October 7, 2016

Everything We Know About Sony's New a6500 4K Camera

Sony brings 4K UHD to Super 35mm format.

The a6500 is Sony's latest top-of-the-line APS-C E-mount mirrorless camera. Similar to the a6300, it touts an updated version of the 24.2MP CMOS sensor, as well as adding new features like in-body image stabilization, revised menus, touchscreen control, and 4K UHD (3840x2160p) in Super 35mm format, using the full width of the image sensor. 

Sony a6500

The camera combines an interchangeable lens system with internal 4K recording. When shooting 4K in Super 35mm (25p/24p), the camera uses the sensor's full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information—roughly 2.4x as many pixels as 4K UHD. The oversampling provides users highly detailed imagery. In 30p, it takes about 1.6x the data to produce 4K. The sensor is a APS-C sized 24.2 MP8 Exmor CMOS with a BIONZ X image processor providing a sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600 (expandable to 51200 in stills mode). 

You can work in S-Gamut for a wider color space, Rec 709, S-Log2 or S-Log 3 (14 stop latitude) gamma curves while recording internally 8-bit 4:2:0 4K up to 100 Mbps or uncompressed through its HDMI output at 8-bit 4:2:2. As you might imagine, it also offers 1080p at 24, 30, 60, maxing at 120fps 100 Mbps—supporting the XAVC S codec at 50 Mbps in HD and 100 Mbps in 4K. To record 100 Mbps, you'll need UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC rated cards, and Class 10 or higher for everything else.

Sony a6500

One of the the more notable additions is the touchscreen control, allowing you to specify which of the 425 phase detection points the AF should focus on. While Sony has improved its auto focus system, offering the ability to adjust speed and sensitivity, it still won't track a subject after touch. The only option for this is the Lock-On AF that will track the center.  Sony says the camera can focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds but I'm curious to see how well the focus shift performs. Samsung had a similar feature on its NX cameras and when turning to its slowest setting it did provide a more cinematic feel. 

They've also added a 'Slow and Quick' (S&Q) mode that, as advertised, supports both slow and quick motion. In this mode, you can select frame rates from 1fps to 120fps before outputting video, and up to 60x quick motion or down to 5x slow motion recording. Shooters can also select, extract and save still images directly from the movie footage at 8 MP and 2 MP in 4K/HD. 

Sony a6500

A 5-axis stabilization helps steady your image and, according to Sony, the updated gyro sensor provides an image stabilization effect equivalent to a 5-steps-faster shutter speed using a 55mm F1.8 ZA lens. There is a built-in stereo mic to provide a scratch track for audio, but they skipped out on the headphone port again—a choice that still baffles us.  

As for its body, it keeps a similar form factor to the a6000 series, while adapting functionality from the a7 II series. A magnesium alloy body accompanies the same recessed grip and lens mount from the a7 II, with a larger release button and ten total custom buttons. A high contrast, high res 2.4 million dot XGA OLED electric viewfinder and a LCD screen supports the views. The a6500 is also equipped with wifi, QR and NFC to help transfer images to mobile devices. 

The price tag is around $1,400 and the camera is expected to ship November. 

Tech specs

  • APS-C type (23.5 x 15.6 mm) Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • Approx. 24.2 Megapixels
  • Built-in 5-axis Image Stabilization
  • 425 phase-detection AF points
  • BIONZ X Image Processing Engine 
  • ISO 100-25600
  • 4K Recording
  • Sony E-mount lenses
Sony a6500

 

 

Your Comment

23 Comments

4K UHD (3840x2160p) in Super 35mm format, using the full width of the image sensor, is not a new feature, the a6300 got it

October 7, 2016 at 4:48PM

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No it doesn't. The a6300 is a crop of the sensor (which takes 6k stills) but the a6500 is using the full 6k sensor to capture the image and the downsamples to 4K. It's not The same.

October 7, 2016 at 6:38PM

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a6300 already does full sensor readout from 6K to 4K, a6500 does not change that, but with new LSI front-end, the readout speed will likely be improved which results in less rolling shutter compared to a6300 which is mind-numbing 32ms.

October 7, 2016 at 8:22PM

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Driftwood
279

the 6300 does a full readout from 6k, at list in 24p...

October 8, 2016 at 4:02PM, Edited October 8, 4:02PM

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4K UHD (3840x2160p) in Super 35mm format, using the full width of the image sensor is not a new feature... a6300 already have this

October 7, 2016 at 4:51PM

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I've been a Canon c100 mark ii shooter, but now Sony may get a few of my dollars after all! Specs looks like it's a lot of bang for the buck.

October 7, 2016 at 5:52PM

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Reggie Brown
Cinematographer
361

I was thinking the same! Do you (or anyone) have any experience with mixing Canon and Sony footage? Would it be worth getting as a B-Cam?

October 8, 2016 at 2:54AM

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Morten Furre
Director, Editor, Screenwriter
164

I'll been working with an C300 / A7sii combo. When shooting in S-Log or Cine modes it's pretty easy to color correct the A7sii to match the canon color.

October 9, 2016 at 5:14PM

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Wait, so you can't tap an object and have AF track it as it moves within the frame?

October 7, 2016 at 8:01PM

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Raya Fahreza
Freelance Corporate Shooter
89

Looks tempting, but those we want to do any kind of docu shooting will have to think twice if the overheating is still a problem – 5 Minute interviews are not common...

October 7, 2016 at 8:26PM

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Using an Atomos Shogun I've recorded hour plus long interviews with hot lights and experience no over heating on my A7SII Others have had great success with the A6300 using similar set ups. Of course that ups the price tag but I use the Atomos with multiple cameras including the C300 the FS5. Plus do we know this camera will have the same over heat issue?

October 9, 2016 at 5:21PM

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It´s just me or it doesn´t look like 14 stops of DR?

October 7, 2016 at 9:30PM

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It's just something Sony like to do - horrible, aggressive 709 grade on their promo videos, (and an equally horrible fake orchestra score all over it). I think blown highlights are just not as objectionable in Japan as they are in the west...

Wait for someone to independently evaluate the DR.

October 7, 2016 at 10:31PM

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yes it looks like shitty video blown out whites.. All Sony cameras seem to have that look.. Thats why people still use canon. for the look.. If anyone has Sony camera footage that looks great with out this crappy video look shot in camera without heavy post, please post links. I want to like it, but need to see samples of it actually looking good in camera..

October 15, 2016 at 11:49PM

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Hunter Senftner
Director/DP/Editor
130

If the GH5 goes for $ 1700 and provides internal 10 bit 4:2:2, it's going to be a non issue for me. I'll stick to Panasonic.

October 8, 2016 at 10:38AM

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And a horrible micro 4/3 sensor to compliment that. Need all new lenses and lack the look of a true super 35mm sensor, plus colors and DR is not up to par with most cameras. Even if it's 10 bit doesn't mean the color science will get any better either.

October 10, 2016 at 7:07AM

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Brad Watts
Filmmaker/Creative Director - Redd Pen Media
394

Ehm, are you suggesting Sony colour science is better? Panasonic colour is alright. For the Super 35 look you can use a focal reducer. Any lenses can be adapted easily.

Probably won't be able to match A6500 AF tho -- for those who need it.

October 13, 2016 at 8:23PM

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zetty
Filmmaker
759

LOL: output at 8-bit.. Who need this Suck!

October 8, 2016 at 10:51AM, Edited October 8, 10:51AM

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So correct me if I'm wrong, but - video-wise - is this just an A7SII with an aps-c sensor?

October 10, 2016 at 6:11AM

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Rob Wilton
DoP
300

as i see it on the sony website: Mic Terminal - Yes (3.5 mm Stereo minijack)
So it does have a mic in, which is a big temptation for me to upgrade from my a6000....

October 10, 2016 at 10:46AM

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I rented the a6300 to shoot my first short film, and the footage is stunning. However, the rolling shutter is very noticeable. Hopefully the a6500 fixes this issue.

October 11, 2016 at 7:38PM

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It seems like there is a 4k version for this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNDhVRD5pSU

October 12, 2016 at 8:45AM

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Oliver
8

The camera gains 5-axis image stabilization which continues to work in both stills and video. The system is rated as offering 5 stops of stabilization, by CIPA standard testing.
When used in conjunction with stabilized 'OSS' lenses, the in-lens stabilization takes over correction of the axes that is can stabilize, though Sony makes no claims for this adding to the degree of stabilization offered. http://www.wpexpertwebs.com/wordpress-development-services

October 16, 2016 at 12:36AM

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John walker
Project Manager
145