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Sony shows it is still going strong with today’s release of a flagship APS-C mirrorless camera, the a6500, and an upgrade to its high-end point-and-shoot line, the RX100 Mark V. Both bring a variety of new features to their respective lines. The RX100 Mark V’s standout feature is the addition of a 315-point phase-detection AF system, which makes it the fastest-focusing camera with a 1" sensor, while the a6500 implements Sony’s SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift image stabilization system and a touchscreen LCD. Alongside these cameras are some new accessories, including the MPK-URX100A Underwater Housing for all RX100 series cameras and an LCS-EBG Body Case for the a6500.
To begin with the pocket-sized RX100 Mark V, we have an absolutely incredible plethora of features, stemming from the use of an updated 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS CMOS sensor with a Fast Hybrid AF system using 315 phase-detect points with 65% coverage, in addition to a BIONZ X image processor and a front-end LSI. This combination makes it the world’s fastest 1"-sensor camera, boasting AF speeds of just 0.05 seconds and 24 fps continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking. The buffer has been upgraded, as well, allowing up to 150 JPEGs to be recorded at once. An AF-A mode is also present, letting the camera switch seamlessly between AF-S and AF-C modes.
For imaging, the RX100 Mark V uses the same 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss lens as its predecessors, producing sharp images in a wide range of situations. It also retains the 4K-shooting ability of the Mark IV, but adds Fast Hybrid AF and a brand new Photo Capture setting that will let users quickly pull 8.3MP stills from their movies. The High Frame Rate mode that is able to record up to 960 fps also gets a substantial boost with the ability to record for twice as long, dramatically expanding the capabilities and uses of this camera.
The camera’s body remains very similar to its predecessors, including a 2.36m-dot pop-up XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, a 180-degree tilting 1.23m-dot LCD screen, a lens control ring, and more. It also features a silent shutter mode, Anti-Distortion Shutter up to 1/32,000 of a second, a built-in ND filter, Eye AF, Wi-Fi with NFC, and the ability to connect via QR code. The MPK-URX100A Underwater Housing is also being announced today, and thanks to the similar body designs, it will be compatible with every RX100 series camera from the Mark I to the Mark V. It is able to work at depths of 130' and offers access to every control on the camera, including the lens control ring. The housing even comes with an adapter that permits use of the built-in flash, and it offers a 67mm filter thread.
In a surprising move, Sony has created a new flagship APS-C E-mount mirrorless camera, the a6500, which is designed to sit just above the a6300 in the company’s lineup. This camera refines many of the enhancements we saw with the a6300, but adds some critical features, including 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE in-body image stabilization rated to 5 stops and a touchscreen LCD that dramatically improves operability. The camera also incorporates the BIONZ X processor and a front-end LSI for improved image quality and speed.
Speed is a common feature of the cameras released today, with the a6500 showing off an 11 fps continuous shooting rate, an AF speed of just 0.05 seconds, thanks to the Fast Hybrid AF system with 84% phase-detection coverage, and an upgraded buffer that is able to record up to 307 JPEG images at once. Operation is improved in speed due to the rear touchscreen, which adds Touch Focus for tapping to focus for stills and movies, as well as a touchpad function that lets you move the focus point while looking through the EVF.
The a6500 continues Sony’s hybrid theme with 4K shooting similar to the a6300, though this time, we have been assured that overheating has been addressed. The 4K shooting benefits from the addition of in-body stabilization and oversampling of the entire 6K image for more detail. The a6500 also inherits the Slow & Quick Motion of the recently released a99 II, allowing for a choice of frame rates between 1–120 fps in Full HD. Photo Capture is present, too, letting users pull 8.3MP stills from their movies. Other features are still around, including S-Log3/2, zebras, Gamma Display Assist, clean HDMI out, and more.
Befitting a flagship model, it has received some body upgrades, including a shutter unit able to withstand more than 200,000 cycles. The grip and shutter release have been beefed up, making it more comfortable to work with for longer times, and with larger lenses. A variety of other smaller features have been added to the a6500, including highlight-priority metering, location information over a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone, adjustment of the standard exposure value for each metering mode, enhanced spot metering, a redesigned menu (similar to the a99 II), and enhanced remote camera control.
A few new accessories for the a6500 are available, including a redesigned PCK-EP17 Eyepiece Cup that is more comfortable and less likely to be knocked off, and the LCS-EBG Body Case, which provides a larger grip and features full access to all of the camera’s ports, including the battery and SD card slot.