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.
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.
4 reasons the new Instax Mini LiPlay is perfect for any occasion
Small but packed with features
Fujifilm recently announced their new hybrid instant camera, the Instax Mini LiPlay. It’s the newest addition to the company’s lineup of Instax instant cameras and by far the smallest and most lightweight in its series.
Despite being small, it’s packed with features that every girl would love to have in different situations. Here are the reasons why:
1. You get to celebrate occasions in a special way
The Instax Mini LiPlay is not your typical instant camera. It comes with an LCD so you can review photos you’ve captured, and choose which one to print.
It also has a “Sound” button which is capable of recording up to ten seconds of audio. The Instax Mini LiPlay then converts the audio’s data into a QR code and adds it to the photo printed. Users can play and replay for at least a year by scanning the QR code. This function is perfect for adding greetings, songs, and other messages you’d love to share through the printed photo.
2. Definitely a travel companion
This hybrid instant camera is different compared to Fujifilm’s instant cameras. Its promise of being the smallest and most lightweight makes it an easy-to-carry travel-sized camera (that won’t take too much space in your bag).
In addition, solo and group travelers can enjoy the remote shooting feature, which remotely takes a photo and print it on the spot using your smartphone. Furthermore, it has a direct print feature so you can transfer your photos from your smartphone and print it using the instant camera’s film. Whatever device you use, the Instax Mini LiPlay is a travel companion you’ll love to bring anywhere you go.
3. For the times when you want to express yourself
If you love shooting flat lays or OOTDs, the Instax Mini LiPlay may be useful as a prop or as an accessory. It has a stylish design that matches your aesthetic, and it comes in three beautiful colors: Stone White, Elegant Black, and Blush Gold.
Moreover, it has an array of design frames. The camera comes with ten pre-installed frames, which you can select during or after taking a photo. When you download the free Instax Mini LiPlay app, you get to enjoy 20 additional design frames.
4. Enjoy taking photos wherever you go
Say goodbye to AA batteries that make you feel like you’re using a device from the early 2000s. The Instax Mini LiPlay uses micro-USB for charging and takes two to three hours to fully charge the device. Its battery can last up to 100 printed photos. Photos are also saved onto a microSD card so you can keep on shooting until your memory card is full!
The Instax Mini LiPlay is priced at PhP 9,999 and will be available around late June to early July in the Philippines.
DJI debuts the Osmo Action, their first action camera
This is DJI’s direct answer to GoPro
When DJI released the Osmo Pocket months ago, everyone went crazy because it’s the only stabilized camera that can fit in anyone’s pocket. Now, DJI has announced another camera creation, the Osmo Action.
Focusing on the camera, it can shoot videos of up to 4K resolution at 60fps. The lens is composed of three aspherical layers which reduce glare and distortion. It even has an anti-fingerprint coating that also repels water, oil, and other smudges while shooting. In harsh light conditions, it can shoot with enhanced HDR. You can attach a neutral-density (ND) filter on it as well.
So done with gimbals? The Osmo’s action camera has RockSteady technology that combines electronic image stabilization with other complex algorithms in order to achieve shake-free footage. The camera can survive the extremes — up to 11m (or 36ft) in the deep waters, and as cold as negative 10 degrees Celsius when shooting with the device.
The camera features various creative shooting modes like 8x slow motion and the Custom Exposure Mode that can shoot as long as 120 seconds — great for capturing the dazzling night sky. A Timelapse Mode is present, as well as a Timed Shooting Mode with support for shooting RAW file format.
The device is equipped with dual screens: one at the back for controlling the device and another in the front for framing yourself. With DJI’s custom ActionOS, you can use voice control to power up and operate the device. It has a Custom Mode which lets you choose your frequently used shooting modes, while a QuickSwitch button (labeled as QS) is present to let you switch modes in an instant.
The Osmo Action is priced at US$ 349, which is about the same price as the GoPro Hero 7 Black today.
Samsung announces the world’s first 64-megapixel phone camera
Better cameras are coming!
For a while now, the smartphone photography business has hovered around 48-megapixel cameras. Last year, the market released the first 48-megapixel smartphone cameras. Since then, more smartphones have adopted the new standard. Of course, progress never stops.
Already, Qualcomm is anticipating even greater heights for smartphone photography this year. Fulfilling the prophecy, Samsung has announced the first 64-megapixel camera sensor. The brand is expanding its 0.8μm lineup, adding the 64-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1.
Much like other 48-megapixel sensors today, Samsung’s new shooter uses the contemporary pixel-merging Tetracell technology. Further, the sensor will improve HDR shooting capabilities. The GW1 supports an HDR of up to 100dB. According to Samsung, the current industry standard goes up to only 60dB. (The human eye can detect up to 120dB.) Samsung’s HDR images should look more realistic compared to other market offerings.
Similarly, the GW1 optimizes collected light. Basically, the sensor should have fewer problems in low-light conditions. Image sharpness is supposedly sharper as well.
For video taking, the GW1 supports Full HD recording, shooting at up to 480 frames-per-second. The new feature is a huge improvement for slow-motion videos.
Besides the 64-megapixel GW1 sensor, Samsung is also releasing a new 48-megapixel ISOCELL Bright GM2. Though lower, the 48-megapixel sensor also offers the same capabilities as the GW1.
Currently, Samsung is sampling the new sensors for the market. The brand expects to proceed with mass production in the second half of the year. Unfortunately, Samsung has not revealed which smartphones or brands are on the market. Regardless, the new development is a huge and speedy step for smartphone photography. If Qualcomm’s other predictions ring true, we’ll see 100-megapixel cameras soon, too.
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