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Special thanks to Samy’s for providing us with the Sony a6500s and lenses!
Sony a6500 Mirrorless Camera
Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens Kenneth and I are reviewing the Sony a6500 mirrorless camera. It’s a great little camera to have in your bag as an everyday point and shoot. There were a couple of things about it we didn’t love, but overall it’s a good choice.
We often get asked for camera recommendations by friends and family who are not professional photographers or videographers. They just want a camera at a price point that’s not too steep, for taking good quality, everyday photos. This is a small, compact camera. We chose the 50mm lens because it’s a good all-around lens for portrait or landscape.
I love that the Sony a6500 is a 24 megapixel camera. That’s twice as much as the Canon 5D Mark I ten years ago. And it has over 400 autofocus points. Most of all we loved the size of this camera. It’s lightweight, small, and easy to carry with you everywhere you go.
Many times on a shoot on location I’ll put my camera in aperture priority mode. The Sony a6500 was no different. I didn’t love the shutter toggle switch on the back. So for me it was easier to fall back on that AP mode, so that I didn’t have to deal with it. If the shutter got too slow I’d kick up the ISO. It was also great to shoot on continuous mode, which is something else I do often with moving subjects. You can even use the touch screen while you’re looking through the viewfinder.
Dynamic range was a bit tricky. We had an overcast day, which is normally great, but with the umbrella’s shade and the talent’s black dress it made it less than ideal circumstances. When we let the camera meter it, Cinderella was underexposed. But when we overexposed by 2 stops, she was exposed much better, but everything else was blown out. We took it into Photoshop and brought back the overexposed areas, and were able to get detail in the sky and the road. The image we underexposed by 2 stops was very surprising. We pulled up the shadows and it looked pretty clean. We were impressed, and in these circumstances would protect the highlights and underexpose a bit. The Sony a6500 has a decent dynamic range.
Auto Focus Test- Stills
The Sony a6500 has a touch screen which allows you to choose your focus point. You can choose where you’d like it to focus in video mode and it will move there. On slow dissolve you can choose to have the focus move in slowly, which is a nice effect. You can even use the touch screen while you’re looking through the viewfinder. The face detection was also a great feature. When Cinderella was a long way away, and the face detection could not grab onto her. It was just the point of reference that picked her up as she moved toward us. She was pretty sharp, even though we were shooting at 2.8. So I was impressed with that. There is a learning curve with these cameras, however. There are a lot of options that you have to learn and practice with to figure out.
Low Light ISO- Stills
We started at 100 ISO, doubled it each time, and ended at 6400. We’re using the Rosco Vector Litepad to give us a little boost of light. That Anton/Bauer battery gives us the ability to take it out on location with us. It’s a great light. We wanted to see how the Sony would do in low light situations, similar to what you’d find in a home at night during a birthday party, or the like. I was impressed over all for stills. At 100 ISO it’s clean all the way, and even up into 800. Perhaps I’m too picky but at 1600 it started to fall apart and 6400 it was too noisy.
Auto Focus Test- Video
We used the face detect in the video test as well. It did well for focusing on our moving model. Kenneth and I both normally use manual focus, and the face detection was every bit as reliable. If you are going to be manually focusing, we don’t recommend the lens we used.
120 fps 1080p
Kenneth wanted to try the 120 frames per second at 1080p. It was fairly soft, partly probably from the lens, but also probably partly because it had to pixel bend to get the 1080 out of the 4k. The motion looked great though.
Rolling shutter continues to be a problem for Sony cameras, and the a6500 is, unfortunately, no different. We don’t recommend it for fast moving video.
Low Light ISO- Videos
The a6500 video low light ISO was great until about 1600, similar to the stills. We didn’t shoot this in S-log, as we did the other footage. It’s not as great as the a7S, but it’s not as bad as some of the older DSLR’s we’ve used.
So what did we think of the Sony a6500? We loved the size; it’s user friendly (besides the menu), especially because of the electronic viewfinder. I recommend using it in aperture priority mode when you’re out shooting. Allows you to shoot fast and get the images you want. We didn’t love changing the shutter with the wheel on the back. We like that the buttons are customizable, but the screen was a little small. We recommend the a6500 as a lightweight, fairly inexpensive camera that will bridge the gap between your phone and stepping into major cameras.
We hope you enjoyed our review of the Sony a6500 mirrorless camera. Get yours through our affiliate links at B&H Photo Video or Amazon. Also let us know what cameras you want us to take a look at in the comments below.
Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.
Special thanks to model Cinderella Graham.