The Sony Alpha series has been slowly, but steadily capturing their share in the full frame mirrorless market, riding on superior 4K video capabilities. Though the Company has had quite a few products in the APS-C market as well, the cameras failed to gather the same fan following as the Alpha 7-series or RX-series premium compacts. With the Alpha 6500, Sony is trying to revive the APS-C space, incorporating many improvements in the camera.
Design and Build Quality
The Sony Alpha 6500 has a sturdy magnesium alloy chassis. The camera has a boxy design. The electronic viewfinder is flushed to one side and so is the metal lens mount. The camera has a topmounted command dial along with the mode dial, power switch, shutter release buttons and two custom buttons. The back surface houses the rest of the buttons including a custom button and function button along with the control ring, menu and flash buttons and toggle switch for AF/MF and AE Lock. The camera has a metal tripod receptacle. A tiny built-in flash might look odd, but still, it is better than having none at all.
The 24.2-megapixel Alpha 6500 uses an APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm) Exmor CMOS sensor with a charge protection coating on optical filter and sensor shift mechanism for dust removal. The camera accepts Sony E-mount lenses. The camera features sensorshift Image Stabilisation, claimed to provide a 5-stop advantage. The 6500 uses a fast hybrid autofocus system aided by phase-detection and contrast-detection along with an Exmor CMOS sensor. The camera incorporates 425 phase-detection AF points along with 169 contrast detection AF points. Focus modes available are AF-A (Automatic), AF-S (Single-shot), AF-C (Continuous), DMF (Direct Manual Focus) and Manual Focus. Focus area options include Wide, Zone, Centre, Flexible Spot (S/M/L), Expanded Flexible Spot, and Lock-on AF.
The Alpha 6500 uses 1200-zone evaluative metering. Exposure can be compensated up to +/- 5.0EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps. Shooting modes available are Auto (iAuto/Superior Auto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter priority (S), Manual (M), Movie, Sweep Panorama and Scene Selection. Scene Selection options include Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Night Portrait and Anti Motion Blur. The camera provides sensitivity ranging from ISO 100 to 25,600, expandable up to ISO 51,200.
Still images are recorded in JPEG or Raw format, with an option to record both simultaneously, while videos are recorded in XAVC S, AVCHD or MP4 format. Audio is recorded in LPCM 2ch, Dolby Digital (AC-3) 2ch, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator or MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch format. Still images can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels, while videos can be captured at the best quality of 4K 3840 x 2160 (30p or 24p). In JPEG mode, the camera offers Extra fine, Fine and Standard compression modes. Raw can be recorded in 14bit or Uncompressed format.
The Alpha 6500 uses an electronically-controlled, verticaltraverse, focal-plane shutter providing shutter speeds from 30 to 1/4000 sec along with Bulb. Flash syncs with the shutter at up to 1/160 sec. The built-in flash has a Guide No. of 6m at ISO 100. The flash covers up to 16 mm (marked focal length). Flash control is through TTL Pre-flash and flash output can be compensated by +/- 3.0 EV (switchable between 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps). Flash modes available are Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync., Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable), Wireless control and Hi-speed sync. The flash recycles in approximately 4 sec. The 6500 provides White Balance modes such as Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm White, Cool White, Day White, Daylight), Flash, Underwater, Colour Temperature (2500 to 9900K) and colour filter along with Custom.
The camera incorporates a 0.39-inch, 2,359,296-dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder along with a 3.0-inch, 921,600-dot touch responsive wide type TFT LCD. The LCD can be tilted up by approximately 90 degrees and down by approximately 45 degrees. Drive modes include Single, Continuous (Hi+/Hi/Mid/Lo), Self-timer, Self-timer (Continuous), Bracket: Single, Bracket: Continuous, White Balance bracket and DRO bracket. The 6500 can capture still images at a maximum continuous speed of 11fps. At this speed, the camera can record a maximum of 233 JPEG Extra fine, 107 Raw or 100 Raw+JPG frames. Self-timer can be set for 10/5/2 sec.
The camera accepts a Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo or SD/ SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compliant) memory card. The device offers PC Interface, Multi/Micro USB, NFC, Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, HDMI micro (Type-D), Multi Interface Shoe and 3.5 mm Stereo minijack mic. Lens Compensation options include Peripheral Shading, Chromatic Aberration and Distortion. The camera is powered by one rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50. The 6500 weighs approximately 453 g with battery and memory card and has dimensions of approximately 120.0 x 66.9 x 53.3 mm.