Sony Alpha a6500 Digital Camera – Overview, Tech Specs, Ratings & Reviews

Sony Alpha a6500 Digital Camera – Overview, Tech Specs, Ratings & Reviews
Deal Score0
$1,298.00 $1,398.00
14 new from $1,298.00
10 used from $1,135.75
Last update was in: March 12, 2018 9:41 am

24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ up to ISO 51.200 Wide 425 phase detection AF points Fast 0.05 sec. AF acquisition 5-axis in-body image stabilization steadies every lens 4K movie w/ 2.4x oversampling OLED EVF w/ Live View & optical viewfinder immediacy Wi-Fi/NFC/QR code for easy file transfer and... 24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor with world’s fastest AF speed (0.05 sec.) and highest number of phase detection AF points (425). In-camera 5-axis optical image stabilization for every lens and enhanced AF features including intuitive and immediate touchscreen AF operation. 4K movie recording and pro... 79-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor. The compact, lightweight camera delivers superb image quality - via newly developed 24.3-effective-megapixel (approx.) Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine - as well as highly intuitive operation thanks to an OLED Tru-Finder...
Color Black
Type Body Only

Sony a6500 Hands-on Review and First Impressions

Our first impressions of the a6500, the new flagship APS-C E-mount camera from Sony. For more information, you can check out our hands-on article from the ...

Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera Review

The Sony a6500 was a surprise to those of us with an a6300, but was Sony justified in releasing another a6000 model in under a year? I think so, and in this ...

Sony Alpha A6500 review: a mirrorless camera for all your digital needs

Note: Shots from 1:30, 2:55 and 3:03 were taken with a Zhiyun 3-axis handheld gimbal. 4K can also be shot at 30fps & 25fps. Designed to blur the boundary ...

In comparing to the a6300, here are the important points:In-body stabilization - this will add extra stabilization if you already have stabilized lenses, and it will provide stabilization for lenses that don't have it already. This is important for those of us who do photography or video with vintage lenses or high quality lenses without stabilization, like the Sigma Art series.Big buffer - The a6300's buffer isn't small, but the camera waits to write to the card after a burst of shots. So for sports photographers, the new, larger buffer and the no-wait features are nice. You can review or continue to shoot while the camera writes to the card.Overheating - It isn't so much that Sony "fixed" the heat problem... instead they provide a means of "living with" the heat the camera generates. As such, there are fewer scenarios in which this camera will shut down due to overheating vs the a6300.The touchscreen is underwhelming in photo modes, it engages too slowly to be useful. In video mode it works, but not quite like you'd want. You can, technically, get it to focus on a subject and then track the subject, but making that happen is a chore. Most will find it difficult enough to use the default way. Sony needs to spend a bit more time on this.All that said, the camera is almost identical to the a6300 in terms of quality and normal operation. There is an extra custom button, which is nice. The grip is a little deeper, which is nice. The rolling shutter is still absolutely awful in video or silent shooting modes.With the exception that it is not full-frame, it is the first mirrorless camera that has the features needed to satisfy DSLR snobs (I know, I switched from Canon).PS - If this review helped, or if you're just bored and enjoy clicking things - could I trouble you for a "Yes" vote below?
Jeff Ello - PhotonArmy .com - December 2, 2016
[Updates At Bottom]There will be a lot of reviews from this camera covering the technical specifications and image quality and the camera in general. This review will be primarily for people who are coming from the A6000/A6300 as I’m sure anyone dishing this kind of money for a camera are familiar enough with this camera or are looking at an upgrade from the aforementioned cameras.I am a novice/amateur photographer and I have only been attempting photography for just over a year. This camera goes far past anything I need at this second but, I like and appreciate technology and learning how to better my hobby. This will not necessarily be a review for the hardcore or professional photographers. I am using this with the Zeiss 24f1.8, 50f1.4, Sony 35f1.8, 18-105f4, kit lens 16-50, as well as the Sigma MC-11 adapter with Canon 85f1.8.Anyone familiar with the A6000 or A6300 know that they take amazing photos. The A6500 is no different in this regard as one would expect. They are great cameras and the A6500 only improves on that formula but the question is does it improve it enough? Enough to justify another Sony camera purchase within a year? Enough to justify $1400? Enough to justify an upgrade from the A6000 when that camera body alone can go for under $500 now? Enough is going to be relative for a lot of people so let me just say, yeah it kind of is for me.I have used the A6300 since release and it has been outstanding. Image quality, speed, low light shots, video, the list goes on and on. When the A6500 was announced I was a little annoyed. Granted it was set to a new price bracket of $400 more than the A6300 but had it been announced at the same time as the A6300 or even next year as a follow up, I would have felt better about my initial purchase. I was reluctant to order the camera just on the principle of the matter and honestly not wanting to support this kind of sales model. As I read more about the A6500 those few main new features kept on poking at me; a touch screen, in body 5-axis stabilization, and a much larger buffer.I have to start by saying that the touch screen is mediocre and a bit disappointing in 2016. I guess we are so accustomed to touch screens on our phones, tablets, and computers that we just have expectations of what a touch screen is in 2016. The A6500 does not have that touchscreen. Beside the fact that it is not used nearly as much as one would expect for things like going through menus, it is also not super responsive, and just plain not as useful as you would hope. Don’t get me wrong, it is a decent addition and while it has its quirks it is awesome to use it to pick focus points while looking through the view finder opposed to the directional buttons. It is faster albeit less precise a method to pick your focus than a directional pad control but it also feels like a touch screen from 10 years ago.I used a Sony NEX-5T, an older and lower end model that came with a touch screen. It worked well and especially considering the other controls were limited. When I moved up to the A6300 I was surprised that it didn’t at least have the touchscreen that the 5T had. Now the A6500 has that touchscreen, literally, the same screen. Actually to be honest, it is less useful than the touchscreen on the 5T because you could use that touchscreen for menus. This touchscreen seems below Sony and below our current standards and feels tacked on for a bullet point for presentation.I do have to say regardless of the touchscreens shortcomings, it is a nice feature as a touchpad when looking through the viewfinder. While it is noticeably lagged behind your fingers movement, it is still faster than using a directional pad for me and in general it works. If this your main consideration for buying this or upgrading to this camera, I would look for other reasons.Fortunately the 5 axis in-body stabilization is fantastic. While this might not be a necessary addition for a lot of people, I have a few lenses that don’t have stabilization which means I end up losing light to shutter speed and turning up the ISO. The stabilization in this camera works very well and allows me to keep my shutter speed and ISO far lower than I could with my A6300 for lower light shots. Again, if you’re using some of the native emount lenses, you may have stabilized lenses and have less of a need for 5 axis in-body stabilization but I have to say that this is far better and works in conjunction with stabilized lenses making it easier to get sharper and clearer images. If the in-body stabilization is one of your main considerations for upgrading to the A6500, know that it is one of the few things that absolutely makes the upgrade worth it.Another thing that tended to annoy me with the A6300 was the buffer. It filled up fast and took what seemed like forever to clear which meant you could miss the shot you wanted if you weren’t careful. This wasn’t a constant problem because I don’t do a lot of continuous or burst shooting but when I did, it was always disappointing that I couldn’t take more shots or I had to wait a while to view them. The A6500 completely turns this around. The buffer is much larger allowing you to take far more shots before it fills and allows you to view them much faster. With the A6300 you became very aware of the buffer limitations and shot around them whereas with the A6500, you almost forget you have limits.One of the unexpected nice additions is the new grip. When I first saw that it had a new grip, I didn’t really think much of it because it wasn’t all that much bigger. Also, the grip on the A6300 was manageable so a new grip wasn’t something I was thinking of. Although the grip is just a bit larger, in the hand it feels so much better. The added size is just enough to keep my fingers and hand in a tight claw formation. My fingers don’t press up against the camera or the lens the way that they used to with the A6300. Overall it makes the camera easier to handle and especially for longer periods of time. You just feel like you’re holding onto something more significant which leads to less fatigue over time. It is like driving for hours without a steering wheel cover and squeezing the smaller steering wheel. It was probably the greatest addition that I didn’t know I needed.Another nice new feature is an extra programmable function key. While I did actually like the placement of the function key by the shutter for the A6300, I do appreciate having more programmable buttons. It just limits the number of button presses rather than having to search through menus. If they had left the function button by the shutter and then added the two more, I would have really liked that but I can deal with the new placement for the added button.The deep Sony menu system that most people seem to hate has been updated,…slightly. Although the menu system on the A6300 wasn’t great, I didn’t really have much to compare it to and found it functional for the most part. Sometimes it took too long to find a function or feature but eventually I’d find it. This updated menu is slightly better. It is slightly more intuitive, it has color making it slightly easier to identify which area you’re in, and it is slightly better organized. I’m glad they tried to improve their seemingly outdated menu system but they probably could have done more as well as included touch screen controls for navigating it. This kind of thing is something they could potentially fix with firmware updates but I don’t see that happening.There are a few minor things I thought they could have worked on to add more value to the camera. First although not totally necessary for me is a second card slot. It wouldn’t necessarily have added much bulk considering the larger grip anyways and it would have been a nice added feature for their flagship APSC.Second, the battery is the same. I’m actually partly ok with that because of what I’ve spent buying these NP-FW50 batteries. I have a bunch of them so I can always take a couple extra with me which is all I’ll ever need but the battery life on the A6300 was mediocre and the A6500 is supposed to be up to 10% worse. I haven’t tested the battery enough to tell for myself but if it is 10% worse than mediocre, that puts it at less than ideal. Still, having many batteries alleviates most energy concerns and I was never too disappointed with the battery life of the A6300.Another thing although not necessarily a gripe is that the back of the camera including the buttons feel a little light or cheaper than the A6300 which I thought felt more thick and less plasticky and hollow. It isn't a problem but just one of the things I felt the first time I picked up the camera.Last thing I would have liked to see change would be the articulating screen. I’m glad that it does articulate at all because it definitely comes in very handy when shooting something lower or higher but I was hoping that they would have added 180 degree articulation of some sort. This is a very minor gripe for me because it would be very limited in use but some of the lower end Sony mirrorless cameras offer this and it came in handy on the 5T.There are a lot of features to go over that I won’t cover here. I don’t do a lot of video recording so I won’t try to speak to that. I personally have never had my A6300 overheat on me for pictures or video so I can’t really speak to that although in my very limited time with the A6500, I can say it also has not overheated. There are a good amount of technical reviews that will go over all aspects of this camera so I will leave that to smarter people.Is it worth it? Yeah, for me it is but I can’t say if it will be worth it for everyone. If you shoot with an A6000 then it may be worth it as an upgrade to the focus, buffer, 5 axis, and touchscreen. If you shoot with an A6300 then you’re really just looking at the 5 axis stabilization and buffer. For now the touchscreen just isn’t enough reason to upgrade but the stabilization and buffer can be. If you shoot in single shot and use native emount lenses with optical image stabilization built in then you don’t need this camera. It is no doubt a great camera. It has blazing fast auto focus, a great buffer, does fantastic video, produces amazing images, and all in a pretty compact form factor. However, it is also expensive with a still somewhat limited lens options, mediocre battery life, a touchscreen from 2007, rolling shutter issues(that I don’t worry about), and a wonky menu system. If you want a good camera and don’t mind shelling out the money to get it, then get it. You’ll be happy because it is a great camera but you don’t need this camera to take good shots.I can recommend this camera because I know this is an amazing camera for me and for others but if you’re on the fence and the money is an issue, it wouldn’t hurt to test one out first or wait 9 months for the A6700. LolI will update this review as I have more time with the camera and will try to answer any questions I can.[UPDATES]After a little more use I'm finding that the touchscreen is a nice feature. It is still implemented rather poorly, not used nearly enough, and while using it as a touch pad while looking through the viewfinder is laggy, the feature is still useful and growing on me a bit.Also, I'm really missing the placement of the custom key by the shutter on the A6300. While they've added another custom key, the placement of the two isn't as convenient for my fingers to get to easily. Not a big deal and I like having the extra button but would have liked to have kept the original where it was.[MONTH IN]The 5-Axis IBIS is fantastic and pairs amazingly with the Zeiss 24 1.8 and the Zeiss 50 1.4 since none of them offer stabilization. I am getting better low light shots and able to lower my shutter speed far lower than I would have expected.The touch screen is still useful but flawed and in the end I'm still happy with it despite some frustration.Another thing I don't beleive I noted in the review regards the eye piece for the EVF. It is a little different than on the A6300 and seems to keep my eye lashes and oils off of the EVF much better.The grip still amazes me considering how much better it feels from adding so little.For everything I am enjoying about this excellent camera, I am moving more towards 5 stars despite the price and the new features from the A6300 being somewhat limited.
I Like Stuff - December 5, 2016
I love this camera. I got it on January 09, 2015. I immediately noticed how fast it drained the battery. It was even draining the battery overnight with the camera turned off, so I ordered 2 additional batteries and a charger. And I got in the habit of taking out the battery when I wasn't using the camera. I'm an engineer so I immediately started looking online for a remedy in various forums and conducting experiments to find out what was draining the battery so fast. After a lot of digging with no solution, I was going through all the menus one day and stumbled across Airplane Mode???Sony a6000 battery drain mystery solved!!! Turn Airplane Mode On! The a6000 supports Wi-Fi transfer of photos and videos to SmartPhones, Computers and other Wi-Fi devices. The default setting is Airplane Mode Off which drains the battery even with the camera off because it is always looking for nearby Wi-Fi devices. The solution is to turn Wi-Fi Off by turning Airplane Mode On. Only turn Airplane Mode Off when you want to send photos/videos to another Wi-Fi device. Then turn Airplane Mode On again as soon as you have finished sending. Problem solved.
Russell E. Schwausch - June 7, 2015
I'm an enthusiast and like many current SONY users I'm a convert: I used various Canon gear since the original Rebel came out. I had thousands of dollars invested in lenses. The first two rebels were great cameras. Then I started to grow disappointed with each next Canon camera. 40D was awful. The 7D was better but still I was not happy and I could not afford a better body such as 5D. Also, I mainly shoot while hiking and I grew tired of hauling the mass of gear. After not shooting for over a year I figured it's time to change something.I also used Canon point and shoot cameras and, again, I was terribly disappointed with the quality and reliability. S95 died with the dreaded "lens error". S100, also died in less than two years. So I started reading and discovered the SONY RX100II. It blew me away! In decent light I could not tell the difference between the RX100II and Canon 7D shots! So I started digging deeper since I never considered SONY cameras before and it came to a very hard choice between the a6000 and the A7.After studying very RAW file I could find on the internet for weeks I decided the slight difference in image quality was not worth 3x the price of the A7 for me.I bough the a6000 with the E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS. After the first shoot my jaw dropped. I could not believe it! This tiny $550 body and an $800 lens totally blew away the Canon 7D that costs three times as much. Anything from sharpness and color to speed of focus just wipes the floor with the 7D!So I sold all my Canon gear and bough another a6000 body and the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS lens. I also bought the Rokinon 12mm F2.0 NCS CS lens and two sets of Vivitar chargers and batteries and AGFA filters. Both bodies, three lenses, 6 batteries, filters, etc fit in a small personal carry-on bag along with Macbook Air, iPad and lots of smaller items! I can carry both bodies on my shoulder and they're lighter and less bulky than one 7D with a tele lens! Sure these are some compromises as I don't have 400mm zoom or 2.8 speed but the kit produces stunning images that I am totally happy with at a fraction of the bulk. My entire photo gear in a small handbag!!!Just like the RX100II, the a6000 is an amazing marvel of modern technology that puts Nikon and Canon to shame. My hat's off to SONY for this achievement. I won't dive into specs. But yes, what people say about the quality, speed and features of this camera is all true. This is not hype. I didn't believe at first. This thing reinvigorated my interest in photography to the point that I took short vacation to go shooting in Death Valley.I can't find really anything wrong with this thing. Sure, it's not perfect, there are little annoyances such as the infamous video button but this is all overshadowed by the technological brilliance and stunning image quality that rivals midrange DSLRs.Speaking of video: with the G lenses this camera is a blast to use for video and produces gorgeous full HD at 60fps. I'm just not much into video.One significant drawback of the incredible set of features is high power draw. This thing goes through batteries quickly. Get the Vivitar or Wasabi kit with external charger and two extra batteries. I figure around 250 shots per battery and I'm not even using power zoom.And yeah, the unfortunate decision not to include a dedicated charger is just stupid. Come on SONY. In camera charging is not acceptable.In case you haven't figured this out yet: I really like this camera and the two SONY lenses!
AdamDZ - February 11, 2015
This camera is nearly perfect. Ease of use and features are the best I ever had. Blows away my previous sony A57, and is better than the sony RX 100 MIII used at my job. Paired with a Sony SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS it is a versatile beast of a camera for photo and video. If you don't know anything about photography just set it to Intelligent Auto and it will still take fantastic pictures. Since pictures are the best proof, see the following customer images I uploaded: pond, sunset, popcorn, popcorn cropped and tubing. Anyone can take pictures like these with this camera.
ThatGuy758600 - August 16, 2014
David Busch's Sony Alpha a6500/ILCE-6500 Guide to Digital Photography

David Busch's Sony Alpha a6500/ILCE-6500 Guide to Digital Photography

Rocky Nook, Inc.. 2017

David Busch’s Sony Alpha a6500/ILCE-6500 Guide to Digital Photography is the most comprehensive reference and guide book available for Sony’s advanced APS-C mirrorless camera. This eagerly-anticipated enthusiast/professional digital camera adds in-body image stabilization, a useful touch screen, and better low light performance at up to ISO 51,200. It features a 24 megapixel sensor with 425 embedded phase-detect pixels for lightning-fast autofocus at up to 11 frames per second. With an...

Buying Options

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply