There was a time when we had to wait years for a camera line to get an upgrade. Now it’s less than eight months. Someone may want to tap Sony on the shoulder and remind them they just launched the a6300.
Regardless, the cameras will be sold side-by-side, so owners of the a6300 can see what type of price they can get to upgrade, or potential camera buyers will be able to snag one hell of a deal come Black Friday. Or they can go with Sony’s new flagship APS-C camera.
Having the 5-axis stabilization is for the handheld shooters out there. No matter how steady your hand is, tapping the shutter will have a slight shift in the camera. According to Sony, its gyro sensor has an effect equivalent to a 5-steps faster shutter speed when using a 55mm f/1.8 lens.
The other is the touchscreen. Along with the revised menu. Once a complaint among Sony DSLR users, the menu is reconfigured to make sense, and you now have touchscreen control.
On the touchscreen, you can pick any of the 425 phase detection points the AF should focus on. Before you start jumping out of your seat, it won’t track after you touch. Guess that’s slated for the a6600, which at Sony’s pace of camera announcements, should land in a few months.
Tracking a subject is left to the Lock-On AF which tracks the center. Sony promises the fastest autofocus on the market – marketing materials are boasting the a6500 can focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds.
Buffer size. Hey, there are YouTube channels devoted to how long you can hold down the shutter release. For JPEGs, it’s well over 300 images at 11fps. In RAW, the number dips to 100. Great news for sports and wildlife photographers. What’s weird is Sony promises battery life of 300 frames.
That will suck when you do the JPEG burst, and the battery dies. Let’s work off the assumption the battery rating is incorrect and will be adjusted to account for the burst mode. The Nikon D500 rates around 1,200 shots. It may not reach up to that level, but 300 is way too low.
Storage. All that buffer room but no dual card slots? That’s disappointing, and it’s still stuck using SD media over the addition of XQD with a dual card setup. Maybe next time.
Video. 4K all the way, but we knew that from the a6300. The specs aren’t all that different except the addition of Slow and Quick mode. Speeds can be ramped up from one second per frame to 120 in FullHD. Both will work great for those looking to capture up to 60-times fast motion and five-times slow motion.
Want a downer? Still no headphone jack. Not sure if it’s a running joke at Sony or if the a6000-series just has to leave out the jack to make room for other components. There are ways around it but come on Sony.
Can’t talk video without an example. Here’s Sony’s announcement video showing off the capabilities of the a6500.
Now that the 5-axis stabilization has made its way into the crop sensor flagship, what about full-frame. It’s hard to imagine Sony resurrecting the A-mount with the a99 and not the a6500 to leave its full-frame flagship E-mounts left out.
Rumors are everywhere about the a7s III being the next to be refreshed. Not solid rumors, but they are out there. I’d lean towards the a7r III being the first to get announced.
While both are award winners for Sony, the a7r series has the jack-of-all-trades mentality. Video and still photography. Plus, it can hammer home the large megapixel count. The a7r II enjoys a 42.4 MP CMOS sensor, while the a7s II hits 12.2 effective megapixels. I get it’s an apple to oranges comparison, but from a marketing perspective, flashy numbers grab the headlines.
Hell, Sony could launch both. May as well knock it all out in one year. They are on a roll, so why stop now?
The a6500 does signal the full-frames are getting a bump to the III sooner rather than later. Its features are getting a little too close, and Sony is on a price increase warpath. We’ll see if it gets announced before the holidays or does Sony let the a6500 dominate the enthusiast level and hold the professional announcements for the new year.