on December 2, 2016
In comparing to the a6300, here are the important points:
In-body stabilization - this will add extra stabilization if you already have stabilized lenses, and it will provide stabilization for lenses that don't have it already. This is important for those of us who do photography or video with vintage lenses or high quality lenses without stabilization, like the Sigma Art series.
Big buffer - The a6300's buffer isn't small, but the camera waits to write to the card after a burst of shots. So for sports photographers, the new, larger buffer and the no-wait features are nice. You can review or continue to shoot while the camera writes to the card.
Overheating - It isn't so much that Sony "fixed" the heat problem... instead they provide a means of "living with" the heat the camera generates. As such, there are fewer scenarios in which this camera will shut down due to overheating vs the a6300.
The touchscreen is underwhelming in photo modes, it engages too slowly to be useful. In video mode it works, but not quite like you'd want. You can, technically, get it to focus on a subject and then track the subject, but making that happen is a chore. Most will find it difficult enough to use the default way. Sony needs to spend a bit more time on this.
All that said, the camera is almost identical to the a6300 in terms of quality and normal operation. There is an extra custom button, which is nice. The grip is a little deeper, which is nice. The rolling shutter is still absolutely awful in video or silent shooting modes.
With the exception that it is not full-frame, it is the first mirrorless camera that has the features needed to satisfy DSLR snobs (I know, I switched from Canon).
PS - If this review helped, or if you're just bored and enjoy clicking things - could I trouble you for a "Yes" vote below?
[Updates At Bottom]
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.
on November 30, 2016
Sony appears to have another home run with the A6500.
I'll admit it, I've become a Sony camera fanboy. It all started with the ground-breaking NEX-6. Each generation of these mirrorless cameras just keeps getting better. I skipped the A6300, as it didn't really seem like enough of an improvement from my trusty A6000, but this release has compelled me to pull the trigger. Here are my impressions:
+ They've managed to stuff in-body 5-axis image stabilization into the a6x00 body without adding much more bulk. Awesome. Now any lens is stabilized, even those old Canon FD film lenses. Prior to this release, you had to spring for a full-frame Sony to get this benefit.
+ The grip is slightly larger, and feels better in the hand than the A6000. They've managed to make it feel substantial without adding excessive bulk.
+ Touchscreen. Finally. Being able to quickly set focus point via touch is a welcome improvement.
+ The level is back! It was puzzling that it was missing from the A6000.
+ Mode dial now two has presets.
+ Burst shooting on hi+ is outstanding. On the A6000, it would start to stutter and choke after 3-4 seconds of continuous shooting while it tried to write to the memory card. To make matters worse, you had to wait to shoot again while the buffer flushed. Now, they've added buffer memory and some hardware updates that allow what feels like endless high speed shooting with no lag or delays.
+ Autofocus is fast and accurate
+ The eyecup mount has been revised and is much more secure. After losing two on the A6000, this is a welcome improvement.
+ The lens mount has been reinforced and is now metal.
- One of the Intelligent auto modes on the dial is gone - Intelligent auto +. No big loss for me, as I never used them, and am not sure why they were present at all on a prosumer camera.
That's the only (minor) downside. Build quality is solid, and it has a nice matte case finish. Image quality is, as expected, outstanding though not notably better than the A6000 from what I've seen so far (noting that I can't yet open RAW files), but with all of the other improvements, it makes a worthy successor and a great buy.
on December 4, 2016
You can view my review on my blog for higher quality photos:
While the a6500 is very much similar in all aspects of the a6300, there are some subtle as well as not so subtle differences that make this camera worth a higher price point. Does it replace the a6300? For some photographers like myself, yes it does because I have specific needs for a camera like this, while for others, the a6300 is more than enough camera for them.
For me, this is an almost perfect APS-C camera that I could rely on not only for work assignments, but also as an ultimate travel camera for picture perfect landscapes, portraits and stabilized video clips.
Build and Camera Controls:
The build quality on the a6500 has some subtle differences, the first being a slightly larger grip. With the addition of IBIS, it makes sense that the camera needed a little more surface area, which also resulted in a slightly heavier camera overall. The added size of the grip actually feels awesome and I prefer it over the previous series. While still small and compact, the a6500 feels more durable.
The dials also feel more robust and secure. The on and off switch is much more stiff, which I like as the a6300 and a6000 would sometimes accidentally switch on when being placed in a bag. The top dials also have a little more firmness to them. My favorite update is to the back dial. I was constantly accidentally changing settings on my previous cameras because the dial was so flimsy. On the a6500, it’s much more firm and you actually have to apply a bit of pressure to start turning, which is nice.
I also noticed that the mount feels much more secure and tight. The click between the mount and lens feels so much more solid now. It’s subtle updates that really lend itself to this camera feeling more premium and well-crafted.
At the time of writing this, Adobe has yet to release a camera raw update so I’m unable to work on raw files, but I’m still amazed at how much detail I can pull out of a jpeg from this camera.
Sony sensors are the best and this is no exception. It has the same sensor as the a6300 so files from either are probably indistinguishable.
My favorite aspect about the quality of images this camera produces deals with the amount of dynamic range available in post process. You can push and pull so much out of the shadows and highlights of these raw files without loosing any quality or producing and sort of banding or weird artifacts.
This and the a6300 are the first APC-S cameras that I feel can stand up to FF cameras. In fact, when editing alongside a7R II files, it’s hard to tell which file I’m working on. The only time I can really see a difference is when I’m shooting a prime wide open and really getting that FF shallow depth of field or when I’m pushing the ISOs really hard. Even then, I sometimes guess wrong.
I can’t speak too much about video quality because all I really know how to do is hit the red record button, so this is coming from a super novice, but the video quality I’m getting during my travels look awesome. What I love most about taking video is the continuous focus works really good.
It’s probably the best I’ve used on a ICL camera.
I also like that you can shoot in .mp4 format now with this which I couldn’t with the a6000 (.mp4 was only for 720p). This makes it easier for me to grab videos off the SD card and edit via iMovie (see, total video amateur).
As far as rolling shutter goes, it seems to exhibit the same characteristics as the a6300 so I don’t see any improvements there.
Another change, which I’m assuming will be passed down to previous models via firmware update, deals with the User Interface and the reordering and redesigning of the tabs in the camera menus. Like I’ve said before, I never really had issues with Sony menus. With all the customization they offer within their custom buttons and the function menu, I rarely have to dive into the menu structure itself.
I’m much more concerned with the speed of these menus and the overall speed of navigating around the camera and that’s where the a6500 excels. It’s quick and does what it needs to do.
The main reason I upgraded to this camera is for IBIS. Personally, I feel it’s an absolute must for a travel camera. Aside from the photo benefits of having a stabilized camera, which means every lens you have will be stabilized allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds, all my video clips will also have some form of stabilization. This is so important for my travel videos. And the fact I have it in such a small compact body is quite amazing. Most lenses will have 5-axis image stabilization while manual lenses will only benefit from 3-axis. If your lens currently has IS, it will use a combination of both resulting in 5-axis.
IBIS was already enough for me to upgrade but then I didn’t realize how cool touch to focus is. This is a feature that really took me by surprise. I love that I could just tap anywhere on the screen to change my focal point. There’s also a little “x” icon on the screen that if you press it, it brings the focus back to center. This is super helpful as I found it annoying trying to get the focus point perfectly back to center on my own.
Another annoyance, which many have already mentioned, is that there is a lag when you are dragging your finger across the screen. For me, I don’t see a need to do that while looking at the LCD screen. It’s all about tap and go. But it is annoying considering this is a premium product. How much more would it have cost to get a really good touch screen on this camera? With all the technology we have with smart screens, there’s just no excuse to put outdated tech into this camera.
With that said, where I do see dragging useful (and the only option) is when looking through the EVF, you’re able to use your thumb to drag around the focus point (when looking through the EVF, tap to focus won’t work). I love this feature. While there is still a slight lag, it’s not nearly as annoying as seeing the focus point follow your finger. Instead, it feels more like a track pad for your thumb. You can also set this to work on the full screen or half the screen (it’s set to the right half by default).
I’ve only been playing with this for a few hours so I’ll need to test it out in the field to really get a grasp of touch focus and if it’s better than a dedicated joystick or not, but so far, it’s already a much welcomed option/addition.
But that’s as far as it goes with the touch screen. Tap and drag to focus is all we get. No zooming or swiping. Another cop out in my opinion.
I’ve applied a screen protector and it does not seem to affect touch focus.
New Metering Modes:
There are two new metering modes available on the a6500. The first is Highlight, where exposure metering is focused on the brightest area of the frame. The second is Entire Screen Average. This maintains an average metering for the entire image.
I’ll need to do more testing on these. I’m wondering if Highlight would work well when shooting a white wedding dress. As far as Entire Screen Average, I’m wondering really what the main difference is with that mode vs Evaluative Metering.
There has not been any updates to the LCD screen resolution. I think the EVF is one of the best out there but I was hoping that the LCD screen would get a higher resolution. It’s not bad but it’s not great. It doesn’t bother me so much because I use the EVF about 90% of the time, even when checking focus and playback. It’s so good, bright and clear that I’d much rather check my photos on there, but a higher resolution and sharper LCD screen would be beneficial for those times I’m tilting the screen to get lower and higher vantage point shots or sharing photo playback with others.
Speaking of LCD screens, it would also be useful if the screen popped out towards the left side for filming. I know a lot of vloggers would appreciate that and because I’m getting more into video, it’s something I’d like in the future.
We’re still missing a front control dial that would sit nicely under the shutter button, similar to the a7 cameras. This is a great dial for controlling your aperture.
I’ve only had this camera for a few days so my review may be pre-mature. But at the same time, a lot of this camera shares very similar, if not exact, attributes as the a6300 so I feel I have a pretty good grasp of it. I loved the previous models so I know I’ll love this camera, especially since a lot of what I felt was lacking in the a6300 has been addressed in the a6500.
It’s shaping out to be one of the best compact cameras I’ve ever owned and while it has ticked all the major specs I need in order to be the ultimate travel camera, its also the ultimate companion to the a7R II.
on December 28, 2016
I own the Sony a6000, a6300, a7s and now the a6500. I have been into serious photography for over 48 years. So here is my first impressions of the a6500. Construction: solid as a rock. Extended grip is welcomed, provides confidence in hand holding without neck strap. Autofocus: not evaluated. Image stabilization: I cannot see the difference in still images and have not evaluated in video. Internal buffer: "Huge" with the proper memory card. Summary: The primary reason for me buying this camera is the huge buffer, second is the Image stabilization which should help with adapted manual focus lenses. I would have no problem using this camera or recommending it for travel, weddings, portraits, airshows, etc. etc..
on December 5, 2016
This new camera from Sony has many new features that we have been waiting for that were more common in Full Frame models. On the top of this list is IBIS (In body image stabilization). This is great for video and stills (in low light/slow shutter speed). An increased buffer, along with the ability to view images or continuing shooting while the camera continues to write to the card, is a very welcome change and prevents downtime. The new touchscreen is useable and a great feature for video, but is lacking in speed versus the lighting fast autofocus. Some reworking will make this feature indispensable sports and wildlife shooters. A very cool feature of the touchscreen is the ability to double tap to zoom (even when looking through the viewfinder during photo review, which is awesome on sunny days when you can't see the screen). You can also slide side to side with you our fingers after double tapping to zoom; just like a smartphone! This intuitive capability that mimics today's modern day smartphone is where cameras need to be in terms of usability; it's what most electronics consumers expect in 2016. This makes reviewing images and checking for sharp focus much faster in the field, and less downtime for your clients and yourself!
There are some other cool features that don't impact picture or video quality, but are a welcome change versus the A6000 (which I also own) and even A6300 (which I don't own). Those include:
A deeper grip! (I have big hands and really enjoy this modification).
The eyepiece is much studier and clips on by sliding it down and into place (secured).
A bigger shutter button, has a nice feel to it.
An additional custom button on top.
And finally....a much, much better lens mount!!! This highly overlooked reworking is great and has a matte finish just like the camera body. This stronger and more secure mount really comes in handy with the heavier and longer 2.8 zooms and fast primes.
I haven't had any issues with overheating while shooting in 4k, but to be fair, temperatures here in California aren't over 65 degrees, so it's hard to tell. I may turn the heater up to 85 for a bit to test it indoors, simulating summer temperatures. I will update and let you guys know.
The only thing that I wish this camera had was a dual card slot and a headphone jack to monitor sound while recording video. Neither of these features are deal breakers, but would be greatly appreciated by professionals looking to have an alternate to their full frame cameras or as a B camera for video.
Bottom line: if you are coming from an A6000, you will be pleasantly surprised with the many new features... if you already own the A6300, then this camera may not be worth buying and selling the A6300. I honestly believe that the bigger buffer, in-body image stabilization and touch focus (mainly for video) and the deeper grip make this camera much better and totally worth the money. If you have the money, I'd pull the trigger....I certainly don't regret it!
on January 11, 2017
I was completely surprised with the new a6500 that you still need to have "two" wireless flashes and that you cannot use the built in flash as the trigger like other Sony Cameras. I just got the new and totally awesome a6500 and this little guy is a beast and a great camera!! I purchased the HVL-F43M Flash for the sole purpose of having an off camera flash. Surprise, now I will need to get another flash or the wireless deal from Sony to accomplish what should already be in the camera. BTW, the flash is a really nice flash also, so no equipment complaints here. I travel to some pretty remote places and have very limited space for gear, hence why I shelled out the big bucks for the a6500. I am hoping with some software/firmware updates this will change going into the future. If was almost a fine print deal in the user manual that the built in flash will not work to trigger the Sony off camera flash. Even on the help section from Sony, it only list the a6000 as not working without using two flashes. Little bit aggravated about this and was looking for anyone and Sony's advice on how to fix, update and just get this working the way it should work. Again, love the camera, lenses and flash, really top notch stuff!Sony Alpha a6500 Digital Camera with 2.95-Inch LCD (Body Only)
on December 20, 2016
I use it primarily for shooting video. So far, I've had 0 issues with it shutting down from overheating. I had previously had the a6300 but returned it a few weeks later because it continually shut down from issues. This one is great though! :)
on December 4, 2016
Received my pre-order this week as an upgrade to the a6300, which has been my daily driver.
This camera is fantastic as an all-around 'jack of all trades'. It is not the absolute best in any single category - but near the top in almost all. Focusing speed, high ISO performance, 4k video quality, overall image quality, etc.
I still have a lot of legacy glass from Minolta and from my a77 (such as the good 16-50 2.8 from that kit). Having the in-body image stabilizer is the feature I was missing in the a6300, and worth the price of admission. Being able to hand-hold a fast 50 or an older portrait lens changes what I can do quite a bit. Freezing motion in natural light with manageable ISO, even with the old glass - just what I was looking for. All with the same image quality I've come to expect from the 6x00 series.
I no longer regret selling my a77ii after this upgrade - this was the 'all in one' I was looking for.
I am a two-system shooter, also using a Canon 70d quite a bit for video. There is nothing wrong with the Canon. I love it. However, most days, when just 'grabbing a camera to capture a moment' - I find myself grabbing the Sony.
The menu system is still pretty bad. The ergonomics are not great (compared to any of the larger bodies like my 70d or a77ii), but the deeper grip on this upgrade is a little helpful. As a left-eye dominant shooter, I still smudge the back screen when using the finder. Battery life is abysmal compared to an OVF - better have 2-3 for a multi-hour shoot. The touch-screen is useful for focus points only - you'll find yourself poking at the screen thinking 'it should recognize touch for this menu', when it doesn't. At the end of the day - these are nit-picks vs. gripes, the camera does so many things so well, I can look past the shortcomings.
I shoot a lot of dance, from tele distance in dark theaters with no flash allowed. This is the first mirrorless body I've had that can keep up in that environment. In fact, it more than holds its own against the Canon.
Overall - very pleased. For my needs, the IBIS alone was worth the upgrade. The updated buffer speed, slightly better ergonomics, and addition of the touch screen were all nice-to-haves that make an already great camera an outstanding one.
on December 31, 2016
The a6500 is not for everyone. Unless you need IBIS and some of its other advanced features -- Sony makes less pricy aps-c alternatives such as the still excellent a6000 and the mid-priced a6300. Other vendors such as Fuji has a better lineup of native aps-c lenses. Many photographers prefer Fuji's more intuitive retro design which is easier to pick up quickly. Indeed the a6x00s bodies require a bit of time to learn and more time to correctly customize the setting/buttons to your needs.
So why 5 stars?. Because, in the right hands, the a6500 is as good as it gets.
1. Best-in-class aps-c sensor with excellent dynamic range (note that competitors--Nikon and Fuji--use the same sensor though so this is a tie, not a true advantage,)
2. With focus peaking and now IBIS, best-in-class for adapting both modern (Canon, Sony Alpha) and legacy lenses, IBIS also is invaluable for any lens that lacks OIS. The IBIS can be very effective--by my own measurements--up to 5-stops for long telephotos. Note that older manual focus and other non-Sony lenses only get 3-axis stablization. Overall, these capabilities free you from being locked into a single vendor's system. If you want to use only native glass, Fuji has a better selection of native aps-c lenses at the time of this writing.
3. Best in class AF capabilities (more pdaf coverage, eye, af, fast af with native lenses).
4. Huge buffer plus 11 fps burst mode.. Combined with AF capabilities, great for sport and action photography.
5. Streamlined rangefinder style. Lighter and more compact than competitors. However, some have a different take --If you want a bunch of knobs to twittle or prefer a larger DSLR body to hold, this is not the body for you. Also, if you are a professional and feel that dual card slots are a must have -- go elsewhere.
6. Custom buttons allow the body to be customized for different shooting scenarios. Done correctly, rapid, one-handed shooting plus fast adjustments with no menu diving required. Again, these customizations/correct usage patterns require some learning, setup and even experimentation of the part of the user. You can't just pick up an a6500, fire away and hope to master it in a few minutes. Too many under the hood features for that approach to be viable.
7. Less expensive than comparable alternatives (Fuji XT-2 and Nikon D500).
That said, before, you buy the a6500, make sure that you understand your strategy for mating it with suitable glass, Otherwise you may be disappointed with the skimpy and over-priced / under-valued selection of native emount aps-c lenses. But again, you own full frame lenses from Canon, Sony FE, Sony Alpha or Sony Alpha dt-- you can adapt all these lenses with suitable adapters from Sony and Metabones. And Sony does have some native emount lenses that are worth considering. Alternatively, there are classic MF legacy lenses that work better on the a6500 than they ever could on their original film DSLR bodies.