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:

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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:

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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

Canon EOS M100 hands-on: For your vlogging and #OOTD needs?

Compact and capable!

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If you’ve read any of my previous camera reviews (here and here), you’d know that I have specific needs for the shooters I use. I mostly use cameras for vlogging and #OOTD purposes so on top of the list of priorities are ease in use and having the perfect compact size that I can bring around hassle-free — again, there’s no way I’m lugging around a camera the size of my head, I’d rather spend that energy thinking up IG poses.

My camera research led me to try Canon’s EOS M100 camera, their entry-level mirrorless shooter that was released in the latter part of last year. I got a little hands-on time with this camera and here are some thoughts on it.

The M100 has a good size and weight, and when I say good size, I mean I’ll be able to fit it in most medium-size purses without trouble. It has a built-in flash, and the unit I got to try came with a 15-45mm lens which just means it’s a pretty versatile kit — and yes, you can achieve that bokeh effect with this.

If you decide to step up your shooting, you can also switch out this stock lens for something more to your liking since it has interchangeable lenses.

Up top is the power button, settings for either shooting photos or videos, a dial, and video record button.

The back sports a 3-inch LCD and more buttons to navigate through the camera menu. There’s also a dedicated button for the menu, camera connectivity, and playback.

Now, back to that screen. I love how it’s fully touchscreen. You can tap to focus, tap to take photos, and even use it to navigate through the camera menu (which isn’t a function that’s available in all cameras). The best part?

It rotates and becomes a flippity screen — perfect for vlogging! It shoots at 1080p and is capable of 60fps for those beautiful slow-mo videos. Unfortunately, there’s no audio jack on this camera so you’re stuck with the built-in mic for your vlogs.

This 24-megapixel shooter is also capable of Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi, meaning it connects to your phone so you’ll be able to control your camera remotely and seamlessly transfer photos which is the perfect setup for your #InstagramGoals. I shot a few quick samples with the camera and here they are in their unedited glory:

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Now, I’d have to spend more time with the M100 to be able to comment more on its performance but it’s looking like a real beginner powerhouse.

By the looks of it, the Canon EOS M100 might just be a great option for the casual users like me who’d want to shoot with more than just their smartphones for more on-point content. Priced at US$ 499 in the US, and PhP 41,998 (with two kit lenses included) in the Philippines, it may also be a pretty reasonable choice.

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Cameras

Moments: Mt. Maculot

Seen through the Apeman Camera A80

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Mt. Maculot is a popular mountain located in the province of Batangas in the Philippines, overlooking a picturesque view of Taal volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano.

Climbing this mountain means scrambling through rocks and steep obstacles — definitely an adventure you need to try for your next getaway.

See Mt. Maculot through the Apeman Camera A80.

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Cameras

Sony A7 III hands-on review

When the basic model is anything but

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The introduction of the A7 III follows last year’s 42-megapixel A7R III. Since this is the basic model, it’s a little cheaper, although nothing about it is basic, and we’ll tell you exactly why.

Design

The A7 III kept the basic compact look with a few but important changes. For one, we feel more confident holding the Sony A7 III now that it has a bigger grip than its predecessor’s. This is thanks to a bigger battery that extends its life significantly. More on battery life in just a bit.

Another thing we’re happy about is the use of a joystick for its autofocus point selection. Instead of using the rotating pad like its predecessor the A7 II, setting the autofocus point is now easier to do even on the fly. 

It has dual card slots with one slot rated for faster, high-performance memory cards. Just like the A7R III, the A7 III supports charging through USB-C.

A touchscreen display tilts both ways and works well for when you need a low-angle shot or when you shoot from above. However, it doesn’t flip over for selfies since it’s designed more for professional use.

This compact camera is not only built for photos — videographers are kept in mind just like in the previous series. I personally found the video record button on the previous Mark II a little awkward in the corner, but I’m happy to report that it has now been moved to a place that feels easier and more natural to reach.

Features

So what does the A7 III offer and how does it compare to its predecessor, the A7 II? Well, Sony still implemented the same resolution at 24 megapixels, but the A7 III now has a backside illuminated (BSI) design. This means it should do better in both low and bright lighting conditions compared to its CMOS counterpart. Sony’s 5-axis image stabilization also made its way here.

More importantly, the A7 III now features 693 phase-detection autofocus points that almost cover the entire frame just like on the higher-end Sony A9. For comparison, the previous A7 II only had a 117-point AF system.

With its BIONZ X image processor, the A7 III can shoot images faster. How fast? Its 35mm full-frame sensor can shoot still photos continuously at up to 10 frames per second.

Additionally, the ability to shoot up to 4K UHD makes the A7 III a well-rounded camera. There’s Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth on board for wireless connectivity.

Image quality

We’ve been using it to shoot both for our travels and work, and we like how its autofocus system is snappy and locks on to subjects quickly. Quality-wise, we’re impressed with its dynamic range maintaining details on both the bright and dark areas. Sony is proud that the A7 III can reach a max ISO of 204800. With that ISO range and the camera’s ability to reduce noise, we get nice photos even with the least amount of lighting.

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As mentioned earlier, the A7 III is an all-around shooter. It records at up to 4K resolution at 30fps, and for fans of slowing things down, the full-frame camera shoots up to 120fps at Full HD resolution. If you want more control over your footage, the A7 III can shoot on S-Log profiles just like the higher-end A7R III. In turn, this makes for easier and finer adjustments during post-production.

You can find video samples in our hands-on video embedded at the beginning of this article.

Battery

The same battery as the A9 and A7R III’s pumps life into the A7 III. Unlike from the Mark II series, the new battery has twice as much juice. Its updated processor also helps in making the battery more efficient. Sony claims that a single pack can shoot up to 710 shots before needing to be recharged.

In the real world, we were able to use it for more than one shooting session and as long as we start with a fresh pack, we didn’t experience problems running out of juice before our work was done.

Pricing

Here are the prices for the A7 III in the following countries:

  • United States – US$ 2,000 (body only)
  • Singapore – SG$ 2,899 (body only)
  • Philippines – PhP 115,999 (body only)

It’s half the price of Sony’s high-end A9, US$ 1,000 cheaper than the excellent A7R III, and costs just as much as Panasonic’s popular GH5 which has a much smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

From the time we’ve spent with it, we could definitely say that it excels both in photo and video categories. It’s got a really fast autofocus system which eliminates wasted shots, an option for shooting 4K videos with impressive details, and an improved design that feels more ergonomic to use.

So if you’re looking for a solid all-around performer with a price that’s relatively affordable for what it is and what it does, the Sony A7 III might be for you.

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