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Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 2.95" LCD (Body Only)
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- 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ advanced processing up to ISO 51.200
- Wide 425 phase detection AF points, Fast 0.05 sec. AF acquisition
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization steadies every lens. Silent Shooting. Noise Reduction :Long exposure NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec., High ISO NR: Normal/Low/Off
- 11fps continuous shooting to 269 frames at 24.2MP w/ AE/AF tracking
- 4K movie w/ 2.4x oversampling4, full pixel readout, no pixel binning
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Sony α6500 Mirrorless Interchangeable-lens Camera
24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor with world’s fastest AF speed1 (0.05 sec.) and highest number of phase detection AF points2 (425). In-camera 5-axis optical image stabilization for every lens and enhanced AF features including intuitive and immediate touchscreen AF operation. 4K movie recording3 and pro video features including 2.4x oversampling4 with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, S-Log3/S-Log2, S-Gamut and gamma assist and more.
24.2MP of imaging innovation
The newly developed 24.2 MP (approx. effective) APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor features copper wiring and enhanced circuit processing that reduces the depth of the wiring layer to boost light collection efficiency. In conjunction with the BIONZ X image processor and new front-end LSI, it significantly minimizes noise throughout a wide sensitivity range of ISO 100-512005. Additionally, the front end LSI and highly conductive copper in the circuitry, accelerates readout speed to support high speed shooting with minimal lag, 4K movie recording3 with full pixel readout without pixel binning, Full HD 120fps shooting and 14-bit RAW output for still images.
4D FOCUS w/ world’s fastest autofocus1 with world’s most2 AF points
The α6500’s unrivaled 4D FOCUS system boasts the world’s fastest autofocus (AF) acquisition time1 that can lock focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds. It also has the world’s highest number of focal plane phase detection AF points2 - an incredible 425 - that are densely positioned over 84% of the image area. Moreover, the α6500 can capture full resolution 24.2MP images at up to 11 frames per second with continuous autofocus and exposure tracking. The α6500 takes full advantage of its enhanced fast hybrid AF for movies in both HD and 4K3.
Touch AF for stills/video with touchpad operation when using EVF
The new touchscreen operation vastly enhances focus capabilities for intuitive and immediate focus response. Simply select a focus point anywhere on the LCD for fast and accurate AF response. When using the electronic viewfinder, simply shift focus points by using the LCD as a touchpad and dragging your finger to the desired subject point. Touching the LCD screen during movie recording allows for smooth focus point shifts.
4K movie recording3 and pro video features
The α6500 offers internal 4K recording3 in Super 35mm format with full pixel readout, no pixel binning and 2.4x oversampling4 for the ultimate movie quality. By collecting 20 megapixels (6K equivalent) of information from the full width of the sensor, which is approximately 2.4x as many pixels as 4K, the α6300 then oversamples the information to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Additional professional video features include; S-Gamut3/S-Log3 and Gamma Display Assist, the ability to record Full HD at 120 fps for 4x or 5x slow motion HD video7, both a mic jack and XLR compatibility via the MI shoe, enhanced Zebra functionality, focus peaking, picture profile settings, as well as Time Code / User Bit, clean HDMI output and much more.
First 5-axis in-body image stabilization in an E-mount camera
For the first time, the 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system is used in an APS-C E-mount camera while maintaining a compact lightweight body. It accurately compensates for blur caused by camera shake – for up to 5-stops12 - from five different directions: vertical, horizontal, pitch, yaw and roll. This means that any lens attached to the α6500 will benefit from images stabilization, whether the lens has its own image stabilization or not. The 5-axis image stabilizing system excels during video recording and even compensates for blur caused by the photographer walking or running. You can even monitor the stabilizing effects of camera shake compensation in the viewfinder or LCD screen while shooting by pressing the shutter button halfway or magnifying the image, and while shooting movies by entering movie mode.
Ultra-fast OLED w/ EVF benefits and optical viewfinder immediacy
The 2.36 million-dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder has the ability to deliver continuous live shooting at up to 8 fps with AF/AE tracking - making it easy to track fast moving subjects - thanks to overall improvements in the EVF algorithm. This offers photographers a shooting experience with the immediacy of an optical viewfinder, while still offering all of the benefits of an electronic viewfinder including a live preview of exposure, white balance and several other camera settings. This continuous live view shooting can be set in 3 stages to match a variety of subjects: 8 fps, 6 fps and 4 fps.
Features & Notes
Professional rugged body and durable shutter mechanism
Designed for solid reliability and steady handling, the α6500's compact body is built to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field, thanks to an internal structure of the strong and rigid magnesium alloy body. Sealing around the main buttons, dials, ports and doors are dust and moisture resistant9 with a double-layered structure that enhances sealing effectiveness at all camera body openings including the media compartment and terminal area. The highly durable and reliable shutter unit has been proven to endure approximately 200,000 shutter releases10 which ensure long-lasting shooting performance that takes into consideration the high-speed continuous shooting capabilities up to 11fps and the large number of photos shot by enthusiasts.
Compatibility with wide-ranging mountable lenses
Hybrid AF and 5-axis image stabilization lets you enjoy unparalleled handheld shooting freedom with more of your favorite mountable lenses. The short flange-back distance in the E-mount α6500 extends compatibility with a range of Sony A-mount lenses11 and other lenses. Note: When using a third-party mount adaptor, performance, functionality and operation are not guaranteed and Sony will take no responsibility if a malfunction occurs.
Recommended Accessories & Footnotes
Microphone ECMGZ1M, ECMXYST1M.
Screen protector PCKLM17.
Jacket case LCSEBG.
1 Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras equipped with an APS-C image sensor as of October 2016, based on Sony research, measured using CIPA-compliant guidelines, and internal measurement method with an E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens mounted, Pre-AF off and viewfinder in use.
2 Among digital cameras as of October 2016, based on Sony research.
3 SDHC/SDXC memory card of Class 10 or higher is required for movie recording in XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps recording. Movie recording is possible for approximately 29 minutes.
4 In 24p recording. Approx. 1.6 times in 30p recording.
5 Standard ISO range: 100-25600 for stills and movies. Expandable up to ISO 51200 for stills only.
6 With 'Hi+' continuous shooting mode and 'Fine' image quality.
7 Sound cannot be recorded during S&Q. SDHC/SDXC memory card of Class 10 or higher is required. Full HD up to 50 Mbps; 60x quick motion/5x slow in NTSC and 50x quick motion/4x slow in PAL.
8 Requires pairing with compatible Anroid or iOS mobile devices running the free PlayMemories Mobile app. For GPS pairing, Android 5.0 or later and compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 or later. iPhone/iPad: iPhone 4S or later/iPad 3rd generation or later is required.
9 Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof
10 With the electronic front curtain shutter, under internal test conditions of Sony.
11 A-mount lenses with SSM or SAM only. Users can choose phase-detection AF or contrast-detection AF in AF System menu. 'Phase-detection AF' is not available during movie shooting. AF-C in AF System menu is available only with 'Contrast-detection AF' selected, but no motion tracking is performed during continuous shooting (Hi+, Hi, Mid).
12 Based on CIPA standard. Pitch/yaw shake only. With Sonnar T FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off.
13 When Anti-flicker Shoot.is ON. Flicker detection at 100 Hz or 120 Hz only. Continuous shooting speed may decrease. Does not function during bulb exposure or movie recording.
24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor with world’s fastest AF speed (0.05 sec.) and highest number of phase detection AF points (425). In-camera 5-axis optical image stabilization for every lens and enhanced AF features including intuitive and immediate touchscreen AF operation. 4K movie recording and pro video features including 2.4x oversampling with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, S-Log3/S-Log2, S-Gamut and gamma assist and more.
Top customer reviews
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There will be a lot of reviews from this camera covering the technical specifications and image quality and the camera in general. This review will be primarily for people who are coming from the A6000/A6300 as I’m sure anyone dishing this kind of money for a camera are familiar enough with this camera or are looking at an upgrade from the aforementioned cameras.
I am a novice/amateur photographer and I have only been attempting photography for just over a year. This camera goes far past anything I need at this second but, I like and appreciate technology and learning how to better my hobby. This will not necessarily be a review for the hardcore or professional photographers. I am using this with the Zeiss 24f1.8, 50f1.4, Sony 35f1.8, 18-105f4, kit lens 16-50, as well as the Sigma MC-11 adapter with Canon 85f1.8.
Anyone familiar with the A6000 or A6300 know that they take amazing photos. The A6500 is no different in this regard as one would expect. They are great cameras and the A6500 only improves on that formula but the question is does it improve it enough? Enough to justify another Sony camera purchase within a year? Enough to justify $1400? Enough to justify an upgrade from the A6000 when that camera body alone can go for under $500 now? Enough is going to be relative for a lot of people so let me just say, yeah it kind of is for me.
I have used the A6300 since release and it has been outstanding. Image quality, speed, low light shots, video, the list goes on and on. When the A6500 was announced I was a little annoyed. Granted it was set to a new price bracket of $400 more than the A6300 but had it been announced at the same time as the A6300 or even next year as a follow up, I would have felt better about my initial purchase. I was reluctant to order the camera just on the principle of the matter and honestly not wanting to support this kind of sales model. As I read more about the A6500 those few main new features kept on poking at me; a touch screen, in body 5-axis stabilization, and a much larger buffer.
I have to start by saying that the touch screen is mediocre and a bit disappointing in 2016. I guess we are so accustomed to touch screens on our phones, tablets, and computers that we just have expectations of what a touch screen is in 2016. The A6500 does not have that touchscreen. Beside the fact that it is not used nearly as much as one would expect for things like going through menus, it is also not super responsive, and just plain not as useful as you would hope. Don’t get me wrong, it is a decent addition and while it has its quirks it is awesome to use it to pick focus points while looking through the view finder opposed to the directional buttons. It is faster albeit less precise a method to pick your focus than a directional pad control but it also feels like a touch screen from 10 years ago.
I used a Sony NEX-5T, an older and lower end model that came with a touch screen. It worked well and especially considering the other controls were limited. When I moved up to the A6300 I was surprised that it didn’t at least have the touchscreen that the 5T had. Now the A6500 has that touchscreen, literally, the same screen. Actually to be honest, it is less useful than the touchscreen on the 5T because you could use that touchscreen for menus. This touchscreen seems below Sony and below our current standards and feels tacked on for a bullet point for presentation.
I do have to say regardless of the touchscreens shortcomings, it is a nice feature as a touchpad when looking through the viewfinder. While it is noticeably lagged behind your fingers movement, it is still faster than using a directional pad for me and in general it works. If this your main consideration for buying this or upgrading to this camera, I would look for other reasons.
Fortunately the 5 axis in-body stabilization is fantastic. While this might not be a necessary addition for a lot of people, I have a few lenses that don’t have stabilization which means I end up losing light to shutter speed and turning up the ISO. The stabilization in this camera works very well and allows me to keep my shutter speed and ISO far lower than I could with my A6300 for lower light shots. Again, if you’re using some of the native emount lenses, you may have stabilized lenses and have less of a need for 5 axis in-body stabilization but I have to say that this is far better and works in conjunction with stabilized lenses making it easier to get sharper and clearer images. If the in-body stabilization is one of your main considerations for upgrading to the A6500, know that it is one of the few things that absolutely makes the upgrade worth it.
Another thing that tended to annoy me with the A6300 was the buffer. It filled up fast and took what seemed like forever to clear which meant you could miss the shot you wanted if you weren’t careful. This wasn’t a constant problem because I don’t do a lot of continuous or burst shooting but when I did, it was always disappointing that I couldn’t take more shots or I had to wait a while to view them. The A6500 completely turns this around. The buffer is much larger allowing you to take far more shots before it fills and allows you to view them much faster. With the A6300 you became very aware of the buffer limitations and shot around them whereas with the A6500, you almost forget you have limits.
One of the unexpected nice additions is the new grip. When I first saw that it had a new grip, I didn’t really think much of it because it wasn’t all that much bigger. Also, the grip on the A6300 was manageable so a new grip wasn’t something I was thinking of. Although the grip is just a bit larger, in the hand it feels so much better. The added size is just enough to keep my fingers and hand in a tight claw formation. My fingers don’t press up against the camera or the lens the way that they used to with the A6300. Overall it makes the camera easier to handle and especially for longer periods of time. You just feel like you’re holding onto something more significant which leads to less fatigue over time. It is like driving for hours without a steering wheel cover and squeezing the smaller steering wheel. It was probably the greatest addition that I didn’t know I needed.
Another nice new feature is an extra programmable function key. While I did actually like the placement of the function key by the shutter for the A6300, I do appreciate having more programmable buttons. It just limits the number of button presses rather than having to search through menus. If they had left the function button by the shutter and then added the two more, I would have really liked that but I can deal with the new placement for the added button.
The deep Sony menu system that most people seem to hate has been updated,…slightly. Although the menu system on the A6300 wasn’t great, I didn’t really have much to compare it to and found it functional for the most part. Sometimes it took too long to find a function or feature but eventually I’d find it. This updated menu is slightly better. It is slightly more intuitive, it has color making it slightly easier to identify which area you’re in, and it is slightly better organized. I’m glad they tried to improve their seemingly outdated menu system but they probably could have done more as well as included touch screen controls for navigating it. This kind of thing is something they could potentially fix with firmware updates but I don’t see that happening.
There are a few minor things I thought they could have worked on to add more value to the camera. First although not totally necessary for me is a second card slot. It wouldn’t necessarily have added much bulk considering the larger grip anyways and it would have been a nice added feature for their flagship APSC.
Second, the battery is the same. I’m actually partly ok with that because of what I’ve spent buying these NP-FW50 batteries. I have a bunch of them so I can always take a couple extra with me which is all I’ll ever need but the battery life on the A6300 was mediocre and the A6500 is supposed to be up to 10% worse. I haven’t tested the battery enough to tell for myself but if it is 10% worse than mediocre, that puts it at less than ideal. Still, having many batteries alleviates most energy concerns and I was never too disappointed with the battery life of the A6300.
Another thing although not necessarily a gripe is that the back of the camera including the buttons feel a little light or cheaper than the A6300 which I thought felt more thick and less plasticky and hollow. It isn't a problem but just one of the things I felt the first time I picked up the camera.
Last thing I would have liked to see change would be the articulating screen. I’m glad that it does articulate at all because it definitely comes in very handy when shooting something lower or higher but I was hoping that they would have added 180 degree articulation of some sort. This is a very minor gripe for me because it would be very limited in use but some of the lower end Sony mirrorless cameras offer this and it came in handy on the 5T.
There are a lot of features to go over that I won’t cover here. I don’t do a lot of video recording so I won’t try to speak to that. I personally have never had my A6300 overheat on me for pictures or video so I can’t really speak to that although in my very limited time with the A6500, I can say it also has not overheated. There are a good amount of technical reviews that will go over all aspects of this camera so I will leave that to smarter people.
Is it worth it? Yeah, for me it is but I can’t say if it will be worth it for everyone. If you shoot with an A6000 then it may be worth it as an upgrade to the focus, buffer, 5 axis, and touchscreen. If you shoot with an A6300 then you’re really just looking at the 5 axis stabilization and buffer. For now the touchscreen just isn’t enough reason to upgrade but the stabilization and buffer can be. If you shoot in single shot and use native emount lenses with optical image stabilization built in then you don’t need this camera. It is no doubt a great camera. It has blazing fast auto focus, a great buffer, does fantastic video, produces amazing images, and all in a pretty compact form factor. However, it is also expensive with a still somewhat limited lens options, mediocre battery life, a touchscreen from 2007, rolling shutter issues(that I don’t worry about), and a wonky menu system. If you want a good camera and don’t mind shelling out the money to get it, then get it. You’ll be happy because it is a great camera but you don’t need this camera to take good shots.
I can recommend this camera because I know this is an amazing camera for me and for others but if you’re on the fence and the money is an issue, it wouldn’t hurt to test one out first or wait 9 months for the A6700. Lol
I will update this review as I have more time with the camera and will try to answer any questions I can.
After a little more use I'm finding that the touchscreen is a nice feature. It is still implemented rather poorly, not used nearly enough, and while using it as a touch pad while looking through the viewfinder is laggy, the feature is still useful and growing on me a bit.
Also, I'm really missing the placement of the custom key by the shutter on the A6300. While they've added another custom key, the placement of the two isn't as convenient for my fingers to get to easily. Not a big deal and I like having the extra button but would have liked to have kept the original where it was.
The 5-Axis IBIS is fantastic and pairs amazingly with the Zeiss 24 1.8 and the Zeiss 50 1.4 since none of them offer stabilization. I am getting better low light shots and able to lower my shutter speed far lower than I would have expected.
The touch screen is still useful but flawed and in the end I'm still happy with it despite some frustration.
Another thing I don't beleive I noted in the review regards the eye piece for the EVF. It is a little different than on the A6300 and seems to keep my eye lashes and oils off of the EVF much better.
The grip still amazes me considering how much better it feels from adding so little.
For everything I am enjoying about this excellent camera, I am moving more towards 5 stars despite the price and the new features from the A6300 being somewhat limited.
The answer is IBIS, and not much more, everything else is just small improvements that are nice to haves but not game changers. IBIS is a game changer. The specs between the two cameras are almost identical. Same 425 PDAF AF system, same 11fps shooting, same 24MP sensor. In fact the image quality of the two cameras are identical - the same noise at the same ISO levels. The big thing here is IBIS, in-body stabilization that compensates for camera shake and hand movement. IBIS is simply PHENOMENAL. It lets you takes photos slower than 1/30 handheld easily. Nightime shots that would normally result in smeared lights and ghosting double images are now significantly reduced. You can shoot confidently handheld almost anywhere and even shoot when not standing statue still. IBIS lets you get low light shots that are typically reserved only for full frame users. I'm always getting the side-eye from other Canon/Nikon photographers with their gear perched on tripods when doing long nighttime exposures in popular spots. They think I'm never going to get the shot, but the jokes on them because I did it hand-held with no heavy tripod!
The other improvement is a new front-end LSI. It's a fancy name for a faster processor. The LSI gives you a bigger buffer so you can shoot at 11fps continuously longer. If you're an action photographer that shoots in fast bursts then you are less likely to miss a shot. The camera is also a bit snappier with menus and you can also review shots quickly with less lag. Overall, I'm not doing 100+ images at a time so this really doesn't help me much, but that's not to say it's not useful to someone else. If you're a sports photographer or trying to capture running children who won't hit still you can happily spray and pick the few good ones afterwards.
They also moved the C1 and C2 buttons to a more reachable location on the top and the C2 is now a C3 button. These are small but welcome changes to offer more versatility in assigning them to useful options like eye-focus.
Finally, there's the touchscreen, unfortunately it's not well implemented. So far all of Sony's touch-screen additions into their cameras have been kind of an afterthought. The idea of a rear screen touch-assist focusing is great idea - you can use your thumb to change AF points instead of using clunky buttons to change zones and locations. However in practice, the touchscreen is too hard to use. First, if you shooting via the viewfinder, most likely you are shooting with your left eye. Some people shoot with their right, but I find you are not properly centered with the camera's mass (especially with a heavy lens). As a typical left-eye shooter, your nose will be touching the rear LCD and will cause unnecessary focus touches. I had so many aggravating moments with the AF changing and going everywhere before I realized it was my own nose messing things up. You can have the option of limiting the right side of the screen for touch so you can use your thumb to recompose while shooting, however the placement is still awkward and your nose will still cause miss-touches. I ended up turning the touchscreen off altogether, which in the end made the touch screen feature essentially useless.
Ultimately, the only thing you are paying for is the IBIS because image quality really hasn't changed. The A6500 isn't really much of a successor over the A6300, it should have been a replacement. Yet Sony sells this above the A6300 at an very inflated price. Really most people buying this are professionals who own a full-frame A7ii/rii/sii camera and want a smaller more portable backup camera but doesn't want to loose features. Or you are an advanced professional that do not want to go up to the full frame size and expense. In the end it all comes down to the IBIS, it's the only large boost to image quality because it lets you get shots you normally wouldn't get. If you're just looking for a great pocketable mirrorless camera, get the A6300 and use the extra money for some nice lenses with OSS. That will generally make up the difference with the lack of IBIS.
Edit, one last thing: Another gripe I have with this camera is that for the price, I would really like 1/8000 shutter speed. The max for this camera is 1/4000 - which with a f1.4 lens on a sunny day, will blow out all highlights easily even at 100 ISO. I discovered this while doing portraits with my 85mm f1.4 GM and everything was blown out. Using any f1.4 lens would require ND filters to reduce light. This was never a problem with my FF A7rii or A7Sii.
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Just I'm disappointed with the paint of the dial... I I used it just three times and the paint (white) of the dial start going out!