December 20 2016
The Sony a6500 features improved image quality, autofocus speed and a faster frame rate for still photography.
Sony did not increase the megapixel count of the a6500’s sensor, leaving it 24 megapixels. This still makes it equal or better than anything in the APS-C class. There is a price to pay for increasing megapixels, noisier photographs and slower frames per second shooting. Then there is the increased file size placing greater demands on memory cards and computer storage. Sony’s decision to provide better image quality instead is the right one in my opinion.
Autofocus is another area of significant development with 425 phase detect points built into the image sensor, unlike the separate AF sensor array used in DSLRs. This is part of Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system that combines high-speed phase detection AF with extremely accurate contrast AF system to capture and lock on to moving subjects in as little as 0.05 seconds.
Sony added 5-axis image stabilisation to the a6500, the first time this system has been used in a Sony APS-C sensor camera. This gives a shutter speed advantage of approximately 5 stops. Combined with the ability to use higher ISO settings, extending the lower limit of light conditions practical for photographing while hand holding the a6500.
“We are continuing to push the boundaries of modern innovation in digital imaging, in particular within the mirrorless space,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “By equipping the a6500 with 5-axis image stabilisation and touchscreen AF, we’re offering photographers and videographers more control than ever before and a seemingly endless amount of creative possibilities. As our flagship APS-C camera, it far exceeds the performance threshold of any camera in its class, and many above its class as well.”
Comparing the Sony a6500 with top small sensor DSLRs from Nikon and Canon in the DxOMark.com lab reveals the Sony more than holds its own.
In the DxOMark noise test the a6500 matches the Nikon D7200 and has slightly less digital noise in images than the Canon 80D.
The DxOMark colour sensitivity test is about capturing subtle differences in colour in the image. Here the Sony ?6500 show excellent performance for this class of sensor.
To go with the fast AF the a6500 has continuous shooting capability of 11 frames per second, with a buffer capable of storing 307 images that are waiting to be written to the memory card.
Additionally, in a first for Sony cameras, the ?6500 features touchpad functionality. When utilising the viewfinder for framing and shooting, the LCD screen can be used as a touch pad. Simply drag a finger across the screen to shift the focus point from one area to another.
The positioning of the electronic viewfinder is interesting. It is minimalist rather than obvious, as in the new Canon M5, and in a similar position to the classic film rangefinder style of camera. However, as it shows the view through the lens there is no parallax error that was a characteristic of the rangefinder optical system.
The Sony a6500 uses E-mount lenses that have a different diameter to the A mount lenses for their DSLRs. The E mount lenses are more compact then the A mounts intended for DSLRs. It is possible to use the A mount lens on Sony mirrorless cameras but it does require an adaptor.
The Sony a6500 is a more than capable compact APS-C digital camera with all the capabilities of and image quality of a DSLR in a more compact body.
Available now from Adorama for $US1,398.00