- 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.
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17 thoughts on “Review: Sony a6400”
Do you have set back button focus? If yes then set the focussing to the shutter button and then you should be able to select in the remote app the focus point.
At least this is was the workaround with the a6000
I second that..
I second that.. It has also happened to me with the a6000 and it is frustrating that they have not fixed it yet..
Jordan the pictures are awesome. Nice review!
I do not have back button focus set. The remote shooting app in the newer cameras is not the same app as on the earlier PlayMemories store and with the a6000. The current remote shooting app does not allow remote moving of the focus point at all. It’s the same with the A7 III.
Well-done review with great examples.
I’m surprised that the combo a6400+sigma56mm f1.4 is more used than a7iii+sony85mm f1.8.
Why ? I’m curious.
It’s not necessarily more used… But when both are sitting there, grabbing the a6400 for candids is the better choice. However, with the just released Firmware 3 for the A7 III, the AC system has closed the gap a bit (though the tracking capability of the a6400 is still better).
Question from non-photography expert…… When you use the Sigma 150-600 you have to use a mount converter, correct, to get autofocus, auto-exposure? Could you describe your setup when using that particular lens, and how you like it with the a6400? Suggest any other similar alternatives that wouldn’t require the use of converter?
Yes, it’s the Canon EF mount version, adapted to Sony using the Sigma MC-11 adapter. The adapter works well with the lens, and while I’m sure the focus speed and accuracy isn’t quite as good as it is on a native Canon camera, it works quite well. Focus is generally accurate and even tracking AF is pretty good as long as the subject isn’t quickly moving very close to you. I’ve been relatively pleased. The lens is sharp enough on the a6400, but it’s notably better on the A7 III in that department due to the lower pixel density. I’ll have a review of that lens sometime in the next few weeks.
As to native alternatives: right now there’s pretty much only one: the FE 100-400mm GM, and then you can add a 1.4x TC to get similar range (though at a smaller aperture). That’s a pricey combo, though.
Any review of Sigma 56 planned ?
Yes! I have most of it written, but have been swamped at my day job as of late, so haven’t had time to finish it up. Hopefully this week!
Still waiting for this.
I’m thinking about dumping FF Sony and leave only APS-C.
I have right now A7II + A5100 (as small camera).
I’m thinking about 10-18 + 18-135 (and 16-50) + 56/1.4 + 28/2 as a travel kit (and maybe Rokinon 12/2 for astro)
And 2 bodies: A6400 + A5100.
What do you think ?
FF alternative for me is 16-35/4 + 70-200/4 + 85/1.8 + new 35/1.8.
It has low light (and probably sharpness) advantage but it’s much heavier.
Thanks for the usual thorough review, Jordan. Have you had a chance to see if the new tracking functions work with the Sigma f/2.8 trio of primes? The impressive AF has me tempted to try Sony out, but it’s my understanding that the older Sigma primes haven’t been able to take full advantage of Sony’s AF technology, and I was curious if this were still the case with the new tracking mode, too. Thanks!
Thanks for another solid review Jordan.
How does the A6400 autofocus compare to the A7iii (for wildlife)?
Is real-time tracking an important consideration?
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