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Sony A6500 versus Panasonic G5

The Sony Alpha A6500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2016 and July 2012. Both the A6500 and the G5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (A6500) and a Four Thirds (G5) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.9 MP. 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: Sony A6500 vs Panasonic G5

The physical size and weight of the Sony A6500 and the Panasonic G5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 A6500 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A6500 vs Panasonic G5
Compare A6500 versus G5 top
Compare A6500 and G5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G5 is notably larger (24 percent) than the Sony A6500. However, the G5 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the A6500. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A6500 is splash and dust resistant, while the G5 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6500) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G5). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the A6500 gets 350 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the G5 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 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)
Sony A6500» 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Panasonic G5« 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GX850« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX10 II« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- 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 G5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 57 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: Sony A6500 vs Panasonic G5

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A6500 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic G5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G5 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the A6500 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony A6500 and Panasonic G5 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A6500 offers a higher resolution than the G5 (15.9MP), but the A6500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.76μm for the G5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A6500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 years and 2 months) than the G5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

A6500 versus G5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A6500» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Panasonic G5« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Panasonic GX850« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A6500 provides a higher video resolution than the G5. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A6500 vs Panasonic G5

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 A6500 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the G5 (2300k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6500, the Panasonic G5, and comparable cameras. 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
Sony A6500»2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Panasonic G5«1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GX850« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
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 RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n

The A6500 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the G5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G5 was succeeded by the Panasonic G6.

Review summary: Sony A6500 vs Panasonic G5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A6500 and the Panasonic G5? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6500:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2300k vs 1440k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 120x83mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the G5 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 57g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (57 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

A6500 09:04 G5

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A6500 or the G5. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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)
Sony A6500»HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Panasonic G5«HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GX850« »Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- 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 RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX10 II« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony NEX-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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