The Sony a6500 and Sony a6700 have similar names, but they are separated by almost seven years – the a6500 came out all the way back in October of 2016, while the Sony a6700 launched in July 2023. And a lot has changed in that time. While the Sony a6500 is hardly a bad camera, it’s clearly outclassed by the a6700. Are the differences enough to matter for your photography? That’s what I’ll answer today!
Let’s start by taking looking at the specifications of both cameras side-by-side:
Sony a6500 vs Sony a6700 Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Sony a6500||Sony a6700|
|Announced||October 2016||July 2023|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||BSI CMOS|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ XR|
|Resolution||24.2 MP||26.0 MP|
|Pixel Dimensions||6000×4000||6192 x 4128|
|Sensor Dimensions||23.5 x 15.6 mm (APS-C)||23.3 x 15.5 mm (APS-C)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||3.92µ||3.76µ|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||Yes|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||Yes||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 25,600||ISO 32,000|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 100-51,200||ISO 50-102,400|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||No||Yes|
|Pre-Shoot Burst Mode||No||No|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/4000||1/8000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||11 FPS||11 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||3 FPS||11 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||None||None|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||107 frames (11 FPS)||59 frames (11 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF with deep learning subject recognition|
|Maximum Low-Light AF Sensitivity (Standardized to f/2, ISO 100)||-1 EV||-3 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/160||1/160|
|Curtain to Protect Sensor at Shutdown||No||No|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||8 bits||10 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||8 bits||10 bits|
|4K Maximum Framerate||30 FPS||120 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||240 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||Extra 1.23x crop in 4K 30p; extra 1.14x crop at 1080p 100 / 120 FPS||Extra 1.58x crop at 4K 120p (otherwise no additional crop)|
|Chroma Subsampling||4:2:0, 4:2:2 (External)||4:2:2|
|Video Recording Limit||30 min||780 min|
Physical and Other Features
|Slot 1 Type||SD (UHS-I)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.0 in||3.0 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||0.92 million dots||1.04 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Single Axis||Fully Articulating|
|Viewfinder Magnification||1.07x (0.70x FF equiv.)||1.07x (0.70x FF equiv.)|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2.36 million dots||2.36 million dots|
|USB Type||Type B 2.0||Type C 3.2 Gen 2|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||310 frames||550 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||350 frames||570 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||453 g (1.00 lbs.)||493 g (1.09 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||120 x 67 x 53 mm (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1″)1||122 x 69 x 64 mm (4.8 x 2.7 x 2.5″)1|
|MSRP, Body Only||$1400 (Discontinued)||$1400 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Sony a6500 Used Prices||Sony a6700 Used Prices|
|1The depth measurements in this table exclude the optional rubber cap for the viewfinder|
Summary and Analysis
I warned you in the intro! The Sony a6500 is nowhere close to the Sony a6700 in features. It only wins in a few areas: size, weight, and (somewhat bizarrely) buffer capacity. Otherwise, every category is either a draw or a clear advantage to the newer Sony a6700.
One of the biggest benefits of the Sony a6700 is the new autofocus system that it uses. It’s not just any AF system – the a6700 borrows its focusing capabilities from the high-end Sony a7R V, a $3900 professional camera. It’s obviously a slightly different AF system adapted to the a6700’s APS-C sensor, but the fundamental improvements are there. The Sony a6700 has excellent subject recognition and tracking capabilities that simply blow the a6500 out of the water.
Another major benefit to the a6700 is its advanced videography feature set. The Sony a6500 is actually rather impressive for having 4K video at all, considering that it’s a camera from 2016. But the Sony a6700 is even better by comparison. It can film 4K at 120 FPS slow motion, and it’s capable of shooting 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally. Those features won’t matter to everyone, but for advanced videographers, they are big improvements. The addition of a fully articulating screen and a headphone jack also show that Sony is serious about video on the a6700.
The Sony a6700 is obviously a better camera than the a6500, as you would expect for a camera that’s almost seven years newer! However, the a6500 has one major benefit – price on the used market. You can find used copies of the a6500 in excellent shape that are selling for much less than the a6700 these days. That makes this comparison much more interesting.
On one hand, the cameras certainly have some similarities. For example, both cameras have essentially identical image quality and resolution. They both shoot 11 FPS bursts, and the a6500 even has a bigger buffer somehow. Even for videography, if you just need basic 4K video and don’t need more advanced features, the a6500 and a6700 could both fit your needs.
For that reason, I might suggest getting an a6500 with a better lens, rather than paying more for the a6700 if you’re just going to pair it with cheap glass. Yes, the a6700 is a better camera, but not every photographer will need the improvements. I think landscape, travel, and portrait photographers should stick with the a6500 and save money, while videographers and sports/wildlife photographers should go for the more expensive a6700. There’s no need to pay for high-end autofocus tracking if you’re always shooting landscapes from a tripod!
Here’s how I’d sum things up:
What does the Sony a6500 offer over the Sony a6700?
- Lighter weight (40g lighter; it’s a small difference, but every bit helps) and slightly smaller size
- Bigger buffer of 107 frames rather than 59 frames
- Lower prices on the used market
What does the Sony a6700 offer over the Sony a6500?
- Significantly better autofocus system with high-end tracking capabilities
- Better videography features, such as internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and 4K 120p support
- A fully articulating LCD screen
- An additional command dial on the front of the camera
- Better battery life both with the viewfinder and with the rear LCD
Questions? Go to our forum, where you can start a conversation and talk to photographers about these two cameras!