Sony A6500 vs A99
The Sony Alpha A6500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2016 and September 2012. The A6500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A99 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A6500) and a full frame (A99) 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.
|Sony A6500||Sony A99|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony A 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|
|Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots||3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)|
|11 shutter flaps per second||6 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|350 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 67 x 53 mm, 453 g||147 x 111 x 78 mm, 812 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A6500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Sony A6500 and the Sony A99 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A99 is considerably larger (103 percent) than the Sony A6500. Moreover, the A99 is substantially heavier (79 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. 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 A6500 gets 350 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the A99 can take 500 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack. The power pack in the A6500 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Sony A6500||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|Sony A6600||120 mm||67 mm||69 mm||503 g||810||Y||Aug 2019||1,399|
|Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
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 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 markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the A99, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and 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 A99 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A99 is 132 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.
Even though the A99 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A99 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.96μm 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 4 years) than the A99, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The A6500 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
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 SLT-A99 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 A99 has a markedly higher DXO score than the A6500 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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 A99. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the A99 is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The A6500 and the A99 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2359k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A6500 and Sony A99 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A6500 has one, while the A99 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 A99 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking 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).
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A6500 and the A99 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.
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 SLT-A99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A6500 offers wifi support, while the A99 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A99 (unlike the A6500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the A99 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the A6500 and the A99 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A99 was replaced by the Sony A99 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony A6500 better than the Sony A99 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6500:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 147x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 359g or 44 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the A99 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha SLT-A99:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- 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).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 comes out slightly ahead of the A99 (13 : 12 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A6500 and the Sony A99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A6500 and the A99 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|Sony A6500||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Sony A99||..||84/100||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Olympus PEN-F||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX8||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|Sony A6600||+||83/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2019||1,399|
|Sony A9||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A6300||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony RX10 III||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Sony RX10 II||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A77||91/100||81/100||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Sony NEX-7||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Sony A850||..||75/100||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Sony A900||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 4000D vs Sony A6500
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Sony A6500
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony A99
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Sony A99 II
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Sony A99
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Sony A6500
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Sony A99 II
- Nikon B600 vs Sony A6500
- Panasonic GF2 vs Sony A99
- Panasonic TZ100 vs Sony A99
- Sony A6500 vs Sony A77 II
- Sony A68 vs Sony A99 II
Specifications: Sony A6500 vs Sony A99
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 Model||Sony A6500||Sony A99|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2016||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,399||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A6500||Sony A99|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||2.82 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 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||85||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.5||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.7||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1405||1555|
|Screen Specs||Sony A6500||Sony A99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A6500||Sony A99|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||YES||no E-Shutter|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|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 A99|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A6500||Sony A99|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
120 x 67 x 53 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 in)
147 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||453 g (16.0 oz)||812 g (28.6 oz)|
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