Sony Alpha A6500 Reviewed

Sony Alpha A6500 : Sony’s best mirror-less camera to date

On-line review site cameralabs has posted a very extensive review and test of Sony’s mid to upper range mirrorless range-finder styled camera the Sony Alpha A6500.

The Sony Alpha A6500 comes with a 24 Mp APS-C sensor, built-in stabilisation ( 5 stops of compensation), 3in 920K dot touchscreen, 4k video, a XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, a new powerful AF system ( with 425 embedded phase-detect AF points), and 11fps continuous shooting (or 8 with live feedback) that means thee camera is likely to appeal to potential action shooters. In essence the new A6500 becomes the new flagship APS-C e-mount body.

From Cameralabs:

Good points
Detailed 24 Megapixel stills.
High quality uncropped 4k video, 1080 up to 120p, S-Log profiles.
Built-in 5-axis stabilisation works with any lens. 4 stops in my tests.
Fantastic AF system, fast 11fps bursts and leading buffer depth.
Touchscreen allows you to reposition AF area with a tap.
Spot metering can be linked to active AF area.

Bad points
Touchscreen under-used. Can’t tilt to face subject either.
Screen is dim and can’t be brightened in 4k or 1080 / 100p / 120p.
Often confusing or inconsistent menus and user interface.
Maximum shutter of 1/4000 (electronic or mechanical).
No RAW processing playback.
No dual card slots. No headphone jack.

Sony A6500 final verdict

“The Alpha A6500 is Sony’s best all-round mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor to date. The original A6000 was the first mirrorless to confidently take-on sports and fast action. The A6300 then improved the focus and live feedback even further, while adding weatherproofing and great quality 4k video. Now the A6500 gives it broader appeal by adding built-in stabilisation, a touch-screen, deeper buffer and Bluetooth for hassle-free low-power location tagging. The built-in IS may not be quite as good as Olympus, but greatly improves composition, still shooting and movie filming with unstabilised lenses, and while the touch capabilities are under-used, you can at least tap to reposition the AF area or pull-focus while filming. While it’s the continuous autofocus and fast bursts that continue to set it apart from rivals, the upgrades have made it a much more compelling camera overall than its predecessor. Sony needs to do some work on its controls and user interface, not to mention updating some features that should be standard at this price, but they don’t hold it back from a Highly Recommended award”.

My Take:

The Sony Alpha A6500 is clearly a very good camera, in particular Sony have honed and tweaked AF peformance and the result is a very competent all round performer. BUT I agree 100% with Cameralabs, the ergonomics and handling experience still haveĀ  a lot to be desired and more often than not its how a cmaera handles and feels in the hand that sways users.

Also following the current trend the new camera is quite expensive.

Personally I’d consider the Fjifilm X-T2 over the Sony Alpha A6500 or even the Panasonic Lumix G80 and although both are different body designs and physically bigger the Panasonic G80 in particular is a fair bit cheaper.

If money is no issues and you need class leading mirror-less AF perfomance the new Olympus OM-D EM1 II has to be top of your list.

If Sony played with the physical layout of the A6500 they could have a winner in their hands all be it an expensive one.

Mark Baynham ( December 2016)


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