Beginner shutterbug’s bliss
REVIEW: Sony a5000 camera
I have often been in awe of the quality of images produced by DSLR cameras. Larger sensors, quality lenses and a wide range of adjustable settings allow DSLR cameras to take much sharper, more detailed photos that compact cameras could never produce. However, the size and weight of such cameras has always been unappealing to me. The Sony a5000 changed my mind.
Despite having a large 20.1 megapixel APS-C sized sensor, the a5000 weighs just 210g, and I can easily fit it along with the 16-50mm kit lens in my jacket pocket. The a5000 sells for $498 regularly, but it quite often goes on sale for well below that price point, making it a very good value. I picked up my a5000 with the included kit lens and I also purchased an additional 55-210mm telephoto lens.
Learning about photography techniques and experimenting by taking different photos has been a joy! I have always wanted to take photos with pretty, blurred backgrounds, or capture light trails from the tail lights of passing cars. With a little practice, the Sony a5000 can indeed take such photographs.
As a beginner, I appreciate the helpful in-camera guide, which can be consulted by pressing the “?” button to bring up a brief explanation of any selected option or setting. “Ah, so that’s what ‘aperture’ means!”
Handy wireless features (a rarity in this camera’s price class) also make the a5000 a great value. With Wifi or NFC (Near Field Communication), photos can be sent directly from the camera to a compatible Android or iOS phone. The a5000 even has a selection of both paid and free apps that run right on the camera itself. Besides, it’s cool to be one of the very few people on your friends list uploading photos to Facebook that haven’t been taken with a blurry phone camera. Guaranteed at least one person will comment on your photography skills.
The a5000 takes excellent quality HD videos along with superb audio, thanks to dual microphones. I do suggest switching the video format from Sony’s proprietary AVCHD (the default format for the camera) to MP4 for easier editing (at the cost of frame-rate), which can be done in the camera’s settings.
Because of the size of the camera some corners were cut to keep the a5000 small and inexpensive. The camera has no optical viewfinder, nor is there a hot-shoe for adding an external flash or other accessories. (Thankfully, there is a built-in pop up flash.) Also, the autofocus system is a “contrast” autofocus system, which isn’t as quick or precise as the “hybrid” autofocus systems that are found in more expensive DSLR cameras. As a result, the a5000 is not the best camera for sports photography, but I still had decent results taking photos at a hockey game.
Despite such trade-offs, the Sony a5000 has proven to be the perfect tool in my quest to take better photographs. The camera is affordable, lightweight and it provides excellent photo and video quality. If you yearn to take better photographs than what your compact camera or smart phone can, the Sony a5000 may be just the ticket!