Sony Alpha A5000 sensor review: Seriously small, but big on performance?

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday February 25 2014

Camera Review
Introduction | Sony A5000: Cutting edge performance | Sony A5000 vs Sony NEX-5T vs Sony A3000: Comparable sensor performance | Sony A5000 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 vs Samsung NX 300: Slight advantage in IQ | Conclusion
Sony Alpha A5000 sensor review: Seriously small, but big on performance?

With Sony dropping the NEX branding from their mirrorless models, adopting a 20-Mpix APS-C CMOS sensor in a small form factor the new Alpha a5000 appears to continue the NEX lineage. Read on to find out how well it performs.

With the introduction of full-frame A7 mirrorless models Sony has quietly dropped the NEX naming of the APS-C format cameras, uniting all under the Alpha brand. Externally, the A5000 looks very similar to the earlier 16-Mpix NEX-5T. Inside the compact body, claimed by Sony to be the smallest and lightest of its type at 7.4oz  (210g), it adopts a new 20.1-Mpix CMOS sensor and Bionz X processor with sensitivity up to ISO 16,000.

Despite the modest increase in pixel count and new processor, the specification is in-fact more like that of a revised NEX-3. While it does have the WiFi with NFC capability of the NEX-5T, it lacks the on-chip phase-detection pixels of that model and fast 10 fps burst rate. This new model can achieve up to 3.5 fps with the focus locked, otherwise it’s limited to just 2.5 fps.

It also has a 3.0’ LCD with a 180-degree tilt option. But, it follows the NEX-3N in that can’t be tilted downwards (for overhead shooting) and, similarly, adopts a lower-resolution 460 K-dot, non-touchscreen panel. With a 60/50i (interlaced) option to the usual 25p and 24p Full HD modes, even the video features are alike. It’s available for pre-order in white, black or silver-finish at $499, including the stabilized 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS PZ powered and retractable zoom.

Key specifications:

  • 20.1-Mpix APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Bionz X Image Processor
  • 25-point CD-AF
  • 3.0" 461 K-dot tilt LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 HD video at 60/50/25/24fps
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC
  • Continuous shooting at 2.5 fps (3.5 fps with focus locked)
  • Built-in flash

Sony A5000: Cutting edge performance

Sony A5000 vs Sony NEX-5T vs Sony A3000: Comparable sensor performance

Sony A5000 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 vs Samsung NX 300: Slight advantage in IQ

Conclusion