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Sony A6500 vs A7

The Sony Alpha A6500 and the Sony Alpha A7 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2016 and October 2013. Both the A6500 and the A7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (A6500) and a full frame (A7) 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
Sony A6500 versus Sony A7
Sony A6500 Sony A7
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200) ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)
Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 1230k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
11 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
350 shots per battery charge340 shots per battery charge
120 x 67 x 53 mm, 453 g 127 x 94 x 48 mm, 474 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A6500 and the Sony Alpha A7? 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 Sony A6500 and the Sony A7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A6500 vs Sony A7
Compare A6500 versus A7 top
Comparison A6500 or A7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 is considerably larger (48 percent) than the Sony A6500. Moreover, the A7 is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the A6500. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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 compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6500) and the Sony FE Lens Catalog (A7). 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.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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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
 
Sony A6500 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399i
 
Sony A7 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Canon G1 X Mark III 4.5 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 200 Y Oct 2017 1,299 i
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2 5.6 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Jan 2016 1,699 i
 
Olympus PEN-F 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199i
 
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 A9 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499i
 
Sony A6300 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999i
 
Sony A7 II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A7S 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499i
 
Sony A7R 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Sony RX1R 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX1 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
 
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 obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A6500 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the A7, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A6500 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 is 133 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A6500 and Sony A7 sensor measures

Even though the A7 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A7 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 3.91μm for the A6500), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the A6500 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the A7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Sony Alpha A6500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.

A6500 versus A7 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 A7 has a markedly higher DXO score than the A6500 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.

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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
 
Sony A6500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
 
Sony A7 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
 
Canon G1 X Mark III APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Olympus PEN-F Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
 
Panasonic GX8 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
 
Sony A6600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p23.813.4149782
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
 
Sony A6300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
 
Sony A7S Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
 
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 higher video resolution than the A7. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the A7 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 review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A6500 (2400k vs 2359k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A6500 and Sony A7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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
 
Sony A65002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Sony A72400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon G1 X Mark III2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 9.0 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X-Pro22360 n 3.0 1620 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n
 
Olympus PEN-F2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
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 A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
 
Sony A63002359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 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 difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A6500 has one, while the A7 does not. While the built-in flash of the A6500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

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).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A6500 and the A7 write their files to 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 Sony Alpha A6500 and Sony Alpha A7 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
 
Sony A6500YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIIYstereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus PEN-FYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic GX8YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A6600YstereomonoYYYES2.0YYY
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A6300YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7SYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony A77YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the A7 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The A6500 lacks such a headphone port.

Both the A6500 and the A7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7 was replaced by the Sony A7 II, while the A6500 was followed 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 Sony website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Sony A6500 better than the Sony A7 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6500:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the A7 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.70x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A6500 09:07 A7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A6500 and the Sony A7 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A6500 and the A7 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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
 
Sony A6500+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399i
 
Sony A7+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Canon G1 X Mark III+79/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Oct 2017 1,299 i
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2+83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 1,699 i
 
Olympus PEN-F..82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199i
 
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 A9+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499i
 
Sony A6300+85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999i
 
Sony A7 II+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A7S..86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499i
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Sony RX1R....4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX1..79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Sony A6500:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A7:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~

    Specifications: Sony A6500 vs Sony A7

    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 Sony A6500 Sony A7
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2016 October 2013
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Sony A6500 Sony A7
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 35.8 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 5.97 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 2.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 51,200 ISO 50 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 85 90
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.5 24.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.7 14.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1405 2248
    Screen Specs Sony A6500 Sony A7
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.71x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots 2400k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A6500 Sony A7
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic ShutterYESno E-Shutter
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Sony A6500 Sony A7
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Sony A6500 Sony A7
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge340 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 120 x 67 x 53 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 in)
    127 x 94 x 48 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 453 g (16.0 oz) 474 g (16.7 oz)

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