Sony A6500 vs RX1R II
The Sony Alpha A6500 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2016 and October 2015. The A6500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1R II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A6500) and a full frame (RX1R II) sensor. The A6500 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the RX1R II provides 42.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A6500 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6500 and the Sony RX1R II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size 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 RX1R II is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Sony A6500. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A6500 is splash and dust resistant, while the RX1R II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R II has a lens built in, whereas the A6500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A6500 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the A6500 gets 350 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the RX1R II can take 220 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Sony A6500||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||141 mm||83 mm||46 mm||495 g||350||Y||Jan 2016||1,699|
|6.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|7.||Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|9.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|10.||Sony A6600||120 mm||67 mm||69 mm||503 g||810||Y||Aug 2019||1,399|
|11.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|12.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|13.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|14.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|15.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|16.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 RX1R II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R II 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.
With 42.2MP, the RX1R II offers a higher resolution than the A6500 (24MP), but the RX1R II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.50μm versus 3.91μm for the A6500) due to its larger sensor. However, the A6500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the RX1R II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A6500 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
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 RX1R II offers substantially better image quality than the A6500 (overall score 12 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 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.
|2.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|6.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|7.||Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|11.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|13.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|14.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|15.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
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 RX1R II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the RX1R II is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond 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 RX1R II offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A6500 (2360k vs 2359k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A6500 and Sony RX1R II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Sony A6500||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||2360||n||3.0 / 1620||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||n||n|
|6.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|7.||Olympus PEN-F||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|9.||Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|10.||Sony A6600||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|11.||Sony A9||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y|
|12.||Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A7||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|14.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0 / 921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||2359||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 RX1R II 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 RX1R II 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony A6500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Olympus PEN-F||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony A6400||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony A6600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||YES||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A9||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony A6300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony A77||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The RX1R II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. 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 Sony website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Sony A6500 better than the Sony RX1R II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6500:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the RX1R II).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A6500 necessitates an extra lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2015).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 RX1R II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A6500 or the RX1R II perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Sony A6500||5/5||+ +||3.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-Pro2||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||1,699|
|6.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|7.||Olympus PEN-F||..||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||5/5||+||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|9.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||4/5||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|10.||Sony A6600||4/5||+||4/5||83/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2019||1,399|
|11.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||4.8/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|12.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|13.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|14.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|15.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|16.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||..||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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.
Specifications: Sony A6500 vs Sony RX1R II
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 RX1R II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||October 2016||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,399||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A6500||Sony RX1R II|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||4.50 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||4.93 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA 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 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||85||97|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.5||25.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.7||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1405||3204|
|Screen Specs||Sony A6500||Sony RX1R II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A6500||Sony RX1R II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||YES||no E-Shutter|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||no handshake reduction|
|Fill Flash||Built-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 RX1R II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro 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|
|Body Specs||Sony A6500||Sony RX1R II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||220 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
120 x 67 x 53 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 in)
113 x 65 x 72 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||453 g (16.0 oz)||507 g (17.9 oz)|
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