot for tapping an NFC-compatible smartphone.


The a5100 uses the familiar NP-FW50 InfoLithium battery, which contains 7.7Wh of energy. This translates into 400 shots per charge, according to Sony.

The normal charging method is over USB, with an AC-to-USB adapter included in the box. If you want faster charging, or just want a spare on-hand, just order the external charger.


The first shots with the Sony A5100, in my studio. Coffee and tea is served in this…

The first shots are now taken, and they look well color balanced, with ideal contrast and sharp. We will test the video recording soon. Should be outstanding. Indeed, there are not many medium priced  mirrorless cameras around that can record 1080p video at 50Mbps, and the tools that Sony has provided (focus peaking, zebra, uncompressed output over HDMI) are remarkable, as is the versatility for us in interchangeable lenses and the flip over screen for vlogging…

We will take the camera along soon on our trip from Ghent to Torslanda with our Volvo 850.

So far for now… but look at the photos and videos shortly!

Hans Knol ten Bensel






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