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Sony a6500 Review

The Sony Alpha A6500 is the company’s most advanced APS-C mirrorless camera, and boy, does it come 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 on the market.

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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 it 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 terms of 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 millimetres as opposed to 49 millimetres; both cameras measure 120 millimetres across and 67 millimetres 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. 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 of finding focus and remaining locked during our tests. It is a reliable and effective system, which makes it quite 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. Alternately, 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 was able to meter flawlessly on the dot without any overexposure or underexposure.

The A6500’s auto white balance, much like the auto white balance 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 did.

There are around a dozen options for the white balance and three different custom settings that you may methodically adjust to achieve the desired colour temperature and tint.

Sony a6500 Image Quality

It should be no surprise that Sony’s 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor, which was first introduced in the A6300 and boasts excellent performance, has been carried over to the A6500. The Sony A6500 is an incredible camera for still photography in terms of 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. 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 pretty aggressive in dealing with high-ISO photographs.

Sony a6500 Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorBionz X
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-25600 (expandable to 51200)
Boosted ISO (maximum)51200
White balance presets8
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (14-bit Sony ARW)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points425
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots921,600
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.07× (0.71× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution2,359,296
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesiAutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashYes
Flash range6.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesFlash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync., Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (On/Off selectable), Hi-speed sync, Wireless
Flash X sync speed1/160 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuous (Hi+/Hi/Mid/Lo)Self-timerBracketing
Continuous drive11.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpot
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 BracketingYes (3 frames, H/L selectable)
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
Modes3840 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
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC + Memory Stick Pro Duo
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + NFC
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-FW50
Battery Life (CIPA)350
Weight (inc. batteries)453 g (1.00 lb / 15.98 oz)
Dimensions120 x 67 x 53 mm (4.72 x 2.64 x 2.09″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

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 the 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 made their debut 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.

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