Sony A6500 Review – New Compact Camera Badass?

The Sony a6500 sits at the top tier of the companies APS– C mirrorless camera range. When you take a look at this latest model compare to its predecessor the A6300 you can see some clear differences. 24 megapixels stills, an excellent video quality with included image stabilisation this new model looks to be building on and if not going further than the common view that the Sony a series cameras are just for enthusiasts. Before we get into the bulk of the review let’s take a look at the key features.

Key Features:

  • Tilting rear touchscreen
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
  • 11 fps continuous shooting for up to 300 JPEGs / 100 Raws
  • 1/4000 sec maximum shutter speed
  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with 425 phase detection points
  • 2.36M-dot OLED EVF

As you can see many of the key features that come with the a6500 shared with its predecessor the a6300, however before we cannot as a negative we need to take into consideration how good the a 6300 really was, many who owned the a 6300 without you how brilliantly Camera worked, it was after all an award-winning camera. To some the key differences you’ll see offer image stabilisation which is now built directly into the camera sensor. Combined with a front end LSI this means the camera can now allow faster and much more complex processing giving a much sharper and more accurate image. Aside from this we also see introduction of a very well built touchscreen now allow you to articulate however for all you vloggers out of there you’ll be disappointed to find the camera screen cannot be faced towards the user, therefore although the touchscreen Works really well I would like to see the screen articulate all the way round so it can face the user.

Another small addition many may like is edition of a highlight spots metering mode. What we find with the screen on the back as it is not just a simple as a touchscreen we find it actually be used to 2 key functions on the camera. Firstly you’re able to use it as a touchscreen for aligning the focus on the camera or using its trigger the shutter. However another option due to the included viewfinder is using it as a touchpad all you hold camera to your eye.

That added processing power is going to give you a much more responsive camera this means a few things firstly much faster focusing which let’s agree everyone is going to love and secondly quicker processing of images this means you’re able to shoot bursts are much higher rate. You also be pleased to hear that if menus have been a problem in the past in terms of recognising and coming back to menu systems, the a 6500 has had a massive overhaul of Sony’s standard menu System meaning is much easier for you to get to grips with the Menu System in a short amount of time, more importantly, you’re able to come back and remember all of the key controls.

The a 6300 has had some massive improvements as a recently with the introduction and ability to record 4K video at the full length of 29 minutes however it’s important to mention this is a relatively unstable way to use the eight 6300 and is not fully optimised to work in these conditions. We see the a6500 using a very similar form factor to both the a6300 and a6000. both the a6300 and a6000 sit at the entry-level and mid range the Level of cameras, this means that all of the slight problem to find on these two cameras and go on to see only a 6500 present much more than issue latest model as its priced and much higher selling price.

A6500 Body And Controls

The new Sony a series camera brings a few changes to the body, some of them bigger than others. Firstly we look at the physical controls policies are mainly copied across from the previous generation whether talking shoulder while an array control will as seen on the previous versions of the a series Sony cameras, one change we do see you to see one button being moved onto the top plate as well as in addition of the c2 button processing introduction of a new touchscreen which now allows Touch autofocus point placement. Some of the Sony menus in the past have been quite confusing, people coming into the Sony’s range of camera for the first time they could even put you off. However will be Silma new Sony camera is a massive overhaul with extensive efforts to organise the menus in a way the new users can quite easily adapt to. Will be now sees the introduction of colour coded tabs making it much easier for you to remember where your crucial settings lie on the camera.

However, one disappointing thing that people noticed is that there is still no QuikMenu allowing you to quickly access your most used functions, something that will be incredibly useful for those about to snap as they go.

In the hand the a 6500 performed extremely well with the new improved thicker deeper grip which is designed with large lenses in mind. For some this could be a benefit however for others the more clunky body could take away from the compact benefits of the camera.

Moving onto the electronic viewfinder, it’s nice to see Sony keeping this feature even though touchscreens are becoming more heavily used. We see a similar spec viewfinder as seen on previous models very nice OLED panel and optics give a 1.7 times magnification when used with the 50 mm lens.  You’ll find that there’s a license just to the right of the viewfinder which allows the camera to automatically switch between both the rear screen and the viewfinder when the user has there eye up to the viewfinder. You’re so have a nice large Robin Hood around the viewfinder which does a good job at keeping stray light from damaging your view.

Now onto the battery life is using the same NP FW 50 battery as seen on many other email cameras however what we see is the new introduction of a higher quality touchscreen and other features such as image stabilisation we see an impact on the battery life overall. The camera is rated against 350 shots per charge which when compared to its younger siblings is A much larger drop.

Sony A6500 Performance

Now onto the performance arguably one of the main factors people be upgrading to this camera for. With the a 6500 we see that it still features the same 425 sensor phase detection, and keeps the same burst rate previous generations and 11 frames per second and eight frames per second with live view however with increased processing power and a much deeper buffer you’re able to shoot the 300 standard JPEG frames in burst at a time. When you add all of these new features together a place of the camera the perfect ability to be able to shoot a whole new range photography, we see fast motion and sports photography becoming a massive possibility for this camera.

Sony A6500 Image Stabilistion

Image stabilisation has to be one of the most welcomed features on this camera however something we see the sun is done brilliantly is no increased size of the body when we look at the a7 series of cameras we noticed a substantial increase in the body size and image stabilisation was integrated into the body so massive props for Sony there.

Image Stabilisation specs


Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation (compensation depends on lens specifications)


5.0 steps (based on CIPA standard. Pitch/yaw shake only. With Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1.8 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off.)

Video Performance

im going to list below all of the relevant video options that you need to know about the a6500 and the ones that are all found on the sony website.


XAVC S, AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant, MP4


XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, AVCHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264


XAVC S: LPCM 2ch, AVCHD: Dolby® Digital (AC-3) 2ch, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, MP4: MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch


xvYCC standard (x.v.Color when connected via HDMI cable) compatible with TRILUMINOS Color


Posterization (Color), Posterization (B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera(Normal/Cool/Warm/Green/Magenta), Soft High-key


Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia, Style Box(1-6), (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps))


Yes (Off / PP1-PP9) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2, S-Log3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset


XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (30p, 100 M), 3840 x 2160 (24p, 100 M), 3840 x 2160 (30p, 60 M), 3840 x 2160 (24p, 60 M), XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (120p, 100 M), 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60 M), 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50 M), 1920 x 1080 (30p, 50 M), 1920 x 1080 (24p, 50 M), AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 28 M, PS), 1920 x 1080 (60i, 24 M, FX), 1920 x 1080 (60i, 17 M, FH), 1920 x 1080 (24p, 24 M, FX), 1920 x 1080 (24p, 17 M, FH), AVC MP4: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 28 M), 1920 x 1080 (30p, 16 M), 1280 x 720 (30p, 6 M)


XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (25p, 100 M), 3840 x 2160 (25p, 60 M), XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (100p, 100 M), 1920 x 1080 (100p, 60 M), 1920 x 1080 (50p, 50 M), 1920 x 1080 (25p, 50 M), AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (50p, 28 M, PS), 1920 x 1080 (50i, 24 M, FX), 1920 x 1080 (50i, 17 M, FH), 1920 x 1080 (25p, 24 M, FX), 1920 x 1080 (25p, 17 M, FH), AVC MP4: 1920 x 1080 (50p, 28 M), 1920 x 1080 (25p, 16 M), 1280 x 720 (25p, 6 M)


1fps, 2fps, 4fps, 8fps, 15fps, 30fps, 60fps, 120fps


1920×1080 (60p), 1920×1080 (30p), 1920×1080 (24p)


Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Dual Video REC, TC/UB, (TC Preset/UB Preset/TC Format/TC Run/TC Make/UB Time Rec), Auto Slow Shutter, REC Control, Gamma Disp. Assist


3840 x 2160 (30p), 3840 x 2160 (25p), 3840 x 2160 (24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p), 1920 x 1080 (60i), 1920 x 1080 (50p), 1920 x 1080 (50i), 1920 x 1080 (24p), YCbCr 4:2:2 8bit / RGB 8bit


ON/OFF selectable

Those specs are all well and good but the question is how well does it perform in a real world setting. For me the video is excellent, the ability for 120 frames in 1080p means this camera is going to give you these awesome slow-mo shots at a reasonably good resolution level.

Video extras

One good addition is manual focus peaking, this makes it much easier to get focus right when you are a relative beginner. You’re also able to use phase detection autofocus in video mode, which supplies the camera with a perception of the distance between objects in the scene, meaning it rarely has to track, which would disrupt the footage it catches. AF-C is the only autofocus mode possible on the camera. You can either place the focus point manually or you can use Center Lock-on AF to define the point that the camera will try to follow. Tapping the screen once locks onto a focus target. There’s no option to use AF Lock but the camera tends to err on the side of holding focus, rather than bouncing about and there are menu options to define the speed of refocusing and how harsh the AF tracking will stick to its target.

Image quality

The best way to really show the quality of the Sony A6500 is to show you some of the images that have been captured on the camera. Look below:


In conclusion, the Sony A6500 is one of my favorite cameras that I have bought so far, I’m not going to lie for my personal situation it was a really big investment. With really good video performance, the ability to interchange a wide array of growing lenses and some of the most pleasing images out of any camera for the size this is a real winner in my eyes.

Buy the A6500

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