Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Outdoor Vloggers Camera: the Sony A5100 v the Canon 750D

Time was when anyone making a video used a standard Camcorder and a DSLR camera for stills. These days the tech choices are mind boggling. DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, Super-Compacts,Go Pros and mini sports cams, drones and i/Smartphones. However, in the last year or two, I’ve noticed that more and more serious Vloggers are using DSLR’s and Mirrorless cameras like the Sony Nexus and Alpha range cameras for their work. I blame Casey Neistat, the hugely successful New York vlogger who until recently, was shooting a lot of his incredibly slick vlogs on the Canon D70...I think he’s moved on to the D80 at the time of writing. Despite their size and obtrusiveness, the aforementioned vlogger still managed to skate board around New York’s busy streets with a chunky DSLR on the end of a flexible Gorilla pod.

The reason?  Well quality has to be the primary reason.The D70 is a seriously good camera which takes pin sharp stills and video and offers a range of features more often found on cameras costing a great deal more. In fact, in one vlog Neistat calls the D70 ‘The best Camera in the World’. Quite a claim for a camera costing well under a thousand pounds in the UK.

I’ve recently had the chance to evaluate two highly regarded vloggers cameras; The Sony Alpha 5100 and the Canon EOS 750D or T6i Rebel in the US. Both cameras fall in that entry/Mid price range- retailing at under £500- and both cameras are well regarded by both reviewers and users alike.

First off, The Sony A5100 which is a mirrorless camera with a handsome 24-megapixel sensor with 179 integrated phase-detect auto focus points and although it's not exactly pocket sized, it is still a hell of a lot easier to lug about than a DSLR. With a tip up articulated screen, its great for anyone who wants to talk to camera or take a selfie. It does have a touch screen but this feature is very limited in terms of creative control. As you would expect, The Sony takes pretty good photographs and sharp video. It does however have one serious drawback which really put me off the camera. No viewfinder. Unlike the highly rated A 6000, the 5100 only has a led screen and trying to use a creative mode like aperture or shutter priority or manual is next to impossible in bright outside conditions.

Also,taking a photograph or filming outside in bright sunlight makes it more a point and hope action. As you would expect from Sony Mirrorless stable the Alphas offer a range of interchangeable lenses but the problem still remains. If you have to control your filming through the back screen, snapping on a zoom lens is not going to change things. If you are considering the Sony, then go for the A6000 which does have a viewfinder and although technically, its pretty much identical to the A5100, its old fashioned controls and viewfinder make it much more attractive to the outdoor photographer or vlogger.

The Canon 750d has become one of the most popular cameras in the Canon stable by virtue of its pricing, features and quality. Currently selling at £560 in Currys/PC World, the camera can be bought brand new on the grey market for just £420. Unlike the Sony, the 750d feels like a real camera. Chunky, solid and offering a highly intuitive range of creative features. Despite being in the same ball park as the Sony with regards to its 24mp sensor, the Canon is a totally different beast when it comes to versatility. A fully articulated screen and touch controls which leaves the Sony’s limited screen movement and touch screen functions in the dirt I’m afraid.

With live view and touchscreen focusing and shooting, as well as the option to link your smart phone to the camera and control the functions and shooting externally. Although this probably won’t appeal to the average user, it will appeal to the more serious amateur. Both cameras have wi-fi and you can download images to your phone, but actually, the Sony Play app which needs to be downloaded first is pretty crap to put it bluntly! Despite several attempts to transfer images, I never got it to work once so I gave up. To be honest, I haven’t used this feature on the Canon yet so I can’t comment.

So...I think you will have caught my drift thus far. The Canon 750D pretty much blows the disappointing Sony out of the water with regards to features, ease of use and hands on, on board tuition. Both cameras offer excellent results and produce sharp photographs and video, but nevertheless,the 750d is an excellent option for those whose pockets don’t stretch as far as a 70 or 80D.

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