CAMERAS Sony A6500 Review

Sony A6500 Review

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Sony A6500 Review

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Sony Alpha 6500

Only eight months after the introduction of the Alpha 6300 as the fast APS-C flagship, Sony added the Alpha 6500 to the list. Above all, the Alpha 6500 is ahead of its “smaller” sister in terms of the significantly larger buffer memory for more series photos and the APS-C system cameras for image stabilization, which for the first time are mounted on movable bearings in Sony’s mirrorless APS-C system cameras. But Sony also wants to have further improved the stability of the case, especially the bayonet. The Sony Alpha 6500 doesn’t just have to prove its picture quality in a detailed test.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Robust and compact magnesium housing
  • Built-in image stabilizer (less effective than expected)
  • Wide range of equipment for all user classes
  • Very good image quality up to ISO 1.600 and usable up to ISO 6.400

Cons

  • Slow buffer emptying (100 seconds) due to lack of UHS II support
  • The 16:9 screen means that only 6.5 of the 7.5 cm diagonal are used for the live image
  • No more correct or less effective splash water and dust protection than with the competition
  • Viewfinder not suitable for spectacle wearers due to small exit pupil

With the Alpha 6500, Slony announces a new APS-C flagship model of its mirrorless system camera series. For the first time, Sony has integrated a sensor shift image stabiliser into the A6500 on an APS-C Alpha model. Previously, this was not possible due to the compact case dimensions, which Sony nevertheless did not have to give up. As with the RX100 V, a new front end LSI is used, which supports the Bionz X image processor. Other innovations include the touch screen, the more stable bayonet and the 425-point phase autofocus.

The Sony Alpha 6500 works with a 0.05 second fast phase autofkus, which covers a large image area with 425 measuring points.

The foldable touch screen of the Sony Alpha 6500 allows you to take pictures from both ground level and overhead perspectives. Touch autofocus works on when using the OLED viewfinder. [Photo: Sony]

The Sony Alpha 6500 takes eleven continuous shots per second at full 24 megapixel resolution and autofocus tracking for a good 300 frames at a time.

The Alpha 6000, with which Sony celebrates big sales successes, already offered a high continuous shooting speed and a fast autofocus. The Alpha 6300 brought this performance into a much more robust case, but was much more expensive. The Alpha 6500 is now the flagship model with the crown, the price also rises accordingly and approaches the 2,000 Euro mark, but remains well below it. The newly developed housing is even more robust than the Alpha 6300 and offers a more ergonomic grip. The bayonet was also reinforced by Sony to be able to carry heavy telephoto lenses. The Alpha 6500 is also intended to be an alternative for professional photographers, especially to the full-format Alpha 7 series. The advantages of the APS-C sensor are particularly obvious for sports photography: the telephoto focal length is increased by a factor of 1.5. Alternatively, the sports photographer can significantly reduce the weight while maintaining the same effective focal length. Even in the APS-C format, the cameras now often offer sufficient performance at high ISO sensitivities.

Sports photographers naturally focus on the autofocus. In the Alpha 6500, this has 425 phase AF points which are integrated directly on the image sensor and ensure focusing within 0.05 seconds. According to Sony, this is the fastest autofocus in the world. By the way, the Alpha 6500 also supports automatic focusing with SSM and SAM lenses of the A-Mount series adapted via the LA-EA3. The Alpha 6500’s maximum continuous shooting speed, including autotokus tracking, is still eleven frames per second without Live View or eight frames per second with Live View. So the technology here is not quite as advanced as with the RX100 V also presented today, although the Alpha 6500 also has the new front end LSI, which is supposed to provide better high-ISO performance. The maximum sensitivity is ISO 25.600 in the normal range and ISO 51.200 in the extended range. The APS-C sensor resolves 24 megapixels and can deliver up to 307 JPEG shots at a time for continuous shooting. Thanks to the movable bearing of the CMOS sensor, the A6500 also offers a 5-axis image stabilizer that allows up to five f-stops longer exposure times.

Also not unimportant for sports photographers is the lifetime of the shutter, which Sony states to be at least 200,000 releases. Compared to the Alpha 6300, the slightly larger housing consists of a robust magnesium alloy and a reinforced lens bayonet. According to Sony, seals also offer moisture and dust protection, but the Alpha 6500 is not splash-proof. The ergonomics have been greatly improved thanks to the better grip, three function keys and better wheels and knobs, a larger shutter release and an adjustment to the Alpha-7 series controls and new menus. The rear 7.5-centimeter screen folds up and down. Recently it is a touch screen, so that it is also very easy to place the autofocus point. This also works when the OLED viewfinder is used. It offers a resolution of 2.36 million pixels and 1.07x magnification, which is equivalent to 0.7x magnification for a 35mm image. The softer eyecup should also improve the ergonomics of the viewfinder.

The video function now works without pixel binning with 6K image information, which has about 2.4 times as much image information as 4K, which is ultimately downsampled to by oversampling. This should provide too many details of even better video quality. A maximum of 30 frames per second are possible in 4K, with Full-HD it is up to 120 frames per second. If desired, the frame rate can also be reduced in eight stages to up to 1 fps. In addition, the video recordings naturally benefit from the fast, precise autofocus, and the focus point can be shifted precisely thanks to the touch screen. Videographers will also enjoy S-Log3 Gamma with approximately 14 f-stops dynamic range and S-Gammut support for an extended color space.

The exposure metering of the Alpha 6500 has two new modes. One concentrates on the correct exposure of the bright image areas, the other forms an average value of the measurement of the entire sensor field. WLAN and NFC are back on board to connect the camera to a smartphone. A new feature is the QR code, which enables a simple connection to smartphones without NFC. Thanks to power-saving Bluetooth, a permanent connection to the smartphone can also be established in order to pick up the GPS signal. The extension possibilities of the camera functionality by means of camera apps are of course not missing either.

Ergonomics and workmanship

The Sony Alpha 6500 is an extremely compact but also very robust mirrorless system camera. Despite its light metal housing made of a magnesium alloy, it weighs an impressive 450 grams ready for operation. The bayonet was reinforced again by Sony, so that it could also carry large, heavy lenses. What we painfully missed in view of the price of almost 1,700 Euros only for the case, however, was a splash water and dust protection, which other manufacturers mostly use in this price class. Sony has a surprisingly difficult time with this topic.

There are two programmable buttons on the top of the Sony Alpha 6500 camera.

  • The Sony Alpha 6500 is very compact and yet stable. However, it does not offer gaskets to protect against dust and splash water despite the high price class.

The housing is particularly compact in terms of height, which is less than seven centimetres. This of course ensures that the little finger no longer fits on the handle, depending on the size of the hand. With the two centimeters deep and up to 2.5 centimeters wide bulge, the handle offers enough space to hold the camera securely. The generous, grained rubber coating, which extends to the back of the thumb cavity, contributes its part to the secure hold.

Despite the low overall height and the missing flash viewfinder hump, Sony has installed a full-fledged, large electronic viewfinder. This trick was successful because of the screen, which with its 16:9 aspect ratio and the same diagonal of 7.5 centimeters requires less height than a 3:2 screen. However, because the APS-C sensor has a native aspect ratio of 3:2, only 6.5 centimeters of the 7.5-inch screen is effectively used for the live image. Sony uses the black bars on the left and on the right for fading in recording settings that are not above the live image at least at the side edges, but above and below. With 921,000 pixels, the screen has a sufficiently fine resolution, but unfortunately the color display cannot be adjusted in contrast to the viewfinder. The screen can be tilted a little more than 90 degrees up and a good 45 degrees down, making it easier to shoot close to the ground and overhead. In addition, it is a touch screen, whereby Sony has integrated the touch control only very sparingly. In fact, the function is only used to set the autofocus point and to zoom (by double-tap instead of two-finger zoom gesture) and move the zoomed image section during playback. No touch function is active in the menus, nor is it possible to scroll through the images using a wipe gesture.

The electronic viewfinder offers a high resolution of 2.36 million pixels and, with 0.71x magnification in 35mm equivalent, also a large image. However, due to the small exit pupil, one can only see this if one approaches the viewfinder strongly with the eye. People who wear glasses have no chance to see the viewfinder image. At most, you have the option of pushing up the glasses and using diopter correction from -4 to +3 dpt. Thanks to the proximity sensor, the screen is automatically switched off and the viewfinder is switched on as soon as you take the camera to your eye. Sony has also thought about disabling the sensor once the screen is folded down.

As far as the menus are concerned, it can be seen that Sony is trying to make them a bit clearer, generation after generation, without giving up the basic structure and the recognition value. The menu is divided into six main categories with different colours and up to 14 subpages each. In total there are 35 subpages if you install many camera apps, even more. It takes some time to find your way around the menu. Unfortunately there is no individual menu with frequently used menu items. The quick menu with its twelve settings can be individually adapted for this purpose. In addition, Sony has provided the Alpha 6500 with enough keys, the layout of which can be partially adjusted. Three of the buttons are also explicitly programmable and labeled “C1” and “C2” (both on the top of the camera near the shutter release button) and “C3” (on the back, otherwise delete button during playback). They can be preset with AF-MF switching and white balance, for example, and a button on the four-way dialer on the back of the camera has been turned off for ISO sensitivity. The Alpha 6500 also has an AF-L and AE-L function, while the video recording button is somewhat unluckily placed. It is located to the right of the thumb tray in a place where you would not expect to find a key at all. Pressing it is cramped and at the same time so unexpected and exposed that it is sometimes accidentally pressed when handling the camera, as you simply don’t expect a button at this point. You can get used to it, though.

The Alpha 6500 is not too well equipped with interfaces. Behind a small flap, which is reasonably hinged to the left side of the camera, there are three connections. In addition to a 3.5 mm microphone input and a Micro-HDMI interface, there is also a Micro-USB interface for charging the camera battery. Sony comes with a 1.5 amp charger, but any normal smartphone charger works the same way. After all, the battery is full again in a good two and a half hours. If you want to charge the Sony battery externally, Sony has been faithful to the design for years, you’ll have to buy an appropriate charging cradle. With the Micro-USB connection, the camera is also quickly supplied with power when on the move, for example in the car or at a “power bank”, especially since it is also charged when switched on.

The tripod socket of the Sony Alpha 6500 is located in the optical axis and has some distance to the battery compartment.

Another interface is hidden almost invisibly in the handle, because here is an infrared receiver for an IR remote control, which can be purchased as an accessory. The Alpha 6500 can also be triggered wirelessly via WLAN. The tripod thread is located on the underside of the camera in the optical axis and at a respectable distance from the battery and memory card compartment. Nevertheless, removing the memory card from the bottom of the camera in this camera class is somewhat suboptimal, especially as there is only one memory card slot that can hold either a MemoryStick or an SD card (SDHC and SDXC compatible). With 350 shots according to the CIPA standard, the battery offers sufficient battery life, especially as the percentage-accurate remaining capacity display on the screen works very precisely. Those who like to take a lot of pictures are well advised to use a spare battery despite the mobile recharging option via USB. Besides the missing splash water and dust protection as well as the memory card placement, the missing possibility to connect a battery portrait format handle is also unusual for this camera class.

Equipment

In terms of price alone, the Sony Alpha 6500 is aimed at ambitious photographers, but those who are simply looking for a robust tool with image stabilizer in the case but don’t want to deal with photographic basics and settings will also be happy with the Alpha 6500. The camera has a fully automatic mode including scene recognition, a range of scene programs, digital filter effects and also an HDR and panorama automatic, which has even been given a place on the program selector wheel. However, the camera only unfolds its full potential with semi-automatic or manual operation. Even with the latter, the ISO automatic can be activated and an exposure correction is not missing with this “manual automatic”. Those who don’t want to rely on the automatic HDR mode can fall back on an extensive exposure bracketing function that takes three to nine pictures with a wide exposure spread if desired. Unfortunately, this cannot be combined with the self-timer alone.

The mechanical shutter offers short exposure times of up to 1/4,000 seconds and, like the camera, is very robust. Sony promises a life expectancy of typically at least 200,0000 trips. In order to reduce shutter shocks, which can lead to slight blurring in the image, an optional electronic first shutter curtain can be activated, the mechanical shutter then only works at the end of the exposure. Optionally, the Alpha 6500 can also trigger fully electronically, i.e. without mechanical parts and thus completely silently. However, the rolling shutter effect can reduce the image quality. Even purely electronic, the fastest shutter speed is 1/4,000 seconds and not 1/16,000 or 1/32,000 as some other manufacturers offer.

In the Alpha 6500, Sony has for the first time managed to integrate an image sensor with movable bearings for image stabilisation despite the compact housing or without enlarging it. This compensates with movements on three axes (horizontal, vertical and in rotation) movements on five axes. These five axes are composed of tilting movements and swiveling movements in horizontal and vertical axes as well as rotation. Sony promises up to five f-stops blur compensation according to the CIPA standard. In practice, this resulted in 3.5 to almost four f-stops at the long zoom end of the set lens 16-70 mm (105 mm corresponding to 35mm) and even only 2.5 f-stops at the short end of the lens (24 mm corresponding to 35mm). Thus, the image stabilizer does a good job, but in our opinion is not as effective as promised or as we are used to it from Olympus, for example, which in our opinion build the best sensor-based image stabilization systems currently available.

In addition to the Bionz X image processor, Sony uses a so-called front-end LSI for the Alpha 6500, a processor with an especially large buffer memory (for a more detailed explanation, see further links). With a maximum of eleven frames per second, including autofocus tracking by the way, the Alpha 6500 is not generally faster than the Alpha 6300, but it does have a larger “condition” due to the front-end LSI. In JPEG we could take 241 pictures in a row with this high speed, in Raw at least 110 pictures. As soon as the buffer is full, however, the serial shooting speed collapses to only 1.8 JPEG images per second or 1.3 raw images per second. The bottleneck is the memory card interface that only supports UHS I, but not UHS II. Just once with 31.2 MByte per second the data spills onto the memory card. With a full buffer this means almost 100 seconds of waiting time! For comparison: The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, the fastest camera with UHS II to date, writes data at 170 MByte per second and thus almost six times as fast as the Sony Alpha 6500! Here Sony really doesn’t stain itself with fame. After all, the recording and playback functions can be used during buffer clearing, but the menu is locked.

Sony also promises a lot when it comes to autofocus: 425 phase sensors (line sensors) are integrated on the sensor to record the direction of movement or distance of the camera from the subject. 169 contrast sensors are also available for fine adjustment. The large number of measuring sensors is distributed over a large area of the image sensor and can detect and track moving motifs very well. The Alpha 6500 offers the appropriate settings in the menu to optimally adjust the autofocus to the subject. The Sony, on the other hand, doesn’t set any records for single autofocus. It takes just over a quarter of a second from pressing the shutter release button until the camera has focused and released from infinity to two meters. The pure release delay of 20 to 30 milliseconds is pleasingly short.

Sony’s new LSI front-end is the “strong arm” of the Bionz X image processing processor. It offers fast data processing and above all a large buffer memory for long continuous shooting. [Photo: Sony]

  • The case of the Sony Alpha 6500 is made of a robust magnesium alloy and features a reinforced bayonet. [Photo: Sony]

The sensor shift image stabilizer of the Sony Alpha 6500 works with five axes and thus theoretically allows up to five f-stops longer exposure times

The shutter of the Sony Alpha 6500 offers a lifetime of at least 200,000 releases.

Video resolution reaches a maximum of 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) at 25 frames per second in PAL. This involves cropping to the Super 35 mm format. If one shoots films in full HD resolution, however, the entire image sensor area is available (apart from the trim from 3:2 to 16:9). If one switches the camera to NTSC, whereupon it restarts and if necessary the memory card has to be formatted, one can choose in 4K also 30p without Super 35 mm format (but nevertheless with Crop) or 24p. Only the engineers themselves probably know why Sony made the switchover so complicated. The maximum data rate is in any case 100 Mbit per second, which is a good quality, but some other manufacturers also offer more. In terms of recording formats, the Alpha 6500 with MP4, AVCHD and XAVC S again shows a good bandwidth. The video options are also varied, for example there is a sound level display, you can adjust the autofocus and of course adjust the exposure as you wish. There are also slow-motion and time-lapse functions with fine frame rate settings. By the way, the image stabilizer also works during video recordings, but there is no “aha” effect here either. In our opinion, Sony doesn’t come close to Olympus in this respect either, where the image stabilizer in the video practically makes a steady cam system superfluous.

The Sony Alpha 6500 is Spartan when it comes to post-processing photos, not even a raw development function is on board. Instead, Sony relies on Play Memories Camera Apps, some of which are free and some of which are available for a fee. In addition to image processing functions, they also provide special recording programs, but require prior registration and of course downloading of the apps, which is possible in a WLAN, for example. The WLAN camera remote control is also outsourced to such an app, which must first be downloaded in the current version in order to be able to use the full range of functions. Details about the app can be found in our photo tip in the further links. New in the Alpha 6500 is Bluetooth, which should enable the use of the smartphone as a GPS receiver. Unfortunately, with our test model of the Alpha 6500, we didn’t manage to couple the app to the camera via Bluetooth. Although the smartphone (a Sony Xperia XZ by the way) was able to establish a Bluetooth connection, the camera could not be found by the app. During a visit to the Sony dealer roadshow, we managed to connect the Sony Xperia XZ with an Alpha 6500 without any problems, which immediately wrote the location in the EXIF data for the following shots.

Picture quality

In the test lab, the Sony Alpha 6500 with the Sony E T* 16-70 mm F4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar (SEL-1670Z), the set costs almost 2,800 euros, had to prove its JPEG image quality. I found it quite expensive.

The Zeiss 16-70 mm is a very universal and high-quality zoom with a continuous light intensity of F4 and a large focal length range of 24 to 105 millimetres equivalent to a small picture. An optical image stabilizer is also included, which is taken into account by the Alpha 6500 and, in combination with the sensor shift image stabilizer, does part of the work. While the edge darkening and the color fringes of the 16-70 mm are essentially limited, distortion becomes visible at all measured focal lengths. At a wide-angle angle, it is moderate at just under two percent of a ton. At medium and long focal lengths it is only one percent distortion, but as a subjectively more conspicuous cushion shape.

The resolution measurement at 50 percent contrast also shows mixed results. The maximum resolution of up to 60 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in 35mm equivalent for a 24 megapixel sensor is good, but also not outstanding. This peak value is reached at 50 mm corresponding to 35mm with F5,6 and F8 slightly dimmed in the center of the image. Both with an open aperture and with a wide-angle focal length, the resolution curve is barely lower. Beyond F11 the diffraction pushes the resolution below 50 lp/mm. At the long end of the focal length the lens weakens a little, the 50 lp/mm are only slightly exceeded at F11. Also at the edge of the picture the resolution is not very praiseworthy compared to the picture center. In wide-angle, the edge resolution at F4 to F11 ranges from 33 to 39 lp/mm, at medium focal length from 25 to 50 lp/mm and at long focal length end from only 22 to 27 lp/mm. Unfortunately, one has to say, the APS-C lens range from Sony isn’t exactly equipped with high-quality alternatives, especially as Sony is now concentrating more on the full format again. Here you can also get some very good lenses, with which especially the marginal weaknesses of the APS-C don’t get onto the image sensor anyway. The full frame lenses, however, do not do justice to the size advantage of the APS-C format. If you are looking for a lens with a very high resolution in the center and at the edge of the picture, the full-frame lens FE 90 mm 2.8 Macro G OSS (SEL-90M28G), for example, is a must-have.

The Sony Alpha 6500 scores much better with the performance of the image sensor and the image processing and plays in the top league. The signal-to-noise ratio, for example, ranges from ISO 100 to 400 in the good range of over 40 dB and only falls below the critical value of 35 dB above ISO 1,600. Brightness noise is slightly noticeable from ISO 3.200 and strongly above ISO 12.800. Slight color noise is also noticeable above ISO 12.800, but plays practically no role below it. Noise suppression is virtually non-existent up to ISO 400. Even up to ISO 1,600, it works very gently, so that hardly any details are lost. Only above that there is a slight loss of detail, but even at ISO 6.400 the images are still usable, above that rather less if the full resolution is to be used.

The Zeiss-labelled 16-70 mm F4 OSS was used as the standard lens in our test of the Sony Alpha 6500. It costs in the set with the Alpha 6500 scarcely 2,800 euro.

  • For the first time in a mirrorless APS-C alpha, the Sony Alpha 6500 features an image sensor with movable bearings for image stabilisation.

  • The handle of the Sony Alpha 6500 offers a sufficient size and is thanks to the generous rubber application nice non-slip.

The input dynamics are in the very good range of over eleven f-stops up to ISO 800, but even at ISO 12.800 there are still a good ten f-stops. The tonal value curve is strongly divided, which provides for crisp mid-range contrasts. Sharpness artifacts, on the other hand, hardly play a role. The output tonal range is very good up to ISO 400 with 224 and more of 256 gradations, but drops rapidly above that. At ISO 1.600 there are just over 160, at ISO 3.200 less than 128 brightness gradations. The actual color depth moves up to ISO 1,600 with very good at least four million color nuances, but also up to ISO 12,800 it is still well over two million and thus a good value. With very good white balance accuracy, the average color deviation is small, but clear for some colors. Thus yellow tends a little towards green, light green is somewhat pale, while red to magenta tones are too saturated. All in all, the Alpha 6500 offers a very good JPEG image quality up to high ISO, which is hard to top in raw. Only at high sensitivities above ISO 3.200 can a raw optimization specially adapted to the subject still get something out of the images.

Bottom line

The Sony Alpha 6500 is a very robust and pleasantly compact mirror-less system camera, but we missed the splash water protection a little in view of the ambitious price. The scope of equipment is large and serves practically all user levels, even if sometimes the one or other detail is not yet perfectly implemented and the image stabilizer, for example, should like to work more effectively. The autofocus is fast and the continuous shooting speed is high. Thanks to the large buffer memory, extended continuous shooting is possible without any problems, whereas the tough writing on the memory card literally acts as a fun brake. Sony would have liked to give the Alpha 6500 a fast UHS II interface, because a large buffer is not everything. Sony, on the other hand, does everything right when it comes to picture quality. The 24-megapixel camera delivers very high image quality up to ISO 1,600, and it also tolerates ISO 3,200 and 6,400 well while still maintaining good image quality. However, Sony is likely to expand the range of lenses with high image quality that are specially tuned to APS-C in order to do justice to the compact and very good Alpha 6500.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Sony
Model Alpha 6500
Sensor CMOS APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (Crop factor 1.5
)25.0 Megapixels (physical)
24.2 Megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 3.9 µm
Resolution (max.) 6.000 x 3.376 (16:9)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2.160 30p
Lens Sony E 16-70 mm F4 ZA OSS T* Vario-Tessar (SEL1670Z) (zoom lens)
Video viewfinder EVF, 100 % field coverage, 2,359,296 pixels resolution, 1.07 times magnification (sensor-related), 0.71 times magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Disbandment 921.600 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swivelling
Touchscreen yes
AV connector HDMI Output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic yes
Automatic motif control yes
Motif programmes 9
Program automation yes
Program shift yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
Manual yes
Bulb long time exposure yes
HDR function yes
Panorama function yes, Sweep panorama
Exposure metering Matrix/multi-field measurement (1,200 fields), center-weighted integral measurement, spot measurement
fastest shutter speed 1/4.000 s
Lightning bolt built-in flash
Synchronous time 1/160 s
Flash connection Hot shoe: Sony Multi Interface, standard centre contact
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, infrared trigger, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Interval shooting
Storage medium
Memory Stick (Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 100-6.400
manually ISO 100-51.200
White balance
automatic yes
manual measurement yes
Kelvin input yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 425 Line sensors169
Contrast sensors
Speed 0.27 s to 0.29 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (mm) 120 x 67 x 53 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 445 g (housing only
)750 g (with lens)
Tripod socket in optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manual on lens
Battery life 350 images (according to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

 

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Robust and compact magnesium housing
  • Built-in image stabilizer (less effective than expected)
  • Wide range of equipment for all user classes
  • Very good image quality up to ISO 1.600 and usable up to ISO 6.400

Cons

  • Slow buffer emptying (100 seconds) due to lack of UHS II support
  • The 16:9 screen means that only 6.5 of the 7.5 cm diagonal are used for the live image
  • No more correct or less effective splash water and dust protection than with the competition
  • Viewfinder not suitable for spectacle wearers due to small exit pupil

Sony Alpha 6500 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)25.0 megapixels (physical) and 24.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 3.9 µm
Photo resolution
6.000 x 3.376 pixels (16:9)
4.240 x 2.832 pixels (3:2)
4.240 x 2.832 pixels (3:2)
4.240 x 2.400 pixels (16:9)
3.008 x 2.000 pixels (3:2)
3.008 x 1.688 pixels (16:9)
Panorama Swivel panorama
12.416 x 1.856 pixels
5.536 x 2.160 pixels
8.192 x 1.856 pixels
3.872 x 2.160 pixels
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard (version 2)
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 120 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 100 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 25 p
Video format
XAVC S (Codec H.264)
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MPG4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Lens mount
Sony E

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus, autofocus working range from -1 EV to 20 EV, contrast autofocus with 169 measuring fields
Autofocus Functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Tracking AF, Manual AF, AFL Function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (12x)
Focus control Depth of field control, dimming button, Live View

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 921,600 pixels, anti-reflective, brightness adjustable, inclinable 100° upwards and 45° downwards, with touch screen
Video viewfinder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 2,359,296 pixels, 1.07x magnification factor, diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 1,200 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (Auto
)1/4,000 to 30 s (Manual)
1/4,000 to 30 s (Electronic Shutter)
Bulb Function
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic (with Program Shift), Aperture Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 9 shots, step size from 1/3 to 3 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 6,400 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 51,200 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, infrared release, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Motives Landscape, Macro, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Sports, 2 additional scene modes
Picture effects High Key, High Contrast Monochrome, Retro, Selective Color, Toy Camera, 8 more Image Effects
White balance Auto, Clouds, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 4 presets, Incandescent lamp, from 2,500 to 9,900 K, Manual 3 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 11.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 233 stored photos, 11 frames per second max. 107 frames RAW or 100 frames RAW+JPEG
Self-timer Self-timer 10 seconds apart, features: or 5 or 2 seconds, continuous advance 3 shots after 10 seconds, 5 shots after 10 seconds and 3 shots after 5 seconds.
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Lightning bolt built-in flash (hinged
)flash shoe: Sony Multi Interface, standard center contact
Flash range Flash sync time 1/160 s
Flash number Guide number 6 at 16 mm focal length (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, High speed sync, Long time sync, Flash on second shutter curtain, Red-eye reduction by pre-flash, Master function, Flash exposure compensation from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer Sensor shift (optical)
Memory
Memory Stick (Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply Power supply unit connectionUSB continuous power supplyUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Sony NP-FW50 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.2 V, 1,240 mAh
)350 images according to CIPA standardSony
AC-PW20 AC adapter
Playback Functions Image rotation, Protect image, Highlights / Shadow warning, Playback histogram, Playback magnifier with 16.7x magnification, Image index, Slide show function
Face recognition Face Recognition, Face Recognition (8 faces), Smile Recognition
Picture parameters Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Special functions Electronic water level, Grid can be displayed, Zebra function, Orientation sensor, Live View, User profiles with 2 user profiles
Ports Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: present (type: B, G, N)
NFC: present
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin))
Audio output: no
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, Exif Print, PIM
Tripod socket 1/4″ in optical axis
Features and Miscellaneous Ultrasonic Sensor CleaningCreative Design PresetsDynamic Scope Optimization

(5 Levels)
Video Picture Profile Yes (Off/PP1-PP9) Parameters: Black Level, Gamma (Movie, Photo, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2, S-Log3), Black Gamma, Knee Color Mode (Movie, Photo, Cinema, Pro, Saturation, ITU709 Matrix, White&Black, S-Gamut, S-Gamut3.

C

ine, S-Gamut3), Saturation, Colour Phase System, Colour DepthAudio Level MeterTouch AFTC/UB RecordingAudio Recording FunctionAuto

Slow ShutterVideo
Colour Range xvYCC Standard Hybrid AF System
(Contrast and Phase Comparison Auto Focus)
Focus Peaking with three selectable colours (White, Red, Yellow)
Play Memory Lens Compensation
:

Edge shadow, image defects, distortionsBravia
LinkQR code connector
for smartphones without NFCHDMI clean outputEye-Fi

compatible

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 120 x 67 x 53 mm
Weight 445 g (ready for operation)

Other

included accessories Sony AC-UUD12 power supply unitSony
BC-VW1 charger for special rechargeable batteriesSony
NP-FW50 special rechargeable batteryUSB connection cable carrying strapPicture editing softwarePicture Motion Browser for Windows
optional accessory Sony AC-PW20 Power SupplySony
HVL-F20M Push-on Flash with Swivel ReflectorSony
XLR-K2M (Microphone Adapter)
Previous articleCanon 70D Review
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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.

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