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Sony Alpha A5000 review: stunning image quality, at a new lower price

Ben Pitt
1 Jun 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
339
inc VAT

Stunning image quality for the price, but the controls might prove to be frustrating

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Specifications

Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Focal length multiplier: 1.5x, Viewfinder: no, LCD screen: 3in (460,800 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 3.1x (24-75mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/5.25-8.4, Lens mount: Sony E Mount, Weight: 385g, Size (HxWxD): 63x118x65mm

It's well specified as a video camera, with AVCHD capture in 1080p or 1080i formats, clips up to 30 minutes long and full access to priority and manual exposure modes. Autofocus was smooth and silent but the motorised zoom function was picked up by the microphone.

Details weren't quite as sharp as from the superb A6000, noise was a tad higher in low light and it was more susceptible to moiré interference on repeating textures. Still, these differences were pretty subtle. The A5000 may not satisfy keen videographers but casual users will be happy to use this as their main video camera.

Photo quality was at the high standards we've come to expect from NEX cameras. The 20-megapixel sensor has a higher resolution than the NEX-3N's 16 megapixels, and delivered a small boost to detail levels, with no appreciable rise in noise levels. Once again, it couldn't match the spectacularly low noise of the A6000 and the Fujifilm X-M1, but it wasn't not far behind. As with its predecessors, it beat CSCs from Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung and Nikon for image quality in low light.

1/125s, f/11, ISO 100, 75mm (equivalent) Highlights are handled well here, and focus is sharp into the corners of the frame (click to enlarge, and then icon for full resolution)

1/60s, f/4, ISO 100, 33mm (equivalent) - Skin tones here are lifelike and detailed, and automatic settings have handled the tricky lighting well (click to enlarge, and then icon for full resolution)

1/80s, f/11, ISO 100, 39mm (equivalent) - Details on the alpacas' fur are pin sharp (click to enlarge, and then icon for full resolution)

1/160s, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 75mm (equivalent) - There's very little evidence of noise in this ISO 1000 shot, and plenty of definition to the hair and straw textures (click to enlarge, and then icon for full resolution)

1/125s, f/7.1, ISO 1600, 75mm (equivalent) - There's still plenty of definition to skin tones at ISO 1600 (click to enlarge, and then icon for full resolution)

1/200s, f/9, ISO 6400, 75mm (equivalent)ISO 6400 doesn't stand up to scrutiny but it's fine for snapshots (click to enlarge, and then icon for full resolution)

CONCLUSION

With image quality this high and a price so aggressively low, anything less than five stars seems positively stingy. However, the Panasonic GF6 is available for the same price, the Fujifilm X-M1 and Sony NEX-5T cost around £50 more and they all offer better controls and faster performance. If Sony can add a quick-access menu to the A5000 via a firmware update, we'd be tempted to bump it up to full marks.

Hardware
Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.2x15.4mm)
Focal length multiplier1.5x
ViewfinderNo
Viewfinder magnification (35m-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen3in (460,800 dots)
ArticulatedTilt up and over
TouchscreenNo
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (ARW)
Maximum photo resolution5,456x3,632
Photo aspect ratios3:2, 16:9
Video compression formatAVCHD at up to 24Mbit/s, MP4 (AVC) at up to 12Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 24/25fps, 1080i at 25/30fps, VGA at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)29m 59s
Controls
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/4,000 seconds
ISO speed range100 to 16000
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 10 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, zone, flexible spot, face detect
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, dynamic range bracket, HDR, panorama
Kit lens
Kit lens model nameSELP1650
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)3.1x (24-75mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.5-5.6
35mm-equivalent aperturef/5.25-8.4
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)25cm
Closest macro focus (tele)30cm
Physical
Lens mountSony E Mount
Card slotSDXC, Memory Stick Pro HG Duo
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
GPSNo
HotshoeNo
Body materialPlastic
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Weight385g
Size (HxWxD)63x118x65mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price including VAT£339
Supplierwww.jessops.com
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Part codeILCE-5000Y

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