With the Sony A6500, Sony has entered the terrain of semi-professional crop cameras. The camera is significantly higher priced than other Sony APS-C cameras, and is directly competing with other smaller format flagship cameras like Fuji X-T2, Nikon D500, Olympus OMD-EM1 Mk2 or the Canon Eos 7D Mk2.
Furthermore, the Sony A6500 is now similarly (or even higher) priced than the Sony A7II. This leaves open the question for many people as to whether they should really spend that much on an APS-C camera, or if they should get a full frame body instead. The comparison is obvious, and legitimate, because the cameras share a few key specifications – like sensor resolution, mount, and sensor stabilization. Let’s check what sets these cameras apart from each other.
The obvious differences
Size and Ergonomics
The Sony A7II is a substantially bigger camera. This is good and bad at the same time. Of course, the A6500 can disappear more easily in your pocket and adds less heft to the kit, but it really lacks at least 2-3 additional control elements.
As an engineer, who knows controlling restrictions and modular development, I can understand Sony’s intention to use basically the same body style for all A6XXX cameras. This saves a lot of costs and speeds up the release cycles.
As a photographer, I am really disappointed about the decision not to update the body. The A6000 design was okay for a mid range camera, but it really falls behind when I compare it to all other APS-C flagship cameras and also all A7 models. I think that an exposure compensation dial is essential these days because it speeds up operation significantly and the current value is always visible.
Nevertheless, there are a few substantial features that Sony was able to introduce into the line with the A6500 despite staying within these design restrictions (compared to the A6000/A6300):
- Larger grip (Seems like a transplant of the Sony A7II grip)
- Additional custom button (like the one introduced in the A7 generation II). Both custom buttons are now on the top plate of the body
- Bigger shutter button
- Softer eyecup
What does the A7II offer over the A6500?
- Exposure compensation wheel (!!!)
- One more custom button
- One more wheel (essential in M mode to have direct dials for ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed)
- The display of the A7II has a 3:2 aspect ratio (A6500 – 16:9) which offers visibly more space for photography applications.
- Slightly larger viewfinder (0.71 vs. 0.70)
What does the A6500 offer over the A7II?
- Touchscreen to select the focus directly
- Built-in Flash
The compensation dial and the third wheel are important arguments for the A7II in terms of usability and workflow. In comparison to the A6500, the access to important functions of the A7II feels much more direct and flexible. It’s a pity that Sony didn’t introduce a more mature and professional design for such an expensive camera like the A6500, and this leaves me with a feeling of disappointment.
One important aspect of ergonomics is the bodystyle itself. The rangefinder design of the A6500 is nice to use if you prefer to shoot with the right eye but pretty much unusable if you like or have to shoot with the left eye, especially in combination with the touchscreen.
Autofocus, Speed and Action
Speed is the headline feature of the A6500. The camera uses the same sensor as the A6300 and features a new “front end LSI”. The latter is a marketing term for a co-processor that supports the BionzX processor. What you need to know is that the processor should improve a few functions of the camera.
First, the high ISO performance should be improved although the DXO sports value of the A6500 is lower than the one of the A6300. I think this affects just the JPEGs and is not that interesting for many people.
More important is that the camera can buffer 107 RAW images instead of 21 RAW images compared to the A6300. The A6300 was meant as an action/sports camera but it could fire just two seconds at max burst speed. With the bigger buffer of the A6500, it is much more likely to capture the decisive moment.
In terms of speed, the A6500 runs circles around the A7II. The A6500 has a more than five times bigger buffer size (107 RAW images vs. 20 RAW images) and takes more than twice as many pictures in the same tame (11 fps vs. 5 fps).
The AF system is also quite different. Although both cameras have a ridiculous number of phase detection focus points (A6500: 425, A7II:117), the A6500 features more advanced (“4D”-)tracking options as well as Eye-AF. There is a big difference in terms of focus speed, in AF-S mode as well as in AF-C mode. The superiority was obvious in many real life situations although I have the feeling that the AF-C has improved more than the AF-S. In my opinion, the AF still doesn’t feel DSLR-like in terms of reliability but has greatly improved.
One big feature for action photography, that was introduced with the A6300, is the reduced-lag viewfinder operation in continuous shooting. The camera displays a live view image between the shots which helps to keep up with the moving subject while tracking. This reduces the blackout but is not on par with DSLRs or even the new A9.
The touchscreen is one of the most important new features of the Sony A6500. Sony understands the touchscreen as an additional control element, not as an replacement. Therefore, the functionality of the touchscreen is neither providing a smartphone-like experience nor replaces the usage of physical controls in general.
After using it for four months, I have mixed feelings about it. In general, the Touchscreen is a welcome addition because the user gains at least one more free customizable button. I can also live with it’s limited functionality. Generally, I like the direct control over the focus spot as well as the moving of the focus spot when the viewfinder is in use.
Nevertheless, I think that Sony should have spent some more time to improve the implementation. The competition does a better job here with more features. The moving of the focus spot with the viewfinder on the eye feels very laggy (even with the latest firmware) and it happens way too often that one corner of the touchscreen gets touched by the cheeks in portrait orientation accidentally. I’ve even lost a number of shots in a wedding shoot because of this issue.
Sensor Size and Legacy Lenses
If you want to use legacy 35mm film lenses, I would always recommend using the A7II, because the lower pixel density is less demanding (and you get better per pixel sharpness), because you can use the full image circle and you can get a decent performing legacy setup for wider angles. I don’t, however, recommend (with a few expensive exceptions) legacy lenses below 20mm: modern options just perform a lot better in that range, especially on crop cameras.
If you need the highest possible level of subject isolation, a full frame camera is also inevitable. There is simply no crop equivalent for a 2.8/24-70 (over the full range of focal lengths), a 1.4/35, a 1.4/85 and obviously not a 0.95/50.
I don’t do video at all, but the A6500 will be a much better tool for that task. (4k, touchscreen, better AF, …)
I don’t want to discuss this aspect too extensively, but it’s obvious that Sony hasn’t announced a single APS-C photo lens since mid 2013. That means, that Sony doesn’t really care about the APS-C lineup or is convinced about the cross-compatibility of FE lenses.
It makes sense to use FE telephoto lenses and also some primes (I’d definitely recommend the FE 1.8/85 for the a6500 for example) but in my opinion a 2.8/16-50 as well as some more compact f/1.4 primes are serious lacks. This is even more relevant since Sony has put the A6500 in a higher price category to compete with the best crop cameras out there but it doesn’t offer a lens lineup which can compete on the same level.
The FE lens lineup on the other hand grows by about a lens a month and one exciting lens follows the next one. There are even a few Sony-exclusive gems that set the FE-system apart from the competition (Loxia 2.8/21 and Sony 4/12-24 for example). If you are looking for the best lenses and want to use them in their native scope, the A7II or even the a7rii is the way to go.
One last thing to keep in mind is that the Sony E-lenses (APS-C) are generally a bit smaller, lighter and cheaper than the Sony FE-lenses. Although I don’t think that the APS-C lineup is nearly as complete as the crop lens lineup of the competitors, there are a few decent and fair priced APS-C primes like the Sony E 1.8/35 OSS and the Sony E 1.8/50 OSS which are smart choices. The gem of the APS-C lineup is the Sony 1.8/24 ZA which pairs good optical quality with fast AF and spectacular close up capabilities.
The not so obvious differences
I refer to DXOmark in that chapter, because it mostly reflects what I see in practical usage.
At base ISO, the dynamic range of the sensors is equally impressive and very good for any type of landscape applications.
At higher ISOs, the full frame sensor pulls ahead in terms of noise performance, this becomes especially visible when the shadows of the RAW images are pushed.
I think it’s noteworthy that the pixel density of the Sony A7II is much lower. The camera is therefore much less demanding in terms of lenses. In many cases, the same lens needs to be stopped down one or two stops to achieve the same level of sharpness on the A6500 as on the Sony A7II.
One last subjective aspect is that I can achieve pleasant colors with my Sony A7II more easily. It could also be possible that I am just more used to that camera.
The A6500 features a redesigned menu system. It’s a bit better but I don’t see a huge improvement. It would not be a reason for me to decide for or against the camera.
Useful improvements of the A6500
Sony improved a few small but really useful things that they didn’t talk much about.
- The camera can detect now if the screen is tilted – This is great because it deactivates the eye sensor when this is the case. Using the A6500 on a tripod or in front of the belly is much more convenient, because it doesn’t turn off the LCD when the hands get close to the eyecup.
- Spot metering with focus point link – The camera can meter exactly on the spot that is currently used for focus. This is a really great addition and makes the metering in dynamic situations much more reliable. Great for portraits, because the face always has the correct brightness level.
- Highlight metering – The camera exposes the highlights of the frame exactly – no blown out highlights. This works well, but you have to work with the images in t
- Bluetooth – GPS was an often seen feature of Sony A-mount cameras a few years ago, but disappeared after the A77. The A6500 enables geotagging with the help of a mobile phone. The camera is able to transmit the GPS position and also the correct date of the mobile device and uses Bluetooth for that. That worked well but the Playmemories app always showed that the camera is missing when my camera was not in reach.
- Autofocusing during focus magnification – The A6500 is able to use autofocus when enlarging a part of the image with the focus magnification. Could be useful for some macro shooters that don’t like MF or have slightly moving targets.
- External Powering – The Camera can be used while it gets charged via USB. This is handy for timelapse and long exposure work.
Additional functionality over the A7II that was introduced with other cameras
- Silent Shutter – I have marked this in bold, because it is a real game changer for many types of photography, especially for wedding, portrait, wildlife and street photography. In my case, it was great to take pictures of my sleeping baby because he never woke up. This feature worked flawless most of the time. Interestingly, the best man of a bridal pair became nervous because he thought that I am not taking pictures during the wedding ceremony. People are still used to the shutter noise and it is still a kind of feedback to the model. Therefore, I prefer the silent shutter when I want to be invisible as a photographer. The only issue that I have encountered was banding under artificial light, a well known problem.
- Auto ISO – The original implementation (A7, A7II) of Auto ISO by Sony was a joke. The camera just rested at 1/60 no matter what focal length was used. With the A6500, maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed can be customized. Real Auto ISO, not just a placeholder for a missing function like in the A7II
- More detailed bracketing features
Exclusive functions of the A7II
Okay, this one is a short chapter. The A7II has 1/8000 maximum shutter speed while the A6500 has just 1/4000. This can be sometimes limiting on bright days with fast lenses.
My favorite Setup (Sony A6500)
I have pointed out before, that the Sony A6500 misses some direct dials that the Sony A7II has. Nevertheless, (thanks to Auto ISO) the following configuration worked pretty well for my everyday (mostly portraiture) photography:
- Shooting mode: A
- Top wheel: Aperture value
- Back wheel: Exposure compensation
- ISO: Auto ISO
- C1: Auto ISO minimum shutter speed
- C2: Focus Magnification
- C3: Steady Shot
- Zebra: 100+
- Metering: Spot M
- Metering coupled with Spot
- AF: Spot M or Zone
The Sony A7II and the Sony A6500 are currently quite similarly priced but the comparison showed, that the cameras are very different. The image quality is quite comparable with a small advantage going to the Sony A7II. In my opinion, you should focus on other aspects if you need to decide between both.
Get the A7II if you..
- … are a left eyed shooter
- … you use manual lenses most of the time
- … prefer to have more external controls without using the menu
- … need the maximum amount of subject isolation
- … shoot very often at high ISOs
- … want to make full use of the exciting FE lens lineup (Exciting lenses like the Loxia 2.8/21, the Voigtländer 5.6/10 and the 4/12-24 are not that exciting anymore on a crop body)
Get the A6500 if you
- … shoot action, sports, etc. and want a small mirrorless camera (Otherwise, I believe that a DSLR or an SLT is still the weapon of choice, and the A9 is in a different league)
- … are looking for a smaller camera or a smaller system
- … are tired of many of Sony’s initial design quirks (Auto ISO, menu system, metering)
- … don’t want to read “Writing to memory card, unable to operate”!!
- … want an alternative to the sluggish focus point selection
- … need a silent shutter
- … need an allround camera for every task
- … don’t have a big lens budget but need AF
- … need an internal flash
I’ve bought the camera for two reasons:
- My A7II couldn’t keep up with my baby who was moving around all of the time.
- I was searching for faster and more reliable AF for my portrait and studio photography
- I needed a second body for a 5 week trip to Italy (all images in that post were taken on that trip)
- To get a reliable workhorse for documentations (events, weddings, etc…)
My impression after five months of usage is that the A6500 is an extremely capable and satisfying camera. It feels much more modern and responsive than the Sony A7II. It is a pleasure to use it and I greatly prefer it to my Sony A7II whenever the subject starts to move. The image quality is great for an APS-C camera and I like the landscape and portrait shots that I have taken with it so far.
When it comes to pure landscape photography or creative photography in general, I prefer the bigger body of the Sony A7II and the manual controls on it. Furthermore, the Sony A7II (or any other FE camera) is irreplaceable for my photography with manual lenses.
Nevertheless, I still have the feeling that the Sony A6500 is the right camera in the wrong body. I can see the improvements of the A6500 over the A6300, but the differences are way too small in my opinion. The A6500 is targeted at (semi-)professional photographers but still caged in a smallish and not so ergonomic body.
The lack of a dedicated exposure compensation dial is especially frustrating for my type of photography. Furthermore, the touchscreen implementation has so much potential, but is frustrating to use in the real world. A joystick (such as can be found in the Sony A9 or the Fuji X-T2) would have been a better choice. I can’t get rid of the feeling that Fuji (X-T2) and Olympus (OMD-EM1 Mk2) have put more love and effort into their crop flagship cameras. This also shows in the limited and aging E-lens (APS-C) lineup.
Regarding the AF, I have a significantly higher rate of keepers and more great snapshots than before although I still have the feeling that it could be even better (occasional hunting in low light, accuracy is not always perfect).
Personally, I have decided to leave the APS-C side of the E-mount again. It just didn’t feel as well rounded and reliable as I had hoped to and mostly important I just don’t get used to the A6XXX design after owning several A7 series cameras. I will wait for the A7III and try some different cameras (especially curious about the Fuji X-T2 because of the user interface) until it’s available.
You can buy the Sony A6500 for at Amazon.com or at Amazon.de(affiliate links).
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40 thoughts on “Sony A6500 vs. Sony A7II comparison – which one is the smarter choice?”
Thank you very much for this detailed and fair comparison! The many details you mention enable every reader to make his/her own decision, according to his/her needs and preferences, and this is what makes such a comparison really valuable – far more valuable than simple “Buy this! Buy that!” reviews which are found way too often in the WWW.
Thanks a lot, Roman! I appreciate that a lot 🙂
One last subjective aspect is that I can achieve pleasant colors with my Sony A7II more easily. It could also be possible that I am just more used to that camera.
I’m interested in this… It’s a subjective aspect because it’s a matter of taste, but it could also depend on the post-processing. For instance, with Lightroom, I’ve never got “pleasant” colours out of my Sony cameras in a consistent way: in particular for the blue in some blue skies and in some hues of brown that in reality are more yellowish, but turned out more reddish. I work with RAW and, sure, I can control everything: but it took really too much time in working with selective colour channel controls – and without a 100% warranty of success. The problem has been fixed when I bought a Passport Colour Checker and created my own generic profiles – so I’m sure I start with a truly neutral rendition (furthermore the same for all my cameras) and it’s easier to get the wanted results. In my previous life I had several Nikon bodies – it happened the same thing only with one of them. That’s why I think it might be more a Lightroom than a Sony problem, at least in my case. Is yours similar?
PS For the record, also the a6300 has got autofocusing during focus magnification (and yes, it’s really useful, not only for macro shots, but also for better precision in some cases when the camera seems to be less precise than usual).
Thank you for sharing your experience! I know what you mean, I am not really happy about the consistency of my results.
I really have to point out that this is an subjective impression, the A7 images seem to have more gentle colors and seem to be more vivid in general.. But really, take this with a grain of salt. It can also be my profiling or my processing that just matches the A7II files better.
I have also a ColorChecker Passport flying around and will do that profiling asap, thank you!
Note that the CC Passport, of course, doesn’t solve all problems – and sometimes might create its own 🙂 It’s technology, after all. It might be also my fault – an error in shooting calibration photos? -, but my profiles have a common pitfall: when you shoot the falling (or rising) sun, the transitions around the solar circle towards the yellow/reddish atmosphere around aren’t smooth. At all. While Lightroom profiles are ok in this case.
Thanks for the warning, I’ll give it a closer look. My biggest gripe are skin colors.. I’d gain a lot if the calibration improves that.
I’ll be interested to see if you like the Xrite skin tones. I prefer ACR for Caucasian skin. Indeed that is I think what they optimized it for, whereas Xrite is slightly more colorimetrically accurate, for better or worse.
But of course you can’t profile you individual camera, lenses, or odd lighting, with ACR. I have considered trying to make some presets which take an Xrite profile and modify it to be what some other profile would have been like had it been possible to generate it based on this camera/lens, if that makes sense….
ACR/LR transition to white on extreme highlights before clipping. Gives a more pleasing look and avoids banding, but isn’t realistic.
Yup, profiling is the key. It’s amazing how lazy/inconsistent Adobe is from camera to camera with their Standard profile. Doesn’t say much for their ability to try to mimic the manufacturer’s profiles. When you escape the built-in profiles, you can achieve pleasing colors on any camera from the start. Rarely will the sensor be the cause of poor colors between cameras.
Thanks for the honest, precise, practical and insightful review.
I have both feet camped in the Sony APS-C world since 2014 and recently purchased an A6500, pretty much for the reasons you highlighted. I’m still learning how to maximize its usage and minimize its quirks. One small and very versatile lens that I absolutely adore on this body type is the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS. Excellent all-rounder with nice optics too.
I don’t have experience on the Sony FF yet but was considering the A7R2 for awhile. The A7II just felt a bit old and limited spec-wise. When the A9 came out, I figured I would wait out for the next incarnation of the A7 (or cheaper A9) and selected the A6500 in the meantime as a step-up from the A6000 (which is still a surprisingly good camera).
My thoughts are the A6500 is an excellent fit for events (fast AF, discrete, longer reach per given focal because of crop factor) and a future FF camera could be useful for creative projects or ultimate IQ (ISO, best separation, etc). Will see what 2018 has to offer…
I have over two dozen vintage lenses I like to experiment with but it’s difficult to explore the wide focal end with APS-C, except with a focal reducer/mount adapter (with a slight optical impact). However, using the center part of old lenses helps to get reasonable sharpness even on a denser sensor.
It’s really unfortunate Sony has put aside upgrading its APS-C lenses but I can see them wanting to increase margins with higher end products. Using FE lens is ok (I like the 55mm/1.8 qualities) but you often pay a size penalty and always waste the extra image circle light. Money for nothing.
Thanks again for the excellent article.
Your comment reflects my thoughts, thank you. Mind-wise, we are in the same boat although I’ve had my feet in the FE system since it’s introduction and skipped the APS-C part mostly in the past.
Jannik, perhaps you missed it but you can dedicate the top wheel to exposure compensation. I discovered this in Gary Friedman’s book and have used it ever since. It does help immensely while photographing in difficult light and really speeds up the process. I can’t describe it here as I don’t have access to the book right now but, but it involves custom key mapping and setting certain functions.
Great review all around. Perhaps this tip will change your opinion of the a6500 for the better.
Hi Doug, it’s true. Both wheels (top+rear) can be used as an exposure compensation dial and I chose the rear one. Nevertheless, it’s still quite different to a dedicated exposure compensation dial, where you have hard stops at the end of the scale and (even more important) can see which value is the current one, even if the wheel is untouched and the camera turned off.
I would really like to see a side by side test of a full frame with a legacy lens vs an APSC camera with the same lens and a good quality speedbooster.
I think it might actually make sense, for someone who tends to stick to a single legacy system, to stay APSC. Would be keen to see that tested!
After a usage period of the A7 for 1-5years I returned back using MFT and APSC Sony, simply because of the size and I wouldn’t take better shots with a fullframe (I am still the same person behind the Camera, no matter whether it’s a full frame or crop (-; )
For APSC Sony, even with the old line up of lenses you have quite some choice (a good wide angle zoom, some primes and on top of that some good manual lenses from Samyang and the Touits from Zeiss),and not with that hefty price tag of the full frame lenses.
I really like the 16-70, but it suffers from bad quality control (my sample as well).
What I am missing, but is system inherent: Adaption of old lenses with a crop of 1.0. To some degree it can be helped with a focal reducer.
The original A7 is so cheap nowadays that it’s clever to have one just for the manual lenses. I mean it’s almost as cheap as an Speedboster 😉
A very good review. I upgraded from an NEX-6 to an A7, and then added an A7II to tap my many Leica M mount and adaptable-to-M Canon FD and Nikon AiS lenses.
I bought a used A6000 to tap some leftover APS-C lenses from my NEX-6 period, and was delighted with its performance. Those of us who’ve been shooting since the 4×5 Speed Graphic and Rolleiflex era tend to be much more forgiving of shortcomings like focus speed, fps and write buffers. But I admit to being charmed by my TechArt Pro autofocus adapter, and plan to add an A6500 to my travel pack in the coming months, so I can use the TechArt, too.
The only issue I’d take with your review is that, while Sony has not been introducing new APS-C lenses, others have. My Rokinon 12mm f2 is fully as competent on my A6000 as my Voigtlander 15mm Super Heliar III on my A7 bodies; my Sigma 19mm f2.8 Art is stunningly similar to my Zony FE 35mm f2.8 on my A7 series. I’m sure the Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AF ED I’ve adapted to the TechArt – and performing magnificently there – will perform equally well on an A6500.
Perhaps, like Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess,” I am “too easily made glad.” But I decide based on my images and my wallet – and the A7/A6000 family pleases me a lot.
Very good article.
But I would still say that A7ii has a better dynamic range if the scenario is demanding (but of course we have better choice there)
ref: the comparison tool in https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3416153698/canon-eos-6d-mark-ii-dynamic-range
Jannik, thanks for the review. Excellent and informative as always.
As food for thought on using legacy lenses on APS-C. An alternative viable option is using manual lenses with a speed booster.
I’ve used a Metabones Speed Booster Ultra with my Contax lenses (28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/1.4 & 1.7, 85/2.8 and 100/3.5) a lot on a NEX6 body with very good results. The added 1 stop of light also adds to the versability. Even the 100 with a 2x Mutar extender (a very small 200/5.0 or thereabout) is producing acceptable results.
The added center and mid frame sharpness also helps with the lower pixel pitch on a APC body.
Corner sharpness suffers a bit on larger apertures (1.4 and 2.0) but is still excellent in the center so the 50/1.4 (75/1.4 eq,) becoming a true 50/1.0 is not to be laughed at in low light.
As a complement to my full frame it’s hard to beat, and to be able to use the same lenses with the same perspective and framing is also welcome.
So a 6500 is now on my wish list as I think the IBIS would make this set-up even better.
I use both, the A6000 and the A7, and made similar experience. I also want to replace both camera by a single camera in future. As the A9 is too extensive for me, I am curious about a future A7iii.
I had the Fuji X-T2 and I absolutely LOVED it, it is so much fun to use, the lenses are indeed incredible.
However I went to the A7II because of X-Trans. Fuji really have shot themselves in the foot with it and it just really got under my skin after years of trying to work around it.
I really did want to stay with it. I almost got the A6500 but the ergonomics just isn’t there for me. I’m hoping the A7III is more responsive.
One thing that baffles me is that Sony don’t have an in-camera RAW converter. That was so convenient with Fuji and I rather not shoot RAW+JPEG just incase.
There is a scenario that should be considered: you already have a A7xx, are used to and love full frame but want an A6xxx for the reason you mentionned (fast moving, reach of aps-c etc…) => What would you recommend? I went the a6000 as it’s only used occasionnally and it’s af and other specs are already quite decent but most of all it’s dirt cheap!!! A6500 is way too expensive in that scenario for the little improvements in answering the needs. I would also add the scenario where you already have an apsc and thinking of moving to fullframe: its better to go A7/A7II/A7RII Thanks for a great article
Wonderfully written article. I have owned an a6000 for a little more than a year. I came from Canon (300D…50D…7D). I want to go full frame, but just can’t afford it, with the exception of the a7ii. From your article, I now know that this IS what I want to do! Now, ::sigh:: to be patient and wait for the a7iii. I want to see if Sony addresses some of those concerns mentioned in your article.
A question that I would love your opinion on centers around one of my current lens. I really like my 18-105pz. I know that I could keep it for a new ff, but crop factor means the 24 MP resolution drops to around 10 MP. If I never print above 8×10 or view on a monitor above 28″, will I be happy with this lower resolution? I do have ff primes already, 28 & 50, so maybe add the 28-70 kit to a new ff and sell the 18-105 with the a6000 isn’t a bad thing. I would love to keep it all. Photography is an expensive addiction! Thank you for any insight that you can provide!
Thank you, Charlie! If I were you and if you plan to own just one FF camera, I’d sell the 18-105.
The kit lens performs probably on a little weaker level than the 18-105 on the A6000 (just my guess) but still much better compared to the cropped 18-105 on the FF sensor. The search for good FE standard zooms is very frustrating, I’d either go the cheapo way (28-70) or the quality way (24-70 GM).
Thanks for the quick response! Lots to consider, but I like my choices. It’s not unreasonable to expect the 28-70 in a package deal when the a7iii is released. It should be worth an extra $100 or so, for sure! Keep writing, I really enjoy your perspective.
I’m wondering about the 2 cameras, I’m coming from a Canon reflex and I like both portrait and music concert photography, so in this case movements subjects and low lights. I like the idea of easy to carry camera of the a6500, plus the build in flash and the fact that it newer machine. Said that the a7ii it is a7..
What do you suggest?
This is a really exceptional review! Thank you for your thoughts and effort. I am preparing to buy a new Sony mirrorless camera and have extensively studied the a7ii and a6500; I go back and forth all the time, so I’m not quite ready to “push the shutter” on this purchase.
Interestingly, one of the more peripheral details in this review caught my eye: The a6500 display is 16×9, which I had not known before reading your review. Honestly, I don’t want a 16×9 display. While that will not be the main factor steering me away from the a6500, it’s in the equation. I like your description of the a6500 as a more modern and responsive camera, but the a7ii’s full frame, better low-light images and better options for creative photography, all have me leaning toward the bigger camera.
Which raises another question: Is the a7ii a big enough improvement over the a7 to justify the extra $600? I know the a7 is kind of old now, but I’m intrigued, especially at a $1,000 price point. I don’t really feel a great need for the in-body stabilization as I typically use a tripod. So in that context, do you think the a7 makes sense for a guy like me who currently owns the basic a5000 (and really likes it, truth be told).
Sono un fotagrafo principiante e ho bisogno di una macchina stabilizzata tuttofare. Intendo usare obiettivi a focale fissa (prevalentemente il sony zeiss 35 1.4). Ho letto attentamente il confronto fra le due macchine ed apprezzo molto il contributo alla conoscenza di un mondo per me ancora da scoprire. Però non sono riuscito a comprendere quale macchina preferire. Ho bisogno di un consiglio esperto. Grazie
Please ask your questions in english. None of us is speaking italian.
great article. It helps me probably for an A 7 iii. I need a silent shutter .
I’ve an A6300 and looking for an A7 because some low light pictures to take…theater and modern dance.
Even with the Sony 50 mm f1.8 and 24 mmf1.8 but iso 6400 is not so good. ( raw in LR) and the16-70 f4 is unusable.
Just bought an A7 II and i will return it. I m not the only one feeling that this camera have a real AF issue.
It is great for landscape but when a subject begin moving it is just lottery AF. For this price point i expect something great at landscape AND useful at moving portrait.
Bottom line A7 II is a great camera and can make wonderfull pictures but it feels like an uncontrolled lottery to get a usable middle or close range moving subject shoot.
will wait for an improved a7 III but i am sold on the mirorless full frame.
I felt the same.. I use only manual glass on my A7II now and a Nikon D750 for everything that moves. I couldn’t wait for a refined A7iii, my boy is growing up now and not later.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have the a6000 and am invested in crop lenses and debating upgrading to the a7II or a6500. I’m not considering the R series, since I find 24MP ample enough for my uses but the 12MP of the S series is a slightly low. One area I am most looking for performance improvement is in low light situations without flash.
I understand the a7II is less noisy at higher ISOs but the low light focus is not as good as the a6500, so I guess I’m still on the fence or waiting.
With the A7iii coming, this may be worth a review… as it looks to have many of 6500 speed,… and loves low light
Sure you will look at it in due time.
Ref FF APS C, given impact on angle of view, Tele lenses for APS C are much more compact than for FF. Considering manual legacy lenses, it makes a huge difference carrying a 135 mm and a 200 mm rather than a 200 mm and a 300 mm… Obviously, difference much less for wide angle and standard lenses.
For similar reasons as in the review (kids), I added a A6300 to my a7ii and my prime lenses (FE 20/2,28/2,55/1.8,90/2.8).
So when I go to the museum/zoo/playground with the kids, I take the a6300 with the 28mm and 55mm with me, and for landscapes/stills I take the a7ii and whatever focal length(s) I need.
Now, with the A7III, I could go back to having one body only, but would loose the compactness of the A6300 (especially with the FE28mm it is very portable and capable for almost anything) & the crop factor doubling of the number of different focal lengths my set of primes offers.
decisions, decisions …
Hi Jannik, guess you own an a7III now so you may compare that to a6500 in future, or add to this article.
Jannik is too busy to even read the comments so I can’t make you any hopes at the moment 🙂
did anyone test the performance of the FE28F2 vs the SEL24F18Z on an APSC body (e.g. a6xxx)? The FE seems to be a decent performer and costs half as much while also usable on full frame.
Thanks for this review as I’m in the market for a used Sony camera in 2020 and these are at similar price points. I’m leaning toward the A6500 now for convenience and video.
Your landscape photos are stunning as well.