Sony's latest iteration of its Alpha range first debuted with the A6000 some 6 months ago, a mirrorless camera boasting the quickest auto-focus in the industry. Now the Japanese electronics giant is releasing a new offering into the Alpha line. The A5100 ships with the same lightning-quick auto-focus and could serve the consumer a good middle between the introductory A5000 and the pricier A6000.
It comes with the A6000's 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor and the same hybrid, speedy autofocus system. Both cameras also share the same BIONZ X image processor. Essentially, the A5100 borrows most of the A6000's core and repackages it in something more lightweight and easier to carry.
Not as fast but much lighter
It seems to be primarily aimed at consumers looking to upgrade from a smartphone for a more specialised picture-taking tool that still preserves much of the ease of use and compactness. This is evident from the lack of a single physical dial on the camera – everything is only accessed on the touchscreen, which is the same screen as the NEX-5T's. This might be significant enough to convince buyers to go for the A5100 over A6000, especially if you're already used to tapping and focusing.
Purportedly, the autofocus on this camera isn't as fast as the A6000 but it comes close enough, with a reported 0.07 seconds as the quickest lock. The tech behind that is 179 phase detection AF points paired with 25 contrast-detection points, that is sure to capture even the quickest movement (at least as far as unruly children or headbanging dancers might be concerned.) Continuous shooting goes up to 6fps and goes to 56 shots before the buffer fills up, which is actually an upgrade over the A6000's.
And of course, the touchscreen flips around for easy selfie taking. With that final note to convince you, the A5100 is currently priced at USD$549 though it won't be shipped out to the public till early September. You can, however, pre-order it now and assure yourself a model as soon as it is available.