Sony A6500 Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent performance with very deep buffers, though buffer clearing is very slow.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.3 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

The Sony A6500's startup time (power on to first shot) of 1.3 seconds was about average for a mirrorless camera, and about the same as the A6300's. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was just slightly slower than the A6300, at about 0.9 vs 0.7 second, however that's pretty close.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Center AF area
AF-S mode

0.184 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.

Full Autofocus,
Center AF area
AF-S mode
Auto Flash Enabled

0.292 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, TTL Auto flash enabled.

Manual Focus

0.127 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.019 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Sony A6500's full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) was quite fast, measuring only 0.184 second in Single-area (Center) AF mode with our FE 35mm f/2.8 lens. That's just a hair slower than the 0.160 second result we got with the A6300 with the same lens.

Enabling the flash added a delay for preflash metering, increasing lag to about 0.292 second, but that's a noticeable improvement compared to 0.437 second for the A6300.

When manually focused, the Sony A6500's shutter lag was 0.127 second, also a bit slower than the A6300's 0.107 second. The A6500's prefocused shutter lag was incredibly fast at only 19 milliseconds, just a touch faster than the A6300's 20 millisecond result.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/ Extra Fine JPEG

0.62 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.59 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi+
Large/Extra Fine JPEG

0.09 second
(11.11 fps);
231 frames total;
128 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 231 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.66s or 1.52 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
Large/Fine JPEG

0.09 second
(11.11 fps);
254 frames total;
81 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 254 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.42s or 2.39 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
RAW

0.09 second
(11.11 fps);
110 frames total;
75 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 110 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.79s or 1.27 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.09 second
(11.11 fps);
101 frames total;
100 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 101 frames, then slowed to an average of about 1.11s or 0.90 fps when buffer was full.

Flash Recycling

3.0 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were very good, at about 0.6 second for Large/Extra Fine JPEGs or RAW + Large/Fine JPEG frames, just a touch slower than the A6300. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG modes.) Be aware that the Sony A6500 cannot capture best quality "Extra Fine" JPEGs together with RAW files, dropping to "Fine" quality JPEGs when shooting RAW+JPEG, just like the A6300.

The Sony A6500's top continuous Hi+ mode was very fast and consistent at about 11.1 frames per second no matter the file type, slightly exceeding Sony's spec and very closely matching the A6300's top speed.

Buffer depths were outstanding, at about five times deeper than the A6300 and roughly matching Sony's latest specifications. When shooting best quality Extra Fine JPEGs, buffer depth was 231 frames compared to the A6300's 44 frames, and dropping quality down to Fine JPEGs increased buffer depth to 254 frames in our tests. Of course, when shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG files, buffer depths were lower, but still outstanding at 110 and 101 frame respectively, compared to 22 and 21 frames respectively for the A6300.

However, buffer clearing took a long time with such deep buffers, taking between 75 seconds after a max-length RAW file burst up to whopping 128 seconds after a max-length burst of Extra Fine JPEGs. After making some rough calculations for write speeds, it appears the A6500 has made no speed improvements over the A6300 and A6000 in terms of writing to the SD card, with all three models writing at about 36MB/s. (This is one area where adding UHS-II card support would have really benefited performance if implemented correctly.) And to make matters worse, the A6500 does not allow you to change any settings while the card is being written to, nor can you check just-shot images before they are written. However you can at least review images which have already been written to the card while you're waiting for the buffer to clear. 

The built-in flash was able to recycle from a full discharge in an average of 3.0 seconds, which is fairly typical.


Bottom line, the Sony A6500's performance is generally excellent and very similar to the A6300's, but with a buffer that is about 5 times as deep! However it's a shame that Sony didn't improve UHS-I card write speeds or add UHS-II support, as clearing times after long bursts are incredibly slow.

Battery

Battery Life
Fair battery life for a mirrorless camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(EVF, CIPA standard)
310 shots
Still Capture,
(LCD Monitor CIPA standard)
350 shots

The Sony A6500 uses a custom NP-FW50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and ships with a single battery and a Micro USB cable for in-camera charging. No AC/USB adapter is included and a dedicated battery charger is optional.

CIPA-rated battery life is fair for a mirrorless camera, but well below most DSLRs, especially when using the electronic viewfinder. We strongly recommend purchasing an additional battery or two for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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