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Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review

We review the 24mp Sony Alpha A6500 - Sony's 24mp APS-C mirrorless camera with 5-axis image stabilisation built-in to the camera, and 4K video recording. Updated Feb 2020.

| Sony Alpha a6500 in Mirrorless Cameras
BUY NOW SONY Alpha a6500

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 Hands On (2)

The Sony Alpha A6500 is the third version in the Sony Alpha A6000 series, announced not long after the A6300, the camera offers a number of upgrades, including built-in 5-axis image stabilisation, a tilting touch-screen, improved grip, plus more. The camera features a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, records 4K video, and shoots at 11fps. The A6300 and A6000 will remain on the market, offering alternative price points for this series. 

Sony Alpha A6500 Features

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 Hands On (1)

The Sony Alpha A6500 features a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, 11fps continuous shooting (with continuous AF) and is capable of shooting up to 307 shots continuously. The camera adds in-camera 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation, a 3inch touch-screen, and features high-speed AF with 425 AF points and phase-detection focus.

The 3inch tilting screen is now a touch-screen that can be used to set the focus point, but can't be used to scroll through the menu system or select items there. It can be used in playback to zoom into photos. 

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: A6500 New Shutter Unit And 5 Axis IS
Sony Alpha A6500 - New Shutter Unit and 5 Axis IS

The camera has a new shutter unit, rated for 200,000 shots, and this has been re-designed to fit in the almost the same size body as the A6300, whilst also fitting in the 5-axis image stabilisation system that moves the sensor.

Like the A6300, the camera features 4K video recording, plus high-speed FullHD video recording at up to 120fps. There are numerous shooting modes, including full manual controls, custom modes, as well as smart Auto shooting, scene modes, and a panoramic mode. 

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 Lens Off

Like other Sony cameras, Wi-Fi, and NFC are built-in and the A6500 supports Sony's PlayMemory Apps, and if you register your camera with them, you will get two apps for free including a Star Trail and Multiple Exposure app. There are other apps available for free, as well as some paid apps. The A6500 also features Bluetooth, and this can be used to add location data to images.

Updated over the A6300:

  • New metering mode (highlight-weighted mode, entire screen average mode)
  • Enhanced spot metering (linked to focus area, standard or large)
  • Finer exposure compensation adjustment (1/6-stop increments)
  • Location info via Bluetooth
  • Enhanced remote camera control (storage destination, raw and jpeg)
  • 8mp stills can be extracted from 4K movies
  • Touch-panel AF system
  • Slow and quick motion 1-100fps, for up to 50x quick motion and 4x slow motion (FullHD)
  • Improved buffer for 269 shots at 11fps, and 307 shots at 8fps
  • 5-axis image stabilisation (sensor-based) - up to 5 stops

Being the third A6000 camera, with the previous two cameras remaining on the market, we thought we'd show a quick comparison of main differences of these three cameras:

A6000 A6300 A6500
24mp 24mp (New, copper wiring) 24mp
- - 5-axis sensor-based IS
- 4K video 4K video (with 8mp stills)
FullHD, 60fps FullHD upto 120/100fps FullHD upto 120/100fps
- Weather-sealed* Weather-sealed*
ISO100 to ISO25600 ISO100 to ISO51200 ISO100 to ISO51200
179 AF points (phase detection) 425 AF points (phase detection) 425 AF points (phase detection)
11fps with AF (48 JPEG) 11fps (44-55 JPEG) with AF 11fps (269 JPEG) with AF
1.44m dot EVF, 0.7x 2.36m dot EVF (reduced lag), 0.7x 2.36m dot EVF (reduced lag), 0.7x
3inch tilting screen, 921K**  3inch tilting screen, 921K  3inch tilting touch-screen, 921K 
MicroUSB charging MicroUSB charging / power MicroUSB charging / power
- Microphone socket Microphone socket
Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth (Location)
360 shot battery life (LCD) 400 shot battery life (LCD) 350 shot battery life (LCD)
344g weight (with battery and card) 404g weight (with battery and card) 453g weight (with battery and card)

* with weather-sealed lenses ** Whitemagic

Following on from the A6500, Sony has introduced the A6400 in January 2019, and A6600 in August 2019, if you'd like to see how they compare, have a look at our A6400 vs A6500 vs A6600 comparison.

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 With Lens

Key Features

  • 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation
  • 3inch tilting touch-screen (touch-AF), 921k dots
  • 2.36m dot EVF, 0.7x magnification
  • New front-end LSI and BIONZ X
  • 425 Phase Detection AF points (with 84% sensor coverage)
  • 0.05sec AF
  • 11fps continuous shooting with AF 
  • 200,000 cycle shutter unit rating
  • 4K video (30,25,24p) 100Mbps (from 20mp / 6K image)
  • ISO100 to ISO51200
  • Dust and moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body
  • 3inch tilting touch-screen, 
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

Sony Alpha A6500 Handling

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 Hands On (4)

The Sony Alpha A6500 design has been improved slightly, with the camera now featuring two Custom buttons (C1 and C2) on top of the camera, and a third Custom button on the back. The grip is larger than the previous model, and has a textured rubber cover than extends round to the back of the camera, where there is a lip for your thumb. There is quick access to ISO, exposure compensation, and drive mode using the 4-way controller / scroll wheel. You can also get quick access to settings using the Fn/Function button, and these on-screen settings can be customised so that you have access to your favourite settings. However, strangely, despite the camera having a touch-screen, you can't use the touch-screen to change these settings.

The camera feels well built and even the battery cover feels good, with a thick plastic used. The camera features a magnesium-alloy body that is weather-sealed, when used with a weather-sealed lens. The tilting screen and pop-up flash use metal hinges making them strong even when extended out of the camera. The memory card slot is in under the camera, in the same place as the battery.

The inclusion of in-camera image stabilisation has resulted in a heavier camera compared to the A6300, with an increase of 49g, although this increase isn't too much with the camera feeling compact and easily stored in a compact camera bag, or large pocket, particularly with one of the smaller lenses. There are 425 phase-detection focus points covering a wide-area of the sensor, and having a touch-screen it is easy to set the focus point using the screen. 

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) looks good, with a high resolution of 2.36m dots, and 0.7x magnification. The "Hi" speed "live-view" continuous shooting mode has been designed to give minimal blackout between shots, and shoot at 8fps, making it easier to track subjects. The screen looks good, although it's worth noting that the screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio so photos appear smaller on it than they would if it had a 3:2 aspect ratio. 

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 Hands On (5)

The menus are now colour coded, so that each main section has its own colour, for example, Photo1 (Photo options) is colour coded in red, Photo2 (Mostly movie options) is colour coded purple, etc. This is welcome, however, the photo section now has 14 pages of options (up from 9 on the A6300), and the Photo2 section has 9 pages of options. This is because Sony has organised the options into more logical categories, however, this means that some pages have only 1 or 2 options on them. You can see the options and layout of the menus in the video below: 


Wi-Fi features - Wi-Fi, and NFC are built-in and the A6500 supports Sony's PlayMemory Apps. There are apps available for free, as well as some paid apps. The A6500 also features Bluetooth, and this can be used to add location data to images. You can use Wi-Fi to send photos to a smartphone, a computer, view images on a TV, as well as use NFC to set up the connection. 

Sony Alpha A6500 Camera Review: Sony Alpha A6500 Battery

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 350 shots when using the screen according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is reasonable, although is 50 fewer shots than the A6300. You can also power the camera using a portable USB charger if you need to. 

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Photographs taken using the Sony Alpha a6500

Night ChurchSand-sweptFinal Resting Place of the SV PaulMorning strollBoxing Day SunriseHelvetiaThe StragglersLet Me Explain!I'm so interested...A Bit of a Stretch!emergenceTHIS is how you do it! Emerging Sweet Chestnuts

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1 Mar 2017 12:58PM
I am not an early adopter - I bought an A6000 used just a month ago, an A7 in 2014 and an A7II in 2016. I can see how many of the features of the A6500 make it much superior not only to other APS-C cameras in the Sony line, but - IMHO - superior to every other APS-C camera I've seen. It is priced high, but likely to be reduced - and at some point, I may purchase it. But for now, lack of it doesn't impede my ability to take the best photos I can.

One can admire a new product, and one can afford it without feeling compelled to purchase it immediately.
hannu108 11 1 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2017 1:05PM
There seem to be a typo: Pros: 1fps continuous shooting with AF. It sould be 11 fps.
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2017 2:52PM

Quote:There seem to be a typo: Pros: 1fps continuous shooting with AF. It sould be 11 fps.

Sorry this has been fixed, thanks
AlanWillis 13 67 England
6 Mar 2017 11:16AM
I own the A7R2 and spend half on still and half video I purchased the 6500 for the video enhancements, such as the Quick and slow motion.
My slow motion is on memory 2 and once set up can be used in an instant. I have had this camera since it was launched, and have only used the A7R2 since to compare image quality. 18 Months technology since the launch of the A7R2 shows such huge innovation and improvement.
I use the 6500 mainly with the 70-200GMaster and two converters. The image quality is unbeatable, the lens with converters give me up to 400mm on the A7R2 full frame up to 600mm with APSC and 1200 mm in clear image Zoom, with excellent quality.
The best camera I have ever owned. I have owned rather a lot.
is it better than Fujifilm ? Just curious and not intending to down sony or others. Just appears Fuji bring out cameras every 3 to 4 yrs as a way to improve, innovate on the classic design. Their Fuji lens appear to be slightly smaller, placed in-between 4 thirds and aps??, slightly cheaper but with high ratings for their glass quality. What I do like, is that sony have ibis and weather proofing and flippy screens....something Fuji seem to dislike doing except perhaps for the x100v just released and more expensive xt3.. Hmmm bean counters getting involved again, in engineering and innovation. Hate them counters types.
I have to say though, for looks size and simplicity, sony a6500 is a winner.

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