Sony Alpha a5000 Replaces the Popular NEX-5 Series [Hands on]

Sony is opening up the new year with a brand new camera that looks to be the bottom line in their cadre of compact, DSLR-quality interchangeable lens cameras. At CES this week, Sony is showing off the a5000, which is set to replace the NEX-5 with better optics in a lighter frame.

The a5000 is, for the most part, an update to that older camera. How do we know? Because the numbers are bigger! There are other reasons, too, but the bigger numbers are a nice way to get started – a 20.1 MP APS-C sensor, which is backed by the same BIONZ X image processor found in Sony’s a7 and a7R full-frame cameras. But, some numbers are smaller – in a good way. The a5000 weighs just eight ounces, remaining shockingly light for a camera that really is packing DSLR quality.

You can shoot at up to ISO 16000 in low-light conditions. There’s a new LCD monitor that you can tilt and flip 180 degrees, and a lever to control optical zoom. ‘Photo Creativity’ mode is basically an easy mode for DSLR novices, which puts simple explanations on settings presets, so you can slowly learn how to use the new tools before you. That’s in addition to the Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps, a set of over a dozen apps made just for Sony cameras that you can download, which give you more options when taking and editing pictures. One of those apps also facilitates file transfer between the camera and a mobile device, although there’s NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity for that, too.

The a5000 is an interchangeable lens camera, and the kit comes with a 16-50mm motorized zoom lens. But, you have your choice from there – more than 20 Sony lenses fit on the a5000. That kit will be available in March for $600.