Cameras

Sony A5100 review: Your next compact vlogging camera

Small and with a selfie screen!

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My needs for a camera are different. While others opt for all the frills and functionalities that come with a full-on camera and shooting rig, there are other things I tend to prioritize when looking for a camera — like it being in a size that my frail arms can actually carry. (Seriously, how do vloggers carry those heavy cameras with just one arm? 😱)

Sure, I want good photos and videos, but I also really need a camera small enough to fit inside my purse.


My grab-and-go vlogging attitude, in tandem with my tinier body frame and the small shoulder bags I bring when I run around, are all considerations when looking for a shooter I plan to use.

These things considered, the Sony A5100 looked like a good contender for being my next vlogging camera. But, was it?

Look and feel

The Sony A5100 is a pretty compact mirrorless camera — one of the smallest in the market. This thing was pretty easy to bring on my trips and events, even without a dedicated camera bag.

I got to play with the white unit, which made for a good camera look. The matte white finish certainly made it stand out from all the bland black cameras in the market.

It’s really the lens that makes up the bulk of this camera’s size — it’s almost as thick as the camera body. But, it’s the price you pay for having interchangeable lenses.

Up top is the shutter button and a dial that lets you zoom in and out. There’s also a movie record button and another button that makes the flash pop out.

You can find most of the controls on the back of the camera. There are dedicated buttons for “Menu,” “Playback,” and “?” — which gives you basic photography tips at the press of a button.

A series of button pressing and dial turning will navigate you through the camera menu and bring up anything you need the camera to do. It might take a while to get familiar with everything; and for those who like tactile camera controls, it might prove to be annoying.

The three-inch screen has touch capabilities but the best thing about it, though, is this:

Yep, not only is it easier to shoot because of the hinge, you can even go as far as entering selfie mode which is a big help for vlogging or composing timer photos on a tripod. Hooray for flippity screens!

Ready, set, shoot!

The A5100 is a good shooter. Focusing is fast and photos are crisp and bright. That bokeh mode effect is achievable with the stock 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens it came with. Here are a few unedited samples:

I’m definitely a sucker for any camera’s tap to focus capabilities, and this one isn’t an exception. However, I did find that the touchscreen capabilities are limited to this, which is a bummer for menu navigation or even photo and video playback.

Nevertheless, the A5100 was fun to shoot with. It’s light and looks good so I looked great with it. 😉

The big question: Is it a good enough shooter for your Instagram feed?

I sought to answer this question with a mini shoot. I took MJ, our resident IGBFF (that’s Instagram best friend forever, for those who are uninformed), and we did an IG challenge. Armed with this camera, we spent 30 minutes in a random well-lit balcony and the resulting photos are as follow:

Thanks to MJ and some pretty sick foreground action, I now have photos to post on my IG. I only did a little editing with Photoshop and Lightroom mobile (because that’s the only editing I’m capable of 😅) and I’m pretty happy with them.

Vlogging time!

Most cameras I review, I use to vlog. In my experience, the A5100 is definitely a good fit for novice vloggers such as myself. First of all, it’s pretty small so it was easier to bring it around — which meant more footage as I always had my camera on me. Trust me, it’s easy to get lazy to bring shooting gear when they’re big and bulky.

I especially love that this entry-level camera has a dedicated movie mode, which is something you’d think is pretty basic in 2018, but there are still new releases out there that don’t offer this specific mode. This is a pain if you want to be able to compose and adjust your settings before shooting the actual video. Thankfully, the A5100 offers this and different movie modes that range from fully manual to programmed auto.

Here are a few clips I put together featuring the time I had with the camera. No, I did not edit further after I strung them together and added music and transitions. (Also, no, this isn’t a full vlog because there’s no way I’m editing one in time for this review’s publishing date. 😂)

The camera shoots in 1080/60p or 24p which is just a bunch of numbers to me but know this: Video quality was good and focus was pretty quick. Again, I especially love that you can tap to focus, even while you’re shooting video. Even the stock lens the camera comes with has a good wider angle that’ll allow you to comfortably vlog without a Joby pod.

Unfortunately, there’s no audio jack or a hot shoe mount on this camera, so you won’t be able to add on a mic or even lights. It also doesn’t shoot in 4K, which isn’t as bad as it sounds since a lot of people don’t shoot in 4K (including me) anyway.

Is the Sony A5100 your next vlogging camera?

For my needs, the A5100 fared pretty well. It ticked off things that I prioritized: It was handy enough to bring around everywhere, it has a flippity screen, and content quality did not disappoint.

If you’re the type who loves to point and shoot, whether it be photos or videos, but want a capable entry-level camera that will give you more options when you do need it, the Sony A5100 may be for you.

Sure, it may not be able to do all the fancy shmancy stuff pro cameras can do, but it’s an easy camera to learn on. I found it to be one of the most enjoyable vlogging cameras I’ve tried.

The Sony A5100 retails for US$ 550 in the US and PhP 34,999 in the Philippines.

Accessories

DJI launches the ultra-portable Osmo Mobile 3

It’s now foldable!

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DJI Osmo Mobile 3 | Image credit: DJI

DJI has been a quintessential part for most people — drones, portable cameras, action cameras, you name it, they have it. With the existence of advanced smartphone cameras, there’s no doubt that mobile cinematography is also getting better. DJI continues to prove that they are the world’s leader in creative camera technology with the Osmo Mobile 3.

The third iteration of the Osmo Mobile is the first folding stabilizer made by DJI. They have specifically thought of its new folding design to make it more portable for everyone. The redesign also paves way for clutter-free operation, even when you are using charging cables and external mics.


It doesn’t stop there as they also included efficient and convenient buttons so you’re ready to shoot whenever, wherever. You can access Quick Roll by pressing the Mode (M) button twice 🤟🏼. That feature automatically rotates the phone’s orientation from landscape to portrait (and vice versa).

ActiveTrack 3.0

ActiveTrack 3.0 also helps in re-centering the subject being tracked. A trigger exists for locking orientation and rotating the gimbal for selfies. There’s also a dedicated zoom slider on the stabilizer’s side for hassle-free operation. In addition, users can control the zoom speed based on their preference.

DJI Mimo App and Story Mode

With the DJI Mimo App, you can access its pre-programmed modes during and after shooting. Story Mode lets you edit videos right away with preset music, transitions, and filters. There are also 13 templates you can choose from.

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 with Sport Mode

Several modes to play with

The Sport Mode increases the stabilizer’s responsiveness in shooting subjects that are fast-paced. There’s also the Gesture Control which automatically snaps a selfie once you pose for the camera — a peace sign, perhaps?. Panorama mode is also included with 3×3 or 180º options when shooting. Don’t worry, the Slow Motion Mode is also present with 4X or 8X speed options.

Get more creative with TimeLapse, MotionLapse, and HyperLapse. They all sound similar but they are different in their own ways.

TimeLapse lets you shoot longer videos in a shorter playback duration. MotionLapse combines the function of TimeLapse, but with the addition of the movement of a dynamic element you selected in the frame. Lastly, HyperLapse works just like TimeLapse but adds more movement by moving the stabilizer along with you. It works best not just because of EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization), but also with DJI’s ActiveTrack 3.0.

Pricing and availability

The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is currently available in DJI’s flagship stores and select Apple Stores in the United States. It’s currently sold in two packages: The standard package with the wrist strap, storage pouch, and anti-slip pads retails for US$ 105. Meanwhile, there’s a US$ 125 package that includes everything in the standard version, plus the Osmo Grip Tripod and Osmo Carrying Case.

Global availability and local pricing has yet to be announced.

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Cameras

Sony RX100 VII: full-frame features on a compact camera

Best compact camera today?

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Sony’s compact camera just leveled up. Just months removed from the announcement of its predecessor, we now have the Sony RX100 VII and it’s the company’s most powerful camera to date.

The headline feature is the Sony A9 level speed performance with up to 60 AF/AE calculations per second and 20fps blackout-free shooting with AF/AE tracking. Speaking of tracking, the Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF for movie shooting introduced on the Sony A7R IV is also making its way to the RX100 VII.


It comes with a ZEISS 24-200mm F2.8-4.5 high magnification zoom lens to give you flexibility when shooting. Other improvements include a new drive mode, Single Burst Shooting, for capturing high-speed shots at up to 90FPS.

More options for movie recording

Those looking to shoot plenty of videos will love the 4K Active SteadyShot that Sony says is eight times more effective than 4K Standard SteadyShot. Interval Shooting(19) For stunning time-lapse videos, there’s Interval Shooting. And there’s also slow-mo recording at up to 960FPS for that cinematic flair.

There’s also an option for vertical movie recording if you want to record for IGTV. Vloggers were kept in mind with the 3.5mm mic input and a 180-degree flip screen.

Package for vloggers

If you want to kick it up a notch there’s also a Shooting Grip Kit package. It includes an RX100 VII and Shooting Grip  that allows for easy recording and zooming. The kit also comes with a bracket with accessory shoe and two rechargeable battery packs.

Sold separately, but recommended by Sony, is the Sony Stereo Microphone (ECM-XYST1M). It mounts on the brack’s accessory for simple vlogging setup.

Pricing and availability

The RX100 VII  will ship in August 2019 for around US$ 1,200 while The RX100 VII Shooting Grip Kit will be available later in 2019 for around US$ 1,300. In Singapore, the RX100 VII will be available end of August starting at SG$ 1,649. The RX100 VII Kit will retail for SG$ 1,799.

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Cameras

Sony’s A7R IV has a massive 61MP sensor

Still king of full-frame mirrorless cameras

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After hearing of a Sony Alpha event, we at GadgetMatch crossed our fingers hoping for the A7S III. That’s a much-awaited update on their S-series full-frame mirrorless cameras specifically made for taking videos. The event though, was for the Sony A7R IV. And while it’s not what we were waiting for, it still has so much going for it.

For one, it’s world’s first 61-megapixel 35mm full-frame sensor. That’s a huge step-up from its predecessor’s 42.4-megapixel sensor. Sony’s samples during the presentation showcases how you don’t lose detail even when you zoom in on the images thanks to its massive sensor.


You don’t lose detail even after zooming in

It also has a 15-stop dynamic range, five-axis optical in-body image stabilization, as well as 10FPS shooting with continuous autofocus as well as real-time eye-tracking for every shot. Something new that video-makers might find really useful is the addition of the real-time eye AF to video recording.

Speaking of video, the A7R IV is capable of 4K recording with S-Log 2/3, HDR for professional editing. Still with video-makers in mind, the A7R IV comes with a new system that captures digital audio signal. With this, Sony introduced two accessories to take advantage of this new tech — a digital audio shotgun mic and an XLR mic adapter kit. The accessories cost US$ 350 and $600 respectively.

As for the camera itself, the A7R IV will retail for US$ 3,500 body-only and will be available in September 2019. In Singapore, the it will be available starting August 24, 2019 with a retail price of SG$ 4,999.

With Canon and Nikon launching their own full-frame mirrorless cameras namely the EOS R and the Z6 and Z7, this was a serious flex on Sony’s part. The company is letting the world know that they continue to hold the crown as king of full-frame mirrorless shooters.

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