Sony’s new camera duo claim “world’s fastest” titles

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The Sony A6500 (or α6500) and RX100 V are a pair of speedy cameras

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Sony is developing a thing for speed. Earlier this year we were impressed with the quick-focusing A3000, and then blown away by the rapid fire of the A99 II at Photokina. Now the firm is launching two new cameras – the A6500 and RX100 V – and they each come with their own "world's fastest" claims.

Sony A6500 (or α6500)

The A6500 is something of a surprising announcement given that it comes just eight months after the launch of the A6300 it follows on from. Indeed, the E-mount cameras have a lot in common, though the A6500 has enough improvements to justify its flagship status.

The camera still rocks a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 51,200 and a top burst speed of 11 fps (frame per second). However, an expanded buffer and a new front-end LSI chip means it can now keep up this speed for longer. In fact, it can keep pace for 107 RAW or 233 Fine JPEG files, compared to just 21 RAW and 44 JPEG on the A6300. This is great news for sports shooters, or anyone photographing fast action.

Another big addition for the A6500 is 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization like we've previously seen on some Sony A7 models like the A7 II, A7R II and A7S II. This is said to offer a shutter speed advantage of approximately 5 steps, which comes in very hand when shooting in low light or at higher telephoto focal lengths.

Using the same 4D Focus Fast Hybrid AF system as the A6300, the A6500 is said to take the title of world's fastest AF speed (of interchangeable-lens digital cameras equipped with an APS-C image sensor). This system combines contrast AF with 425 phase detection AF points allowing it to lock on to moving subjects in as little as 0.05 seconds.

4K (3840 x 2160) video recording at 30/25 fps is also possible in the Super 35mm format using full pixel readout without pixel binning. Higher frame rates are available at Full HD resolution. Videographers will also be pleased to note the A6500 can shoot in S-Log gamma, which allows more to be done with the footage in post-production.

Around back there's another upgrade which many photographers have been waiting for, a 3-inch touchscreen. This had been a glaring omission on the A6300. It can be used when reviewing image, when selecting focus points in video or stills, and like on the Canon EOS M5, as a touchpad when using the built-in 2,359,296 dot electronic viewfinder.

The camera also offers beefed up dust and moisture resistance along with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

The A6500 will go on sale in November for US$1,400 body-only.

Sony RX100 V

A quick glimpse at the spec sheet for Sony's fifth generation of its premium compact shows just how far it has come. While the first iteration impressed with image quality, it was far from a speed demon. By contrast, the company boasts both the world's fastest AF speed and continuous shooting rate for a compact camera for the new RX100 V.

What doesn't change on the camera is the pairing of a large one-inch sensor (this time of the 20.1-megapixel variety), and a versatile zoom lens. The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70-mm equivalent lens has a variable F1.8–F2.8 maximum aperture, and retracts into the camera body, making it a versatile pocketable shooter.

The speed credentials of the RX100 V come from its Bionz X image processing engine and new front-end LSI chip that maximizes processing speed. This allows a blistering quick continuous shooting of up to 24 fps with AF/AE tracking. The camera also has an ISO range of 125 to 12,800.

The hybrid autofocus system in the compact camera employs 315 phase-detection AF points and is said to be able to hit focus in a zippy 0.05 sec. On the video front, the RX100 V can also shoot 4K video at 30/25 fps with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. A slow motion option shoots at up to 960/1,000 fps in Full HD 1080p.

The camera measures 102 x 58 x 41 mm (4 x 2.3 x 1.6 in) and weighs 299 g (10.5 oz), making it comparable to the RX100 IV and RX100 III. It still manages to squeeze in a pop-up electronic viewfinder and an 180-degree tiltable 2.95-in LCD screen with 1,228,800 dots. As with most current Sony cameras, there's built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

The Sony RX100 V is due to go on sale for $1,000 in November.

Product pages: Sony A6500, Sony RX100 V

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