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Sony a6400 Review

The Alpha A6400 is Sony’s newest APS-C mirrorless camera, and it replaces the Alpha A6300 as the model that sits directly below the Alpha A6500 in the company’s lineup.

The top-of-the-line A6500 camera is now more than two years old; however, Sony has equipped the Alpha A6400 with some of its most recent technology, notably the advanced AF system. As a result, this camera may prove to be a more tempting proposition than the A6500, which has been on the market for a long.

Sony a6400 Features

The Alpha A6400 possesses a 24.2 megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor, the same as the A6300 and the A6500. However, because it is equipped with a front-end LSI and the most recent version of the BIONZ X image processor, Sony claims its processing rates are 1.8 times quicker than those of the A6300.

These enhancements have also allowed Sony to stretch the new camera’s ISO ceiling to an expanded upper limit of 102,400, compared to the A6500’s 51,200 (the A6400’s native range is 100-32,000). Additionally, Sony claims that color reproduction has been dramatically improved due to these enhancements.

The absence of any in-body image stabilization, which the A6500 has thanks to its 5-axis system, is a notable omission from the A6400. Users of the A6400 will need to rely on lens-based stabilization. While many of Sony’s APS-C-specific zoom lenses come equipped with the company’s Optical SteadyShot (OSS) technology, many of the company’s prime lenses do not.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Alpha A6400 is identical to the one on the Alpha A6300 and the Alpha A6500; it has 2.36 million dots and magnifies images by 0.7 times. In addition, the back of the camera features a display three inches in size and has a resolution of 921 thousand dots.

The display on this screen is touch-enabled, unlike the one on the A6300, but it still has the same 16:9 aspect ratio, which can be a little annoying. This aspect ratio is excellent if you plan to shoot many videos. However, it causes the display to be significantly smaller when taking still images and adds black bars on either side of the picture.

The fact that the display can be angled upwards by 180 degrees is a feature that vloggers will find particularly useful because it makes it easier to frame oneself in the video.

Sony a6400 Build Quality.

Although Sony claims that the build quality of the Alpha A6400 has improved compared to that of the Alpha A6300, it is not obvious exactly how or where these improvements were made. In any case, the body of the Alpha A6400 is made of magnesium alloy and is sealed to prevent dust and moisture from getting inside. Additionally, Sony has improved the shutter, which now has a lifespan of 200,000 cycles, which is twice as long as the A6300’s shutter.

The body of the A6400 follows a form factor that is essentially identical to that of other cameras in the A6000 series, including the fact that it has a rather decent-sized handgrip. The control layout of the A6400 is the same as that of the A6300. There are a good number of controls that are clearly labeled on the back of the camera, and there is also a control wheel that is free to move around, which makes it easy to navigate menus and examine images.

You cannot navigate the A6400’s comprehensive menu system, even though this has been updated compared to the A6300’s interface, with six color-coded sub-menus making it that much easier to navigate. Touchscreen functionality is limited to tap focus, tap shutter, and defining subjects for tracking. This is the same as on all of Sony’s other cameras.

Sony a6400 Autofocus

To say that the focusing technology of the Sony Alpha A6400 is complex would be an understatement. Furthermore, Sony’s promise that the A6400 has the world’s quickest autofocus at just 0.02 seconds only tells a small portion of the tale.

The new camera has a hybrid autofocus system that provides 84% frame coverage. It has 425 phase-detect points in addition to 425 contrast-detect AF points, which increases from the Alpha A6300’s 25 contrast-detect AF points.

This is the first Sony camera to be equipped with Real-time EyeAF and Real-time Tracking technology, both of which were recently developed by Sony (both features are coming to the Alpha A9 via a hefty firmware update in March and to the Alpha A7R III and A7 III in April).

Real-time Tracking uses Sony’s most recent predictive and recognition algorithms, such as AI-based object recognition and color, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness), and spatial information, not to mention face and eye detection. Real-time Tracking also uses spatial information.

Sony a6400 Performance

The Alpha A6400 has sophisticated autofocus technology, and it can shoot up to 11 frames per second while still maintaining its AE and AF capabilities. The buffer performance of the A6400 has been enhanced compared to that of the A6300. The A6400 is now capable of taking a total of 116 JPEG photographs, whereas the A6300 could only take 30. Additionally, the capacity for shooting raw has been raised from 21 to 46 shots (although interestingly, the A6500 has the upper hand here, capturing 200 JPEGs in a single burst at 11fps or 107 raw files). If you wish to shoot without making any noise, you may do it at 8 frames per second.

When it comes to the metering, we discovered that the A6400 was, for the most part, a reliable performer, with just a slight tendency toward underexposure on occasion; however, this tendency is negligible, and it’s often by only around half or a third of a stop, so it can easily be remedied with a touch of exposure compensation, or in the raw processing that occurs after the image has been captured.

The auto-white balance mechanism of the A6400, on the other hand, does an excellent job of correctly reproducing colors in a variety of scenarios. It even impresses in situations that are generally troublesome due to the presence of artificial sources.

Sony a6400 Image Quality

The APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor with 24.2 megapixels is utilized by the Alpha A6400, as the Alpha A6300 and Alpha A6500 also use it. However, the A6400 features the most recent iteration of Sony’s BIONZ X image engine, which the company thinks results in even higher image quality.

We put the A6400 through its paces with several lenses, including the Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, the FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS, and the FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA, and the results showed that the photos produced by each combination were evident and detailed.

The JPEGs that are taken immediately after being taken by the camera have a very remarkable appearance; the contrast and clarity are both of a high caliber.

Sony a6400 Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h1:1, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorBionz X
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-32000 (expands to 102800)
Boosted ISO (maximum)102800
White balance presets10
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (Sony ARW)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points425
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots921,600
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.07× (0.71× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution2,359,296
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Scene modesPortrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, handheld Twilight, Night Portrait, Anti-Motion Blur
Built-in flashYes
Flash range6.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesOff, auto, on, slow sync, rear sync, redeye reduction, wireless, hi-speed sync
Flash X sync speed1/160 sec
Drive modesSingle shootingContinuousSelf-timerBracketing (AE, WB, DRO)
Continuous drive11.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedAverageSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 25 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 50i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 25 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 16 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick DUO (UHS-I compliant)
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + NFC + Bluetooth 4.1
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-FW50
Battery Life (CIPA)410
Weight (inc. batteries)403 g (0.89 lb / 14.22 oz)
Dimensions120 x 67 x 60 mm (4.72 x 2.64 x 2.36″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Sony a6400 Verdict

One might be forgiven for believing that the Sony Alpha A6400 is simply a minor update over the A6300, with the most noteworthy enhancements being the flip-out screen and a few other tweaks to the camera’s design. It also retains several deficiencies in the A6300, the most notable of which is the lack of any in-body image stabilization.

The number of phase-detect points may be the same, but it’s the intelligent work that goes on behind the scenes that move things along. The A6400 has a compelling focusing technology, making this truly fascinating.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most advanced systems we have seen on any camera, and the fact that it is on a camera that costs less than one thousand dollars or one thousand pounds is even more astounding.

The focus has been significantly refined, making this kind of camera far more user-friendly than its predecessors.

If this camera can help you increase your hit rate thanks to its advanced autofocus, that can be a good thing. We’d still like better touchscreen integration to help deliver a more streamlined shooting experience, but if this camera can help you increase your hit rate regardless of the subject you’re shooting, it’s a win-win.

Sony a6400 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Affordable about its features
  • Extremely sophisticated focusing technology
  • The acceptable rate of fire during bursts
  • Bright viewfinder
  • High-quality video extras
Need improvements
  • No jack for headphones
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
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The Alpha A6400 is Sony's newest APS-C mirrorless camera, and it replaces the Alpha A6300 as the model that sits directly below the Alpha A6500 in the company's lineup. The top-of-the-line A6500 camera is now more than two years old; however, Sony has equipped the...Sony a6400 Review