The camera shares the same 4D FOCUS system as the 6300, which can lock focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, the world’s fastest AF acquisition time. Also shared with the α6300 is 425 phase detection AF points that are densely positioned over nearly the entire image area – the world’s highest number of AF points on any interchangeable lens camera, says Sony. 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.
The camera can shoot at these high speeds for up to 307 frames thanks to its expanded buffer, which, along with the fast response speeds, are all achieved with the support of a new front-end LSI chip that has been added to the camera. This new LSI also serves to enhance both still and video image quality.
Additionally, the 6500 features Sony’s 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 steps. It also offers touchscreen AF capabilities for focus point selection and adjustment.
The camera’s 425 phase detection AF points, focusing tracking and accuracy are also available when using non-native A-mount lenses 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.
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 6300. 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 lenses 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 5-axis stabilization.
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.
The 6500 comes with touch screen functionality, allowing users to lock focus on a subject simply by touching it on the screen.
The camera 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.
The 6500 features an APS-C sized 24.2-megapixel 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 a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200.
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. The LSI is also responsible for the expanded buffer depth for continuous shooting.
The alpha 6500 becomes the latest Sony interchangeable lens camera to offer internal 4K movie recording, as it can shoot 4K (3840 x 2160p) video in the 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 2.4x (20-megapixel 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 6500 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 codec 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.
Other professional calibre 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 6500 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 recording. 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 recording for wide dynamic range shooting – approximately 14-stop latitude in S-Log3 gamma setting – and supports S-Gamut for a wider colour 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-megapixel images and 2-megapixel images can be pulled from 4K modes and Full HD modes, respectively.
The new camera has a refined design, maintaining the mobility of the 6000 series while adapting much of the usability of Sony’s alpha 7 II series. The new model features the same high contrast, high-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder as the 6300, offering exceptional corner-to-corner visibility.
New hardware features on the 6500 include a magnesium alloy body and a high-durability shutter with a tested life span of approximately 200,000 release cycles. It also has several design features that are borrowed from the 7 II series, including a robust lens mount, a recessed grip to improve handling, a larger release button and 10 total custom buttons including. 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 applications available for Android™ and iOS platforms, as well as Sony’s PlayMemories Camera Apps. The 6500 also offers location data acquisition via a Bluetooth connection to a compatible mobile device and an updated menu structure to deliver a smoother navigational experience.
The Sony alpha 6500 camera will ship in November for about $1,750.