Sony has introduced its new flagship APS-C sensor camera, the 6500 (model ILCE-6500). As the latest addition to Sonys line-up of award winning mirrorless cameras, the new 6500 shares the same unrivaled 4D FOCUS system as the 6300 camera, which can lock focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, the worlds fastesti AF acquisition time. Also shared with the 6300, the new 6500 features 425 phase detection AF points that are densely positioned over nearly the entire image area the worlds highestii number of AF points on any interchangeable lens camera. 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, as it combines all of the benefits of an electronic viewfinder with the immediacy of an optical viewfinder.
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 described above, are all achieved with the support of a new front-end LSI chip that has been added to the camera. This new front-end LSI also serves to enhance both still and video image quality.
Additionally, the new 6500 features Sonys acclaimed in-camera 5-axis optical image stabilisation, making it the first Sony APS-C sensor camera to offer all of the benefits of advanced in-body stabilisation, which include a shutter speed advantage of approximately 5 steps[iv]. It also offers touchscreen AF capabilities for focus point selection and adjustment.
Professional Video Capabilities
The new 6500 becomes the latest Sony interchangeable lens camera to offer internal 4K movie recording, as it can shoot 4K (3840×2160p) video in the popular 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[x] (20 MP 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, whilst also offering adjustable AF transition speed and AF tracking sensitivity. The camera supports the XAVC S codec[xi] 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, ensuring maximum detail and clarity in both video formats.
Other professional calibre video features include the ability to record Full HD at 100fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x slow motion video files in Full HD (25p) 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 100fps can be selected in 8 steps for up to 50x quick motion and 4x slow motion recording[xii]. 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 MP images and 2 MP images can be pulled from 4K modes and Full HD modes, respectively.
Unmatched AF Capability
Sonys new 6500 camera utilises the same 4D FOCUS system as the 6300 a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines high-speed phase detection AF with extremely accurate contrast AF and allows it to capture and lock on to moving subjects in as little as 0.05 secondsi. It also features 425 phase detection AF points and High-density Tracking AF Technology, which significantly improves subject detection and tracking performance.
New for the 6500, thanks to faster internal processing capabilities enabled by the front-end LSI, the maximum buffer for high-speed continuous shooting is an impressive 307 framesiii, greatly increasing the chances to catch that decisive moment.
The cameras 425 phase detection AF points, focusing tracking and accuracy are also available when using non-native A-mount lenses[v] with Sonys 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.
5-axis Image Stabilisation Provides 5 Steps Shutter Speed Advantage
One of the most exciting developments in the new 6500 is the implementation of 5-axis image stabilisation for the first time in a Sony APS-C sensor camera. Additionally, through a total revision of the internal design of the camera, this newly developed stabilisation system fits entirely within a body that is nearly the same size as the 6300 model.[vi] This innovative 5- axis system provides a shutter speed advantage of 5 steps,iv ensuring the full resolving power of the sensor can be realised, even in challenging lighting.
The shake compensation provided by the system works with a variety of lenses, including E-mount lenses without OSS (Optical SteadyShot) stabilisation and A-mount lenses[vii] 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 optimal 5-axis stabilisation.vii
Also, with a simple half press of the shutter button, the effect of the image stabilisation 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.
New Touch Screen Focusing
The new 6500 comes equipped with touch screen functionality, allowing users to lock focus on a subject simply by touching it on the screen. This is a powerful compliment to its advanced AF system and video shooting capabilities.
Additionally, in a first for Sony cameras, the 6500 features touchpad functionality. When utilising 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.
Powerful 24.2 MPviii Exmor CMOS Sensor, BIONZ X Processor and New Front-End LSI
The new 6500 features an APS-C sized 24.2 MP[viii] Exmor CMOS sensor that works together with a BIONZ X image processor and the newly developed front-end LSI to maximise processing power and achieve an impressive sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200.[ix]
The image sensor employs a thin wiring layer and large photodiode substrate that maximises 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 where other cameras typically struggle. The LSI is also responsible for the expanded buffer depth for continuous shooting.
Enhanced Operability and Reliability
The new 6500 has a refined design, maintaining the mobility of the 6000 series while adapting much of the usability of Sonys acclaimed 7 II series. The new model features the same high contrast, high-resolution 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder as the 6300 that offers 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.[xiv] It also has several design features that are borrowed from the 7 II series of full-frame cameras, which include a robust lens mount, a recessed grip to improve handling, a larger release button and ten total custom buttons including C1, C2 and C3. 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 Sonys PlayMemories Mobile applications[xv] available for Android and iOS platforms, as well as Sonys growing range of PlayMemories Camera Apps. The 6500 also offers location data acquisition via a Bluetooth[xvi] connection to a compatible mobile device and an updated menu structure to deliver a smoother navigational experience.
Pricing and Availability
The new Sony 6500 interchangeable lens camera will be available in the UK & Ireland in December priced at 1,500. The current 6000 will also see a new colour introduction in Europe in December with the model also available in Graphite Grey.