A5000 is the latest mirrorless camera from Sony. Don’t be confused by the new naming scheme, this is just another ordinary NEX camera. Sony said they implemented the new naming scheme in order not to confuse customers, but the generally accepted opinion is that the confusion is now even worse. NEX name was well accepted and it was easy to distinguish cameras, but now you have one name – ALPHA for all Sony interchangeable lens cameras and some of them are E-mount, some are A-mount. For a novice or a non-gear head this is a nightmare. A5000 is actually the successor to NEX-3N which replaced the NEX-F3 which replaced the NEX-C3 which came after the original NEX-3 in 2010. Five models in three and a half years. What for? God only knows (and maybe someone from Sony).
SONY A5000 GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS
- Announced: 2013.
- Type: Mirrorless
- Dimensions: 110 x 63 x 36 mm (4.33 x 2.48 x 1.42″)
- Weight: 269g (with battery)
- Sensor: CMOS, 20 MP (5456 x 3632 pixels)
- ISO range: 100 – 16,000
- Image stabilization: No
- Dust and moisture protection: No
- Flash: Built-in
- Continuous shooting: 4 fps
- LCD screen: 3″, 460,000 dots
- Memory card: SD or MemoryStick
- Battery: Li-Ion NP-FW50
- Video: 1920 x 1080 @ 60i/50i or 30p/25p
- Connectors: micro USB 2.0, micro HDMI
CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING
Sony A5000 is built from plastic. You can feel it is a basic model when you hold it in your hands, but it put very well together. Controls layout is the same as on previous models with all of them on the right side of the camera. A5000 has a nice protruding grip and a well positioned thumb rest so it is easy to hold and operate what is a step forward from NEX-3N which had smaller and badly shaped grip.
There is a pop-up flash on the top and beside it are two holes for stereo microphone.
A5000 has zoom rocker-dial around the power switch which is used to control optical zoom on lenses with motorized zoom like the 16-50 which is a standard kit lens for this camera. I tested this lens extensively and you can read about by following this link. Zoom can also be controlled with the rocker dial on the lens and the rotating ring. Double controls are necessary because the ring can be reassigned for manual focus, so you still need the rocker dial for older NEX models which do not have the zoom control on the camera body.
Sony chose to ditch the dreaded NEX menu system so now we have this traditional layout where you scroll left to right through tabs and up and down to select the function. The menu may not be that beautiful visually, but this is a step forward for the ease of use. It is also very fast.
You can reassign function to five external buttons which should be more than enough for more demanding users.
SONY A5000 LCD AND VIEWFINDER
LCD has 3 inch diagonal and 460,000 dots which is below expectations for 2014 especially since the first three NEX-3 models had 920,000 dots and Sony downgraded the LCD dot count in the last years’ NEX-3N. This LCD also has poor viewing angle when viewed from below (huge disadvantage since it cannot be tilted downward) and desaturated colors what is not the case with 920,000 dots LCD which came 4 years ago in the original NEX-3.
LCD can be tilted but only upward and you can rotate it by full 180 degrees for “selfie” shooting. This is a great feature, but Sony has a talent to complicate things that do not need to be complicated. Each time you rotate the LCD, A5000 activates 3 second timer exposure delay and the drive button is disabled so you cannot turn it off.
This camera has no viewfinder nor allows the use of external one.