With mirrorless cameras becoming increasingly popular in the market, Sony has been lately busy releasing amazing cameras such as the Sony A6100, the A6400, and the A6600. These three cameras are set to replace the old portfolio and packs tons of new features under its hood. Let’s take a look at what the affordable Sony A6400 offers.
While the Sony A6000 series has seen a lot of updates throughout the past couple of years with the A6500 being the last released flagship model right before Sony had recently announced the A6600. The Sony A6300 was another camera that performed well despite the lack of IBIS. The Sony A6400 falls right in between these models. As a user of the Sony A6000 for the last 5 years, I was pretty curious about how the new A6400 stands out. While the design of the A6400 appears to be similar, the camera weighs about 403g. Despite being slightly heavier than the classic A6000, the new camera actually felt light to hold, thanks to the new magnesium alloy body that also featured dust and moisture resistance.
The new A6400 retains similar dials and buttons as the other A6000 series cameras. Looking from the top, you get a dial to change the settings from Auto to Aperture, Program, Manual, Scene selection, Panorama, Video, Slo-mo and more. The second dial serves to change the aperture or shutter speed depending on the mode you choose. The trigger button is placed above the battery grip and rests along with the C1 customizable button for shortcuts. There is a pop-up flash and a horseshoe for flashes and mics.
From the backside, you get the AF selector for Auto or manual focus, the Menu button, and the flash button. Downwards on the right side lies the function key, the dial used to navigate through the menu, the playback button and the C2 customizable button. These customizable buttons are very handy to activate a particular function at will instead of going through the menu. The display is a 3-inch TFT screen with 921.6k dots with touchscreen functionality.
You can touch to focus on the screen on any subject during image or movie capture. Speaking of which, the last Sony camera that had a selfie-swinging display was the Sony A5000 series cameras and since its been a while those cameras have not been refreshed, Sony decided to bring back the selfie tilting screens with the Sony A6400. And it’s not just the Sony A6400 but the Sony A6100 and the Sony A6600 feature the same 180-degree tilting screen. It’s a big win for all the V-loggers and those who want to capture selfies at high quality.
The camera features an XGA OLED viewfinder that’s amazing to view because of its excellent solid colours and view content at 60fps or 120fps. The battery is accessible from the bottom compartment as usual along with the SD card slot. However, the camera can officially support up to UHS-1 cards. Other features include a built-in 3.5mm microphone jack.
Specifications, Image Quality and Battery Life
The Sony A6000 series cameras are already known for their performance in image quality and their specs packed in a tiny form-factor. The Sony A6400 features a new 24MP APS-C CMOS image sensor and while the megapixels remain the same throughout all previous A6000 series generations, Sony has upgraded the sensor with lots of new goodies. The sensor now features 425 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points that cover almost 84 % of the image sensor area.
It is a very big jump from my A6000 camera AF performance and let me tell you that the AF is fast and accurate. Sony’s revolutionary AF system brings in the Eye-AF that is just brilliant and the company also added the new animal Eye-AF as well and this is a treat for all the pet and animal lovers out there. The camera will be able to lock-on a person or a pet with an eye on focus. The real-time tracking option lets you constantly focus on fast-moving subjects. I tried the camera using my Sigma 30mm F1.4 lens, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 lens, and the Sony FE 70-300mm zoom lens.
The new BIONZ X image processor delivers amazing crisp images with good colours and reduced noise on image processing. The ISO ranges from 100- 32000 and can be expanded up to 102400. The scene selection helps to take different scenarios at predefined settings and they include sports action, macro, landscape, sunset, handheld twilight, anti-motion blur and more.
Sony didn’t add the 5-axis image stabilization as many hoped for since the A6400 offer superior AF performance and improved skin tone colours than the previous flagship A6500. (Sony reserved that for the new Sony A6600). So you need to make sure you get a lens with stabilization to reduce blurs. The camera is capable of recording videos at XVAC S, MPEG-4, AVCHD and more. You can record up to 4K video resolution at 30p. Slow-motion shooting modes range from 1fps, 2fps 3fps and up to 50fps and 100fps. S-log gamma recording and s-gamut are also supported. The camera is one of the best options if you want an affordable camera with stellar video capabilities but with the exception that it lacks IBIS. This can be sorted using a gimbal. Sony’s video AF capabilities are just one of the best in the market.
The battery included on the camera lets the A6400 capture about 360 shots with the viewfinder and about 410 shots via the LCD monitor. The camera also allows video recording about 120 minutes, which leads to the fact that there is no 30-limit video recording.
The Sony A6400 is one of the best affordable mirrorless cameras in the market that offers great performance for the price. The AF capabilities of the A6400 is by far one of the best among all of Sony’s mirrorless cameras with its new AI feature. The flip-screen on the A6400 is a first among the A6000 series and was borrowed from the older A5000-series cameras. One of the best parts is that Sony also made a classic silver colour option of the A6400 that was seen in the older A6000 model. The image quality has also improved as compared to the previous versions and has no 30 min-limit video recording. Unless you want that image stabilization and larger image buffer (the Sony A6600 has it), the Sony A6400 is a good choice for all those V-loggers and other families.