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Sony A6500 - not really cheap...


Sony just announved their third camera in the new E-Series. Beside the A6000 and A6300, there will now also come a model called A6500 in December. It shall be better in AF, fps and antishake.

But the price is something to swallow. 1.700.- Euro for the body only (1.400 USD)....

If Sony and others are increasing more and more the prices with the newer models, soon Medium Format looks cheap compared to that...


Here is the official press release:

Sony Introduces New α6500 Camera with Exceptional All-Around Performance
New Flagship APS-C Sensor Camera Combines World’s Fastest AF speed1and Highest Number of AF points2 with In-camera 5-axis optical image stabilization, Touchscreen AF Operation, 24.2 MP Exmor® CMOS sensor and more

NEW YORK, Oct. 6, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced their new flagship APS-C sensor camera, the α6500 (model ILCE-6500).

As the latest addition to Sony’s lineup of award winning mirrorless cameras, the new α6500 shares the same unrivaled 4D FOCUS™ system as the α6300 camera, which can lock focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, the world’s fastest1 AF acquisition time. Also shared with the α6300, the new α6500 features 425 phase detection AF points that are densely positioned over nearly the entire image area – the world’s highest2 number of AF points on any interchangeable lens camera. The new model can shoot images at up to 11 frames per second with continuous autofocus and exposure tracking and up to 8 frames per second in a live-view shooting mode that makes it easy to track fast moving subjects, as it combines all of the benefits of an electronic viewfinder with the immediacy of an optical viewfinder.

The camera can shoot at these high speeds for up to 307 frames3 thanks to its expanded buffer, which, along with the fast response speeds described above, are all achieved with the support of a new front-end LSI chip that has been added to the camera. This new front-end LSI also serves to enhance both still and video image quality.

Additionally, the new α6500 features Sony’s acclaimed in-camera 5-axis optical image stabilization, making it the first Sony APS-C sensor camera to offer all of the benefits of advanced in-body stabilization, which include a shutter speed advantage of approximately 5 steps4. It also offers touchscreen AF capabilities for focus point selection and adjustment.

“We are continuing to push the boundaries of modern innovation in digital imaging, in particular within the mirrorless space,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “By equipping the α6500 with 5-axis image stabilization and touchscreen AF, we’re offering photographers and videographers more control than ever before and a seemingly endless amount of creative possibilities. As our flagship APS-C camera, it far exceeds the performance threshold of any camera in its class, and many above its class as well.”

Unmatched AF Capability

Sony’s new α6500 camera utilizes the same 4D FOCUS system as the α6300 – a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines high-speed phase detection AF with extremely accurate contrast AF and allows it to capture and lock on to moving subjects in as little as 0.05 seconds1. It also features 425 phase detection AF points and High-density Tracking AF Technology, which significantly improves subject detection and tracking performance.

New for the α6500, thanks to faster internal processing capabilities enabled by the front-end LSI, the maximum buffer for high-speed continuous shooting is an impressive 307 frames3, greatly increasing the chances to catch that decisive moment.

The camera’s 425 phase detection AF points, focusing tracking and accuracy are also available when using non-native A-mount lenses5 with Sony’s LA-EA3 mount adaptor. Additionally, it includes silent shooting, Eye AF in AF-C mode, AF in focus magnifier modes, Expand Flexible Spot AF and more.

5-axis Image Stabilization Provides 5 Steps Shutter Speed Advantage

One of the most exciting developments in the new α6500 is the implementation of 5-axis image stabilization for the first time in a Sony APS-C sensor camera. Additionally, through a total revision of the internal design of the camera, this newly developed stabilization system fits entirely within a body that is nearly the same size as the α6300 model6. This innovative 5- axis system provides a shutter speed advantage of 5 steps4, ensuring the full resolving power of the sensor can be realized, even in challenging lighting.

The shake compensation provided by the system works with a variety of lenses, including E-mount lenses without OSS (Optical SteadyShot) stabilization and A-mount lenses7 when used with a compatible mount adapter. When an E-mount lens with OSS is mounted, pitch and yaw are compensated in the lens and horizontal, vertical and roll axes are compensated in the camera body, resulting in optimal 5-axis stabilization7.

Also, with a simple half press of the shutter button, the effect of the image stabilization can be monitored in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen, allowing framing and focus to be accurately checked and continually monitored. This is available even when a lens is attached that does not have built-in shake compensation.

New Touch Screen Focusing

The new α6500 comes equipped with touch screen functionality, allowing users to lock focus on a subject simply by touching it on the screen. This is a powerful compliment to its advanced AF system and video shooting capabilities.

Additionally, in a first for Sony cameras, the α6500 features touchpad functionality. When utilizing the viewfinder for framing and shooting, the LCD screen can be used as a touch pad. Simply drag a finger across the screen to shift the focus point from one area to another.

Powerful 24.2 MP8 Exmor CMOS Sensor, BIONZ X® Processor and New Front-End LSI

The new α6500 features an APS-C sized 24.2 MP8 Exmor CMOS sensor that works together with a BIONZ X image processor and the newly developed front-end LSI to maximize processing power and achieve an impressive sensitivity range of ISO 100-512009.

The image sensor employs a thin wiring layer and large photodiode substrate that maximizes light collection efficiency, plus copper wiring in its structure for outstanding read-out speed. The BIONZ X image processor and newly developed front-end LSI ensure superior image and video quality with low noise even when using higher ISO settings, in particular those at high sensitivity values where other cameras typically struggle. The LSI is also responsible for the expanded buffer depth for continuous shooting.

Professional Video Capabilities

The new α6500 becomes the latest Sony interchangeable lens camera to offer internal 4K movie recording, as it can shoot 4K (3840x2160p) video in the popular Super 35mm format on the full width of the image sensor. When shooting in this format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information – approximately 2.4x10 (20 MP equivalent) as many pixels as 4K UHD and then oversamples the information to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

Additionally, the α6500 will focus exceptionally fast during movie shooting thanks to its Fast Hybrid AF system, offers touch focusing for professionally smooth focus shifts, while also offering adjustable AF transition speed and AF tracking sensitivity. The camera supports the XAVC S codec11 during video shooting, which records at a high bit rate of up to 100 Mbps during 4K recording and 50 Mbps during Full HD shooting, ensuring maximum detail and clarity in both video formats.

Other professional caliber video features include the ability to record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD (24p) resolution with AF tracking.

New on the α6500 is the incorporation of a ‘Slow and Quick’ (S&Q) mode that supports both slow motion and quick motion. In this mode, frame rates from 1 fps to 120 fps can be selected in 8 steps for up to 60x quick motion and 5x slow motion recording12. Footage shot in this mode can be previewed after shooting without the need for PC-based post processing.

The camera also offers S-Log gamma recording13 for wide dynamic range shooting – approximately 14-stop latitude in S-Log3 gamma setting – and supports S-Gamut for a wider color space. Both options allow for greater creativity for processing video post-production.

Shooters also now have the ability to select, extract and save still images from movie footage directly on the camera. Approximately 8 MP images and 2 MP images can be pulled from 4K modes and Full HD modes, respectively.

Enhanced Operability and Reliability

The new α6500 has a refined design, maintaining the mobility of the α6000 series while adapting much of the usability of Sony’s acclaimed α7 II series. The new model features the same high contrast, high-resolution 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder as the α6300 that offers exceptional corner-to-corner visibility.

New hardware features on the α6500 include a magnesium alloy body and a high-durability shutter with a tested life span of approximately 200,000 release cycles14. It also has several design features that are borrowed from the α7 II series of full-frame cameras, which include a robust lens mount, a recessed grip to improve handling, a larger release button and ten total custom buttons including ‘C1’, ‘C2’ and ‘C3’. It also has an improved operation feel for its mode and control dials and rear face buttons, as well as a softer eyepiece cup for more comfortable usage.

On the software front, there is a new overall user interface, which allows for a much smoother process for searching and adjusting menu settings, as well two new metering modes – Highlight, where exposure metering is focused on the brightest area of the frame, and Entire Screen Avg, which maintains an average metering for the entire image.

The camera is Wi-Fi®, QR and NFC compatible and fully compatible with Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile™ applications15 available for Android™ and iOS platforms, as well as Sony’s growing range of PlayMemories Camera Apps™. The α6500 also offers location data acquisition via a Bluetooth16 connection to a compatible mobile device and an updated menu structure to deliver a smoother navigational experience.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony α6500 interchangeable lens camera will ship this November for about $1,400 US and $1,750 CA. It will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

There is also a new genuine leather body case (model LCS-EBG) that will ship in November and a new eyepiece cup (model FDA-EP17) that will be launched at a later date.


  1. Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras equipped with an APS-C image sensor as of October 2016, based on Sony research, measured using CIPA-compliant guidelines, and internal measurement method with an E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens mounted, Pre-AF off and viewfinder in use.
  2. Among digital cameras as of October 2016, based on Sony research.
  3. With “Hi” continuous shooting mode and “Fine” image quality.
  4. Based on CIPA standard. Pitch/yaw shake only. With Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off.
  5. A-mount lenses with SSM or SAM only. Users can choose phase-detection AF or contrast-detection AF in AF System menu. “Phase-detection AF” is not available during movie shooting. AF-C in AF System menu is available only with “Contrast-detection AF” selected, but no motion tracking is performed during continuous shooting (Hi+, Hi, Mid).
  6. Excluding grip, frontal-view size and main body thickness are the same as for the α6300
  7. All 5-axis stabilization is performed in-camera when SEL90M28G is mounted
  8. Approximate effective MP
  9. Standard ISO range: 100-25600 for stills and movies. Expandable up to ISO 51200 for stills only.
  10. In 24p recording. Approx. 1.6 times in 30p recording.
  11. SDHC/SDXC memory card of Class 10 or higher is required for movie recording in XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps recording.
  12. Sound cannot be recorded. SDHC/SDXC memory card of Class 10 or higher is required.
  13. S-Log2 and S-Log3 are premised on processing pictures.
  14. With the electronic front curtain shutter, under internal test conditions of Sony.
  15. Use the latest version of PlayMemories Mobile
  16. Can be connected via Bluetooth with smartphones featuring (as of the date of release)
Hi Dirk,
Thansk for the updates.
It looks interesting but as you say - expensive. The big lens on the small body is ungainly and awkward looking. I have sold my Sony cameras, apart from one, as I find them difficult to operate. The menus systems are very difficult to me.

Contac C

New Member
I don't think the price is out of line, it's half what i paid for my Nikon Df body; what they have done is to take one more step away from putting the fun back into photography and the driver behind the wheel. I also have a Fuji XE-1, and it convinced me that it was opposed to fun. I suspect the Sony has at least as many menus, enough to be worthy of a chef. I will not go out of my way to look at one. Now, if Sony would take my Nikon F2, charge me 15oo bucks and hand me back a Nikon F2 digitalized body, I'd be fighting to get to the front of the line.


I do think that there are two different problems we are facing now. Some only for Sony, some for the whole industry.

Regarding the whole industry, I am afraid that the trend will be to earn the same money or even more with less cameras. Sales numbers with all brands and models are going south since a few years. If the companies want to keep the income on the same level in the future, they have either to invent something really new that sells like hot cakes or increase the prices.

The photo market is pretty much saturated and for still photographers there is not really a reason to upgrade every one or two years for a new models. Their "old" camera one does everything what they need, the new models bring some improvements but the step forward in features and image quality since 2012 is only marginal compared to the needs and final output of the mainstream photographer.

So I am afraid, that we will get over the next years "less added value for more money". Only Smartphones will have IMHO significant and meaningful improvements for the mass market.

The problem of Sony is, that they still do not understand or do not want to understand the market for enthusiast photographers. Sony thinks and acts like a typical brand, that only has know-how in massmarketing of disposable electronic products, like games, walkman etc. The customers uses it for a few years, throws it away and buys something new. Sony never did understand, that a photographers sees his purcheses as an investment for the future. So he wants not only to have every 6 months a new body, he wants above all a meaningful selection of NATIVE lenses.

Not this adaptor hipe, jsut because Sony can not deliver on the lens side ;)

So Sony can bring whatever they want to on the body front, nobody takes them seriously, if they are not bale within 10 years to offer the right mix of lenses in native mount. This was their failure with the original Minolta Alpha mount and now also with the NEX/A mount and E mount.

It might work for cheaper cameras like the Sony A6000. Many customers will buy it with a kit lens and no other lens for the next 20 years. But as soon as you want to enter the semi-pro/enthusiast market, you need to deliver more than every 6 months more focus points in a new body.

If you compare Sony with Fuji, yoi will see, that Fuji knows what they are doing for this market. In a shorter period of time, Fuji was bale to offer a better lens range and is getting more respect from that market than Sony. If I ask my friends around and read through the internet, Sony is regarded more like a "toy" for a limited time until the next "big thing" will be announced. And of course all the adptor freaks, who have 5 different cameras (of 5 different brands) and use that Sony camera only to adapt lenses of other brands.

Sony needs to sit down and really think about what they want to do about it. They gain market share each year, but not in the marlket for enthuasiast/semi pros/pros. The proble is, that the decision makers at Sony have no clue about photography, They change their job internally to fast too often. At the same time, they are resistant to advice. I tried it for sevaral years and Zeiss tried it too. Nothing changed. Sony is not Kyocera.

In my personal view, the A6500 is totally overpriced compared to alternatives (fullframe and APS-C i.e. Nikon D500) and for what it is worth it as a whole system. For me the value of a body is also reflected in the lens range of native lenses i can use it with. They should have saved the R&D of the A6500 and should have invested that money in developing a meaningful lens range forn the enthusiast/semipro market.
Great post Dirk; I think you have hit the nail on the head. It's no good treating cameras like "white goods" . A few years ago a local camera shop said much the same thing to me when I enquired why they did not stock Sony. they said that they could pull out of the market at any time if they changed their minds about producing photgraphic products. I didn't really believe them at the time. Mind you Kyocera pulled the plug on us all those years ago. They were not a photographic company either. With Nikon, Canon, Olympus etc, photograply is their raison d'etre.


yes, but Kyocera had at least for a long time decision makers in the company, who knew something about photography. That was when they aquired Yashica, started the cooperation with Zeiss and developed the RTS and the N-System.

Only after these people were not the decision makers anymore, Kyocera chnnged its strategy and produced everything under the Kyocera name and only P&S for the mass market, they would never be able to compete on. Kyocera should not have pulled the plug. they should have listened to what their customers wanted to buy...

But this is history...

I just look now at Sony's press conference and post some comments on it. Have a look here:

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Contac C

New Member
Well, you "young guys" make me feel more confident about my views and philosophy of photography! I'm just seventy-seven and bought my first 35 mm camera (Robot Star) in 1960, and started dark room work seriously that same year. Almost sixty years of my life has flown by since then. My Nikon F2SB sits stored with my Nikon FE, but all my "heritage" glass, bought in 1977/80 along with my Dome is back in use again, and I've actually bought three additional "as new" Nikon lenses, a 24 f2, pancake 50mm f1.8 and a 35mm f2.8 PC. These beautiful old lenses manually focus perfectly, easily, with my Df, even with my old eyes, and I can use aperture preferred or manual exposure and the other camera controls without fishing about to find correct menus, yet still enjoy the fun side and the fantastic attributes of digital photography. Wake up, Sony et al.
Thanks Contac C for the "young guys" . I'm 71 and began photography when I was 10 with an Agfa Clack which I still have. I must give it a try again sometime. So far as I remember, it didn't actually clack!