- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
- 11 fps continuous shooting for up to 300 JPEGs or 100 RAW files
- 1/4000 second max shutter speed
- 425 phase-detect autofocus points
- XGA Tru-Finder 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
- 3.0" 921.6k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
Photo by Niko Savic on Unsplash
The Sony a6500 is a highly capable, fairly-priced APS-C camera with a host of features you'd expect from a more expensive model.
With an excellent autofocus system, superb ergonomics, and excellent video performance, there's a lot to love about this little camera.
But is it the camera for you? Find out in our Sony a6500 review.
Table of Contents
Sony a6500 Specs
The a6500 is the little sister of the a6300 in that most of its specs are very similar.
Both cameras come with a 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor; both cameras come with a BIONZ X image processor.
They also both shoot internal 4k video.
Some other specs that the a6500 comes with includes:
If you're following along, these 2 cameras are nearly identical. They feature the same sensor and the same viewfinder, but the a6500 is a definite upgrade thanks in part to its 11fps shooting. The a6300 only shoots 44 JPEGs or 21 RAW files at this speed, which is nothing compared to the a6500's impressive 300 JPEGs or 100 RAWs.
Plus, one of the best new features is that the a6500 has instant image review of the last image written to the memory card, so you can check the focus on your image while the camera is writing to the memory card.
I also appreciate a camera with excellent video capabilities, which the a6300 did not have, but the a6500 does have due to a new, more durable shutter.
Another additional feature the a6500 is the ability to select autofocus points by just touching the screen. Speaking of touchscreens, you can also double-tap the screen to zoom in on shots or swipe through images during playback.
Plus, as is the case with Sony's newer cameras, it's easier to use than the a6300, a feature I will discuss below.
Sony a6500 Body & Design
Let's talk about the usability of the a6500. The a6500, unlike the a6300, incorporates the C2 and C1 custom buttons on the top of the camera.
As mentioned previously, the camera also features an impressive 3.0" 921.6k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD.
The EVF is the same as the a6300, and this is because Sony has locked in on the perfect viewfinder and there's no point changing something that isn't broken.
The camera is 4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches, so it retains the same small, lightweight body Sony users have grown accusomted to.
Sony a6500 Build & Handling
Let's talk ergonomics.
The a6500's grip was redesigned and is now bigger, but not overly so. Thanks to the new grip, one that is similar to the a7 Mark II, you can shoot for longer periods with longer lenses.
However, thanks to the new grip, the a6500 is the heaviest in the line. It weighs in at just over 1 pound. I've personally never found it difficult to shoot with a camera of this size, but it's something to keep in mind if you're going to be adding extremely heavy lenses to your kit.
Now that the C2 and C1 buttons are located on top of the camera, as opposed to on the back of the camera, they're easier to reach.
Sony a6500 Video Performance
Not to give away one of the best features the Sony a6500 features with this YouTube video by Igniter Media, but its video performance is in another class.
The a6500 shoots 4K at 8-bit 4:20:0 internally, so you can shoot at 4K but output to HD. If you use the HDMI output and video externally, this camera steps up its game to shoot at 8-bit 4:2:2 in Rec 709, S-Log2, or S-Log3.
This type of video performance allows you an incredible dynamic range in post-production.
If you don't need this feature all the time, though, you can also use the camera's full HD video recording.
Sony a6500 Lenses
Before I get into my top three choices for Sony a6500 lenses, I'll explain what types of lenses can work with the camera.
Sony has 2 types of lenses for its "E-mount" mirrorless cameras: FE and E lenses. Both FE and E lenses can be used on the Sony a6500.
Any Sony lens with an E can be used with their APS-C sensor mirrorless bodies, aka the Sony a6500, whereas any Sony lens with an FE can be used across the board on all of their mirrorless cameras.
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Sony 20mm f/2.8 for Travel
This lens is beyond compact, so I'd recommend it for travel photographers. It weighs 2.4 ounces and is only 2.5 x 0.8 inches.
Another reason I'd recommend this lens for travel photographers is because of its weight. While it doesn't feel very durable (it's mostly plastic), it would survive a drop better than any of its counterparts.
This lens does suffer from some wide-angle distortion, but it's not overwhelming.
This lens also features a quick autofocus (great for the split second a tourist isn't in your shot).
This lens would also be grand in any situation where you're looking for a setup that won't throw out your back carrying it around all day.
Learn all about it in the video above by TechnologyMafia.
Sony 50mm f/1.8 for Portraits
This lens is the number one recommended lens for shooting portraits with your Sony a6500 for its f/1.8 aperture (aka bokeh, galore) and the telephoto focal length (50mm equivalent to 75mm) which keeps portrait proportions in check.
Again, this lens is very compact at 7.1 ounces and 2.4 x 2.4 inches (again, it is made of mostly plastic), but offers excellent sharpness and is very reaonably priced.
See this lens in action in the video above by Christopher Frost Photography.
Sony 35mm f/1.8 for Everyday Use
This is the lens I would recommend for anyone looking for a 50mm equivalent for your a6500.
It's inexpensive and shoots well in low light. You can use it as a portrait lens thanks to its focal length, or as an everyday lens for landscapes, street photography, and points in between.
The one downside to the lens is that it isn't as sharp as some other lenses for the a6500, but that shouldn't deter you from considering it as a capable addition to your camera bag.
Jason Vong offers a rundown of this lens in the video above.
Sony a6500 Price
Now, for the part nobody likes. A new Sony a6500 is available for $1,100 on Amazon.
Since that's a pretty hefty price tag, you may want to consider getting a new Sony a6500. Since the a6500 dropped at the end of 2016, used ones are widely available at steeply discounted prices today.
I tend to use MPB for a lot of my lens needs, since they have a wide selection of used cameras, including the Sony a6500.
One in excellent shape is available right now on MPB for only $874. I'd take a $200 discount over a brand new camera any day!