The Sony a6500 Vs. the Fujifilm X-T2: Another Epic Showdown

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2016 was another great year for photographers with many cameras of all types being offered throughout the year.  Two of the most interesting cameras introduced last year were the Sony a6500 and the Fujifilm X-T2, both of which are mirror-less cameras that are based on the APS-C format.  Neither camera is a new concept, with both being upgrades to older cameras in Sony’s and Fujifilm’s lineup.  The a6500 is an upgrade to the a6300, which was also introduced in 2016, with the a6300 being the replacement/upgrade to the a6000, which was introduced in 2014.   The Fujifilm X-T2 is the upgrade to the original X-T1, which was introduced in 2014. Let’s take a look at how the cameras stack up against each other!

The Similarities

In many ways, the Sony a6500 and the Fujifilm X-T2 are similar to each other in a number of ways with the similarities beginning with the APS-C format, which uses a smaller CMOS sensor.  In the case of the a6500, the sensor measures 23.5mm x 15.6mm, while the X-T2 sensor is slightly larger at 23.6mm x 15.6mm.  While most photographers traditionally believe full frame sensors provide better image quality; today’s cropped sensors compete head-to-head with full frame sensors, with image quality in both the a6500 and X-T2 being excellent.  The a6500 captures images at 24.2 megapixels with the X-T2 being very close at 24.3 megapixels.

Another similarity between the two cameras is that both are mirror-less camera systems, which eliminate the mirror assemblies found in traditional DSLR cameras.  This results in a significant size and weight reduction when compared to traditional DSLR cameras, which is the main appeal of mirror-less cameras.  While they are not identical in size they are very close with the a6500 measuring 2.75” x 4.75” x 2.12”, while the X-T2 is slightly larger at 3.61” x 5.22” x 1.94”.  Both cameras are similar in weight weighing in at approximately 16 ounces.

As a result of being a mirror-less camera and not needing to bounce light into an optical viewfinder, the a6500 and the X-T2 both use electronic viewfinders, which provide 100% coverage.  Inside the viewfinder, which is bright and refreshes quickly as the camera is moved, the photographer will find a wide range of information in regards to the camera’s settings.

As with most cameras today, the a6500 and X-T2 both have excellent video capabilities with video being shot in a variety of formats including 4K, which has a frame size of 3,820 x 2,160. However, the speed of the video in the two cameras varies considerably with the a6500 having a frame rate of 1-120 frames per second, while the X-t2 has a frame rate of 24-100 frames per second.

Another similarity between the two cameras is the rear LCD display, which allows the photographer to pre-view still and video images and navigate the camera’s menu system.  In both the a6500 and the X-T2, the display measures approximately 3.0” and tilts front to back, which allows interesting angles when composing images.  The display is also used to compose images using “live view”.  In the case of the a6500, the LCD display is a touch screen, while the X-T4 is a traditional LCD screen.

It is fairly obvious that both Sony and Fujifilm are marketing the a6500 and X-T2 as alternatives to traditional DSLR cameras, including higher end professional grade DSLR cameras.  As a result, the a6500 and X-T2 both feature a very rugged build, featuring a magnesium alloy shell, as well as extensive weather sealing.  These features are found in high-end professional grade cameras offered by manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon.

Other similarities include the absence of built-in GPS on either camera, however, both camera feature built-in wireless / WIFI capabilities.  This allows for a wide variety of functions including wireless image transfer, remote operation of the camera, as well as geo-tagging images via the photographer’s Smartphone.

The Differences

Although similar, the Sony a6500 and Fujifilm XTt2 are very different in a number of significant ways beginning with the number of autofocus points found in each camera.  While the a6500 has up to 425 autofocus points, the X-T2 is limited to 325 point.  That being said, it could be argued that both cameras feature way too many autofocus points, which many photographers will find as distracting.

While both cameras feature basically the same traditional exposure modes, the a6500 also features a number of pre-set scene and creative exposure modes, which are not found in the X-T2.  While many “purists”, who only relay on basic camera settings, may resist using these modes, they are quite handy and fun to use.

As far as shutter speed is concerned, the X-T2 is the clear winner with the range being 1/8,000 – 30 seconds, while the a6500 is limited to 1/4,000 – 30 seconds.  That being said, the a6500 does feature a C1 and C2 settings, which allows the photographer to store their favorite settings in the camera and instantly recall them by simply pushing a button!  Unfortunately, Fujifilm has not included that feature, which very useful in the field.

The a6500 and the X-T2 are both relatively fast in regards to frame rate speed, as both cameras feature excellent processors.  The a6500 can shoot at 11 frames per second, while the X-T2 is slightly faster at 14 frames per second.  Still images are written as JPEG or RAW files, will video files on the a6500 are written as XAVC S, AVCHD, orMP4 files, while the X-T2 writes video files in the .MOV format.  While both cameras use SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards, the a6500 also has the ability to accept a wide variety of Sony’s proprietary memory sticks.  The a6500 is limited to one memory slot, while the X-T2 has two memory slots.

Another difference between the two cameras is native ISO range.  In the case of the a6500, the native ISO range is 100-25,600, while the range on the X-T2 is limited to 200-12,800.  Both cameras can have this range expanded to 51,200, while the Fujifilm X-T2 can be expanded downward to ISO 100.  Both cameras feature excellent low light capabilities with image quality remaining very good even at moderately high ISO settings.

Other differences between the two cameras include a built-in flash on the a6500, while the Fujifilm X-T2 does not include one for some reason.  The XT-2 features lots of dials on the top cover where the camera can be configured in regards to aperture, ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation.  Most of these dials are not found on the a6500, which is mostly menu driven as far as camera settings are concerned.

Pros and Cons

As with most things, the Sony a6500 and Fujifilm X-T2 are not perfect cameras, with both cameras having both positive and negative characteristics.  The significance of these “pros” and “cons” will vary from photographer to photographer and the type of photography that they pursue.

The biggest “pro” of the Sony a6500 is the excellent video qualities of the camera, which is no surprise given Sony’s long history as a leader in video technology.  The camera has the ability to capture slow or fast motion video in a variety of formats.  Many consumers will find this as a very handy feature!

In the case of the Fujifilm XT-2, the biggest “pro” of the camera is the various film simulation modes found in the camera.  While all of these modes are excellent, most photographers will find the “Classic Chrome” to be especially pleasing as it mimics Kodak’s classic Kodachrome film, which was very popular due to the colors the film produced.

As far as “cons” are concerned the biggest negative feature of the Sony a6500 is the lack of a second memory slot, which is a big miss by Sony on a camera at this price point.  Most photographers today prefer a second slot, which can be configured in a number of ways, which the photographer defines.

The biggest “con” of the Fujifilm X-T2 is the lack of a built-in flash in the camera.  Although the camera comes with a small flash unit that mounts to the camera’s hot shoe, you still need to carry it around with you all day in some sort of camera bag, which sort of feats the whole point of a small and lightweight mirror less camera system that can be easily carried around without a camera bag.

For more information on the Fujifilm X-T2, read my full review here!

Just the Facts, A side-By-Side Comparison

While most serious photographers look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The Sony a6500 the Fujifilm X-T2both have excellent image quality, as well as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.

Item Sony a6500 Fujifilm X-T2
Year Introduced 2016 2016
Format APS-C APS-C
Megapixels 24.2 24.3
Sensor Type Exmor® CMOS X-Trans CMOS
Processor Bionz X™ X-Processor Pro
Image Format JPEG & RAW JPEG & RAW
Sensor Size 23.5mm x 15.6mm 23.6mm x 15.6mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes, But Not Traditional System Yes
Auto-focus Points Up o 425 Up To 325
Scene Modes Yes No
Creative Exposure Modes Yes No
Modes AUTO (iAuto / Superior Auto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture Priority (A), Shutter Speed Priority (S), Manual (M) Program AE (P), Aperture Priority AE (A), Shutter Speed Priority AE (S), Manual Exposure (M)
Metering 1200-Zone Evaluative TTL 256-Zone
View Finder Type Electronic Electronic
View Finder Coverage 100% 100%
Live View Yes Yes
Frames Per Second Up To 11 Up To 14
ISO 100-25,600 200-12,800
Lowest Expandable ISO Not Available 100
Highest Expandable ISO 51,200 51,200
Shutter Speed Range 1/4,000 – 30 Seconds 1/8,000 – 30 Seconds
Built In Flash Yes No
Card Slots 1 2
Card Type SD, SDHC, SDXC Or Proprietary Sony Memory Sticks SD, SDHC, SDXC
LCD Size 2.95” 3.0”
LCD Fixed, Swivel or Tilt Tilting Tilting
Video Yes Yes
Video Type Ultra HD 4K As Well As Other Formats At Speeds Ranging From 1-120 Frames Per Second Ultra HD 4K As Well As Other Formats At Speeds Ranging From 24-100 Frames Per Second
Video Format XAVC S, AVCHD, MP4 .MOV
Internal Autofocus Motor No No
GPS No No
Wireless Yes Yes
WIFI Yes Yes
Battery NP-FW50 NP-W126S
Battery Life 310 -350 Images Depending On Viewfinder Use Approximately 340
Body Construction Magnesium Alloy Shell Magnesium Alloy Shell
Unique Features Touch Screen; In-camera Image Stabilization; Buffer Of Up To 307 Images, Shutter Life Of Approximately 200,000 release Cycles; Slow & Fast Motion Video; Dust & Moisture Resistant; Bluetooth®, C1 & C2 Memory recall Settings Classic Chrome Film Simulation, Weather Resistant, Electronic Viewfinder Refreshes At a Rate Up To 100 Frames Per Second
Size Without Lens 2.75” x 4.75” x 2.12” 3.61” x 5.22” x 1.94”
Weight Without Lens Approximately 16 Ounces 16.1 Ounces
Manufactured In Thailand Japan
Body Only or with Kit Lens Body Only Sold Either Way
Included Accessories Rechargeable NP-FW50 Battery, AC-UUD12 AC Adaptor; Shoulder Strap,, Body Cap, Accessory Shoe Cap, Micro USB cable, Owner’s Manual, Warranty Li-Ion NP-W126S Battery, BC-W126 Battery Charger, EF-X8 Shoe-Mount Flash Unit, Shoulder Strap, Body Cap, Strap Clip, Protective Cover, Clip Attaching Tool, Hot Shoe Cover, Vertical Power Booster Grip Connector Cover, Sync Terminal Cover, Owners manual, Warranty+D66
Cost, Body Only $1,399.00

Check out the latest prices here.
$1,599.00

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Cost With Kit Lens Not Available $1,899 (18-55mm Lens)

* Information from Sony USA and Fujifilm websites, including pricing.

My Overall Recommendation

The Sony a6500 and Fujifilm X-T2 are both great mirror-less cameras that capture stunning images in a wide variety of shooting situations.  Although the a6500 is approximately $200 cheaper than the X-T2 and the cameras are very similar in a number of ways, I actually prefer the Fujifilm X-T2.  This preference is based on several factors with the first being how good the X-T2 handles and feels in my hands compared to the a6500.  I also like the incorporation of the second memory slot in the X-T2, as I really prefer to shoot with two memory cards.  Although the a6500 has a number of

This preference is based on several factors with the first being how good the X-T2 handles and feels in my hands compared to the a6500.  I also like the incorporation of the second memory slot in the X-T2, as I really prefer to shoot with two memory cards.  Although the a6500 has a number of excellent scene and creative exposure modes, I really love the “Classic Chrome” film simulation mode found in the X-T2 as it is wonderful!  Finally, I really like the lineup of  Fujinon XF mount lens, especially their lineup of prime lenses.

That being said, both cameras are excellent mirror-less cameras that for many photographers will replace their DSLR cameras.  Anyone looking for a small and lightweight camera in the APS-C format should consider the Sony a6500 or the Fujifilm X-T2, as they are both technically advanced cameras capable of capturing amazing image quality without breaking the bank.  What else could a photographer ask for?

Robert Alexander
 

A camera geek and freelance photographer, Robert (Aka "Rob" or "Bob") spends way too much time examining the finer points of cameras.

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