Best Sony Alpha A6500 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020:
Sony upgrades its high-end APS-C box in small touches, retaining the design and interface introduced with the A6000 several years ago. We were able to take charge for a few hours of the new Sony Alpha 6500 . The firmware is not final, our first impressions may change depending on the corrections made.
Best Sony Alpha A6500 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020
3. Sony a6500 4K Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with APS-C Sensor ILCE-6500 + 64GB SDXC Memory Card + Dual Battery Kit + Complete Micro 4/3rd Accessory Bundle
4. Sony ILCE-6500 a6500 4K Mirrorless Camera Body + 50mm E-Mount Lens + 64GB Memory Card + Large Gadget Camera Bag + PaintShop Pro + Slave Flash + Remote + Microfiber Cloth + Lens Cleaning Pen + More
Autofocus and power on
Sony communicates a lot about the responsiveness of its device, especially in terms of burst or autofocus. However, there remains one point on which the brand must work: the time to power up. Indeed and despite a new processor, you must always wait 1.6 s before you can trigger. We are quite far from the instantaneity of SLRs or even different hybrids. This is an area where Sony still needs to improve.
For the rest of the lap times, the Sony Alpha A6500 offers very good performance, with almost zero trigger latency and a very efficient autofocus both in full light and at 3 lux. In low light, the autofocus is not the fastest at the moment, but it defends itself rather well.
However, care must be taken to use optics with a fast motorization. Thus, we also had a 50 mm f / 1.8 much more sluggish than the 16-70 mm f / 4. If you want to benefit from the best of the Alpha 6500, opt for recent optics.
The Sony Alpha A6500 offers two burst modes. The first, called H, achieves a rate of 8 fps while maintaining direct aiming between the images. This makes it easier to follow the movement of a subject during a burst. The second, named H +, climbs to 11 fps (with AF tracking) displays only the recorded images and you no longer have access to live view.
Our times show that the announced cadences are well maintained, but it is especially the buffer memory which is impressive on the A6500. In RAW + JPEG mode, we recorded 100 doublets in just over 9 seconds in H + (11 fps) and in more than 12.6 s in H (8.3 fps). If the buffer collects the writing of 200 files, the emptying of the latter is quite slow. Allow approximately a little less than 2 minutes to load images to the Toshiba 16 GB UHS-II memory card (the A6500 is not compatible with this standard). While emptying, shooting is still possible, but you cannot enter the main menu.
In JPEG, the buffer memory can store up to 250 frames, always at the rate of 11 fps. The A6500 is truly impressive on this point and directly competes with or even exceeds sports SLRs like the Nikon D500 or the Canon 7D Mark II .
A good burst is good, but it’s even better with good autofocus tracking. On this point, the A6500 does not show real progress compared to its predecessor. At the rate of 8 fps, the autofocus tracking is quite relevant, but not completely perfect. In our most complicated example, the subject advances towards the photographer while walking normally. The A6500 is positioned in 8 fps mode with focus priority.
Photo and video mode
The Sony Alpha A6500 delivers JPEGs of excellent quality with a fairly good color rendering and a well-balanced accent for operation without having to go through the software box. It is also not easy to distinguish a JPEG from the A6500 from a raw image developed with Lightroom with the default settings. We performed most of our tests with the 16-70mm f / 4 optics from Sony.
With the 16-70mm f / 4 – which is a fairly high-end optics (count around 800 €) – the images are very sharp and you really have the impression of exploiting the 24 MP of the sensor. This beautiful definition makes it possible to envisage practically all photographic work.
The problem with the A6500 is the optical fleet in APS-C format at Sony. It is quite limited (around 15 models) and there is no small accessible and good quality transstandard telephoto lens. In recent months, the brand has primarily focused on optics for its A7 24×36 range. These are quality, but quite expensive. However, it is possible to invest in 24×36 optics for the A6500 by imagining migrating later to a larger format.
We noted on the A6300 some approximations of the automatic white balance. These defects seem corrected on this new version, which offers a fairer balance with artificial sources.
Electronic noise management
The A6500 is equipped with a 24 Mpx APS-C sensor already known to our services since it equips the A6300. However, the image processing processor is not quite the same. The brand announces better processing by image analysis based on textures, in particular. The photosites of the A6500 are around 3.9 µm and the ISO range of the camera is from ISO 100 to ISO 51,200 (as before).
Images do not exhibit electronic noise from ISO 100 to 800. However, you will note that their treatment is a little violent. If it is difficult to perceive a difference between 100 and 200 ISO, a smoothing effect is easily observable from 400 ISO on the finest details. The isobaric lines are already a bit dull and they still fade at ISO 800. The quality varies little between 800 and 3,200 ISO, with a fairly significant smoothing of the granulation, but a fairly satisfactory overall rendering and a good dynamic of the shots. You can easily climb up to ISO 6,400 without much remorse. Beyond that, things get complicated: the dynamic drops and the treatment of the mottling becomes really unattractive. Higher values are problematic
We passed the images delivered by the new Sony hybrid with a more impartial screen of an oscilloscope on the gray chart of the Colorcheker test pattern. The graphics corroborate our visual perception with good management of granulation up to ISO 6,400 and fairly heavy processing for higher values, with a significant variation in terms of peaks.
We also developed the raw images of the Sony Alpha A6500 with Capture One software (delivered with the box), in order to check the rendering of the details of the JPEG images from the box, on the one hand, and on the other, processed with software with default settings. We have chosen the values of 3,200 and 6,400 ISO. The images are ultimately quite similar and the gain is not really visible for these sensitivities.
You will find below examples of photos taken in high sensitivities from 1600 to 6 400 ISO. You can view the image at 100%, or download the raw file to edit it with your favorite software.Show EXIF
Exposure, RAW and working latitude
The Sony A6500 incorporates an HDR mode combining 3 images for exposure differences from 1 to 6 EV. The DRO (Dynamic Range Optimizer) mode offers to enhance dark areas for more balanced, but less contrasted images. The exposure compensation is ensured by the dial which offers a latitude of ± 5 EV. Exposure bracketing allows you to align 3 to 9 frames with a variation of 0.3 to 1 EV.
The A6500 has a novelty: spot metering with priority in high lights
The results obtained in the studio are found in the field, with a fairly flexible management of the highlights on the raw files. Below, you can compare the same processed image to retrieve information on the face of the statue in both JPEG and RAW. The difference is obvious.Show EXIF
The Sony A6500 is capable of recording up to Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160 px) on a card in XAVC-S at 100 Mbps. Note that for this mode, Sony requires the use of a UHS-I U3 card. Naturally, more “classic” formats in HDTV 1080 are also available. It is astonishing that the A6500 does not offer UHD recording in 60 / 50p whereas the Phantom 4 Pro from DJI , equipped with a 1 inch sensor probably produced by Sony, is provided with it. We regret that, although redesigned, the menus do not provide a tab specifically and exclusively dedicated to video.
Formats in PAL
- XAVC-S 4K (H.264): 4K TV (3840 x 2160 px) 25p (100 Mbps or 60 Mbps)
- XAVC-S (H.264): HDTV 1080 100p (100 or 60 Mbps), 50p ( 50 Mbps) and 25p (50 Mbps) / 720p 100p (50 Mbps),
- AVCHD (H.264): HDTV 1080 50i (24, 17 Mbps) / 50p (28 Mbps) / 25p (24, 17 Mbps)
- MP4 (H .264): 1920 x 1080 50p (28 Mbps), 25p (16 Mbps) and 720p 30 fps (6 Mbps)
It is possible to film with the NTSC standard, but this requires a complete reset of the camera. This manipulation monopolizes the device for at least 5 s and above all requires formatting the memory card!
In NTSC mode, the recording rate changes and you can access the “cinema” mode with 24p.
- XAVC-S 4K (H.264) formats : 4K TV (3840 x 2160 px) 30 / 24p (100 Mbps or 60 Mbps)
- XAVC-S (H.264): HDTV 1080 120p (100 or 50 Mbps) 60 / 30p (50 Mbps) and 24p (50 Mbps) / 720p 120p (50 Mbps)
- AVCHD: HDTV 1080 60i (24, 17 Mbps) / 60p (28 Mbps) / 24p (24, 17 Mbps)
- MP4: 1920 x 1080: 60p (28 Mpbs), 30p (16 Mbps) and 720p 30 fps (6 Mbps)
It is important to note that for Ultra HD recording, HDTV 1080 up to 60/50 fps, the entire width of the sensor is used (Super 35 mm) in a 16/9 ratio. The angle of view therefore varies little between photo mode and video mode. Only the 120 / 100p mode in HDTV 1080 reduces the field.
HD recording offers a real qualitative leap, but the size of the files can quickly become a very (too) important constraint for editing and postproduction. Sony is one of the rare brands to offer a very interesting option: dual recording. This allows file duplicates to be saved in a more easily editable format. Thus, the A6500 records in UDH, but also in 720p. These latter files, which are lighter, will be easier to handle for editing. Then, it will “suffice” to perform a conformation with UHD files at the time of export. If it is possible to create duplicates with current software at the time of import, the time saved with this option is not negligible.
The Sony A6500 is capable of filming at high rates to achieve smooth slow motion, up to 5x with 120 fps for playback rate at 24p or 4x with capture at 100 ips and a playback rate at 25. However, it is necessary to adapt the videos directly in the editing software. One of the new features is the Slow & Quick mode which allows you to create slow motion directly when writing files. This option saves a little time, but leaves less latitude for editing in postproduction.
The Sony A6500 offers numerous assistants to support you during your recordings:
- – zebras (70/75/80/85/90/95/100 / 100+) and customizable;
- – magnifying glass when focusing manually;
- – peaking level / color;
- – TimeCode recording: REC RUN or FREE RUN;
- – Dual Video REC (simultaneous recording in XAVC-S and MP4 movie, or in AVCHD and MP4, for use of PROXY lighter to assemble);
- – markers 4: 3/13: 9/14: 9/15: 9 / 1.66: 1 / 1.85: 1 / 2.35: 1.
Profiles and HDMI output
The A6500 uses the different color profiles found on the A7S II and A7 II. The gammas, matrixings as well as all the other video settings can be configured in the Picture Profiles, as on the semi-professional camcorders of the brand (for more detail, you can refer to our article RAW, Log and REC709 ). You will therefore be able to make the most of the sensor’s capabilities with, in return, a significant post-processing time.
Note that these profiles are always hidden behind obscure names (PP1, PP2, PP3 …), which is not very practical to switch from one profile to another without consulting their characteristics.
We compared the same scene in HTDV 1080 and UHD (3,840 x 2,160 px) by adjusting the image size to 1080 format. The 4 times higher definition of 4K recording makes it possible to obtain a much more accurate in 1080 display.
The problems of rolling shutter (distortion of images during fast movements) are especially visible for slow speeds: 30/25 / 24p. UHD mode is therefore particularly sensitive to this phenomenon.
In video, the autofocus is rather efficient, silent if not very fast. However, it allows you to follow the movements of a subject without much difficulty, as you can see in the video below.
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