- - Fantastic image quality
- - Extended memory buffer
- - Powerful 5-axis in-body stabilisation
- - Highly customisable
- - No in-camera raw processing
- - Memory card access can be fiddly
- - Focus Area options could be more streamlined
Price as Reviewed:£1,500.00 (body only)
Audley Jarvis takes a closer look at Sony’s flagship APS-C mirrorless camera
Sony A6500 review – Features
The A6500 is built around a 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor that, in terms of effective resolution, is identical to the A6300’s. The A6500 does differ quite markedly from the A6300, however, with the introduction of a front-end LSI chip as used by the Sony A99 II and A7R II models. This is specifically concerned with increasing throughput, which in turn significantly enhances the camera’s buffer capacity thereby increasing the number of images that can be recorded when shooting bursts – really useful if you’re looking to capture longer sequences of Raw (or even Raw+JPEG) images at the camera’s fastest drive speed. As expected the A6500 is also equipped with a Sony BIONZ X processor, which has gained a solid reputation for being powerful, fast and highly capable in other high-end Sony cameras such as the A7 II and Cyber-shot RX10 III among others.
Elsewhere, the A6500’s core specifications remain largely unchanged from the A6300. Native sensitivity, for example, ranges from ISO 100-25,600 with an expanded setting of ISO 51,200 while shutter speeds range from 30sec to 1/4000sec. One minor difference is that the A6500 is fitted with an improved shutter mechanism that Sony claims has been tested to 200,000 actuations and is quieter. While we didn’t have an A6300 to hand for a direct comparison, the A6500’s shutter didn’t strike us as being either especially noisy nor exceptionally quiet. In any case if you do need to shoot silently then the A6500 retains the Silent Shutter mode that was introduced with the A6300 which employs an electronic shutter to facilitate silent operation.
Exposure modes extend to PASM, Auto, Scene, Sweep Panorama, Movies and two Custom settings that you can set up as you wish. In addition to Sony’s Creative Styles that serve as the templates for in-camera JPEG processing, the A6500 also offers a range of digital filter effects that can be applied at the time of capture (but not afterwards). Images can be saved as compressed (lossy) Raw files in the Sony .ARW format, or as Extra Fine, Fine or Standard quality JPEGs in a variety of sizes including 24.2MP, 12MP and 6MP. Only the native 3:2 and 16:9 aspects are offered in-camera – for anything else you’ll need to crop images out-of-camera. Sony’s in-camera menu system has long been due a refresh, and with the A6500 this has finally happened. The main difference is that that the menu now uses colour coded tabs for easier navigation. That said, it’s still large and convoluted and can involve an awful lot of button mashing to get from one place to another.
Unlike the Fujifilm X-T2 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 II, both of which have dual card slots, the A6500 is only able to accommodate one SD-type card. This is somewhat awkwardly positioned between the battery and the battery hatch, which makes it fiddly to get cards in and out of the camera. In keeping with virtually all new camera launches, the A6500 is equipped with built-in Wi-fi and NFC for image transfer and remote control duties. The A6500 is also compatible with Sony’s PlayMemories Camera Apps, which provide additional features such as timelapse shooting or the ability to create multiple exposures in-camera. Lastly, the A6500 also comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity that allows it to tag images with location data gathered from a paired mobile device.
- Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS
- Output size: 6000 x 4000 pixels
- Lens mount: Sony E-mount
- Shutter speeds: 30sec to 1/4000sec (mechanical) 30sec to 1/4000sec (electronic)
- ISO sensitivity: 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 51,200)
- Exposure modes: PASM, Auto, Scene, Panoramic, Movie, Scene
- Metering: Multi, Centre, Spot, Entire Screen Average, Highlight
- Exposure compensation: ±5EV in 1/3EV or 1/2EV steps
- Continuous shooting: Hi+ (11fps), Hi (8fps), Mid (6fps), Lo (3fps)
- Screen: 3-inch 921k-dots tiltable touchscreen
- Video: 4K (3840x2160), Full HD (1920x1080), HD (1080x720)
- Viewfinder: 2.36m-dot OLED, 0.70x magnification, 100% coverage
- External Mic: 3.5mm stereo
- AF points: 425 phase-detect, 169 contrast-detect
- Memory card: 1x Memory Stick, SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I)
- Power: Sony NP-FW50 li-ion, 1020mAh
- Battery life: 310-350 shots
- Dimensions: 120 x 66.9 x 53.3mm
- Weight: 453g (with battery and card)