Uses micro USB cable to charge
Pop up adjustable flash
Biggest issue is overheating
No touchy screen
Entry level camera
Video stabilisation sucks
Upon close inspection it’s clear that the camera is geared towards beginners and casual shooters looking for a DSLR.
Around the A5000 you can find the lack of buttons as it tries to keep it simple and focuses more on its automatic modes. Though it does have full manual mode and you can work it in manual but I wouldn’t recommend it. The lack of buttons make it difficult to adjust settings on the fly. Like switching white balance requires you to dive deep into the menus.
All the buttons can be customised including the video button. But I found all them be good as they are. The only button I customised was the help button to toggle between manual and auto focus.
On the topic of buttons the scroll wheel/nav buttons are a bit too soft and I found myself accidentally pressing the nav buttons while trying to scroll and vice versa.
Apart from the shutter button, zoom toggles, on/off switch and flash button at the top there are no other buttons on the camera. Only button you will find on the front is to release the lens.On the topic of buttons the scroll wheel/nav buttons are a bit too soft and I found myself accidentally pressing the nav buttons while trying to scroll and vice versa.
More hints of this camera targeting beginners can be found in the lack of external audio input. The inbuilt mics I find to be more than adequate and have good sound and stereo separation. But down the line if you want to do more filming you can’t connect a better quality mic. There is no hot shoe at the top for connecting a bigger flash. You do get a pop up flash though small you can adjust the angle with you finger to do some bounce flashing of the ceiling instead of directly onto your subject.
The 3 inch screen is not the best quality and is not even a touch screen. But it redeems itself by its ability to flip straight up. Useful for composing selfies. This was one of the main reasons for my purchase. I can look at the screen while filming and still look like I am looking at the lens. It would have been better if the screen also flipped down to compose shots from the bottom. Having this front facing screen will be appealing for those looking for an entry level vlogging camera.
The UI is straight forward to use. If you have previously used a Sony camera or used a Sony phone then you will be familiar with the look and feel. I had issues with the connecting the A5000 to my phone through the Sony Play Memories App. When I eventually got it connected I managed to transfer the stuff I took onto my iPhone. I couldn’t get the live view working on the App.
The A5000 is comfortable to hold. I didn’t find any issue with the size of the finger grips. It’s big enough for the size of the camera. If you decide not to use the included camera strap. I recommend removing the strap rings completely, they jiggle with the camera body and you can really hear them in the videos. The zoom lever next to the shutter button is very handy for single handed zooming a feature not found on any other mirrorless camera.
The kit lens is nothing outstanding but I would say it’s on the better end. It adds to the A5000s portability by retracting when not in use. The kit lens also has a zoom slider built onto it and a focus ring on the front that sets to zoom aswell when in auto focus mode. It does have Sony’s OSS (Optical Steady Shot). In my use it helps with taking longer exposed shots handheld but I don’t think it helps with video. I found the hand held videos to be very shaky.
Because the A5000 is on Sony’s cheaper end I found the sensor to be a bit lacking in low light. I noticed a bit more grain in my images compared to my Olympus OMD-EM 5ii when shooting at the same hig ISO. But this is with the kit lens you can expect to accomplish a better looking image with a better and more expensive lens. Overall I found the images to be decent quality. Sony’s Intelligent Auto is reliable. It’s able to detect the shooting scenario and adjust accordingly. Shooting raw allowed me to bring out details in the highlights and shadows in post.
One big issue I have with this camera is it’s overheating. This camera overheats easily, expect to see the temp warning logo on the screen at around 10-15 mins of filming and shutting off to cool down a few minutes after. If the ambient temperature is warmer expect this to happen sooner at around 5-10 mins. This is a major issue for me because video was the main reason for me purchasing the camera.
Battery life could have been better. It is a mirrorless camera after all. The downside of the A5000 not having a viewfinder is you are constantly relying on the main screen to shoot and preview images. With a view finder you can have the screen off while you shoot.
I highly recommend getting a second battery with any camera. It’s just good practice. One cool thing though with the A5000 and with any other of Sony’s Alpha cameras is that you can charge them with any micro USB-C cable which can be plugged into any USB charger like a power bank. Only downside is you can’t charge and use the A5000 at the same time. Having the Micro USB makes this a good travel camera. Takes you away from relying on charging cradles plugged into a wall.
To conclude this review the A5000 is a really good camera despite its short comings being an entry level mirrorless. There is still a lot going for the A5000. If you are a beginner I would recommend this over a point and shoot yes it’s a few hundred more and is slightly larger but you will get better results and give you room to grow as a photographer with interchangeable lenses and it’s manual mode. If you are a more seasoned photographer and already own a DSLR I still recommend the A5000 as a secondary camera for the times you need something more portable or something inconspicuous. The only people I wouldn’t recommend this camera are for those looking to do more video than photos due to its overheating issues and lack of stabilisation.
Video below to my unboxing.
Video below to my review.
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