Sony Alpha A6500 review, Hands on and Compare price

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The a6500 gives you 5-axis in-body image stabilization with no increase in body size compared to its a6300 sibling. A touchscreen makes focus point placement and rack focus in video intuitive and easy, even with your eye to the finder. An additional processor enables a deep buffer for extended continuous shooting and instant image review. Combine this with best-in-class image and 4K video quality, as well as fast and precise autofocus across the entire frame, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a more capable APS-C camera.

 

This item Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 2.95" LCD (Body Only)

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Customer Rating 0 out of 5 stars (0) 4 out of 5 stars (131) 4 out of 5 stars (211) 4 out of 5 stars (410)
Price $1,398.00 $1,698.00 $548.00 $698.00
Shipping FREE Shipping FREE Shipping FREE Shipping FREE Shipping
Sold By Amazon.com K&M Camera Since 1976 Amazon.com Amazon.com
Item Weight 0.91 lb 1.32 lbs 0.76 lb 0.76 lb
Expanded ISO Minimum Information not provided 50 100 100
Sensor Cleaning Method Information not provided Ultrasonic vibration, charge protection coating Ultrasonic Ultrasonic
Maximum Shutter Speed Information not provided 1/8000 seconds 1/4000 seconds 1/4000 seconds
Display Fixture Type Information not provided Tilting Tilting Tilting
Image Aspect Ration unknown_aspect_ratio 3:2, 16:9 3:2, 16:9 3:2, 16:9
Screen Size 2.95 in 3 in 3 in 3 in
Autofocus Points Information not provided 117 25 25
Optical Sensor Resolution 24.2 megapixels 24.3 megapixels 24 megapixels 24 megapixels
Expanded ISO Maximum Information not provided 25,600 25,600 25,600
Video Resolution Information not provided 1080p_hd 1080p_hd 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p, 25p), 640 x 480 (30p, 25p)
Item Dimensions 2.8 x 15.7 x 2.13 in 2.36 x 5 x 3.78 in 1.77 x 4.72 x 2.64 in 1.77 x 4.72 x 2.64 in
Self-timer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Viewfinder electronic viewfinder LCD LCD LCD
Optical Zoom 1x 3x 1x 3x
Image Stabilization Yes Yes Yes Yes
Continuous Shooting Information not provided 5 11 11
Wireless Technology Information not provided BuiltIn, with NFC and wireless control via PlayMemories Mobile app Yes Yes

The a6500 makes it clear Sony's not only about packing the most technology into the smallest package possible - though that's never a bad thing - but that it is serious about understanding and catering to the needs of creatives. 5-axis image stabilization will make the incredibly detailed 4K footage smooth and steady, while the touchscreen makes focus intuitive for both stills and video shooters. Meanwhile, the new processor, custom button and revamped menus make the camera eminently more usable.

The a6500 crams a truly impressive amount of technology and capability into a very small package, and the deep buffer and additional processor make long burst shooting a breeze. I'd still like to see a control dial added to the front of the camera, but it's good the revamped menu system allows me to find settings I'm looking for much more quickly.

Reasons to buy

  • In-body 5-axis image stabilization: The a6500's "IBIS" system offers up to 5 stops of stabilization with any attached lens, allowing for slower shutter speeds in low light or with long lenses, and incredibly smooth video.
  • 3" touchscreen display: A touchscreen makes focus point placement easy, even with your eye to the Finder thanks to the touchpad functionality. Tap-to-focus in video makes it easier to take advantage of the very capable, decisive AF system when filming movies.
  • Deep buffer and responsive interface: A new processor enables a deep buffer of up to 300 JPEGs or 107 Raws at its 11 fps burst rate. That's up to 27 seconds of continuous shooting. The processor also enables instant image review, allowing you to check focus immediately after shooting a burst.
  • Advanced autofocus system: The a6500 has more focus points than any other camera in its class - 425 phase-detect points to be exact - with coverage reaching out to the edges of the frame. Photographers can expect fast focus times and good subject and eye tracking with moving subjects, even at the camera's top 11 fps burst rate. The a6500 can also focus 3rd party lenses quickly, albeit with some restrictions.
  • 4K video: The a6500 reads the entire 6K sensor width and downsizes it to 4K for maximal UHD 24p quality. Its use of the XAVC S codec with a bit rate of 100MBps ensures few artifacts. Log gamma, peaking, and zebras round out an extensive video toolset, and its 1080/120p mode captures impressive slow motion video.

Things to consider 

  • Front dial would be nice: The secondary control dial for the a6500, which doubles as the four-way controller, isn't in the best location, nor is it ergonomically precise. We would've preferred a front dial for quicker adjustment of camera settings.
  • Custom buttons and menus shared between stills and videos: It would be nice if you could customize buttons (and the Fn menu) for stills and video individually, as the features you may wish to access can be dramatically different between the modes. It's good to remember that buttons can become disabled when you switch between stills and movie modes if the assigned feature is unavailable in that mode.
  • Lack of quick access: The large range of features combined with a limited number of custom buttons overwhelms the user interface and forces extensive use of the Fn and, sometimes, the main menu. Thankfully, the main menu's now far more organized than it's ever been, and a new C2 button brings the a6500 more in-line with its a7 siblings.
  • Rolling shutter in 4K, lackluster 1080p: While the 4K video is incredibly detailed with low levels of noise thanks to oversampling, there's significant rolling shutter and potential for 'jello effect' at 24p. This is diminished at 4K/30p and in 1080p video, but the latter is comparatively softer than expected.

Sony a6500 Hands-On Overview with DPReview Tech Editor

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