So, I released a video about the A6500 not overheating when shooting in 1080p.  It lasted for well over 2 hours with no problems.  So the next question was, "Well, how does it perform in 4K?" This question was raised by many folks online interested to see how well it could do when being put under a bigger strain of recording 4K vs. 1080p.

Luckily we anticipated people would be interested to know if it would work so immediately following the 1080p test, we rolled the 4K test.  Keep in mind at the point we started doing the 4K test the camera had already been rolling for over 2 hours non-stop in 1080p.  The only breaks it got were literally for changing out batteries and of course turning the recording back on when it would stop at 29:50.  Those breaks for battery swaps or hitting the record button again were all of 5-10 seconds each at the most.


The camera had also been sitting out in the sun, on a tripod for hours.  It wasn't a hot day outside, not a cold day, just a normal day in Southern California.  I like to test a camera's performance in the real world shooting conditions that I encounter on a daily basis.

So we hit the record button on the A6500 recording at 24fps, 100 mbps in 4K in Super 35mm mode.  If you've watched the 1080p version of this test you'll already know that this camera was a 2 day loaner from Sony.  We had a very limited time to conduct tests and do shoots so we tried to maximize every minute we had.  This test was at the end of my time using the camera and it needed to be returned to Sony HQ in San Diego.

So we packed up from our shooting location in La Jolla and took off to Sony HQ to return the camera.  I set the camera on a tripod for virtually the entire time.  It stayed on a tripod in my truck on the drive over.  Once I arrived at Sony I did a battery swap and then went inside the return the camera.

It never overheated.

The camera did get warm at one point and it was due to the battery getting warm but the camera didn't stop recording.  This was when the battery was close to dying.  Once it was swapped out the camera went from warm to barely warm continued to record with no problem.

I kept the camera rolling as long as I could get away with it.  In fact I ended up completely filling up my memory card...and I also needed to return it to  I was waiting in the lobby to return it and kept recording until they needed it back to ship off to Fedex.

Total recording time was 1 hour, 7 minutes and 53 seconds.  It just never overheated.  A couple of notes in regards to testing gear:

  • Anything Can Fail- If you try hard enough you can make any product out there fail.  I recommend trying it the actual conditions that you plan on using the gear.  Because placing a square metal object (camera) down in very hot sand or on a hot rock is of course going to overheat a unit.  If you leave virtually any electronic item in the sun on a hot surface for long enough it will indeed overheat (phones are a great example of this).  
  • How Long Do you REALLY need to record?  While these tests are fun to do you have to ask yourself, "How long do I actually need to record something?"  Do you truly intend on recording for hours on end with the A6500?  Whenever I'm recording one of my presentations and I'm going for a LONG time, I simply plug in a video camera.  These cameras aren't intended to replace the role of a video camera.  They are intended to be stills cameras that enable many of us to also use them for video functionality.  I do intend on using the A6500 for a lot of my video work since it has IBIS, 4K video etc.  But I can honestly say I don't see myself recording consecutive 29:50 clips for endless amounts of time....and I'd dare say the vast majority of people out there won't either. 
  • Having Fun- part of the joy of me doing Youtube is my ability to share so many cool ideas and products with the photography community out there.  With all of the product reviews and videos that I do I always try and keep them lighthearted and fun.  Because if you aren't having fun doing them...why do them?  Life's too short to be miserable...:)

More than anything I just hope the content helps people out there.  Whether or not you think it will work for you is honestly only a decision you can make.  But I'm very happy that the A6500 is performing better than it's predecessors especially as it related to 4K.  If anything it should run hotter since it has the IBIS inside of it, whereas the A6000 and A6300 do not.  Maybe Sony just turned off the limiter and decided to let you go crazy with this camera.  Who knows?

I'm just thrilled that it's performing the way that it is and I hope it helped!  And as I always say, just find the right gear that works for you....regardless of the brand name on the front all that matters is what works best in your hands.