Blog Sony Alpha a5100: A Beginner's Guide

Discover the ultimate beginner's guide to using the Sony Alpha a5100 camera. This guide covers everything from the camera's features and settings to tips and tricks for capturing stunning photos and videos. Whether you're new to photography or an experienced shooter, this guide will help you get the most out of your Sony Alpha a5100.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Sony Alpha a5100 article cover photo

Key Features

Aug 17 2014


24 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

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Overview of the Alpha a5100

If you're looking for a lightweight and easy-to-use camera that delivers exceptional image quality, the Sony Alpha a5100 could be the perfect choice for you. This compact mirrorless camera boasts a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor, fast autofocus, and 1080p video recording capabilities. But, with so many features and settings, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That's where this beginner's guide comes in. In this guide, we'll take a closer look at the Sony Alpha a5100 and provide you with tips and tricks to help you capture stunning photos and videos. Let's dive in!

The Sony Alpha Series Lineup

Sony Alpha a5000 thumbnail

Sony Alpha a5000

Released Jan 07 2014 | 20MP resolution

Sony Alpha a5100 thumbnail

Sony Alpha a5100

Released Aug 17 2014 | 24MP resolution

Sony Alpha a5100 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Sony Alpha a5100 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High-resolution images (24.3 MP)
Fast autofocus (179 phase detection points)
Compact design
Large APS-C sensor
Fast continuous shooting (6fps)
Wi-Fi & NFC connectivity
Records Full HD videos
Good low-light performance (ISO up to 25600)
Affordable price point


No viewfinder
No external microphone jack
Limited battery life (up to 400 shots per charge)
No 4K video support
Limited touchscreen functionality
No in-camera image stabilization
Limited lens options
Plastic build
Slow startup time.

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Sony Alpha a5100

Weather sealed
Dimensions110 x 63 x 36mm

Weather Sealing

The Sony Alpha a5100 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderNone
Screen TypeTilting
Screen Resolution922k dots
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a tilting 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 922k dots. This makes the Sony Alpha a5100 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. The camera also features a touch screen, which adds to its ease of use.


Sony Alpha a5100 does not include a viewfinder. The lack of a viewfinder on the Alpha a5100 camera may make it less suitable for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Sony Alpha a5100 has a 24MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 24 pixels. Sony Alpha a5100 has a native ISO range of 100 - 25600 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Aug 17 2014


100 - 25600

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution6000 x 4000 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


80 / 102

Color Depth

23.8 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

12.7 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

1347 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Sony Alpha a5100 camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also above average, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the Alpha a5100 is average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageSD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Battery Life400 shots
Battery ModelNP-FW50
Wireless Connectivity


The Sony Alpha a5100 supports SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Sony Alpha a5100 uses the NP-FW50 model of battery pack. This is rated for 400 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Sony Alpha a5100 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. However it lacks an external flash shoe, which limits you to using the built-in flash.


The Sony Alpha a5100 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Sony Alpha a5100 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 179 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Sony Alpha a5100?

The Sony Alpha a5100 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Sony Alpha a5100 weather sealed?

No the Alpha a5100 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Sony Alpha a5100 announced?

The Sony Alpha a5100 was announced on Aug 17 2014

Does the Sony Alpha a5100 have in-body image stabilization?

No the Alpha a5100 does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Sony Alpha a5100?

The Alpha a5100 has a native ISO range of 100-25600, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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