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Canon M5 vs 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 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon M5 versus Sony A6500
Canon M5 Sony A6500
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200)
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.2 LCD, 1620k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
9 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
295 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
116 x 89 x 61 mm, 427 g 120 x 67 x 53 mm, 453 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M5 and the Sony Alpha A6500? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M5 and the Sony A6500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon M5 vs Sony A6500
Compare M5 versus A6500 top
Comparison M5 or 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 and compare 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 power pack in the A6500 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon M5 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i
 
Sony A6500 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399i
 
Canon M50 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i
 
Canon 77D 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon M6 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SL2 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon M3 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679i
 
Canon M10 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon T6i 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Nikon D5500 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899i
 
Panasonic GX8 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199i
 
Sony A6600 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.7 in 17.7 oz 810 Y Aug 2019 1,399 i
 
Sony A6300 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999i
 
Sony A77 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399i
 
Sony NEX-7 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The M5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the A6500, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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

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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 megapixels. 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.

The Canon EOS M5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A6500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

M5 versus A6500 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
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 M50 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
 
Canon M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
 
Panasonic GX8 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
 
Sony A6600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p23.813.4149782
 
Sony A6300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
 
Sony A77 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture 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

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range 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 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M5, the Sony A6500, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon M52360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Sony A65002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Canon M502360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon M3optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GX82360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A66002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
 
Sony A63002359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A772359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Sony NEX-72359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

One feature that differentiates the A6500 and the M5 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A6500 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the M5 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The M5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A6500 does not have a selfie-screen.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A6500 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The M5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A6500 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M5 and Sony Alpha A6500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon M5YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Sony A6500YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Canon M50YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Panasonic GX8YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A6600YstereomonoYYYES2.0YYY
 
Sony A6300YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A77YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

The M5 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the A6500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A6500 was succeeded by the Sony A6600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

Review summary

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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Reasons to prefer 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 selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).

ilogo

Arguments in favor 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.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • 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.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M5 05:10 A6500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M5 and the Sony A6500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M5 or the A6500. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon M5+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i
 
Sony A6500+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399i
 
Canon M50+79/100..4/53.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon M6..80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SL2+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon M3o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
 
Panasonic GX8+82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199i
 
Sony A6600+83/1004.5/5..4/5 Aug 2019 1,399 i
 
Sony A6300+85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999i
 
Sony A7791/10081/100..4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399i
 
Sony NEX-7+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M5:
Check Amazon price
Sony A6500:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

~

    Specifications: Canon M5 vs Sony A6500

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon M5 Sony A6500
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2016 October 2016
    Launch Price USD 979 USD 1,399
    Sensor Specs Canon M5 Sony A6500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 7 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 77 85
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 24.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 13.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1262 1405
    Screen Specs Canon M5 Sony A6500
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification .. x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1620k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M5 Sony A6500
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 9 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-ShutterYES
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon M5 Sony A6500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Canon M5 Sony A6500
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E17 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)295 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 116 x 89 x 61 mm
    (4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in)
    120 x 67 x 53 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 427 g (15.1 oz) 453 g (16.0 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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