The a6100 enters a crowded area – and that’s simply factoring in Sony’s personal collection of APS-C mirrorless cameras.
At the time of writing, the corporate’s web site lists no fewer than 9 present fashions, with the a6100 slotting in someplace in direction of the extra reasonably priced finish of the vary. It’s not precisely low cost, costing £900 with a 16-50mm zoom lens and round £830 with out, however in comparison with Sony’s glitzier full-frame choices and premium APS-C mannequin the a6600, it comes throughout as fairly reasonably priced.
Look nearer and it appears to supply one heck of a deal for the asking worth. There’s sadly no in-body picture stabilisation, however different options look spectacular on paper: 11fps steady taking pictures; real-time monitoring autofocus with human and animal eye detection; 1080p video at as much as 120fps; and 4K video at as much as 30fps.
Could this be the proper gateway to the wonders of mirrorless images? Let’s dive in and see.
Design: Plastic implausible
The days of ultra-plasticky Sony cameras are lengthy gone, and regardless of the a6100 missing the robust magnesium-alloy building and weather-sealed ports of a few of its pricier brethren it appears like a stable piece of labor within the hand. You gained’t wish to put it an excessive amount of to the check by dropping it or utilizing it in a rainstorm however this factor is well-built for on a regular basis use, and doesn’t appear like a cut-price possibility both.
There’s a tilting 3in LCD display (excellent news, vloggers: it’s going to flip up 180 levels to face ahead) with some contact capabilities (I like utilizing it to shortly set the autofocus level with a finger faucet), in addition to a 1.4-million dot digital viewfinder. The latter isn’t as detailed or natural-looking because the OLED ones Sony makes use of elsewhere, but it surely will get the job executed. As somebody who shoots wonky horizons all too typically, I did want for an digital spirit stage although, particularly as they’re a mainstay of most Sony cameras.
Features: Fast AF
The autofocus system is a deal with. There are 425 phase-detection AF factors unfold throughout the body, which work in tandem with a second contrast-based detection system to shortly and precisely lock on to topics, even in less-than-ideal mild. Once that’s executed, the monitoring system does a implausible job of staying locked on. I by no means had an issue reaching a swift AF lock.
Not solely that, however real-time eye AF is included too. Flip it on and the digital camera will use its AI smarts to recognise human and animal eyes, autofocusing on them and monitoring them as they transfer. It makes taking pictures portraits loads simpler, particularly with tough topics (human or in any other case) who refuse to sit down nonetheless.
The different headline characteristic is 11fps steady taking pictures, which is devilishly quick for an entry-level digital camera. Your real-life pace will fluctuate relying in your autofocus and shutter settings (you’ll want to make use of the digital shutter for the very quickest taking pictures charges), however when the a6100 is in full circulation it chatters like a machine gun, and it’s an incredible expertise to have in its locker – if you wish to shoot shifting topics, pace is important.
Image high quality: Crisp and clear and even
The 24.2MP JPEGs turned out by the a6100 are wonderful by reasonably priced mirrorless requirements: there’s a lot of sharp element, a good quantity of distinction and colors look pure and clear – check out our unedited pattern photographs if you wish to see what the digital camera is able to with minimal fuss over settings. The extra tinker-minded amongst you’ll be able to shoot in RAW for max management over modifying in your PC afterwards.
With a most ISO of 51200, the digital camera is surprisingly delicate and fairly usable in lower than perfect lighting situations. Ideally you gained’t wish to push the ISO up so far as that restrict, as you’re inviting plenty of noise into photographs, however stick on a fairly quick lens and also you’ll have the ability to shoot clear pictures indoors with out a flash. There is not any in-body picture stabilisation nonetheless (you should go up the vary to the a6500 for that), so any stabilisation will should be contained in the lens.
This lack of IBIS signifies that handheld video taking pictures requires a bit extra forethought to get clean outcomes too, however normally the a6100 is well-served in terms of video. Its 4K footage is unsurprisingly restricted to 30fps, however dial the decision all the way down to 1080p and you need to use the gradual and fast performance to file footage at all kinds of body charges, all the way in which as much as 120fps (which makes for a superbly clean slo-mo impact that lessens the ravages of your shaky fingers).
The video right here doesn’t get among the advantages of pricier Sony cameras: there’s no Hybrid Log Gamma HDR recording and no S-Log profile taking pictures, so filmmakers who wish to color grade their clips aren’t properly catered for. If you’re completely satisfied to make use of the footage straight out of the digital camera although (and I feel it seems to be positive), you don’t want to fret.
Note: Sony despatched the premium 16-55mm f/2.eight G lens together with our review pattern, and all the pictures you see listed below are shot with that. It’s a £1200 lens, fairly quick at f/2.eight and optically very sharp, and in the event you pair the a6100 with cheaper glass your picture high quality could fluctuate.
Sony a6100 verdict
As a possible first mirrorless digital camera, it’s troublesome to fault the a6100. Sure, options like S-Log and in-body stabilisation can be good, and it’s not waterproof or significantly robust – however these are issues that you would be able to all the time transfer onto when you’ve developed your digital camera abilities and wishes (and saved up a bit additional cash for mid-range and premium digital camera our bodies).
With its light-weight and compact construct, excellent autofocus system, quick taking pictures pace and greater than acceptable video efficiency, the a6100 is a extremely spectacular entry-level mannequin that can serve enthusiastic amateurs faithfully.