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Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 camera image

Sony a6500

Sony A6500
Nikon D500
Sony a6500
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
January 06, 2016
October 06, 2016
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D500 outperforms the Sony a6500 with a score of 75/100 compared to 72/100. Both cameras were released in 2016, with the D500 being a DSLR and the a6500 a mirrorless camera. They share some similarities in specifications, but each has its strengths.

The Nikon D500 excels with its larger size (147x115x81mm) and heavier weight (860g), offering a more robust and professional feel. Its higher score reflects its superior performance in various aspects.

On the other hand, the Sony a6500 has a smaller size (120x67x53mm) and lighter weight (453g), making it a more portable option. Additionally, it has a lower launch price of $1400 compared to the D500’s $2000.

Taking these factors into account, the Nikon D500 is the better choice for those seeking a high-performing, professional camera, while the Sony a6500 suits those who prioritize portability and affordability.

Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 Overview and Optics

The Sony a6500 emerges as the winner in the optics comparison with a score of 74/100, while the Nikon D500 scores 69/100. Both cameras share several common features, including a CMOS sensor, APS-C sensor size, and similar megapixel counts (24.2 for the Sony a6500 and 20.9 for the Nikon D500).

The Sony a6500 outperforms the Nikon D500 in several aspects. It has a higher shooting speed of 11 frames per second, compared to the Nikon D500’s 10 frames per second. The Sony a6500 also has a slightly better DXOMARK sensor score of 85, compared to the Nikon D500’s score of 84. Additionally, the Sony a6500 offers image stabilization, which the Nikon D500 lacks, making it a more versatile option for shooting in various conditions.

The Nikon D500, however, has its own advantages. It uses the Nikon F DX lens mount, which allows for compatibility with a wide range of Nikon lenses. This can be beneficial for photographers who already have an investment in Nikon lenses or prefer the selection offered by the Nikon ecosystem.

In comparing the optics of the Nikon D500 and the Sony a6500, the Sony a6500 proves to be the better choice due to its higher shooting speed, better DXOMARK sensor score, and the presence of image stabilization. The Nikon D500, while not as strong in these areas, still offers the advantage of compatibility with a wide range of Nikon lenses. Ultimately, the decision between these two cameras should be based on individual preferences and requirements, but the Sony a6500 holds a slight edge in optics performance.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
20.9 MP
24.2 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
5568 x 3712 px
6000 x 4000 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
15.7 x 23.5 mm
15.6 x 23.5 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
10 fps
11 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F DX
Sony E
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 5
Bionz X
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 4000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder Resolution
2,359,296 dots

Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 Video Performance

The Sony a6500 emerges as the superior camera for video capabilities, with a score of 77/100 compared to the Nikon D500’s 70/100. Both cameras share the same maximum video resolution of 4K and video dimensions of 3840 x 2160, indicating that they are capable of capturing high-quality video footage.

The Sony a6500’s higher score is primarily due to its impressive maximum video frame rate of 120fps, whereas the Nikon D500’s maximum frame rate is only 30fps. This significant difference allows the a6500 to capture smoother, more detailed slow-motion footage, providing users with greater creative flexibility in their video projects.

However, the Nikon D500 has one advantage over the Sony a6500: its built-in time-lapse functionality. This feature enables users to create stunning time-lapse videos without the need for additional equipment or software. Although this is a valuable feature for certain projects, it does not outweigh the benefits offered by the Sony a6500’s higher frame rate.

Taking these factors into consideration, the Sony a6500 stands out as the better choice for video capabilities due to its superior maximum frame rate. The Nikon D500, while still a strong competitor, falls short in this aspect, but offers the advantage of built-in time-lapse functionality. Ultimately, users should weigh the importance of slow-motion footage and time-lapse capabilities when deciding between these two high-quality cameras.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
MPEG-4, XAVC S, AVCHD Ver. 2.0

Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D500 outperforms the Sony a6500 with a feature score of 87/100 compared to Sony’s 81/100. Both cameras share several specifications, such as touchscreen, flip screen, GPS, WIFI, and Bluetooth capabilities. However, the Nikon D500 excels in certain areas, making it the superior choice in terms of features.

One of the standout differences between the two cameras is the screen size and resolution. The Nikon D500 boasts a larger 3.2-inch screen with a higher resolution of 2,359,000 dots. In comparison, the Sony a6500 has a smaller 3-inch screen with a lower resolution of 921,600 dots. The Nikon D500’s larger and more detailed screen provides a better user experience for photographers to view and compose their shots.

Despite the higher feature score of the Nikon D500, the Sony a6500 has its advantages. Both cameras have a flip screen, but the Sony a6500 is lighter and more compact, making it easier to carry and handle during a photography session. This can be beneficial for those who prioritize portability and ease of use.

Taking all factors into consideration, the Nikon D500’s superior screen size and resolution contribute to its higher feature score. The Sony a6500, while slightly more portable, does not offer the same level of display quality. Therefore, the Nikon D500 stands out as the better choice for photographers seeking advanced features and an enhanced user experience.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
2,359,000 dots
921,600 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D500 outperforms the Sony a6500 in storage and battery capacity, scoring 79/100 compared to the Sony a6500’s 21/100. Both cameras have SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card compatibility, but the Nikon D500 also accepts XQD cards and has two memory card slots, while the Sony a6500 only has one slot and accepts Memory Stick Pro Duo cards.

The Nikon D500’s battery life is superior, providing 1240 shots per charge, whereas the Sony a6500 only offers 350 shots. Both cameras use different battery types, with the Nikon D500 using the EN-EL15 and the Sony a6500 using the NP-FW50. Neither camera has USB charging capabilities.

The Nikon D500’s longer battery life and additional memory card slot make it a better choice for photographers who require extended shooting capabilities and storage flexibility. The Sony a6500 may be suitable for casual photographers who prioritize compactness and do not require extended battery life or storage options.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
SD / SDHC / SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
1,240 shots
350 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
24.1 bits
24.5 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
14 EVs
13.7 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'
Main Features
Extra Features
Construction and Durability
Handling and Ergonomics
Value for Money
Total Score

Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 – Our Verdict

Nikon D500 vs Sony a6500 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D500 or the Sony a6500:

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