Travel mindfully.
Pursue creatively.
Live life with intention.

Travel mindfully.
Pursue creatively.
Live life with intention.

Sony a6500 Battery Life: A Professional’s 2 Year Experience

by Tom Shu

If you have read any of the other articles I have written about the Sony a6500, then you know how much I love the camera and how I have been using it as my main professional camera for the last 2 years.

Like any healthy relationship with your primary camera, though, there are going to be some things that you just can’t stand about it. For the Sony a6500, it is the extremely poor battery life of the NP-FW50 batteries that are used in the camera.

According to Sony.com, the Sony a6500’s estimated battery life for still shots is ~310 shots (Viewfinder) and ~350 shots (LCD screen). For continuous video recording it’s~65 minutes (Viewfinder) and ~70 minutes (LCD screen).

BUT in my experience in real-world shooting situations, the battery life is shorter than this. Especially as your batteries age, if you are shooting in more extreme environments or if you’re using third-party batteries.

In all honesty, though, it’s hard to judge the battery life based on the number of shots it can take or how long it can record video on one charge because of all the external variables when you’re out shooting.

What I can say after using the camera during many long days of shooting photos and videos is that I can easily go through 4 to 6 batteries in one full day of shooting.

So, to make sure I never run out of batteries when I’m out, I have religiously used these battery accessories wherever I go.

So far in two years, I have only run out of batteries once at the very very end of the day, so this combination of accessories has served me well so far.

These accessories are:

  • Meike MK-A6500 Pro Battery Grip: This is by far my favorite accessory that I have bought for my Sony a6500. It holds 2 NP-FW50 batteries and gives you better stability when you are hand-holding your camera for photos or video.
  • RAVPower NP-FW50 Spare Batteries: The reason why I chose this brand of spare batteries out of all the other ones on Amazon is that they have a greater power capacity than the official Sony battery. The RAVPower batteries are at 1100mAh, while the Sony batteries are 1020mAh and at only 1/3 the price of the Sony batteries.
  • Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger: I carry this as a backup in case I run through all my batteries when I’m out shooting and need to charge a battery through the USB cable.

I don’t think you’ll need all these accessories if you don’t go out and shoot for long periods, so I wanted to include some additional information on each accessory to help you decide which are the best for you.

 

Meike MK-A6500 Pro Battery Grip

As I already said, this battery grip is BY FAR my favorite accessory that I have purchased for my a6500.

Meike Sony a6500 Battery Grip - witandfolly.co

 

The reason why I like it so much is that the battery grip essentially doubles your battery life as it holds two standard NP-FW50 batteries at one time

In addition to doubling your battery life, it also extends your camera grip by another 2 inches.

This might not seem like a big deal, but considering the camera is just shy of 3 inches in width, the battery grip pretty much gives you twice the grip real estate on your camera.

 

Meike Sony a6500 Battery Grip Image #5 - witandfolly.co

 

The extra grip definitely helps you stabilize the camera when you’re taking photos and is especially helpful if you’re out shooting video handheld without stabilization.

The Meike MK-A6500 battery grip also comes with its remote control that works up to 300 feet and is nice to have especially if you want to be in your photos or if you want to trigger your camera without touching it for a long exposure.

 

Meike Sony a6500 Battery Grip Remote Control

 

My favorite part of the battery grip, though, is the vertical shutter button on the grip itself, which allows you to more easily take photos in portrait orientation.

After having used the additional shutter button for the last two years, I can honestly say it is something I can’t live without now.

 

Meike Sony a6500 Battery Grip Image #4 - witandfolly.co

 

Negatives of the Battery Grip

Although I love the battery grip, there are two big negatives you should know about before picking one up. These are by no means deal-breakers especially given the low price it’s at, but it is good to know about.

  • You have to connect the battery grip to the camera’s multi-port through an external cable if you want to use the battery grip’s shutter button or the remote control to trigger the shutter on the camera. This means your multi-port slot will remain open and exposed to the environment and you have to worry about the cable itself malfunctioning.
  • When you have the battery grip on your camera, you will have to remove it to access the SD card, which can be annoying at times.
Meike Sony a6500 Battery Grip Image #6 - witandfolly.co

 

Meike Sony a6500 Battery Grip Image #7 - witandfolly.co

 

Note: The two AAA batteries needed for the remote control are not included in your purchase.

Who Should Get It: You should get this battery grip if you want a bigger grip to hold onto if you go out and shoot for extended periods, if you handhold for video, or if you shoot in portrait orientation more than landscape.

Who Should Skip It: You should skip this accessory if you don’t want to add additional bulk to your a6500 set up, if you don’t mind switching out batteries while you’re out shooting, and if you don’t shoot for extended periods of time.

 



RAVPower NP-FW50 Spare Batteries

There are many many many different spare battery brands for the a6500 that you can find online or even at your local camera shop.

RAVPower Dual Charger - witandfolly.co

 

The one thing to check when you are shopping for spare batteries is its mAh or milliamp Hour, which for our sake is its battery life or battery capacity.

The one thing to remember is that Sony brand NP-FW50 batteries have a mAh of 1020.

So, if you find a spare battery with a mAh at or above 1020 you should in theory get as much battery life out of the spare battery as you would with the Sony brand battery.

 

RAVPower Battery Image #2 - witandfolly.co

 

That’s important because third party spare batteries like these from RAVPower are way cheaper than Sony brand batteries allowing you to buy 2 or 3 of them for the price of 1 Sony battery.

In the case of these RAVPower NP-FW50 batteries, they come in at about 1/3 of the price of a Sony battery plus it comes with a free external dual battery charger, which Sony does not include.

This means even if the battery life of third party batteries is a little shorter than the official Sony battery, you could easily just buy more spare batteries to make up for this difference.

The reason why I chose the RAVPower NP-FW50 Spare Battery Kit out of the many other brands online is because of its 1100mAh, which is a little higher than the Sony brand batteries.

Plus, the free external dual battery charger is a nice thing to have too. Since it’s a micro-USB input you can charge 2 batteries at a time through a USB wall plug, your computer, or even a portable battery pack.

 

RAVPower Battery - witandfolly.co

 

Note: As I have mentioned, the Sony a6500 surprisingly does not come standard with an external battery charger. So, if you do not purchase a charger or a spare battery + charger combo, you will only be able to charge one battery at a time in your camera with the included USB cable.

Who Should Get It: Everyone who owns the a6500 should get these. You will eventually need spare batteries and these from RavPower are cheap, have good battery life, are reliable, and comes with an external battery charger.

Who Should Skip It: You should skip getting these if you already have a good collection of spare batteries or if you are adamant about sticking with Sony brand batteries.

 

Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger

When I go out on a long day of shooting, I always make sure to bring along a portable charger just in case I run through all the spare batteries and need to charge them up on the go.

Anker 20100mAh Portable Charger - witandfolly.co

 

One of the cool things about the Sony a6500 and the external battery charger from RAVPower is that you can charge the battery using a micro-USB cable.

This makes it super easy to use a portable charger like the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh to charge your batteries when you’re out shooting.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to get a portable charger from the Anker brand because any portable charger will do.

The reason why I chose this one from Anker, is because it has two USB ports for charging, it has good battery capacity, a fair price, and LED indicator lights which tells you how much charge you have left in the battery pack.

 

Anker 20100mAh Portable Charger USB Ports - witandfolly.co

 

Anker 20100mAh Portable Charger Indicator Light- witandfolly.co

 

The last time I looked it was around $49.99 on Amazon, which is a pretty good deal considering the 2 inputs it has, plus having enough battery capacity to charge an iPhone up to 4 times.

It’s even powerful enough to power a MacBook if you need to while you’re out.

The other thing about having a portable charger is that you can plug it into the Sony a6500 if you are out shooting a very long time-lapse.

By doing this, you won’t have to worry about the batteries running out during the time-lapse or having to switch out batteries in the middle of the time-lapse.

Who Should Get It: You should get a portable charger like the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh if you want a backup battery source when you’re out on a long day of shooting or if you want to plug in your camera during a long time-lapse.

Who Should Skip It: You should skip this if you have more than enough spare batteries, don’t go out and shoot long enough for a backup battery source to make sense, and if you don’t do long time lapses.

 

What Batteries I Carry With Me On All Trips

I thought it might also be helpful to include the entire list of batteries that I bring with me where ever I go to give you a sense of how many batteries you might need.

Since I travel a lot for projects, I’ve kept the number of batteries I carry to the minimum I need. So far, in the 2 years since I became a full-time photographer and videographer, this set up has worked well for me.

As I mentioned, luckily, there has only been 1 time I can remember when I ran out of batteries at the very end of a day of taking photos or videos.

Here is what I carry with me in my camera bag at all times when it comes to batteries.

 

Conclusion

Yes, the battery life of the Sony a6500 is one of its biggest downsides, but there are many affordable accessories you can get to make sure you never run out of battery when you’re out shooting.

Because of this, if you are still unsure about the Sony a6500, the one thing I would tell you is to not let battery life be part of the decision-making process because of the affordable battery options out there.

On the other hand, if you are the proud owner of a new a6500 and are debating which battery accessories to get for your camera, I would recommend you to pick up the RAVPower NP-FW50 spare batteries.

Not every person will benefit from a battery grip or a portable charger, but all of you will need spare batteries at some point.

The RAVPower batteries have been with me from the beginning and have never let me down as long as I remember to charge them the night before I go out shooting 🙂

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