The Sony a6500 is two years old now and still a great little camera. By today’s standards, does it hold up? Is it worth the price? In this video, I review the camera having had two of them now for just over two years.
Sony a6500: https://jer.fyi/a6500
Sony 55mm f/1.8 Lens: https://jer.fyi/sony55mm
Sony 35mm f/2.8 Lens: https://jer.fyi/sony35mm
Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB SD Card: https://jer.fyi/64gbextremepro
SmallRig a6500 Cage: https://jer.fyi/a6500cage
Sony a6500 Key Features:
24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with 425 phase detection points
2.36M-dot OLED EVF
Tilting rear touchscreen
5-axis in-body image stabilization
11 fps continuous shooting for up to 300 JPEGs / 100 Raws
1/4000 sec maximum shutter speed
Hey, what’s up? It’s Jerad, with Ditch Auto, and today we’re going to talk about the a6500 from Sony, two years later.
Now, I received mine about two years ago, this camera came out, and it was a little controversial when it came out. Now that it’s two years later, and all of that frustration has died down, I wanted to talk about the camera, and just how I felt about it over the last two years.
Sony had released the a6300 not even a year earlier than the a6500. People were a little frustrated when this camera came out, because most of us went out and bought the a6300, because it had been many years since the previous versions of this camera came out, so we were all ready for an upgrade.
The a6300 had its own problems. It would overhead when you would shoot 4K for too long, and there were just stuff like that that was going on. But the a6500 solved a lot of those problems, and then also added some additional features. I wanted to talk just about how this camera has performed for me over the years.
Now, I have it right here with a 55mm f/1.8. This is a full frame lens. Even though the camera is not a full frame camera, the majority of my lenses … actually, really all of my lenses … are full frame lenses, because I shoot with the full frame Sony a7 series cameras, and a9, and I need those full frame lenses. I don’t want to have a bunch of different lenses that don’t work on all of my cameras. These full frame lenses have worked fantastically on the small camera, the a6500.
The a6500 is a crop sensor camera. It’s a 24.2 megapixel, which is great. I mean, that’s a good amount. It’s a good size image. I don’t really need anything more than that for what I typically do.
The thing that really was the game changer for this camera, for me, really was the touchscreen on the back. Now, especially on smaller cameras like this, where using the viewfinder is a little more awkward, because the camera is so small, and you hold it up to your face, and you’ve got your hands all up in your face … Sometimes its just easier to use that beautiful viewfinder on the back.
Because it’s a touchscreen, and this is a mirrorless camera, I can tap to focus, and do all of those things that I want to do. On top of that, if I do want to use the EVF, the electronic viewfinder, right here, I can keep my thumb on the back of the screen and move my focus point around.
Now, on my bigger cameras … on my a7r3 and a73 and a9, I use the d-pad, that toggle scroll pad on the back of the camera, to move that around. Actually, it’s not a pad, it’s like a joystick, I guess you could say. That’s great, but you’re moving left, left, up, down, right, and around. With this, you’re just dragging your finger around on the screen, or tapping, and it works just like a touchpad. That was a game changer for me, with this little camera.
Now, prior … and what we typically end up using these cameras for, and have used these cameras for, is shooting a lot of weddings and events, and stuff like that, especially when we need to be more mobile. These small cameras are just so great, and they perform so well, that I don’t have to have all of these bigger cameras anymore.
I don’t have to have a bunch of big, full frame body cameras, and try to get those on camera gimbals, and all of that stuff, for stabilization. If I want to have a nice camera for going out and shooting photos, whether it be professionally, or for travel, or for fun, this little camera fits in the majority of my bags without taking up too much space.
Now, the comparison to this camera would be maybe like your Canon 80d, but this camera has a lot more functionality than an 80d. The Canon 80d doesn’t shoot 4K. It’s not mirrorless. The body is huge. The lenses are big. All of that stuff is just much larger. Now, there are some pros and cons to that, as well, but for me, the a6500 has just been an awesome combination of size and performance.
It did come in at a little bit higher of a price point than the a6300, which was also a little bit of a frustration to people, but keep in mind it has that touchscreen on the back. It has the five-axis image stabilization when paired with the correct lenses.
The image stabilization is just unmatched on the Sony platform. You can’t get that on Canon, or Nikon, or really any of these other manufacturers. Some of them are starting now to actually stabilize their sensors, but the fact that the camera has image stabilization, both sensor side and most of the lenses do have some form of stabilization. This one actually doesn’t, but most of the lenses that I have has some sort of stabilization.
You get just an amazing ability to take very, very sharp images without having to rely on tripods and other stabilization that we typically would have to rely on. Not just for video, but for photo, as well. Think of those longer exposure shots, where your shutter is open for a longer period of time, and any movement is going to cause a blurry image. You have more room, because you have that stabilization on the sensor.
The auto-focus is also fantastic on this camera. There are cameras that are a lot faster, but one of the things that was a challenge for me … I mean, the a6300 was good, as well, but prior versions of this camera … The a5100 was a favorite of mine because of how tiny it was, but it did suffer from some problems like slow auto-focus and whatnot.
It didn’t have the best low light performance, but those cameras … they’ve cured those problems, and even though this camera is a bit bigger than an a5100, and just a little bit bigger than maybe an a6000, you’re getting amazing auto-focus capabilities in there. You pair that with the image stabilization and the improved performance in low light, with the higher ISO sensitivity, you get quite a bit of performance in a small camera package.
I have a variety of lenses that I typically use with this camera. Of course, it does take the Sony Fe mount lenses. Also the full frame lenses, which some of those lenses are quite big. I have put some of my larger lenses, like this lens here, which is the 16 to 35 G Master, and of course, that’s a great lens, but in keeping with the compact look and feel of this camera, the 55mm is my go-to lens.
But when I really need something compact, what I will often do is go to this 35mm lens right here, which is a bit smaller. This is a 35mm f/2.8 full frame lens, so it’s going to work not only on this camera, but also on the a7 series cameras. This package right here is really small. I mean, yes, a cell phone is smaller. I mean, there are things that you can get that are smaller than this, but this is a lot of performance in a small package.
The 35mm is wide enough that I could do selfie photos of my wife and I, if we go on a little trip. Or one of my kids and I … I mean, it doesn’t go wide enough to fit the whole family like that, but you can go vlog-style, like that. There’s a lot of things that you can do with a 35mm lens on a camera like this.
My only gripe, I guess I would say, about a camera like this is that it would be the perfect vlogging camera if the screen articulated all the way up to where you can see it when you’re in vlog mode. Or whatever … I guess that’s what it’s called these days is vlog mode. But the screen doesn’t articulate up far enough in order to do that.
You have to hope that you have some sort of framing taking place, that you’re framed properly in your shot, or you have to go with an external monitor. That’s why you still see a lot of people who do vlogging shooting with Canon cameras, and stuff like that, or maybe even the Sony rx100 … smaller, compact, point-and-shoot style cameras … because of that articulating screen.
There are a few little drawbacks that I have with this camera, although I find it to be pretty close to perfect. I still like having buttons and toggles and stuff like that on my camera. There are a few of those sacrificed on this camera compared to what I’m used to on an a7 or an a9. Of course, those cameras are a lot bigger, and so there’s more room for that stuff. But on this camera, there are limited controls.
There are enough controls, though, to get you around fast, because you do have some custom buttons. You can remap pretty much any button on the camera to do whatever you want, so if there’s something that you want to adjust and have it quickly accessible, you can make that accessible. It just means remapping your camera, and then that means if you ever go and use somebody else’s camera, it’s going to be confusing, because you’ve changed the way the buttons perform. But for me, that’s okay. I just like to have my camera with buttons available, so that I can quick access to the features that I need to make changes.
Now, this camera still uses the smaller Sony batteries that Sony has been getting away from. These batteries, they do okay, but they definitely are not on par with the new batteries that Sony is putting in their cameras, or even the batteries that Canon and Nikon put in their cameras. Granted, those batteries are significantly larger, and the cameras are larger to fit those bigger batteries, but that is a downfall of a smaller camera like this.
The way that you’re going to drain the battery the most in a camera like this is by shooting 4K video, or even any video, for that matter. But 4K video does drain the battery quite quick. When we would go and shoot weddings with these cameras, we would make sure to have two, three, four extra batteries on us at all times, because chances are you’re going to be in the middle of filming something, and the battery is going to get low, and you’re going to need to change it out quick, because when you’re shooting weddings, you have small windows of opportunity for making adjustments to your camera between all of the things that are going on.
The a6500 two years later is still a fantastic camera. Sony has gotten away from the need to put out a new version of a camera every year. They definitely had been doing that for a while, and I’m so thankful that they slowed down a bit. I love advances in technology, but it gets expensive, if I want to stay on top of it, having to put out money every single year to get the latest version of the camera.
I’m happy that my a7r2 lasted me several years before the a7r3 came out. I’m happy that the a6500 is two years old now, and doesn’t have a successor yet. Who knows when that’s going to happen? I’m hoping that maybe we’ll get another good year out of our a6500s before the next version comes out. There’s definitely some things I’d like to see come to this camera, but I’m not necessarily worried about them. I think it’s a fantastic camera package as it is.
Another lens that I think is a good one, although it’s a bit bigger, for this camera, is a 2470. A 2470 zoom is just a good all-around lens to have. I end up using a 2470 quite often because of its versatility, having that 24mm wide, and then being able to zoom in a little bit.
Yes, when you put a 2470 … if you put any lens on a camera like this, it’s actually going to be a little bit different. Your 35mm is going to be more like 50 or so millimeters. Your 2470 is going to be more like 40ish to 90 or so millimeters. I’m not sure the exact. But that’s because of the crop factor on the smaller sensors just affect things differently. A full frame camera is effective 35mm, essentially a full frame, and so you’re getting the full effective focal length out of these lenses. That’s kind of the difference.
Is it a good buy right now as a camera? I really do think that it is. I think the a6500 is worth the price that they’re charging. It has come down a little bit to $1,100, which I think is a bargain for a camera that has all of these features. It is very fast in auto-focus, the continuous … if you’re shooting live action, and you want fast burst photos, it’s a quick camera. If you want to shoot 4K video, it has that. If you want to shoot 1080p video, it has lots of features there, too.
It takes a standard SD card that goes right next to the battery. I typically use these SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards, and I’ve never had a problem with one of these cameras. It’s extremely fast.
The camera itself, as far as ports, has a microphone port, a HDMI or a micro HDMI port, and then a micro USB port, which also can charge the camera, as well. That is a feature that we’re starting to see come to other cameras, but Sony’s had it for a long time. I love the fact that I can charge this in my car without having to take the battery out and use some sort of an adapter or charging apparatus.
That’s going to do it for my two-year review of the a6500, a fantastic camera from Sony, a great buy, and of course lots of options and accessories available for a camera like this. I’ll make sure to link to some of the things that I often use with this camera down in the description below.
The elephant in the room is where I’m sitting. If you’ve been watching this channel for very long, you typically are used to me being in a room with a dark background and nothing going on around me. Well, if you have been in our Ditch Auto Facebook group, which there’s a link to down below, and I invite all of you to join. It’s a free group, and we just talk photography, and share images, and help each other grow. That’s the whole concept of that group.
But I shared in that group that I am really downscaling on a lot of things. Over the years, as a photographer, I’ve accumulated a lot of things. I want to do a video on this topic, because it’s really important to me. It’s obviously a change that I’m going through right now.
I’m filming at my desk. It’s kind of a mess, because I’m going through everything that I have in my office and my studio, and keeping only the essentials, and getting rid of all of the excess, because I believe that having too much excess really affects our creativity and our ability to have enough mental bandwidth to think, and to come out with new stuff, and just be creative.
I’m going to talk about that in another video soon, but I wanted to address why I’m sitting where I’m sitting right now. With that said, thank you so much for checking out this video. Things are going to look a little bit different here and there throughout the next coming weeks, as I continue to put out new content, so make sure to subscribe to our channel here on Ditch Auto, and let me know what you think.
If you have any questions, thoughts, your own opinions on the a6500, share them down in the comment section below. I’ll be hanging out there for a while to chat with you all. Take care, and I hope to see you next time on Ditch Auto.