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.

Cameras

Sony A9 II launches, improves speed and durability

Still made for sports photographers

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Sports photographers looking to upgrade their gear have something to look forward to with the announcement of the Sony A9 II.

This second generation camera builds upon the legacy of its predecessor. It maintains high speed performance which include blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 frames per second with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking, 60 times per second AF/AE calculations.

The more significant updates are faster connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 FPS with mechanical shutter, evolved AF performance with newly optimized algorithms, and a re-designed build to enhance durability.

The dust and moisture resistant design has been upgraded to meet the needs of professionals in the most challenging outdoor conditions.Stronger sealing provided at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot. There’s also Improved grip configuration for better comfort and a sure hold. It’s compatible with the Sony VG-C4EM vertical grip.

Other features include an upgraded BIONZ X™ image processing engine gains maximum benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed. Processor works with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing and, face detection and accuracy.

The Sony Alpha 9 II will be available in selected countries in Asia Pacific starting October 2019. Pricing will be announced at a later time.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Baguio with the Sony A9

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Cameras

Canon finally brings the EOS 90D and M6 Mark II to the Philippines

The Canon refresh we’ve all been waiting for

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It was not too long ago when Canon Philippines announced EOS RP, their second full-frame mirrorless camera at a cheaper price. This time, Canon unveiled not just one, but two cameras — the Canon EOS 90D, successor to the EOS 80D from three years ago, and the EOS M6 Mark II, successor to 2017’s EOS M6.

Don’t confuse yourself

If you are confused with Canon’s camera lineup, here’s how you can differentiate them easily: Four and three-digit Canon DSLRs are for starters. Two-digit units are prosumer APS-C cameras, while one-digit models (except 6D and 7D) are full-frame DSLRs for professionals. 6D and 7D are for professionals too, just with cropped APS-C sensors.

Meanwhile, the M and R-series are Canon’s mirrorless line. In a nutshell, the M-series are shipped with APS-C sensors while the latter are equipped with full-frame sensors.

What’s new?

The Canon EOS 90D and M6 Mark II live up to their midrange powerhouse title by bringing significant upgrades over their predecessors. They both feature a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor (versus 24.2-megapixel sensor) with a newer DIGIC 8 processor.

Another major upgrade is the ability to capture 4K UHD videos. The previous models can only shoot Full HD videos in certain frame rates. The new models can also now shoot in Full HD 120p for slow-motion and/or smoother videos.

Canon has also thought of shooting better in lowlight scenarios. The lowest intensity limit can be lowered down to EV -5, which allows sharper and vivid photographs even in dark scenarios. ISO sensitivity also goes up to 25,600 in stills and 12,800 in videos.

What’s different?

As said earlier, they can both shoot 4K videos, but here’s the catch: The EOS 90D can shoot in 30p or 25p, either cropped or uncropped. The M6 Mark II is limited to 30p with no cropped option in tow.

Canon also highlights faster focus and continuous shooting speeds with these cameras. You can shoot as fast as 1/16000 sec for both cameras via electronic shutter, but only 1/4000 sec in mechanical shutter in M6 Mark II, unlike 90D’s 1/8000 sec.

The 90D has up to 10fps in viewfinder shooting (either fixed AF or AF tracking), 11fps during Live View shooting (but with fixed AF) and 7fps during Live View plus AF tracking. On he M6 Mark II, you can shoot up to 14fps, plus up to 30fps in RAW burst shooting.

Hardware-wise, the EOS 90D brings another multi-controller joystick along with the existing multi-controller to provide better tactile when it comes to selecting points when focusing a subject on screen. The M6 Mark II only relies on touch controls, plus a touch and drag function as well.

Although there is no significant difference with the equipped 3-inch Vari-angle touch LCD monitors, the EOS 90D has a Zero Lag optical viewfinder, while the M6 Mark II has none. You can buy an optional viewfinder separately, just like in the previous M6. The Eye AF (autofocus) also works both on the viewfinder and Live View with the 90D.

Major difference goes to lens choices. You can choose a wide variety of EF-S lenses for the 90D, just like what any other two-digit models can have. The M6 Mark II relies on EF-M lenses, something you can only use for Canon’s mirrorless mount. The EOS R and RP relies on newer RF lenses, while the professional DSLRs are stuck with EF lenses.

What should you get?

These cameras are not built for the same market. The EOS 90D goes for prosumers who would love to take their camera in action. The 90D is built not just for speed, but also for durability. Its dust and drip proofing make this camera a triumphant in build quality.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

On the other hand, the EOS M6 Mark II is particularly for consumers who would love to get most of the newest camera features without compromising size and heft. It’s a versatile camera in a more stylish and compact form.

Pricing and availability

Both cameras will be available across all authorized Canon Dealers nationwide starting on October 10. The Canon EOS 90D retails for:

  • PhP 74,498 (body only)
  • PhP 81,998 (with 18-55mm IS STM lens); and
  • PhP 94,498 (with 18-135mm IS USM lens)

While the EOS M6 Mark II pricing is as follows:

  • PhP 56,998 (body only)
  • PhP 62,998 (with 15-45mm kit lens); and
  • PhP 81,998 (with 18-150mm kit lens)

Promos will also apply to early buyers from October 4th until the 31st:

  • A free TIMEX Marathon Watch
  • PhP 4,000 discount on EVF-DC2 viewfinder (SRP PhP 11,998) for M6 Mark II buyers
  • PhP 1,000-worth Canon Red App points; and
  • Free pass to Canon PhotoMarathon 2019

Registering through Canon’s Red App will not only give you these promos, but also incentives such as 2-year extended warranty, unlimited CMOS cleaning for one year, free trial of lenses up to 3x, earn points to claim gifts and vouchers, and the ability to join and avail Canon-exclusive programs in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Sony launches the A6600 and the A6100 mirrorless cameras

Can focus on subjects in just 0.02 seconds!

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Even with recent camera launches, Sony is already expanding its camera family once again. Announced today, the company will launch two new APS-C mirrorless cameras. The flagship Alpha A6600 will replace 2016’s popular A6500 model. Meanwhile, the lower-tier Alpha A6100 will succeed the A6000 model.

Like its predecessor, the Alpha A6600 sports a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor. It also comes with in-body 5-axis image stabilization, Real-Time AF tracking, and Real-Time Eye AF tracking. With 425 phase-detect points, the camera can track subjects in real time for both photo and video modes.

More importantly, the Alpha A6600 will feature Sony’s AI-powered Z-Bionz image processing tech. With the new technology, the flagship model can focus on a subject in an astonishing 0.02 seconds. As such, it can shoot in a blazing-fast 11 shots per second. Inside, the camera is also speedy. The new BIONZ X image processing system touts almost twice the processing speed of its predecessor.

The Alpha A6600 is also armed with impressive video-taking capabilities. The camera can take videos in 4K resolution. For ease of use, it comes with a 180-degree rear touch screen and a headphone/microphone jack.

Finally, the camera will have a larger Z-battery inside the package. Supposedly, it will last much longer than the previous A6500. More specifically, the battery will shoot up to 720 shots on just one charge.

The Alpha 6600 will launch in November for US$ 1,400. It also comes in a package with an 18-135mm kit lens for a pricier US$ 1,800.

For the budget conscious, the upcoming Alpha 6100 will pack almost the same features as the Alpha A6600 — except for the headphone jack or the bigger battery. For a lesser package, the camera will retail for US$ 750. Like the flagship model, a packaged variant with a 16-50mm kit lens will retail for US$ 850. Finally, a larger 55-210mm lens package will retail for US$ 1,100.

SEE ALSO: Sony’s A7R IV has a massive 61MP sensor

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