Sony a5000 review

Sony's entry-level CSC stays simple, but adds Wi-Fi and a top-end processor

TODO alt text

Sony has been making cameras for long enough to know what its doing, and it hasn't produced any duds in some time. The a5000 joins the list as another reliable, solidly built compact system camera which will particularly appeal to beginner cameras.

It's ideally pitched at those looking for their first interchangeable lens camera, while its size and body shape make it likely to appeal to those who are stepping up from a mobile phone or compact camera.

The a5000 is capable of producing some great quality images which are packed with detail, are great at high sensitivities and have beautiful, warm colours. The kit lens is a decent performer, while the lens range for Sony E-mount cameras is good, and growing, so it's a system you can buy into and grow with.

Sony A5000

On the one hand, it's true that Sony puts a lot of thought into the way that people want to use its cameras, with options to customise buttons being a welcome one. On the other hand, some options are just that little bit more difficult than they should be. It shouldn't be so fiddly to change the autofocus point for instance.

We feel like we're repeatedly banging the same drum here, but a touchscreen would make this operation so much easier. Given that this camera is aimed at beginners who are probably used to touchscreens and Sony has this technology at its disposal, it's pretty disappointing that it chooses not to include one on its cameras.

It's nice though that the camera includes a tilting screen. As it only tilts up, it's not particularly useful for several angles, but for users who want to take self-portraits or shoot video, it is helpful.

There's plenty here to appeal to the creative photographer, with a range of digital filters being particularly appealing. It's also nice to have a panoramic mode, and Creative Styles for when you want to shoot in raw format. Again though, it's disappointing that digital filters can only be shot in JPEG only, not least because you'll need to dive into the menu and switch raw shooting off when you want to use them.

If you can possibly stretch to the extra cash, then the NEX-5T might be a wiser investment for those who might want something a little more advanced in the future. Not only does it produce great images, but it also has a touchscreen and an accessories port if you did want to attach a viewfinder or external flash.

We liked

This camera's small size is its headline feature, and Sony has done a good job of miniaturising to make a very small APS-C format camera. Although it's not as small as the Panasonic GM1, the sensor size is also significantly larger, so that's worth bearing in mind. The kit lens also retracts into itself, making the overall package small enough to fit in a large jacket pocket, and very neatly into a kit bag.

We disliked

Although this is an entry-level camera, it would be nice if Sony gave a little bit more for your money at this end of the range. While we appreciate that adding a touchscreen potentially bumps up the cost, it would make some of the frustrations of using the camera virtually non-existent. That aside, images are great, so if you can live with some of those quirks, or you're not the kind of user that is changing settings all that frequently, it is a good buy.

Final Verdict

Another decent, well performing camera from Sony here. The A5000 is a good buy for those looking for their first compact system camera, offering a decent range of options for both beginners and those who are a little more experienced.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution20.1 Megapixel
Product Familyalpha
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Memory Stick PRO Duo (Mark 2)
Image StabilizationNo
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital Zoom2x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesLive View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor, Time Lapse Function
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)210 g
Image Sensor Size23.20 mm x 15.40 mm
Maximum Image Resolution5456 x 3632
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height62.8 mm
Width109.6 mm
Depth35.7 mm
Focal Length16 mm to 50 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelILCE-5000L
Product NameILCE-5000L Body with Standard Zoom Lens
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberILCE5000LW.CEC
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Take pro performance anywhere

The world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera*, the ILCE-5000 features a 20.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor and powerful BIONZ X image processor for pro performance. A 180° tiltable LCD screen lets you experiment with new angles and shots.

Package Contents
  • ILCE-5000L Mirrorless Camera
  • SELP1650 E-mount lens
  • NP-FW50 Battery