In this post, I would like to review Sony A6500 or Alpha 6500 camera. I will go over the specifications, strong sights, weaknesses and explain different aspects of A6500.
Aerodynamics and Handling of Sony A6500
So let’s start with aerodynamics and handling. When I first unboxed Sony A6500 I was really surprised how small it is, in reality, considering that this camera packs a ton of features. Compared to DSLRs Sony A6500 is much smaller than even the smallest like Nikon D5500.
The build quality is really excellent it feels like a premium product it is made of a magnesium alloy. It feels sturdy and it is one of the best-made cameras that I had an opportunity to test so far. Sony A6500 is a rangefinder style camera so there is no hump in the middle of the camera to accommodate the viewfinder. The viewfinder is on the left side of the camera like on other A6000 series cameras. I actually prefer the rangefinder style cameras to these large shape cameras because they tend to be smaller.
There is a bit deeper grip than on Sony A6300 which is good in my opinion. The viewfinder is very nice to point 36 Million dots. It can go up to 100Hz. refresh rate and the visibility is very decent even in stronger sunlight. Although it would be even better with a larger cap that you can get as an accessory. Magnification is only 0.7 times though. So I wouldn’t mind the larger viewfinder.
The display tilts only upwards and downwards it isn’t fully articulating which is one of the downsides of this camera. So for vlogging, if you want to see yourself you have to use an external monitor or an app in your smartphone. The bigger problem for me with the display is that it is unusable in direct sunlight the brightness is not sufficient and in sunlight, you can maybe use it for basic framing but there is also best-case scenario. So we can either use the viewfinder or get an external monitor. I have put a matte file on the display to reduce the glare and also to protect it but it doesn’t help much with the visibility. Display is also touch sensitive which is a first in Sony A6000 line. But it only lets you select focus points so we can’t use it for anything else.
Top Side of Sony Alpha A6500
There is also a pop-up flash on the top of the camera. Nice thing is that you can tilt it upwards and use it as a bounce flash in case of emergency. Next to the pop-up flash, there is a standard hot shoe.
Then on a top side, we have mold dial with; Manual mode, Semi-manual modes, Video mode, Custom modes, Panorama mode, Scene mode, Automatic mode.
Next to that, there is a dial that I used to control aperture. Feel of this dial is very nice in my opinion. There are also two custom buttons and the shutter button. I have to say that I don’t like the shutter button very much because there is no haptic feedback that would tell you that your half pressed it. So you are just guessing what force to use the half press it which is not good. I shall don’t mind it that much because I use back button focusing but just keep it in mind.
Rear Side of Sony Alpha A6500
On the rear side, we have rather traditional layout for this style of camera. The four-way pad does rotate. Which is very good and it saves you fair amount of clicking. I also like the addition of AF/MT and AEL toggles so we can program that to do basically whatever you want to. Then there is a video record button that everyone criticized but only I don’t have any problems with it, it works just fine in my opinion.
Left Side of Sony Alpha A6500
On the left side of Sony A6500, there is a slot for battery and SD card. I don’t actually mind the placement. And on the left, there is 3.5-millimeter mic inject, micro HDMI port and USB 2.0 port that can also charge the camera even while you’re using it. I’m very glad that Sony implemented this feature.
Menu on Sony A6500
The menu on Sony A6500 is not great but I didn’t find it to be as terrible as on some other cameras both Nikon and Canon menus are in my opinion even worse. This new horizontal orientation is in my opinion quite easy to use and to remember where the settings are.
Internals and Performance of Sony A6500
Moving on to the internals and performance of this camera we have the familiar 24 Megapixels APS-C type (23.5 x 15.6 mm), Exmor CMOS sensor carried over from A6300. Judging by the raw files that this camera produces it is also very similar to a Nikon D5600 and D5500. I really like the sensor it provides 14 stops of dynamic range low-light performance is very solid in both photography and video. Although for maximum low-light performance you would still have to go with full-frame. But for my purposes are definitely find this sensor to be more than sufficient.
It’s also unclear whether there is a low-pass filter on the sensor but here again I can just say that I haven’t found any decrease in sharpness in comparison to D5500 which definitely doesn’t have low pass filter.
The standout feature of this sensor is that it is 5x is stabilized. Which is very impressive considering how small the body of this camera is. At this moment I don’t think that I will ever buy a camera without stabilize sensor anymore. It is a great feature it works quite well, reduces rolling shutter effect in 4K video a bit. It also gives you more flexibility when shooting with lenses without stabilization, improves low-light performance by allowing you to drop the shutter speed if your subject isn’t moving too fast. This means that I can have a proper stabilized picture while using the adapted mighty Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 with APS-C sensor and that is the lens that I will be using most of the time for this camera.
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This camera also burst 11 frames per second which is Nikon D500 fast. That makes this very capable sports camera and wildlife camera although the tracking isn’t quite as great as on the best DSLR but it’s still very good in my opinion. A6500 also has improved buffer capacity so we will be able to take longer bursts of photos and not be forced to wait while the buffer clears.
Regarding the autofocus that is one of the best things about this camera. It is hybrid 425 points (phase-detection AF). According to Sony, it can acquire focus in 0.05 seconds. So this mighty fast even with this adapted Sigma 18-35. It is very good with photography and just about perfect in video. The video, general is great out of this camera. Image quality is superb also low-light performance with this APS-C sensor is more than decent. Even though for the best low-light performance possible you still need to go with a full frame but this is perfectly usable in most situations.
This camera shoots 4K in 24 and 25 FPS without cropping. Which is great so it uses the whole sensor and a downscale 6K video to 4K video. Which unfortunately brings one major problem and that is rolling shutter effect that distorts lines and make the jello effect. This camera can also do 120 and 150 FPS slow motion video which is great as well.
Sony Alpha A6500 Sample Images
Now let me show you a couple of pictures that I have taken with this camera all of these were shot with Sigma 18 to 35 which is one of the sharpest lens.
Pros. and Cons.
So to sum up this post let me just tell you what I like the most about this camera and what I don’t.
So what I like,
- I like the build quality definitely the packaging and that this camera packs so many features in so small body.
- The viewfinder is good although the magnification could be bigger.
- Considering the size of the dials and the buttons are also sufficiently well placed.
- Even though I can say that the menu system is very good I think that is actually one of the better menu systems available.
- I’m a fan of this image sensor it provides excellent image quality in my opinion.
- Autofocus is amazing.
- I really appreciate that the sensor is stabilized and the 11 FPS is great as well.
- Also, the video quality out of this camera is really great.
The main points that I don’t like,
- First of all, the screen is unusable in a satellite brightness is not sufficient.
- Battery life is below average.
- There is a significant rolling shutter effect while shooting 4k video.
- The biggest downside of this camera for me at the moment is actually a lens selection. There is no proper kit lens like Nikon or Canon 18-55 f/3.5 there is just terribly soft 16-50 kit lens from A6000 and so on. There is in my opinion extremely overpriced and slow size 16-70 f/4 and for me, the best option seems to be the 18-105 f/4 which is also quite overpriced considering that competition is selling compare the lenses for much less than half the price.
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