- Well constructed and extremely compact
- Good EVF quality and size
- Rear screen flips to 180 degrees
- Outstanding autofocus performance
- Real-time Eye AF is revolutionary
- Controls are well laid out and familiar
- 11 fps shooting, including 8fps with live view
- Reasonably deep buffer
- Good dynamic range
- Reasonable noise control and good detail levels
- Easy to use intervalometer
- WiFi and Bluetooth work well
- Grip can be a bit cramped at times
- While image quality is fairly good, sensor breaks no new ground
- Touch interface is limited at times
- Rear screen is low resolution by today’s standards
- Remote control function is still extremely limited
- Battery life is mediocre at best
- Bluetooth is a pain to set up the first time
The a6400 is an interesting camera. On the surface, it’s a minor upgrade to the a6300, and in many ways that’s an accurate assessment. It has an essentially identical body and the same sensor with some minor tweaks, while adding the ability to tilt the rear screen to the front and increasing the size of the buffer to a more reasonable level. However, the big addition is the new autofocus system, and it really is the raison d’être of the a6400.
The real-time tracking autofocus is excellent, and maintains a lock on whatever you focus, but it jumps to new heights when shooting people, as the real-time EyeAF in the a6400 is astounding. Never has getting accurate focus on the eyes of your subject been easier. When shooting pictures of people with the a6400, I honestly don’t need to worry about focus. At all. Just compose the shot and shoot. It just sticks to that nearest eye and does so with excellent accuracy.
The rest of the camera is quite solid, though no new ground is broken with the minor updates outside of the AF, but when you combine the excellent autofocus performance with all the small tweaks, it adds up to a very compelling camera at this price point. However, with there now being three mid-range APS-C cameras in the Sony lineup, where does the a6400 fall for prospective buyers?
In my opinion, the a6300 should be the last choice. The a6400 has notable improvements over the a6400, and while I don’t think there is enough for existing a6300 owners to warrant a direct upgrade, I also don’t think those buying a new Sony APS-C body should really consider the a6300 now that the a6400 is here. The deeper buffer, improved autofocus, faster processor and other small improvements make the a6400 the obvious choice over the a6300.
When it comes to the a6400 vs the a6500, however, the choice becomes a lot harder. The a6400 is $200 less expensive, has essentially identical image quality, a better autofocus system and better rear screen articulation. However, the a6500 has in-body image stabilization and a more comfortable hand grip. I think for those who are shooting a wide variety of scenes, and need handholdability at lower shutter speeds, the a6500 is going to still be worth that extra cash. It also may be the way I would lean if looking for a camera to be your primary body. However, if the primary usage is going to be for event shooting, portraiture, macro (with a stabilized lens) or action shooting, the incredible AF performance of the a6400 is going to be the way to go.
For me, the a6400 fits the bill quite nicely, as it adds a bit of extra capability, allowing for extra reach compared to my A7 III, and performing ably as a backup to that camera. As a result, I got the a6400 to replace my A7 II as my Sony backup body as it provides some unique capabilities in comparison to the full-frame primary body. The thing I didn’t expect was to enjoy shooting with the a6400 as much as I do. Because of the amazing Eye AF capabilities, and Sigma’s excellent low-cost f/1.4 prime lenses for APS-C, I have actually found myself often grabbing the a6400 instead of my A7 III for shots of my kids, due to the dead-simple operation and outstanding focus accuracy. It will also be my go-to body of choice for macro shooting. Well done, Sony.
Click on an image to enlarge