Review

In this Sony Alpha A5000 review I will go over everything you need to know including image quality, build quality and design, usability, and much more! I did extensive lab and real world testing with the A5000, so I have lots of sample photos and video using both the 16-50mm kit lens and the new 16-70mm f/4 OSS Zeiss lens. The kit lens does a decent job once you get up to about 30mm, but on the wide end (16-30mm) it’s pretty bad optically in the corners. The E-mount Zeiss badged 16-70mm lens is awesome all around with way more zoom to play with, plus it’s much sharper, has killer contrast, and is much more consistent in optically quality throughout the focal entire range. You will see the difference in the sample photos below for sure, don’t worry.

I also was fortunate enough to have some help with the filming on this go round, so the footage in the field is much better than normal as you will see in the video review. I also used some new gear to enhance filming which I will write about in more detail shortly 😉

 

A5000 Build Quality and Design

The Sony A5000 is pretty much the best of the Nex-5t and Nex-3n camera bodies in one unit. It has the 180 flip screen, beefier grip, and built in pop up flash, but sadly no touchscreen.

a5000-front-selfyThe Sony A5000 has decent build quality, but it’s not like my Nex-6 hardened plastic, or the Nex-7 metal body. It’s the more affordable style smooth plastic which looks nice and makes for a very lightweight camera. Basically the same skin as the Sony Nex-3n and Nex-5t. It does feel a little more like a toy in comparison to my Nex-6 which is also pretty lightweight, but has the  more rugged textured plastic. The A5000 camera body is available three colors including black, sliver and white!

The lcd screen is a lower resolution style which means the images don’t have that extra crisp look when viewing on the camera. It still looks good, but once you have a higher res screen it’s hard to go back 😉 It’s not a touchscreen either, and this is a little disappointing in my opinion. It really should be a touchscreen at the very least in my opinion, and higher res would be preferred. Same goes with the A6000 for that matter. In the end, the cheaper lcd screen does the job just fine for photography and video purposes, plus manages to keep the camera at a low price point of only $499 US.

The ON/Off switch is the rotating toggle style and also houses the shutter button, just like the one on my Nex-6. It’s located much higher up on the camera body though due to the smaller more compact grip design. The grip could be a little deeper in my opinion, but it does offer enough leverage considering how light the camera is with the kit lens. It’s a huge improvement over the skimpy Nex-3n rubber grip design.

a5000-flash-lensThe Sony Alpha A5000 also features a built in pop up flash which is a very nice feature that the previous 5-series Nex-5t did not have. The older Sony Nex-6 and Nex-3n do have built in flash units however. Hence the Sony Nex-3n is still selling like hotcakes on amazon today (click Here), and of course Ebay for as low as $140 us Body only (Click Here)

The A5000 has limited physical buttons considering it does not have a touch screen, but it is enough to get the job done most of the time. If you’re a newer user the buttons will be fine. It’s only the much more experienced users that look for those manual buttons, and Sony decided to design this camera as the Nex-5t and Nex-3n best of. I think they did a really good job in that regard for sure.

Custom button – The ? can be used as a custom button and I made it the focus mode, so I could easily switch to flexible spot when needed.

 

A5000 Performance

a5000-see-thruThe Sony Alpha A5000 performed very well in all testing I did including high ISO, even though it only goes to 160000. Check the lab pics below for the 100% crop close-up shots!

The Auto Focus is fast just like the full frame Sony A7r, even though it’s only contrast detection, thanks to the Bionz X processor. The faster the processor, the faster the camera can process the contrast in the scene and focus the camera for you. Very impressive for contrast AF only!

I was first amazed by this af speed improvement with the Sony A7r vs the Sony A7, but the A5000 vs the Nex-6 is very similar in that speed relation. I would still give the edge to the Sony Nex-6 however, considering the higher frame rate and consistent accuracy with moving subjects. In certain situations the hybrid is still better, but in 90% of real world photography the AF is the same speed from what I experienced.

The Sony Alpha A6000 on the other hand is on another level with the AF speed, but I’m not talking about that just to be clear. My Nex-6 and the Nex-5t have the 1st generation hybrid af sensors, and they are very similar in speed to the contrast af only A5000 in my opinion. I did some testing with my Nex-6 yesterday and confirmed that it was a little bit faster, but still struggled in a few areas just like any camera would pretty much. Moving subjects and high contrast scenes etc. The everyday photography with the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS lens was pretty much the same in speed and accuracy. Live AF testing in the video review, so be sure to check that out!

 

Sony A5000 Features

a5000-flip-screenThe Alpha A5000 is packing some advanced features like Zebra for video recording and AF Micro Adjustment for fine tuning lenses, which are usually only available on higher end models. The Auto Exposure Bracketing spread is also the full 3 EV like on the Nex-6. This is great for HDR photography shooters in particular. The A5000 also has tons of creative modes and effects, plus facial recognition technology which makes focusing a breeze, with both photography and video. A full feature list is just below this section for more detailed info 😉

The menus system initially greets you with the picture based options, but once you select anything, the pro style menu with cascading drop down lists pops up. I prefer this menu over the older picture based style that is on my Nex-6, because you can get to everything with just the one thumb wheel. I have to go back out to the main picture menu and then into another “section” with my Nex-6. This style might be easier for the very beginner that knows nothing at all about photography and needs the pictures, but for everybody else buying an interchangeable lens camera, I think the pro style menu is the way to go.


One nitpick I have with the menu system is the location of some settings. Formatting the memory card for example is in the suitcase section as opposed to the “media area” or whatever Sony is considering that. I would definitely have the format card option in there. All the new Sony Alpha cameras menus are like this for the record, not just the A5000…. Canon and Nikon folks coming over to Sony are liking this type of stuff, but IQ is never mentioned as an issue. We all seem to agree in the end that Sony sensors are the best!

Sony Alpha A5000 Complete Feature List

20.1 Mp Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor
The 20.1 Mp APS-C-sized Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor work together to produce high resolution, well detailed imagery with minimal noise and notable low light quality and sensitivity to ISO 16000. The processor also contributes to providing a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including a fast 25-point contrast detection AF system, top continuous shooting rate of 3.5 fps, and full HD 1080i/p video recording in multiple frame rates.

Full HD Video Recording
Full HD 1080i/p video recording is supported at both 60 and 24 fps frame rates to produce high resolution movies with a smooth, cinematic look. Videos are recorded using the high quality AVCHD codec and a built-in stereo microphone records sound in the Dolby Digital AC-3 format. Additionally, 1440 x 1080p, 1280 x 720p, and 640 x 480p formats are also supported in the Internet-friendly MP4 format.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables the A5000 to instantly share imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices; no complex setup is required.

Tilting LCD Monitor
For live view monitoring, image playback and review, and menu navigation, a 3.0″ 460.8k-dot touchscreen LCD monitor is integrated into the camera body and features a 180° tilting design to promote easier use from low angles as well as in front of the camera.

Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens
The included 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-75mm, covering wide-angle to portrait-length perspectives to suit working in a wide variety of situations. It features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed steps to greatly benefit working in low light conditions and with greater zoom magnifications. One extra low dispersion element and four aspherical elements are integrated into the optical construction to help reduce chromatic aberrations as well as increase clarity, sharpness, and contrast and the Power Zoom electronically-driven zoom mechanism brings greater efficiency to controlling the zoom position of the lens.

Other Camera Features
A built-in pop-up flash is available to provide additional illumination when working in dim lighting.
Auto Object Framing is an intelligent shooting mode that can automatically analyze the scene and subjects within it and determine an aesthetically pleasing composition. The subsequent imagery will be cropped according to subject matter, resulting in a well-balanced composition that utilizes Face Detection and Tracking Focus to ensure high image quality and sharpness.
Picture Effect modes allow you to apply creative settings and emphasize certain facets of individual images for a richer, more aesthetic picture quality. Posterization (Color/B&W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration modes are available.
The Photo Creativity feature provides quick access to Picture Effects as well as dedicated controls for adjusting Background Defocus, Brightness, Color, and Vividness. Additionally, these effects can be combined for nearly limitless adjustment options.
Superior Auto mode is an intelligent automated setting that can quickly identify the current shooting environment and adjust crucial camera settings to deliver optimized results. This mode also utilizes Auto HDR and Hand-held Twilight modes, which employ image compositing techniques to better handle difficult lighting conditions.
Anti-Motion Blur automatically corrects for subject movement in order to deliver clean, sharp imagery in low light conditions. This is accomplished by recording six sequential frames and compositing portions of each image to ensure overall sharpness.
Hand-held Twilight Mode automatically composites details from six sequentially recorded images in order to attain higher overall image sharpness when working in low light conditions.
Face Detection/Smile Shutter can detect and base focus, white balance, and exposure settings on recognized faces. This technology also enables the shutter to be released, based on three sensitivity levels, when a smile is detected in the frame.
Creative Style settings provide control over how the camera processes images based on six different predetermined styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, and B&W. Within these settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can also be adjusted depending on personal preference.
The Sony E-mount affords compatibility with an extensive number of lenses and lens adapters.
Convenient USB charging allows you to charge the included lithium-ion battery in-camera via USB connection from either an AC outlet or PC source.
The Stamina battery power allows up to approximately 420 shots to be taken on a single charge. The InfoLITHIUM batteries also enable you to see the remaining percentage of battery power left.
PlayMemories Home software is pre-installed on the camera for automatic downloading to a PC when connected to offer support for viewing, organizing, editing, retouching, printing, and sharing imagery.

 

Sony Alpha A5000 HD Video Review

Be sure to select the HD Quality once the video starts playing so you full screen with full clarity! Trust me, it’s worth it 😉 I put a lot of effort into this production as well, so I hope you like the cool slider effects and what not….

 

Sony A5000 Specs and More Camera Body Pics


  • 20.1 Mp Exmor APS HD APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • 3.0″ 460.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
  • Hand-held Twilight Mode and ISO 16000
  • 25-Point Contrast Detection Autofocus
  • Continuous Shooting up to 3.5 fps
  • Photo Creativity and Picture Effects
  • Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Zoom Lens
 

Sony A5000 Specs

  • Software

    • Operating System Compatibility : Operating System Compatibility: Windows® XP SP3 (64-bit and Starter Editions are not supported, Windows Image Mastering API(IMAPI) Ver.2.0 or later is required to use the function for creating discs.) Windows Vista® SP2 (Starter Edition is not supported) Windows® 7 SP1; Windows® 8; Mac OS X (10.6-10.8)
    • Supplied Software : Supplied Software: PlayMemories Home, Image Data Converter Version 4
  • Camera

    • Lens Mount : Sony E-mount
    • Camera Type : Interchangeable Lens camera
    • Lens Compatibility : Sony E-mount, operation with Minolta/Konica Minolta Maxxum A-mount lenses confirmed via optional LA-EA adaptor9
    • Color : Black, silver, white
  • Drive System

    • Continuous Shooting Speed : Continuous mode: 2.5 fps, Speed Priority Continuous mode: 3.5 fps
    • Shutter Speeds : 1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb
    • Self-timer : 2-sec. or 10-sec. delay
    • Shutter Type : Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter
    • Drive Mode : Single-shot, Continuous, Speed Priority Continuous, Self-timer (10/2 sec. delay), Self-timer (Cont.) (with 10 sec. delay; 3/5 exposures), Bracketing
  • Exposure System

    • D-Range Optimizer : Yes: (Auto, Level, Off)
    • Auto Exposure Lock : Yes: with shutter button (can be disabled from menu), custom button set available
    • Exposure Compensation : Still images: +/-3.0 EV(1/3EV steps selectable) Movies: +/-2.0 EV(1/3EV steps selectable)
    • Picture Effect(s) : 13 modes: Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R, G, B, Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration
    • Exposure Settings : iAUTO, Superior Auto, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter priority (S), Manual (M), Sweep Panorama, Scene Selection, Movie
    • Scene Mode(s) : Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur
    • Metering Modes : Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
    • Metering Sensitivity : EV 0 to 20 EV (at ISO100 equivalent, with F2.8 lens attached)
    • Metering : Advanced 1200-zone evaluative metering
    • ISO : Stills: ISO 100-16000 selectable in 1 EV steps, Auto (100-3200) Movies: ISO 100-3200 selectable in 1 EV steps, Auto (200-3200)
    • Creative Style : Standard, Vivid, Portrait , Landscape, Sunset, Black & White (Contrast (-3 to +3steps), Saturation(-3 to +3steps), Sharpness(-3 to +3steps)
    • Color Temperature : 2500 to 9900K & Color Filter (G7 to M7: 15-steps, A7 to B7: 15-steps), Custom, Underwater
    • White Balance Mode : Auto WB / Daylight / Shade / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent (Warm White / Cool White / Day White / Daylight) / Flash / Color Temperature (2500 to 9900K) & Color Filter (G7 to M7: 15-steps, A7 to B7: 15-steps) / Custom / Underwater
    • Exposure Bracketing : 3 continuous or single shots in 1/3 or 2/3 EV steps
  • Flash

    • Flash Bracketing : ±2.0 EV
    • Flash Metering System : Pre-flash TTL
    • Flash Compensation : ±2.0 EV (switchable between 1/3 EV steps)
    • Flash Modes : Flash off, Auto flash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync, Red-eye reduction (On/Off)
    • Guide Number : 4 (in meters at ISO 100)
    • Flash Coverage : 16 mm (focal length printed on lens body)
    • Flash Type : Built-in, Pop-up Auto
  • Focus Control

    • Focus Features : Predictive control (AF-A, AF-C), Focus Lock,
    • AF Illuminator : Built-in LED, Range: approx. 3′ 4” – 9′ 9” (0.3m-3.0m)
    • Focus Sensitivity : EV 0 to 20 EV (at ISO100 equivalent, with F2.8 lens attached)
    • Focus Area : Wide (Multi Point/ 25 points), Zone, Center-weighted, Flexible Spot (Small, Medium, Large)
    • Focus Points : 25 points
    • AF Modes : Single-shot AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus
    • Focus System : Contrast-detect AF
  • Imaging Sensor

    • Pixel Gross : 20.4M pixels (approx.)
    • Focal Length Conversion Factor : 1.5x
    • Color Filter System : RGB primary color filters
    • Effective Picture Resolution : 20.1M pixels (approx.)
    • Anti Dust : Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and electromagnetic vibration mechanism
    • Imaging Sensor : Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor (23.5 X 15.6mm)
    • Processor : BIONZ X image processor
  • Interface

    • NFC : Yes (NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compatible, One-touch remote, One-touch sharing)
    • DC IN : Yes via optional AC-PW20AM (sold separately)
    • Memory Card Slot : Dual compatibility slot: Memory Stick PRO Duo™/Pro-HG Duo™/PRO-HG HX Duo™ media – SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card
    • HD Output : HDMI® micro connector (Type-D), BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD, 4K still image playback
    • Wi-Fi : Yes(Wi-Fi Compatible, IEEE 802.11b/g/n(2.4GHz band) )
    • A/V Remote Terminal : Yes, via optional RM-VPR1 wired Multi-terminal remote
    • PictBridge Compatible : Yes
    • Tripod Mount : Yes (1/4″ diameter, 20 threads per inch)
    • Remote Commander : Yes, via optional RM-VPR1
    • PhotoTV HD : Yes, with BRAVIA® Sync enabled HDTV and HDMI® cable
    • USB Port(s) : USB 2.0 Hi-speed (mass-storage, MTP)
    • BRAVIA® Sync™ : Yes, via HDMI®
  • Interface Wired
    • Yes, via optional RM-VPR1
  • LCD Display

    • Peaking : Yes (Level setting: High/Mid/Low/Off, Color: White/Red/Yellow)
    • Real-time image adjustment display : Yes (On/Off)
    • LCD Type : 3.0” TFT LCD (460,800 dots)
    • Coverage : 100%
    • Angle Adjustment : Tilt angle: Up: 180 degrees
    • Histogram : Yes (On/off)
    • Live View : Continuous Live View
    • Brightness Control : Auto, Manual (5 steps between -2 to +2)
    • Grid Display : Yes (Rule of Thirds, Square 4×6, Diagonal & Square 4×4, Off)
    • Customization : Grid, Histogram display, Digital Level Gauge, Grid Line, Magnified display for playback
    • Zebra : Yes (levels 70, ,75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 10, 100+, off)
  • Optics/Lens

    • Mount Material : Metal
    • Optical Zoom : Approx. 3x
    • Direct Manual Focus : Yes
    • Low Noise During Movie Capture : Yes
    • Lens Stabilization : Optical SteadyShot
    • Macro Mode : Yes
    • Minimum Focus Distance : 9-13/16” (.25m) (W) – 11-13/16” (0.3m) (T)
    • Magnification : 0.215x
    • AF for Movie Capture : Contrast AF
    • Lens Groups-Elements : 8 groups, 9 elements (4 aspheric surfaces)
    • Lens Type : Sony E-mount
    • Lens Weight : 4.1 oz (116 g.)
    • Dimensions (Max. Diameter x Length) : 2-5/8″ x 1-13/16 (64.7 x 29.9mm)
    • Aperture (Max.) : f/3.5 – 5.6
    • Aperture (Min.) : f/22 – F32
    • Maximum Magnification : 0.215x
    • Aspheric Elements : 1 ED element, 3 aspheric elements
    • Aperture Blade : 7 Blades
    • Digital Zoom : Approx. 4x
    • Lens Mount Type : Sony E-mount lenses
    • EV Compensation : Still images: +/-3.0 EV (1/3EV steps selectable) Movies: +/-2.0 EV (1/3EV steps selectable)
    • Filter Diameter : 40.5mm
    • Focal Length (35mm equivalent) : 24mm – 77mm
    • Exterior Finish : Black (NEX-5T/B)
    • Angle of View : 83°-32°
  • Power

    • Battery Type : InfoLITHIUM® NP-FW50 (7.2V)
    • Number of Still Images : Approx. 420 images with LCD monitor (CIPA standard)
    • Battery Capacity : 1080 mAh
    • Supplied Battery Charger : AC-UB10 AC charger (in-camera charging via USB)
  • Recording

    • Panorama Still Image Size : Horizontal Wide: 12,416 x 1,856 (23M) Horizontal Std.: 8,192 x 1,856 (15M) Vertical Wide: 2,160 x 5,536 (12M) Vertical Std.: 2,160 x 3,872 (8.4M)
    • Video Format : AVCHD / MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264))
    • Video Mode : AVCHD: FX – 1920 x 1080/60i@24Mbps FH – 1920 x 1080/60i@17Mbps FX – 1920 x 1080/24p@24Mbps FH – 1920 x 1080/24p@17Mbps MP4: HD – 1440 x 1080/ 30p@12Mbps VGA – 640 x 480/ 30p@3Mbps
    • Color Space : Still: sRG, AdobeRGB Movie: xvYCC standard (x.v.Color™ when connected via HDMI cable) compatible with TRILUMINOS™ color
    • Still Image Size 16:9 : L (17 MP) 5456 x 3064, M (8.4 MP) 3872 x 2176, S (4.2 MP) 2736 x 1536
    • Still Image Size 3:2 : L (20 MP) 5456 x 3632, M (10 MP) 3872 x 2576, S (5 MP) 2736 x 1824
    • Still Image Mode : JPEG (Standard, Fine, RAW, RAW+JPEG)
    • Media Type : Memory Stick PRO Duo™/Pro-HG Duo™ media; SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card
    • Still Image Max Effective Resolution : 20.1M pixels (approx.)
    • Microphone/Speaker : Built-in Stereo Microphone
    • Still Image File Format : JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
  • Service and Warranty Information

    • Limited Warranty Term : 1 Year Parts & Labor
  • Weights and Measurements

    • Weight(Approx) (Main unit only) : Approx. 7.4 oz. (210 g)
    • Dimensions (Approx.) : Approx. 4 3/8 x 2 1/2 x 1 7/16 in (109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7mm)
    • Weight (Approx.) : With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo Approx. 9.5 oz (269g)

Sony A5000 Camera Body Photos

a5000-front-selfya5000-flip-screen a5000-flash-lens a5000-memory-card a5000-ports a5000-grip a5000-see-thru a5000-top a5000-bottom a5000-back a5000-front-angle-lens

 

Sony A5000 Sample Photos

I took a lot of sample photos with the Sony A5000 in both the lab and outside in the real world and overall the camera performed very well in my opinion. I did miss the EVF outside for sure, but the LCD screen has a Sunny Day option that really does make a huge difference. Once I enabled that I was able to see the screen outside much easier. At the cost of some battery life though I would gather, but I did not actually test that possible effect.

Real World w/ the 16-50mm kit lens

First from the creepy pool scene we have a few captures that were taken during the video that I wanted to show you first, then a few more.

Be sure to click the photos for the much larger ~1100px version!

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 800, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 800, Hand held, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 800, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

100% Crop – Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 800, Hand held, Jpeg Quality

 
Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 36mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 320, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 36mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 320, Hand held, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 36mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 320, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

100% Crop – Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 36mm, f/6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 320, Hand held, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 30mm, f/6.3, 1/40sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 30mm, f/6.3, 1/40sec, ISO 3200, Hand held, Jpeg Quality

 

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/40sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/40sec, ISO 3200, Hand held, Jpeg Quality

 

Here is a photo of my friend Matt’s fluffy microphone which shows off the resolution power quite well thanks to the fine hairs.

Be sure to click the photos for the much larger ~1100px version!

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80sec, ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80sec, ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80sec, ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

100% Crop – Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80sec, ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Here is a quick natural light portrait of Matt taken in jpeg mode full auto. Exposure looks dead on, WB and colors looks natural and accurate to me, sharpness where it matters is excellent, and the fine details are retained in the hair for the most part. The noise reduction went a little to far I think, but overall the on camera jpeg processing looks  pretty darn good on the A5000.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80sec, ISO 500, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80sec, ISO 500, Handheld, Jpeg Quality

A quick HDR made of three raw file exposure’s and processed using Photomatix and Lightrom 5 to process. No additional editing was done, so it looks fairly natural to my eye.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, HDR Photo 3 exposures

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/6.3, HDR Photo 3 exposures

 

Lab Scene

Here is the lab scene wide open (f/5.6) with the 16-50mm kit lens. I was also zoomed in to 50mm with the camera about 2-3 feet from the crayons which was the focus point. Shooting raw quality no adjustments.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod

100% Crops – Click Photos

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod

 

 

Same exact everything except stopped down to f/8 this time so you can see  a little more depth of field and sharpness detail in the 100% crops.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/8, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/8, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod

100% Crops – Click Photos

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/8, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 50mm, f/8, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Tri-pod
 

@ 16mm

The 16-50mm kit lens compacts down to a pancake size when the camera turns off. It’s also very lightweight, small, and has power zoom built in, so I understand why it makes a great kit lens, but when using 16mm the optics are horrible on the edges. When shooting Raw quality the camera does not correct the distortion of the lens that much, so you can clearly see it in the Lab scene below. Be sure to click the 100% Crops, so you can see how sharp the center area is compared to the upper left corner area. This is why I don’t care for this lens and prefer the 18-55mm kit lens for photography. The other features make the 16-55mm kit lens a better overall solution for the average consumer which makes sense to me.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Lab

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Lab

100% Crops – Click Photos!

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Lab Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Lab

Here is the same shot as above, except I applied the lens profile correction in Lightroom 5 which really helps with the distortion big time. Amazing in fact how good of a job it does with the check of a box 😉 Note the horizontal and vertical lines in this image vs the one above with no lens correction.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Lab

Sony a5000 w/ 16-50mm kit lens @ 16mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/10sec, Lab

 

High ISO Testing

The ISO performance on the A5000 is so good that it’s hardly even noticeable until you get to about ISO 6400, which is why Auto ISO only goes to ISO 3200 I suppose. In any event, check out the High ISO testing shots from ISO 6400 – ISO 16000 in the lab.

100% Crops – Click Photos!

ISO Middle area Upper left
6400 Sony A5000 - ISO 6400 Sony A5000 - ISO 6400
12800 Sony A5000 - ISO 12800 Sony A5000 - ISO 12800
16000 Sony A5000 - ISO 16000 Sony A5000 - ISO 16000
 

Real World with the 16-70mm f/4 OSS Zeiss lens

I took a lot of sample photos with the Zeiss lens also in mostly jpeg mode. First a street scene from the town of Liberty, NY taken at 21mm. Be sure to check out the amazing sculpture on the right side by ZacMax.com.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4, 21mm, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4, 21mm, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

100% Crops – Click Photos

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4, 21mm, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4, 21mm, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Here is pretty much the same scene, but zoomed in to 56mm this time.

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4, 56mm, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4, 56mm, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

 

Next, I took a few photos in the morning glow at the Basha Kill Wildlife preserve the killer Zeiss lens.

Be sure to click the photos for the much larger ~1100px version!

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/10, 26mm, 1/80sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/10, 26mm, 1/80sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/10, 56mm, 1/125sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/10, 56mm, 1/125sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4.5, 70mm, 1/125sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/4.5, 70mm, 1/125sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/13, 16mm, 1/80sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/13, 16mm, 1/80sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/5, 70mm, 1/160sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/5, 70mm, 1/160sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/5, 70mm, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens @ f/5, 70mm, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

As you can see, the e-mount 16-70mm Zeiss lens pumps out some killer color and image quality when mounted to the Sony A5000! It could be a little sharper wide open, but overall the lens performed really well when just pointing and shooting. A full review of the sel1670Z with lab testing and much more is also coming soon, so stay tuned….

 

Lastly an Auto Pano sample shot which came out pretty good, although takes a little practice getting the panning speed correct if you never tried it 😉

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens - Auto Panoramic Mode

Sony a5000 w/ 16-70mm f/4 oss Zeiss lens – Auto Panoramic Mode

 

Sensor Score

DXOMark scored the Sony A5000 mirrorless camera sensor at a 79. They also compare the A5000 sensor to all the relative competition really nice if you want to check it out (click here)

Here is how the A5000 compares to the Sony A6000, and Nex-5t:

Sony A5000 Sensor Score @ DXOmark


 

Sony A5000 Review Conclusions

Sony A5000 real world usability and review conclusions:

a5000-topI had a good time using the Sony Alpha A5000 most of the time, but honestly missed my electronic viewfinder which I use constantly on my Nex-6 when in bright sunny conditions. The A5000 does offer a nice feature to combat this in the monitor brightness section of the menu called “Sunny Weather”. If you select it and press the enter button a this special mode can be selected and it really helped a lot, but basically jacked the screen brightness all the way up which has to suck more juice from the battery. Regardless it’s nice to be able to see the screen better when you have no other option, so use the feature sparingly to save battery life is my suggestion.

The 180 degree flip screen is a killer feature that I wish my Sony Nex-6 and/or Sony A7r had! It allows for extremely easy self recordings and/or self portraits. When you can see the screen, framing the image is much easier. An alternative is the use of the remote apps and a smart phone or tablet, which works great on the Nex-6 and A7r! Having the flip screen built in is a really nice feature though.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for the Sony Alpha A5000 review is the usual from Sony as of late, killer image quality and puzzling features missing like the touchscreen that make you scratch your head. I understand keeping costs down, but these days that feature is a must on introductory level cameras in my opinion. Remember, most users are upgrading from a point and shoot or smart phone. Sony’s answer to this? As best I can tell is, to use your smart phone and the Playmemories Apps for extended functionality and versatility. I guess that is a decent answer, but  including a high res touchscreen would really up the quality of the camera in a big way.

I’m giving the Sony Alpha A5000 4 out of 5 stars for exceptional performance across the board including excellent image quality, fast contrast only AF performance, and a nice sleek body design with ergonomic grip and awesome 180 degree flip screen. The flip screen sets this model apart from the other new A6000 camera, and if you film yourself or like to take self portraits, it’s a really great feature.

The lack of touchscreen and electronic viewfinder option is where the negative comes in, but otherwise the A5000 is a great overall value for the dollar in my opinion for ~$498 US.

If you have a little extra cash and don’t require a 180 degree flip screen, then the new Alpha A6000 is a much better option worth considering! A full review of that camera is coming very soon, so stay tuned for that.

That is it for my Sony Alpha A5000 Review, but please feel free to ask questions or comment below 😉 Your support is also greatly appreciated and keeps these reviews coming and the website functioning in these every changing times and growing challenges…

Thanks again,

Jay

SonyAlphaLab A5000 Review Support Links:

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Jay

 


About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!