Sony Alpha 6400 Review

A great price for a high-performance mirrorless camera with exceptional autofocus

Sony Alpha 6400 Review

Plus

  • The 180-degree tiltable screen makes framing your shots for vlogging convenient
  • Fantastic autofocus system
  • Fast 11-shots-per-second burst rate
  • Light, ergonomic design

Minus

  • No headphone jack for audio monitoring
  • No in-body image stabilization system

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Introduction

The Sony A6400 is a new addition to the APS-C range, slotting in below the A6500 and replacing the A6300. Like both of these models, the A6400 has a 24.2-megapixel sensor, but with a new BIONZ X image processor and a front-end LSI, the processing speed is almost two times as fast as the A6300 was.

The improvements stretch the ISO ceiling to 102,400 from the 32,000 of the A6500 and color reproduction has been improved.

Physical Design

The A6400 has improved build design from the A6300, though from a design perspective, it’s hard to tell them apart. The case is still magnesium alloy, but the shutter now has double the lifespan, for example.

Sony Alpha 6400 - Design

The A6400 feels virtually identical in design to the A6300, but the build quality has been improved.

The Alpha 6400 has the same electronic viewfinder as the A6300 and A6500 that has a 0.7x magnification and 2.36 million-dot resolution.

For connectivity, the Alpha 6400 offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. There’s a single SD card slot that will take up to UHS-I cards (but not UHS-II).

Controls

You also get a 3.0-inch rear touchscreen display with a good 921,000-dot resolution. The screen can be tilted upwards 180 degrees, perfect for vlogging so you can frame yourself easily. Note that the LCD touchscreen is 16:9, so still photos won’t fill the frame.

Sony Alpha 6400 - Display

The interface has been improved and there are now six color-coded sections that are easier to navigate. The touchscreen is only used for a number of features such as focus, shutter, and defining subjects for tracking.

There is a fair amount of direct access controls; enough that you’ll rarely have to dive into the menus. Buttons can be set to your most-used features, so once you’ve been using the camera in anger for a while you can set it up exactly as you see fit.

Autofocus

A good autofocus system is the hallmark of a good APS-C DSLR camera, and the Sony A6400 has one of the best on the planet. It’s borrowed from Sony’s full-frame cameras that cost twice as much.

The new camera has a hybrid AF system with 425 phase-detect points and 425 contrast-detect points. It covers 84% of the frame.

Sony Alpha 6400 - Autofocus

Capturing quick family snaps or fast-paced sports events is made easy with the new Real-time tracking AI systems.

The A6400 is the first camera to feature Sony’s Real-time tracking and Real-time EyeAF technologies. This system uses the latest predictive and recognition AI to track a selected subject around the frame. Cleverly, facial recognition AI will track anything with a face around the frame.

Focusing is super-fast – the A6400 has the fastest autofocus in the world at just 0.02 seconds.

Performance

Pairing well with this autofocus system is the excellent burst shooting mode – up to 11 fps with autofocus and auto-exposure engaged.

A fast burst rate and large buffer make the Sony Alpha 6400 feel great to use.

The buffer has also seen an improvement, with the A6400 being able to shoot around double the Raw shots (46) in a single burst compared to the camera it’s replacing. You can shoot silently at 8 frames per second.

Sony Alpha 6400 - Performance

One major feature lacking from the A6400 that you’ll find in the A6500 is an in-body image stabilization system. The A6500 has a 5-axis in-body system, whereas the A6400 uses lens-based stabilization. When considering the Sony A6400 vs. A6500, this may make a difference, but you can always choose lenses with optical stabilization built-in like the 18-135mm.

The A6400 now includes a built-in interval recording setting that can automatically take a shot every 1-60 seconds. You can take up to 9,999 shots.

Image Quality

No matter the lens you choose, the A6400 performs well. The sensor is the same 24.2MP CMOS sensor found in the A6300 and A6500, but the addition of the BIONZ X image processor makes for better image quality. Sharpness is great, contrast is right, and image noise is controlled well through the sensitivity ranges, even at higher ISOs.

Sony Alpha 6400 - Image Quality

You’d have to work hard to take a bad shot with the A6400.

One of the advantages of choosing Sony is the number of native lenses from which to choose. There are over 48 lenses, and there’s wide support from Zeiss, Sigma, Tamron, Rokinon, and others.

The automatic focus and Real-time tracking can have a transformative effect on your shots.

Video

Shooting video with the Alpha 6400 is great. The A6400 is capable of capturing up to 4K video with oversampling, and there’s 4K HDR recording. There’s no headphone jack so you can’t perform audio monitoring, but there is a microphone jack and it’s compatible with XLR adaptors.

You can transfer the 4K directly to your smartphone using the Edge Mobile app. This also includes a remote camera control.

4K video quality is one of the best we’ve seen on any DSLR camera.

Video quality is also great, with smooth motion and lots of detail. The in-built microphone is great, but you’ll want to opt for an external mic if you want to avoid wind noise completely.

Conclusion

Initially, the A6400 seems a small upgrade from the A6300, but it’s the advanced autofocus system that makes the camera. The clever work behind the scenes ensures your shots are always perfectly in focus so you can simply focus on framing the shot.

The price is excellent, the shooting experience is streamlined, and you’ll be hitting your target more often thanks to the high burst rate and excellent autofocus. The A6400 is a recommended buy for the sensor alone and can be considered a top choice for a mid-range mirrorless camera.

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