Sony has unveiled the new A6500 mirrorless camera, which features 24.2MP APS-C sensor with 5-axis image stabilization and 4K video capture.
At first blush, the sheer amount of tech in this compact mirrorless camera seems remarkable. Still shooters get an improved 4D focus system with 425 phase-detect AF points and a touchscreen interface to select your focus. The A6500 can capture up to 11 fps and offers a sensitivity range up to ISO 51,200.
Sony rates the shutter life to more than 200,000 actuations, which is an impressive number for a camera in this range. You get a 2.35m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder built-in, alongside a 3″ 921k-dot LCD on the rear that tilts up and down for high and low capture.
On the video side of things, however, the A6500 really seems to throw down the gauntlet with a killer set of specs in such a compact form-factor. It can capture 4K video up to 30 fps and uses the 20MP sensor for 2.4x oversampling with full pixel readout and without pixel binning, which should produce higher image quality with less moiré and aliasing. It can also capture 1080p video at up to 120 fps.
Internally, the camera uses Sony’s efficient XAVC S codec with 4:2:0 sampling for 100Mbps bit rates at both 4K and HD resolutions. However, you can also use the HDMI port for external capture up to 4K resolution at 4:2:2 sampling. The S-Log3 gamma setting offers up to 14-stop dynamic range in video capture to get the most out of your footage in post production. Additionally, Gamma Display Assist allows you to better monitor the footage on-camera with more natural contrast appearance.
As we continue to see in recent 4K cameras, Sony also offers the ability to capture 8MP images from 4K frame grabs in-camera. Along with the solid AF, video shooters will also appreciate the focus peaking feature for manual focusing.
Of course, the A6500 also has built-in WiFi with NFC for connecting to mobile devices. This is (fortunately) becoming a staple feature on cameras – even though the process of connecting is still more cumbersome than it should be. Hopefully, each generation will continue to improve.
As an E-mount camera, there are plenty of lenses and accessories already on the market. If you are a veteran of the Sony E-mount line, you may already have a Sony NP-FW50 battery or two, which the A6500 continues to use. Take that as a blessing or a curse since the battery life isn’t necessarily exceptional on these cameras.