Sony A-Series is known for some of the most powerful mirrorless cameras. We recently reviewed and listed then A7R II as one of the best cameras for youtube. It really impressed us with its overall performance, especially the 4k tech.
The Sony a6500 is one of the company’s top tier APS-C mirrorless models with an astounding 24MP still and video camera with image stabilization.
It exists with its similar-looking line-up of the a6000 and a6300, but with the added complexity of touchscreen capability and stabilization for a wide array of enthusiasts.
While there are a number of similarities between the a6300 and a6500, the newer model is equipped with quite a few changes like the touchscreen, the image stabilization and a new ‘Front End LSI’ which is a processing chip that allows for faster and more complex processing of images.
There are also a couple of smaller changes, such as the addition of a highlight spot metering mode.
Compact and Functional Design Structure:
The a6500’s has a prominent magnesium alloy, rangefinder-style body that is quite compact and robust. It is also equipped with weather-resistant seals that protect the camera against dust and other elementals which gives for a smoother and tension-free shooting experience. It also has a double-layered design for tightly interlocking panels.
The weight of the body lies at around 0.91 lbs which is pretty good considering the features it comes packed with. So If your planning to record some vlogs with it then you would easily be able to record some vlogs with it.
The a6500 has a notably deeper grip that we actually appreciate in the camera, considering the now easier and more adaptive grip. While the a6300 had a single custom function button on the right of its shutter button, the a6500 has two, which are located between the shutter button and the camera mode dial.
The design is pretty compact which allows the a6500 to offer both built-in flashes as well as a multi-interface shoe microphone alongside an electronic viewfinder. The design also allows for two large dials – a command dial and another for changing the shooting mode of the camera.
The back of the a6500 allows for a handful of well-marked controls and a loosely moving control wheel which allows the user to navigate through the menu and view images in much ease.
The display pulls away pretty easily from the camera and allows one to position it as needed. The touchscreen, however, does fall short in its competition considering one cannot change the focus point when taking photos and videos, although, you can use the touchscreen to change your focusing point while you’re looking through the viewfinder. If you like to swipe through your clicked photos and try to pinch-zoom into them and like interaction through the touch screen, you will most likely be disappointed.
The a6500 has the amazing ability to set a minimum shutter speed threshold at which the ISO will be increased. Moreover, it can also set an upper and lower limit to the ISO settings that the camera will later use. The minimum shutter speed setting is assignable to a custom bottom which means you can access this feature in a much faster and convenient way. The a6500, furthermore, contains 5 automatic threshold options that consistently maintain a fixed shutter speed that is immediately related to focal length.
The camera also allows you to use Auto ISO in its manual exposure mode. This allows you to specify the target brightness that you want the camera to maintain. This feature can be useful for both photography stills and video shooting, for when one would want to specify exposure settings and then allow the camera to handle the rest while using the ISO.
One thing that we found super impressive with the a6500 was its extremely responsive shutter. From the second you press the shutter to when the photo is actually taken has almost no lag difference. One can really use this to its full advantage in an action set-up that requires quick and crisp images.
Moreover, when working quickly, the last thing one would appreciate is for the camera to display “writing to memory card” or “unable to operate” errors on the screen. This is what puts the a6500 at a higher pedestal than the a6300 as it can shoot a burst of 50 or more Raw+JPEG files and you can hit the playback button and clearly and crisply view every image you took.
The camera also has a feature called the “buffer countdown” placed in the upper left corner so that users know how many images can still be captured before it’s fully cleared.
The a6500’s JPEG engine makes sure it gives you the best detail retention. Its default sharpening tool is aggressive in a pleasing manner as it adds more emphasis and depth to all your images. It also recognizes fine patterns are brought out without being too overwhelmed by the haloing around the edges of which also means that the cameras sharpening radius is well judged.
The camera is also capable of performing quite well in low-light situations and can retain quite a high level of detail even under higher ISOs. The a6500 is a might upgrade in forms of texture, color and depth than the a6300. It has a strong context-sensitive system that applies lower levels of noise reduction to areas with a good amount of recognizable details and textures.
However, where there is a boon, there is a bane. And so the colors of the a6500 are comparatively weak. While it does outperform the 6300, it still lags behind compared to the majority of the competition it has. The colors are often muted, off or just desaturated in general. People tend to look redder than they actually are and yellows look more green.
The a6500’s has two continuous shoot modes available. The fastest mode called the Hi+ allows for someone to shoot at up to 11fps but the slower Live View mode allows for 8fps and gives a rather smoother and more consistent Live View image. So If you are planning to get a camera for recording high-quality professional Videos for your Youtube Channel, then a6500 could be an excellent choice.
The AF-C is the only autofocus mode available, you can either position the focus point manually or center lock on the AF to specify the target that the camera will attempt at following, Tapping the screen allows you to lock onto your target. While there is no separate option to use AF Lock, the camera allows you to use it’s menu options to define the speed of refocusing and how the AF tracking will stick to your subject.
The in-camera 5-axis Steady Shot image stabilization system is possibly one of the biggest advantages of the 6500 as compared to it’s older a6300 and a6000. Sony claims this offers 5 stops of camera-shake compensation which makes this so much better than almost every past Sony camera.
Video recording is also benefitted from the touch focus feature and allows users to shoot in S-Gamut or S-Log modes. The S-Log3 and S-Log2 gamma curves offer a wide dynamic range up to its claimed 1300%, while the S-Gamut mode has a particularly wide color gamut. What this means is that the video produced is the video equivalent of Raw files in still photography. So, it means you can carry out your post-shoot color grading on a computer to create a realistic-looking final result. It also has a Gamma Display Assist option that allows you to view your footage while using these S-Log modes which helps you in making it simpler to check your focus and exposure as you go.
The a6500 uses the same NP-FW50 battery that has been used on previous E-mount cameras. But because the camera is equipped such a wonderfully working touchscreen and IBIS which have reduced the cameras battery performance. The a6500’s CIPA is rated at 350 shots per charge, and while one can usually get a lot more shots compared to the CIPA, we’re not impressed by the number of shots per charge. The a6300 had more shots per charge as compared to it’s newer a6500 and we’re definitely disappointed.
The Sony a6500 is not a perfect camera, but we definitely see an increase in the changes made and that Sony is creatively putting in the effort to make their cameras more usable in fieldwork. The improved menus, buffer and the new touchscreen all have made this quite a successful camera with a lot more uses than it’s older models. This camera is one of the most powerful that Sony has put out in a while and is great for action photography and capturing images super quick.