The Sony Alpha A6500 is the company’s most advanced APS-C mirrorless camera and comes with a lot of technology.
Sony waited only six months before updating the Alpha A6300 with the A6500. However, while this may sound like a premature update, the Alpha 6500 gains several essential features, including in-body image stabilization, which further blurs the line between Sony’s APS-C lineup and its Alpha 7 full-frame range of mirrorless cameras.
In addition, Sony’s newest camera features a touchscreen user interface, which is a beautiful addition. Additionally, the buffer on this camera has been much improved, making it an appealing option for capturing action. Adding these additional features to the A6500 makes it one of the crop-sensor cameras with the most comprehensive set of functions currently available.
Sony a6500 Features
Even though the Sony A6500 has the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor and 4D focus technology (with 425 phase detect AF points) as the Alpha 6300, there are welcome enhancements in other areas of the camera.
It is notable because it is the first Sony APS-C camera with 5-axis in-body image stabilization. This is similar to what we’ve seen with Sony’s second-generation Alpha 7 line of cameras, such as the Alpha A7R II. The fantastic news is that this not only works with Sony’s optics that do not have stabilization but can also be used in conjunction with Sony’s OSS lenses, which have stabilization.
The buffer of the A6500 has also been redesigned by Sony, resulting in a significant performance increase. As a result, the camera can now capture 307 full-size JPEG files or 107 raws at a rapid 11fps burst rate. This significantly improved from the A6300, which could only take a maximum of 44 JPEG files and 22 buffs.
Sony a6500 Build Quality.
The Sony A6500 is virtually indistinguishable from its ancestor in its exterior design. Plastic is used for the power switch, battery hatch, and controls on this half-metal, half-plastic design built around a magnesium frame. However, the structure itself is made of metal.
To accommodate the in-body image stabilization feature, the A6500 is somewhat thicker than the A6300, measuring 53 millimeters instead of 49 millimeters; both cameras measure 120 millimeters across and 67 millimeters high. The additional components cause the weight to increase by 49 grams, bringing the total to 453 grams for the A6500 (1lb).
One noticeable improvement we genuinely like and appreciate is the deeper grip, which gives us a firmer grasp on the camera and makes it easier to use. Also, in contrast to the A6300, which only featured a single custom function button to the right of the shutter button, the A6500 features two buttons; both positioned between the mode dial and the shutter button.
Sony a6500 Autofocus
The 4D Focus system was something we liked on the A6300, and it has also been carried over to the Sony Alpha A6500. This gives the camera one of the densest AF systems currently available. The camera includes 169 extra contrast-detect AF points in addition to its 425 phase-detect AF points, which enables it to find focus on its subject exceptionally rapidly.
We put the autofocus mechanism of the A6500 through its paces by photographing a range of situations, from ice hockey to rapidly moving drones. It performed an outstanding job finding focus and remaining locked during our tests. Moreover, it is a reliable and effective system, making it exceptional.
Sony a6500 Performance
The processing rates of the Sony A6500 were significantly improved compared to those of the A6300, which is one of the reasons why this camera is such an absolute speed demon.
The powerful processing engine in the Alpha A99 II has been transplanted into the A6500. When shooting at eight frames per second, the A6500 has a burst shooting buffer that can hold up to 307 JPEGs, giving you 35 seconds of uninterrupted firepower. In addition, the camera can record 107 raw images or 200 JPEGs in a single burst when set to 11 frames per second.
The challenging lighting conditions did not throw off the multi-zone metering mechanism of the A6500, and it could meter flawlessly on the dot without any overexposure or underexposure.
The A6500’s auto white balance, much like the one on most other Sony cameras we’ve reviewed in recent years, maybe a little sticky and doesn’t adjust instantly, even though it does react faster than earlier versions.
There are around a dozen options for the white balance and three different custom settings you may methodically adjust to achieve the desired color temperature and tint.
Sony a6500 Image Quality
It should be no surprise that Sony’s 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor, first introduced in the A6300 and boasts excellent performance, has been carried over to the A6500. As a result, the Sony A6500 is an incredible camera for still photography regarding the Quality of the images it produces.
The Quality of JPEGs taken directly from the camera is extremely high, with photos exhibiting good clarity and contrast levels. Additionally, the DRO system in the A6500 does a fantastic job of modestly bringing up darker regions, which makes the photographs more suited for immediate use.
Image noise is typically extremely well managed over the sensitivity range when taking JPEGs, as we have seen with the A6300. As a result, photographs are completely useable even at higher settings such as ISO6400.
However, we recommend utilizing the A6500’s Low noise reduction option rather than the camera’s Normal noise reduction level because the latter looks aggressive in dealing with high-ISO photographs.
Sony a6500 Specs
|Body type||Rangefinder-style mirrorless|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6000 x 4000|
|Image ratio w h||3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||24 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||25 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-25600 (expandable to 51200)|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||51200|
|White balance presets||8|
|Image stabilization notes||5-axis|
|JPEG quality levels||Extra fine, fine, standard|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (14-bit Sony ARW)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive view.|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||425|
|Lens mount||Sony E|
|Focal length multiplier||1.5×|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder magnification||1.07× (0.71× 35mm equiv.)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||iAutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual|
|Flash Range||6.00 m (at ISO 100)|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash modes||Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync., Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (On/Off selectable), Hi-speed sync, Wireless.|
|Flash X sync speed||1/160 sec|
|Drive modes||SingleContinuous (Hi+/Hi/Mid/Lo)Self-timerBracketing|
|Continuous drive||11.0 fps|
|Metering modes||MultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weighted spot|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)|
|WB Bracketing||Yes (3 frames, H/L selectable)|
|Format||MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 28 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 50i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 50i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 6 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1280 x 720 @ 25p / 6 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC + Memory Stick Pro Duo|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + NFC|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||453 g (1.00 lb / 15.98 oz)|
|Dimensions||120 x 67 x 53 mm (4.72 x 2.64 x 2.09″)|
Sony a6500 Verdict
The flagship Sony APS-C camera now features in-body image stabilization for the first time. If you add a ton of buffer space and a touchscreen to the A6500, you might argue that it is superior to Sony’s A7 Mark II.
Although there are just five new features on the Sony A6500, we should be able to count them on one hand, but when added together, they make for a far more powerful and quick camera than the A6300. Of course, it would’ve been ideal if these features had debuted in the A6300; but if you’ve been waiting for an APS-C Sony with virtually the same capabilities as the company’s full-frame A7 Mark II, this is the camera you’ve been looking for.