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Canon M5 versus Sony A6500

The Canon EOS M5 and the Sony Alpha A6500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2016 and October 2016. Both the M5 and the A6500 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon M5 vs Sony A6500

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M5 and the Sony A6500. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the M5 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon M5 vs Sony A6500
Compare M5 versus A6500 top
Compare M5 and A6500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6500 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Canon M5. However, the A6500 is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the M5. It is noteworthy in this context that the A6500 is splash and dust-proof, while the M5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the M5 gets 295 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the A6500 can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon M5» 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Sony A6500« 120 mm 67 mm 53 mm 453 g 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon 200D« » 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon 760D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 849- i
Canon M10« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499- i
Canon M3« » 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Olympus PEN-F« » 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GX8« » 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« » 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX100 IV« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony A7« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the A6500, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon M5 vs Sony A6500

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A6500 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M5) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M5 and Sony A6500 sensor measures

Even though the A6500 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixel. This implies that the A6500 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the M5), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. The two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

M5 versus A6500 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6500 has a markedly higher DXO score than the M5 (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon M5» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Sony A6500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon 760D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A6500 provides a better video resolution than the M5. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon M5 vs Sony A6500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the M5 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A6500 (2360k vs 2300k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M5 and Sony A6500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon M5»2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Sony A6500«2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon 760D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n

Both the M5 and the A6500 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The A6500 replaced the earlier Sony A6300, while the M5 does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Canon M5 vs Sony A6500

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon M5 better than the Sony A6500 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M5:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 922k dots).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6500:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 116x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6500 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

M5 03:09 A6500

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M5 or the A6500 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon M5»Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Sony A6500«HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon 760D« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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