Mirrorless cameras are coming through thick and fast as manufacturers try to gain market share from the waning DSLR sales. Sony is relentless at chasing top spot and have made what must be one of the quickest upgrades of them all. The Sony a6300 was released on 3rd Feb 2016 and yet here we have the new Sony a6500 released just 8 months later. Why?
It's likely that sales of the a6300 have been less than spectacular and pressure is mounting from new releases such as the FujiFilm XT-2 and Canon M5. Although they would not know the details of the competition when they decided to develop the new model they could guess the pressure would be on. So sitting on any new technology just to avoid upsetting those who have just bought is no longer an option.
So what new technology has been added to the a6500 to justify an early launch?
The 24.2M pixel Exmor sensor is retained along with the Bionz X processor but a new Integration device has been developed that will allow for faster transfers, better buffering and better noise reduction. This leads to a top ISO range of 51000.
Stabilization is a key are of recent developments. The a6500 is fitted with 5-axis in-camera stabilization that can give up to 5 steps of shutter speed advantage. When E-mount lenses with their own OSS are used with this camera the lens OSS is used for pitch and yaw.
The fast auto-focus system is retained in the a6500 but the better processing speed allows for greater continuous shooting for up to 307 frames. A touch screen LCD allows for touch focus selection and this even works when using the viewfinder.
All this has added just 49g extra weight and 4.5mm extra body thickness to the a6500 above the previous a6300. The other advantage to Sony is that they can raise the price to $1300 from $999.
The Sony a6500 has some stiff competition out already, especially the FujiFilm XT-2 that has taken a big chunk of the APS-C market. It's going to need to be as good as the claims if it is going to do the business.