Sony A6100 review

The Sony a6100 is a compact, fast camera with good image quality and excellent autofocus. Family photographers will love it, but enthusiasts might want to consider the a6400.

The Sony A6100 is a 24-megapixel mirrorless APS-C camera for beginners and those who want to take beautiful pictures but do not necessarily consider themselves photographers. With its new powerful autofocus system, it is one of the easiest cameras to use if you just rely on it and concentrate on shooting. a6100’s specs are not the latest, and its price is reasonably high. However, its simple and effective autofocus system makes it easy to get the shots you want, which is probably why it is cheaper than cheaper competitors. On paper it looks like an inexpensive a6000, but in reality it is a much better camera.

The Sony A6100 is the new entry-level model of Sony’s mirrorless APS-C sensor cameras, joining the extensive lineup of the A6000, A6300, A6400, A6500 and A6600. It features the same 24.2-megapixel sensor as the A6400 and A6600 cameras, as well as the latest Bionz X image processor, which allows the Alpha A6100 to record at ISO 51200, one step better than the A6000 model. The A6100 can record 4K video at 3840 x 2160 pixels at up to 30 frames per second, as well as Full HD video at 1080p at up to 120 frames per second, with no limit on recording time.

Sony A6100 review: Design

The Sony A6100 has a smaller footprint than the A6600 and is also lighter at 396g. This is because the housing is made of plastic rather than metal. However, the surface is slightly shiny, making it more prone to fingerprints and smudges. The hand grip is rubber coated, but the grip itself does not stick out very far, so holding this camera with large hands may be a bit difficult. On the top side, there is a hot shoe for an external flash, as well as a built-in pop-up xenon flash, a mode dial, and a control dial.

The shutter button, power button, and customize button (C1) are located on the front right. It has an electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the back, but the A6100 has a lower resolution of 1.44 million dots compared to the A6600’s 2.35 million dots. A proximity sensor automatically turns the EVF on and off when the camera is brought close to the face. On the back of the camera is a command dial and other familiar buttons.

You can adjust the functions to suit your shooting style, including the labeled buttons. The directional keys, in particular, feel a bit spongy. I would have liked a better tactile feel. On the left side, there is a flap covering the micro HDMI port, micro USB port, and 3.5mm microphone input. There is no headphone jack here like on the A6600. The 3-inch TFT LCD display on the back has a resolution of 921,000 pixels and can be tilted 74 degrees down or rotated 180 degrees up for selfies. The display itself is touch responsive and bright enough for outdoor use.

Sony A6100 review: Features

The deeper grip makes the a6100 feel more comfortable in the hand compared to older models, but those with larger hands might still have problems when their fingers hit the lens while gripping the camera. The front of the camera can be described as spartan. Apart from the power button and a custom function button located on top of the grip, there is nothing to see on the front except for the lens mount and the shutter release button. The top of the camera is also quite sparse. The hot shoe connector, mode dial and a function dial that can be programmed to control the shutter speed or aperture are located here. The EVF is located on the far left of the camera, which makes the Sony a6100 a rangefinder camera.

Sony A6100 review: Image Quality

The Sony A6100 delivers impressively clean results with minimal grain and detail loss. At ISO 6400, there is only a slight increase in noise and a reduction in detail, making this sensitivity fully usable. Only at ISO 12800 does the grain and detail smoothing become more pronounced, although it is by no means unsightly. ISO 25600 is really the upper limit for acceptable image quality, so severe is the grain, loss of detail, and reduced dynamic range.

ISO 51200 should be avoided because of the distracting grain and color specks. However, if you switch down to reasonable sensitivities, the A6100 records excellent dynamic range, especially if you use Sony Dynamic Range Optimization. Good color brilliance adds visual appeal while maintaining accurate color reproduction, which can of course be adjusted to your preferences in the camera settings.

Sony A6100 review: Video Quality

The a6100 does without the flat and HDR video profiles of the a6400 and a6600, but otherwise makes no concessions. It records high-quality 4K footage at a choice of 24 or 30 frames per second at a recording rate of 100 Mbps, and can also record at 1080p. Video quality is excellent, although the older image sensor with its slower readout speed means that 4K at 60fps is not an option, and motion can exhibit some strange artifacts due to the rolling shutter effect.

The camera also supports both slow-motion and time-lapse video at frame rates up to 120 frames per second and up to 1 frame per second. Proxy recording, which creates a small, low-quality file in addition to full-quality video for easier editing, is available if your workstation isn’t quite capable of handling high-quality 4K files. Add a microphone input and you have a very capable camera for video.

Vloggers might want to consider a model with body-based stabilization for smoother walk-and-talks, and cinematographers should choose a model with faster sensor readout and a flat color profile for more flexibility in adjusting color and exposure. For consumers, the HLG video profile is the better reason to consider the a6400. It’s designed to look good on 4K HDR displays without the need for editing.

Sony A6100 review: Performance

The A6100 shines especially with its fast and reliable autofocus system, both for photos and videos. It has the same AF system as the flagship Sony A6600, a camera that is almost twice as expensive. There are several focus modes and focus areas to choose from. After playing around with these settings, we settled on continuous AF with Tracking: Expand Flexible Spot for virtually all scenarios. With this AF setting, focusing for general action – family shots, a specific subject in the frame – is extremely reliable.

Honestly, we sometimes forgot that this was an entry-level camera because the A6100 focuses so reliably. A continuous shooting mode of 11 frames per second is solid on paper. But in practice, the reality of continuous shooting is a bit disappointing. In our experience, the length of continuous shooting doesn’t quite live up to the claims of up to 67 frames. Furthermore, the camera needs some time to buffer these sequences before the full performance is available again.

Sony A6100 review: Battery Life

The battery life of 420 shots is very competitive at this level. We used the camera in the cold winter months and noticed that the battery life decreases a bit faster than expected. However, charging via USB is very helpful. It is worth noting that there is no charger included with the A6100, only a USB cable. Shooting a lot of video or continuous shooting does drain the battery.

As with most cameras in the A6xxx series (with the exception of the A6600), battery life is rather average. The stated performance is 360 shots per battery charge, and in actual use we were able to average a slightly higher number of about 400 shots per charge, which still isn’t great. Fortunately, the battery can be charged with a portable powerbank, so you can use the camera from an external source even while it’s running. It also still takes a while to charge the battery, and once again, it is disappointing that there is no USB Type-C port.

Sony A6100 review: Price and Availability

The Sony a6100 will go on sale in late 2019. The a6100 will cost $600 (body only) or $697 with a 16-50mm kit lens. Expect deals on this camera as well as older Sony mirrorless cameras, such as the original Sony a6000, which now costs around $550 with the 16-50mm power zoom kit lens. Not sure which model you want? Then take a look at our Best Sony Mirrorless Cameras page, which compares the Sony a6000 to the a6100 and the a6300 and the a6400 and the a6500 and the a6600. We also have a direct comparison between the Sony a6000 and the a6100.

Conclusion

The Sony a6100 is ideal for travel photography. It is quite compact and easy to carry around. The pictures are still grainy even when you increase the camera’s ISO to compensate for low light conditions. The a6100 delivers outstanding image and video quality in all shooting conditions. And the device’s brilliant autofocus system increases the likelihood that everything you point the camera at will come into focus. In short, this camera truly makes you a better photographer. And while the a6100 isn’t cheap, its price is quite reasonable for what it offers.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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The Sony a6100 is ideal for travel photography. It is quite compact and easy to carry around. Images are still grainy even when you increase the camera's ISO to compensate for poor lighting conditions. The a6100 delivers excellent image and video quality under all shooting conditions.Sony A6100 review