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.

Apps

Zhiyun partners with Huawei for better vlogging

More advanced features for Zhiyun owners

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Zhiyun — maker of gimbals for action cameras, DSLRs, and smartphone cameras — has announced a partnership with Huawei to bring better vlogging experiences on all Huawei smartphones.

By leveraging Huawei’s CameraKit API, Zhiyun will be able to directly control the cameras in any Huawei smartphones. In addition, Zhiyun’s ZY Play app will deliver more powerful and smoother zooming on Huawei smartphones thanks to the API.

Huawei’s CameraKit will also bring additional capabilities to all of Zhiyun’s gimbal products. Added functionality also includes photo-taking, video recording, camera switching and zooming directly from the gimbals.

Huawei’s advanced camera capabilities such as AI photography, wide aperture, and super night mode will also work with the gimbals. This will open up new and better shooting capabilities in the future.

This partnership benefits all Zhiyun gimbal products. The company has been producing reliable gimbals at an affordable cost. Their products range from the Crane series to the Smooth series featuring Smooth 3, Smooth-Q, Smooth 4 and the new compact Smooth-Q2.

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Accessories

6 gift ideas for the traveler on your list

For people who have caught the travel bug

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Know someone who’s caught the travel bug? It can be hard to pick out a gift for the person on your list who’s got a serious case of wanderlust. Will you go for something that’s practical or something that will help them make more memories during their adventures? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are six gift ideas for the traveler on your list.

Casetify x Pangram Pangram iPhone case

Let the traveler in your life flex his or her love for far-off places with these new phone cases. Casetify’s collab with type foundry Pangram Pangram features names of various, visit-worthy cities in a look that’s reminiscent of luggage scan tags issued by airlines.

You can shop the collection over at their website.

Noerden Mate2+

A watch that can match almost anything and take you from a nature walk to partying in the city is something most travellers should have. After all, you can’t bring your whole closet and sometimes, you’ll never know whether you need to suit up at one point of the trip.

Noerden’s new release, the Mate2+, is a gorgeous timepiece that ticks all those boxes and more. It’s also a smartwatch that tracks your steps, heart rate, and your sleeping pattern. Yes, it sports a classic face and there’s no touchscreen but you can view all your stats on the app. Another useful thing for travellers especially those who love to go solo. You can use the watch as a remote for your phone camera. Snap photos of yourself or your group just by shaking your wrist!

Get the new Mate2+ here.

GoSun Flatware

As the world continues to move towards eliminating single-use plastic, there are more efforts to make eco-friendly choices more convenient. One of these is the GoSun Flatware which is currently on Kickstarter.

A spoon and fork set the fits conveniently in your wallet and is the size of a credit card. You won’t have an excuse to go for plastic cutlery ever again.

You can sign up for a set via their page.

VAGO Travel Vacuum Compressor

Is the traveler on your list not a light packer? Well we have a nifty gadget here that they will love. The Vago Travel Vacuum Compressor can reduce the space occupied by clothes in half. This makes sure there’s always room for more stuff in their suitcase.

Get this vacuum via their website.

Instax Mini 9 Bundle

For those who are on the creative side and who appreciate a retro take on their travel memories, why not an instant camera? Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 9 currently has a promo that gets you a craft kit along with your purchase.

Aside from having print outs of their travel memories, they can also create customized scrapbooks with the materials in the kit. Get the bundle at any of the authorised Fujifilm dealers in the Philippines.

Steamery Cirrus No. 2

It’s always a hassle when you suddenly need to look sharp for a fancy dinner and your clothes are all wrinkly from travelling. Swedish company Steamery produces travel-friendly steamers that ensure your OOTDs will always look pristine.

Steamers also extend the freshness of your clothes as well as their lifespan. We’re practically in love with the Cirrus No. 2 model which comes in a variety of colors — a pretty pastel pink included.

SEE ALSO: 7 ways to practice sustainable fashion

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Accessories

Sony products are discounted this Christmas

Discounts and cashback for the holidays

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While Sony keeps struggling in the smartphone market, it still remains one of the top products for digital imaging. Its line of mirrorless cameras is one of the best in business. Plus, Sony is doing well in home and personal entertainment, with its line of TVs, speakers and headphones remaining the best in their category.

Sony Singapore is offering discounts and cashback for select cameras, TVs, speakers, and headphones. Here are the discounted products:

Cameras

TV

  • A9G (55″ 4K TV)  — SG$ 5,799 after SG$ 2,200 cashback

Headphones and earbuds

Speakers

The promo runs from November 1, 2019 to January 5, 2020. The discounts are available on all Sony stores across Singapore. For more information about the promo, visit Sony’s website.

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