Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sony Alpha ILCE-A6500
Resolution: 24.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/4000 - 30 seconds
Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 in.
(120 x 67 x 53 mm)
Weight: 16.0 oz (453 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 11/2016
Manufacturer: Sony
Full specs: Sony A6500 specifications
24.20
Megapixels
Sony E APS-C
size sensor
image of Sony Alpha ILCE-A6500
Front side of Sony A6500 digital camera Front side of Sony A6500 digital camera Front side of Sony A6500 digital camera Front side of Sony A6500 digital camera Front side of Sony A6500 digital camera

Sony A6500 Review -- Now Shooting!

by Mike Tomkins and
Preview posted: 10/06/2016

Updates:
11/19/2016: Initial Gallery Images posted!
11/27/2016: Field Test Part I posted!
12/06/2016: First Shots posted!
: Performance page posted!

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Sony's APS-C lineup has a new flagship camera, the Sony A6500. While it shares the same 4D Focus autofocus system as the A6300, the A6500 features vastly improved continuous shooting capabilities thanks to an expanded buffer and a new front-end LSI chip. The sensor inside may offer the same 24.2-megapixels of resolving power, but it is now accompanied by in-body 5-axis image stabilization, a first for a Sony APS-C camera.

Other updates in the Sony A6500 include a touch-screen display that allows for intuitive subject selection even when shooting through the viewfinder, a subtly restyled body for better handling, a revamped and more logical menu system and better high-sensitivity noise performance when shooting in JPEG mode.

For those looking for a full overview of the Sony A6500's features and specs, please click here.

 

Sony A6500 Field Test Part I

All the action from awesome Austin: Sony's enthusiast mirrorless camera gets a real workout

By | Posted:

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

127mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 200

Earlier this year, my colleague Jeremy Gray published his review of the Sony A6300, a followup to 2014's amazingly popular A6000. Now in double-quick time that camera, too, has a successor in the form of the Sony A6500. Recently, I was fortunate to shoot with the A6500 on a press experiential in Austin, Texas.

In all, I had three cameras on hand to shoot with during the week: The aforementioned A6500, the Translucent Mirror-based Sony A99 II and the pocket-friendly Sony RX100 V compact. With the A99 II in short supply, though, and the RX100 V perhaps not the most ideally-suited to the subjects on hand thanks to a relatively short lens, it was the A6500 with which I did the most shooting.

As is typical on a press experiential, Sony had plenty of great shooting subjects lined up to give all three cameras a good workout. After my first week with the A6500, I have to say that it acquitted itself might well, turning out a whole bunch of shots that I'm absolutely thrilled with!

The company also had plenty of glass for me to shoot with. In all, I used Sony's E 10–18 mm F4 OSS, Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70 mm F4 ZA OSS, FE 70-200 mm F2.8 GM OSS and FE 85 mm F1.4 GM lenses. Given the subjects on hand and my desire to bring them up close, the bulk of my shooting was with the 70-200mm optic, with the 85mm and 16-70mm lenses together taking the bulk of the remainder.

What's new in the Sony A6500?

But let's not get ahead of ourselves: I'll start from the beginning with my initial impressions on the physical design of the A6500.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

127mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 100

Were you to compare the Sony A6500 side-by-side with the A6300, I doubt that any differences would instantly leap to your attention. (I didn't have both cameras side by side, however, so I've had to base my own comparisons on memory and our photos of the earlier camera.)

A reprofiled, more comfortable grip and more controls

Looking at the two cameras' bodies, the most obvious change would likely be the handgrip, which has been reprofiled for greater comfort and a more secure grip, especially when shooting with longer lenses. It's both a little less wide and flat-fronted than before, and also just a touch deeper.

With the grip now narrower than before, there was no longer sufficient room for a control alongside the shutter button and the power switch which encircles it. That being the case, Sony's designers moved the existing Custom 1 button to the top of the body directly behind the handgrip, and for good measure added another Custom button right alongside it. (This is now labeled as Custom 2, and one more such button remains on the rear deck, which is now Custom 3.)

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

145mm-equivalent, 1/1,600 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 100

It's just a little trickier to reach these new custom buttons, in part because they're a little further from the shutter button, and also because they now sit on a slightly higher surface of the camera body. With that said, I still found them fairly comfortable to use once I'd familiarized myself with the new layout.

There's still no front dial, sadly

Sadly, Sony passed up an opportunity to add a front control dial to the body while it was reworking the grip. If I'm honest, I'd rather have seen the company gift a twin-dial design to the A6500, rather than adding another Custom button. The lack of that second dial was one of the main reasons I found myself preferring the much larger Sony A99 II body in terms of ergonomics, when I had the opportunity to shoot both cameras side-by-side.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

105mm-equivalent, 1/2,000 sec. @ f/4, ISO 200

In other respects, though, I found the Sony A6500's control layout pretty good. Sony tells us that the controls themselves now have a better feel, and while I didn't have an A6300 for a side-by-side comparison, I found almost everything pretty satisfactory on this front. I could easily tell when most controls were pressed or turned, and had no issues with accidentally changing settings either.

The movie button is poorly placed, but otherwise handling is good

The biggest remaining concern for me on the control front is the movie button, which I still feel is very poorly placed. Mounted in the right side of the thumbgrip, it's in a position we've seen in a fair few of Sony's cameras, but I find that its location is both hard to detect by touch, it doesn't give much in the way of button feel when pressed, and because of its location, it tends to induce rotation in the camera body when pressed.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

288mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 500

It's difficult to hold the camera steady when starting or stopping movie capture, because while the fingers of your right hand remain curled around the grip, the palm of your hand has to move away from the body a little to let your thumb reach the movie button. That loosened grip is then exacerbated by the fact that your thumb is pushing sideways against the back corner of the camera body.

Of course, it's easy enough to edit the start and end off your video clips to resolve this, but I'd much rather see Sony relocate the movie button, preferably to the top deck alongside the shutter button.

Faster processing and a bigger buffer help the A6500 shoot for longer

After the subtle body tweaks, the most obvious change in the Sony A6500 for my money would have to be its improved burst shooting depth. Performance itself is unchanged, with the A6500 still manufacturer-rated at eight frames per second in Continuous Hi mode, or 11 fps in Continuous Hi+.

Hi+ mode improves performance by disabling the live view feed between frames, and instead simply showing the image just captured. The difficulty here is that since you're never seeing your subject's current position but rather where it just was moments ago, it can be tough to track moving subjects well in this mode.

I preferred instead to switch to eight frames per second shooting with the viewfinder refresh rate boosted to 120 frames per second from the default 60 fps, and image review disabled. Here, I could track subjects much more easily and really take advantage of the buffer depth.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

124mm-equivalent, 1/2,000 sec. @ f/4, ISO 250

And that's what I did, shooting liberally in raw+JPEG mode and capturing long burst of frames documenting the action packed subjects Sony offered up, from rodeos and skateboard parks to tennis and lacrosse. Seldom if ever did I manage to fill the buffer, a testament to the processing performance improvement provided by the A6500's new front-end LSI and larger buffer memory.

Although burst performance is greatly improved, write performance isn't

Unfortunately, write performance was another matter. This has long been something of a bugbear for Sony's cameras, and the A6500 is no different. With no UHS-II compatibility, it can take a while for the A6500 to catch up after a burst and write your images to memory -- and until they're all written, they can't be checked for focus, exposure and composition.

You can now, however, at least review those images which have already been written to storage while you're waiting for the buffer to clear. And there's also now an indication on the display showing how many images are remaining in the buffer. That helps a bit with the watched-kettle-never-boils syndrome, giving you an idea of how much longer you'll have to wait before you can review those last images or access the camera's full capabilities.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

127mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/2.2, ISO 100

(I don't have the camera body in front of me to double-check as I'm writing this, but I do seem to remember noticing that at least some menus and features remain inaccessible until the buffer has been cleared. I will of course be checking that for certitude just as soon as the camera is back in my hands, at which point I'll update this.)

The revamped menu system isn't perfect, but it's a definite improvement

Since I've just brought up the menu system, now's probably as good a time as any to discuss the changes here. The menu still has a tabbed design with multiple menu pages grouped under each tab, and as many as six options per page.

The tabs themselves are now color coded, although those colors don't seem to have any real meaning to them: Some record-mode settings are under the first red tab, and more are under a second purple tab, for example. And there can be a lot of pages -- literally dozens of them -- under each tab, so it can take a little while to familiarize yourself with precisely where the functions you're looking for are to be found.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

192mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 160

However, the menu items themselves now seem to be grouped more logically. While there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason as to where any given group of settings will be located under the two record-mode tabs, you do at least get an indication of what the current screen full of settings will predominantly relate to -- autofocus or exposure, say -- and those settings are by and large grouped together in a fairly logical manner.

Really, the biggest thing missing now is for Sony to add a customizable menu of some kind where you can store those settings you most frequently use, along the lines of the My Menu option offered by rivals.

Finally, the Sony A6500 sports a touch-screen!

Also new on the user interface front is a touch-screen display, and this is a very welcome addition. The reason: It lets you quickly and intuitively select the primary subject in the scene. And it's not just when shooting at arm's length using the LCD monitor, either: You can also use it in what Sony calls "touchpad" mode when using the electronic viewfinder.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

241mm-equivalent, 1/1,250 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 100

By default, when you're shooting through the viewfinder only the right half of the touch-screen is monitored for input. The reason for this is pretty simple. When you raise the camera to your eye, your face will block the left half of the screen, and the touch panel might be unintentionally triggered by bumping it against your face. You can, if you prefer, make the touch area even smaller, or allow full-screen control even when shooting through the viewfinder.

The touch-screen functionality can be a little confusing for portrait shots

There is but one quirk to this design, but I stumbled upon it pretty quickly. If you turn the camera to shoot in portrait orientation rather than landscape, the active area of the touch-screen doesn't change. That means the active area of the screen is now the top half, while the bottom half is ignored -- but that doesn't really make much sense, given that both top and bottom halves of the screen are now equally reachable.

Initially, I thought that the touchpad functionality simply didn't work in portrait orientation. With the camera in this orientation, my thumb naturally fell on the disabled lower half of the screen. It wasn't until I stumbled on the menu item allowing you to select the touch area that I realized my mistake (and at the same time, the UI quirk.) I'd really like to see Sony change this behavior, whether simply by ignoring the touch area setting for portrait shooting, or by allowing the user to set a separate preference for this orientation.

The only other concern I had with Sony's touchpad implementation is that it is a bit on the laggy side compared to similar functionality from rivals. I found that when adjusting my focus point when shooting through the viewfinder, the on-screen indication consistently lagged behind my touches by about a quarter to half a second. It's not enough to be a problem, but enough to make the function seem less polished, given the Sony A6500's considerable performance in other respects.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

150mm-equivalent, 1/1,000 sec. @ f/4, ISO 100

I'm hopeful that this lag can be reduced through firmware optimization; it's a brand new feature for Sony, and as new code I'd guess the opportunities for optimization are better than for a feature which has already been polished and honed over numerous iterations. But even if not, it's still a very useful and intuitive feature -- you just have to put up with the lag and remember the active screen area when in portrait orientation.

The Sony A6500 has swift and capable autofocus for its class

The A6300 was no slouch in the autofocus department, with its point-dense hybrid autofocus system gaining high points in our review both for its performance and tracking capability. The Sony A6500 shares basically the same AF setup as its sibling, and I came away thoroughly impressed with its autofocus performance, finding it more than up to the task of following subjects around the lacrosse field or during the rodeo, those being two of the tougher subjects I shot with the A6500.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

190mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 1600

With that said, the tracking functionality isn't infallible. I did find it had a tendency to get confused sometimes, and switch between different subjects when they came sufficiently close together. For example, during the rodeo segment of our shoot, one of the shooting opportunities was what I believe was referred to as "pole bending" -- think the horseback equivalent of slalom skiing. Horse and rider would take a run down a row of poles, zig-zagging back and forth to cross each pole on the opposite side to the last one. At the end of the run, the horse and rider would then return at full speed parallel to the poles.

This was one of several subjects where I found that, shooting with a relatively long lens, the AF tracking would sometimes lose the moving horse which I'd initially selected as the subject, and suddenly fixate on one of the stationary poles instead. Of course, I could let up on the shutter button briefly, put the horse and rider back under my selected focus point and then continue, but I doubtless lost a few shots to this behavior.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

247mm-equivalent, 1/4,000 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 1600

Still, no camera I've shot with yet is perfect in this respect, and the A6500 also returned many sharply-focused shots even as I stood just a few feet to one side of the horses' path, as they thundered towards (and right past) me at one end of the poles. I mention it more for completeness than anything. And not only was I panning to follow the horses, but also zooming to try and keep the framing as I wanted it, mostly shooting with a fairly long focal length as well to get the shots I was after. These were really challenging shots, and the A6500 performed remarkably well with them despite the occasional tracking issues.

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

127mm-equivalent, 1/200 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 125

Great image quality too, although I've yet to try the higher sensitivities

The one thing I've not had a chance to do much of yet with the Sony A6500 is low-light shooting. This is definitely on my to-do list for my next field test, but at low sensitivities at least I'm very pleased with what I've seen so far. The Sony A6500's images are crisp and detailed, and showed great color with for the most part accurate exposure.

If you're looking through the gallery, which I highly recommend doing, note that the lacrosse shots (which are just a tad underexposed) are down to myself, and not the camera. At the recommendation of prolific sports shooter and Sony Artisan Patrick Murphy-Racey, who was on hand to offer advice, I shot the lacrosse practice using manual exposure, and erred on the side of not losing the highlights in the teams' predominantly white uniforms).

Having not yet shot much at sensitivities beyond ISO 6400-equivalent (and then under very difficult lighting), I can't yet assess Sony's assertion that the high ISO noise levels in JPEG mode have been improved. In other respects, though, I'm very happy with what I've seen thus far in the image quality department.

More to come soon in my second field test

And with that, I'll bring my first field test of the Sony A6500 to a close! Watch this space for more coming soon, and if you have any requests for specific features you'd like to see tested (or questions you'd like answered) in the second field test, don't be shy! Sound off now in the comments below, and I'll do my best to get you answers just as soon as the A6500 is back in hand...

Sony A6500 review -- Sample photo

127mm-equivalent, 1/200 sec. @ f/1.6, ISO 125

 

Sony A6500 Overview

By Jeremy Gray | Posted:

24-megapixel sensor should provide similar IQ as the A6300

The Sony A6500 features a 24.2-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor. The sensor, like the one found in the A6300, includes a variety of interesting technologies to help provide superior performance. The sensor combines a large photodiode substrate and a particularly thin wiring layer (compared to previous sensors from Sony) which allows the sensor to collect light more efficiency. Additionally, the sensor utilizes quick-transmission copper wiring that aids the A6500 in capturing 4K and high-speed Full HD video.

The 3:2 ratio sensor records 6,000 x 4,000 pixel images in JPEG and RAW file formats, with the latter format being 14-bit RAW (although not uncompressed). Files can be recorded in sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces and the camera includes 13 types of Picture Effects (including Posterization, Pop Color, High Contrast Monochrome and more) and Creative Styles such as Standard, Vivid and Sunset, all with contrast, saturation and sharpness adjustments available.

Not everything is the same as it was in the A6300, however, as Sony has made advancements to its BIONZ X image processing engine. A newly-developed front-end large scale integration (LSI) chip and an optimized image processing algorithm is stated to contribute to improved texture reproduction and image quality. In addition to better image quality, the A6500 is said to offer less noise, particularly in the mid-to-high ISO sensitivity range. The A6500's native ISO range is 100-25,600, but it can be expanded to up to ISO 51,200.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Sony A6500 adds in-body 5-axis image stabilization and more

The A6500 can compensate for five types of camera shake with its new in-body 5-axis image stabilization system, which is a first for an APS-C camera from Sony. The camera uses a "high-accuracy gyro sensor" to provide stabilization equivalent to five stops according to CIPA testing standards. By pressing the shutter release halfway, you can monitor the image stabilization effect through the viewfinder or on the rear LCD, which allows you to ensure accurate framing and focus. When using an E-mount lens that has built-in optical image stabilization, the camera body handles horizontal, vertical and roll axis compensation while the lens compensates for pitch and yaw.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Despite this addition, thanks to reorganizing the camera's internal components, Sony was able to keep the A6500 body roughly the same size as the A6300. With a battery and Memory Stick Pro Duo card included, the A6500 weighs approximately a pound (453 grams) and has 4.75 x 2.75 x 2.13-inch dimensions (120 x 66.9 x 53.3 millimeters). That's only 1.7 ounces (49g) heavier and 0.18 inches (4.5mm) thicker than the A6300; the other dimensions are identical.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Constructed from magnesium alloy, the body is designed to be durable and reliable. It isn't just the body that's been crafted for durability, however, as the shutter mechanism has also been tested up to 200,000 release cycles. Speaking of the shutter, Sony has added braking mechanisms and elastic material that are said to reduce vibration during shutter release. Unfortunately, top shutter speed is still 1/4000s, even with the electronic shutter.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

To help you shoot in adverse conditions, the A6500 also includes dust and moisture resistance, including sealing around buttons and dials and a double-layered structure that creates tight locks between various components and panels. Borrowing from the A7 II series, the A6500 also includes a more robust lens mount.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Two of the Sony A6500's most notable body features relate to its displays. The 3-inch TFT LCD monitor on the rear of the camera now has a touch panel overlay. Sony shooters have been clamoring for better touchscreen integration in Sony's diverse camera lineup and the A6500 answers the call. The tilting display can angle up approximately 90 degrees and down roughly 45. When shooting through the camera's new electronic viewfinder (more on that in a moment), you can use the rear display to select a focus point using touch. The Touch Pad function allows the user to swipe a finger across the display and change the focus point.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Speaking of the electronic viewfinder, the A6500 includes an XGA OLED Tru-Finder. The high-contrast, high-resolution XGA OLED viewfinder is said to better reproduce darkness, color and fine details. It can be used with either 120 (100 in PAL region) or 60 (50) frames per second frame rates and has approximately 2.36-million dots. The 0.39"-type electronic viewfinder offers a 35mm equivalent magnification of 0.70x and 100% field coverage.

Besides the new internal features, addition of touchscreen functionality and an improved electronic viewfinder, you couldn't be faulted for not seeing much difference between the A6300 and A6500 bodies. On the back of the camera, the button layout is identical, save for a button becoming a C3 button instead of a C2 button. This change is due to Sony adding an additional C button on the top deck of the camera (which is otherwise unchanged in layout and functionality from the A6300). While the camera looks basically the same, the feel of it is stated to have been improved. The front grip is further recessed for improved comfort and the release button is larger. The feel of the mode and control dials and the rear face buttons has been enhanced and the viewfinder's eyepiece cup is now softer.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

The A6500 still includes a built-in pop-up flash which has a guide number of 6 meters at ISO 100 (19.7 feet) and offers a claimed flash coverage of 16mm. Up to +/-3 EVs of flash compensation is available and you can utilize flash bracketing. The flash recycles in approximately 4 seconds. The camera has the same 1/160s x-sync as its predecessor, which is somewhat disappointing.

Sony A6500 uses same AF system found in the A6300 (and that's not a bad thing)

When the A6300 released this spring, we found its new 4D Focus autofocus system to be one of its strongest features, offering up a massive array of both phase detect and contrast detect autofocus points and great speed. The A6500 uses this same system which has 425 phase detection points and 169 contrast detect AF points. The hybrid AF system can acquire focus in as little as 0.05 second and has a sensitivity range of -1 to 20 EV.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

To assist with continuous autofocus, the high-density focus system includes sophisticated tracking technology (which worked very well in the A6300). Additional focus features include Eye AF (which is compatible with AF-C), Lock-on AF (in which the camera automatically tracks a selected subject through the frame) and autofocus capabilities when using Focus Magnifier.

New menu interface is the user experience highlight with the A6500

Here at Imaging Resource, we have consistently remarked when reviewing Sony cameras that the menu system needed work. With the A6500 and its new menu interface, we hope that Sony has addressed our previous concerns. The refined user interface has a new categorization scheme, which displays group names and colored tabs. Without yet getting our hands on the camera, we cannot say for sure whether or not the menus are user friendly, but any improvement is welcomed. Also, regarding file naming, the A6500 allows for customized file names so you don't have to use the standard DSC prefix.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

The A6500 utilizes a 1200-zone evaluative metering system and Exmor CMOS metering sensor. Its sensitivity is -2 to 20 EV and it offers evaluative, center-weighted and spot metering. You can link the metering spot location to the focus area when using flexible spot or expand flexible spot autofocus areas. There are two new metering modes: "highlight" and "entire screen average." The former meters exposure while focused on the brightest part of the frame and the latter maintains an average for the entire image.

Your standard assortment of shooting modes are all present (program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and manual), but the A6500 also includes creative modes, such as sweep panorama and scene selection. The A6500 also has a silent shooting mode which allows for shooting at up to 3fps with full AF/AE tracking without the noise of faster continuous shooting modes, ideal for situations where silence is a necessity.

Remote control shooting has been improved as well. The Sony A6500 includes both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, so it is fully compatible with Sony's suite of PlayMemories Camera Apps, including Smart Remote Control, but you can also control the A6500 via a connected computer. You can control the camera's settings from the computer and even record images to both the camera and computer.

Demo of Sony A6500 JPEG buffer performance in 11fps Hi+ mode

A6500 can shoot up to 307 consecutive frames at high speeds

The same improved LSI chip that contributes to improved high ISO image performance is also responsible for the A6500's vastly-expanded buffer depth. Naturally, how big the buffer depth is in the A6500 depends on image quality, but when you are shooting in the Hi Continuous drive mode and recording "fine" JPEG images, Sony claims that the A6500 can record up to 307 images over a duration of 35 seconds. The camera can shoot even faster than that, however, when recording in the Hi+ continuous shooting mode which provides 11fps shooting versus the 8fps shooting available in Hi. When shooting at 11fps, JPEG buffer depth decreases to 200 frames, which still eclipses the 47 Fine (44 Extra Fine) JPEG frames that the A6300 could consecutively capture. When recording RAW images, the A6500 is rated by Sony to capture up to 107 frames (100 when recording RAW + JPEG) when shooting in the Hi+ drive mode (11fps). We will have to test the camera's speeds for ourselves in the lab, but if the A6500 meets spec, this RAW buffer represents an over 80-frame improvement.

Demo of Sony A6500 RAW buffer performance in 11fps Hi+ mode
Sony A6500 includes same impressive 4K capabilities, adds Slow and Quick Motion mode

Like the A6300, the A6500 offers internal 4K recording. Shooting 3840 x 2160 resolution video in Super 35mm format -- which utilizes the image sensor's entire width -- the A6500 has full pixel readout capabilities and doesn't bin pixels. This results in the camera collecting 6K of information, thus oversampling it to produce 4K footage. 4K footage can be recorded up to 30 frames per second and 4K video is recorded at a 100 Mbps bit rate in the XAV S codec. Full HD video can be recorded at up to 120fps.

When recording 4K or Full HD video, users can select S-Log gamma recording which offers approximately 14 stops of exposure latitude in the S-Log3 setting. This is ideal for users who will be doing extensive post-production on video files as it provides expanded flexibility. The A6500's gamma display assist allows you to view video recording in S-Log gamma settings with more natural-looking contrast and exposure.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

The new Slow and Quick mode supports both slow motion and quick motion. It does this by allowing selection of eight different frame rates ranging from 1 to 120fps. The end result is up to 60x quick motion and 5x slow motion video recording. The captured footage can be previewed right on your camera without the need to view it on a computer.

If you want to take full advantage of the camera's 4K video recording for still images, you can do that now too. The A6500 allows you to extract 8-megapixel stills from 4K video and 2-megapixel stills from Full HD video.

Sony A6500 battery life, ports and connections

The Sony A6500 uses the same rechargeable NP-FW50 lithium-ion battery pack as the A6300, which allows for up to 310 shots when using the electronic viewfinder and 350 shots when using the LCD monitor according to CIPA battery life figures. Unsurprisingly given the A6500's higher performance and built-in image stabilization, that's down from 350 and 400 shots per charge respectively for the A6300. Like the A6300, the Sony A6500 supports internal battery charging via USB.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Wired connectivity includes a Multi Micro USB 2.0 terminal, a Micro HDMI (Type-D) connector, Multi Interface hot shoe and a 3.5mm external mic jack (the A6500 includes a built-in stereo microphone). The Multi USB terminal also supports an optional RM-VPR1 wired remote control and tethered remote shooting from a Windows or Mac computer running Sony's Remote Camera Control utility. The A6500 doesn't include a headphone jack nor a vertical grip connector.

Also like the A6300, the A6500 records to Memory Stick Duo and SD memory cards and supports UHS-I, but not UHS-II, which is a bit surprising given the A6500's emphasis on continuous shooting performance. As mentioned above, the Sony A6500 includes Wi-Fi and NFC compatibility as well as QR functionality.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Comparing the Sony A6500 to the A6300

With the A6300 just released this past March, it might seem surprising that the A6500 has been announced in early October, but Sony says the A6300 will continue to be sold alongside the new model. While the two APS-C cameras look similar, there's no mistaking the A6500's place as the new flagship camera in Sony's mirrorless APS-C lineup. The sensor and autofocus systems are shared, but the vast increase in continuous shooting buffer makes the A6500 much more suited for high-speed shooting situations. Not only that, but the touchscreen functionality, enhanced electronic viewfinder, in-body image stabilization and redesigned menu system should make the A6500 a much friendlier camera to use and all of these improvements address issues we had with the otherwise excellent A6300 camera.

Initial thoughts on the Sony A6500

Speed and usability are the two main focuses of the A6500. The camera's new processing capabilities and touchscreen functionality are a testament to that. Add in all of the features it shares with the A6300 and you have a recipe for an excellent all-around APS-C mirrorless camera. The proof is in the pudding, however, so we will need to put the A6500 through its paces.

Sony A6500 Review -- Product Image

Sony A6500 pricing and availability

The Sony A6500 will be available in November 2016 with a suggested retail price of around US$1,400, and will be sold body-only. Additionally, a new leather body case will ship in November and a new eyepiece cup will be released at a later date.

 

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Lacks viewfinder

40% smaller

A6500 vs TL

$568.88 (146% less)

28.2 MP (14% more)

Lacks viewfinder

32% smaller

A6500 vs NX500

$548.00 (155% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

18% smaller

A6500 vs A6000

$1199.00 (17% less)

20.3 MP (19% less)

Also has viewfinder

27% smaller

A6500 vs PEN-F

$429.00 (226% less)

24.2 MP

Lacks viewfinder

28% smaller

A6500 vs EOS M3

$1313.50 (6% less)

16.3 MP (48% less)

Lacks viewfinder

40% smaller

A6500 vs T (Typ 701)

$1599.00 (13% more)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

28% larger

A6500 vs X-T2

$699.00 (100% less)

16.3 MP (48% less)

Also has viewfinder

19% smaller

A6500 vs X-E2S

$799.00 (75% less)

16.3 MP (48% less)

Also has viewfinder

7% smaller

A6500 vs X-T10

$649.48 (115% less)

20.3 MP (19% less)

Also has viewfinder

15% larger

A6500 vs NX30

$997.99 (40% less)

20.3 MP (19% less)

Also has viewfinder

35% larger

A6500 vs GX8

$549.00 (155% less)

16.3 MP (48% less)

Lacks viewfinder

36% smaller

A6500 vs X-A2

$1124.48 (24% less)

20.3 MP (19% less)

Also has viewfinder

21% smaller

A6500 vs Galaxy NX

$899.00 (56% less)

16.1 MP (50% less)

Also has viewfinder

9% larger

A6500 vs E-M5 II

$697.99 (100% less)

16 MP (51% less)

Also has viewfinder

13% smaller

A6500 vs GX85

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