A few months ago, Sony released the Sony a6400 which we are reviewing today, but soon after it also released the a6600 which is a better camera in more than a few aspects, except, in this Sony a6400 review, we are actually going over why the Sony a6400 is actually a better deal.
Why the Sony a6400 Over the a6600
The Sony a6600 packs everything users wanted.
You got a bigger battery. You got a headphone jack so that you can monitor audio. Of course, you also got the fully rotating screen that Sony first introduced in the a6400 and 5-axis stabilization.
The cost of the a6600? In the cheapest places out there, you can get it for around €1,165, but Sony sells it for €1,600. The Sony a6400? €688 right now, although we bought it for €725 on the cheapest site possible, with Sony selling it for €1,049.
Of course, this is not about what’s cheaper but what’s better, except you can get the Sony a7iii for €1,494.99 on the cheapest site, with Sony selling it for €2,300.00.
That means that in reality, for just €330, you can get a much better camera if you choose the a7iii over the a6600.
The a7iii? It comes with 2 memory cards, a full-frame sensor that means better depth of field, better ISO, more capture, and more importantly more lens options as in the long-term, the full-frame options have many more possibilities especially if you are looking for longer zoom.
The a7iii also allows for uncompressed RAW shooting which the a6600, has better autofocus with 693 phase-detection points over just 425 on the a6660, which is by no means bad as some pro-Nikon cameras rock only 51 of them, but what we are trying to say, that extra €330 to get the a7iii instead will be a much better investment. A review on it dropping soon.
Now let’s get into the a6400 review.
Sony Fixed the Small Things with a6400
One of the most annoying things about video shooting with this Sony series, the a7 series, and many other camera series from all companies out there?
The 30-minute recording limit.
We were recently at Web Summit recording an interview with the founder of the Muse meditation headband, Ariel Garten, and we recorded with two cameras.
The main one was the Sony A6400. The other wasn’t, and we ended up with the Sony a6400 delivering the full interview, with the other not.
Sony has finally fixed the 30-minute recording issue that wasn’t even the case on the a7iii. That means no more issues when shooting a long video alone.
That’s such a small feature, but it makes life so much more convenient because a lot of people use their mirrorless cameras for shooting video.
Sony also fixed the lack of the ability to charge as using the camera.
We found that to be a major issue on the a6500 and a6000. Sometimes we would be low on battery and didn’t want to stop recording and go through the process of switching batteries, especially when a camera was on a gimbal, and this is where this ability comes in useful, especially paired with the TYLT AWALL portable charger.
Oh, and then there’s the tilting screen issue.
They finally did it.
It took Sony over 5 years to finally create a fully rotating screen, and while they didn’t really do a good job at it considering that it doesn’t work well with microphones, at last, it’s here, and that makes life easier.
Of course, this model is weather sealed just like the Sony a6500. That wasn’t the case with the a6000, and well, the screen on it broke at it was a weak link.
Sony a6400 for Pictures
The Sony a6xxx series has always been exceptional when it came to pictures.
Beginner or a pro, most people were able to take far more superior pictures on the a6xxx series than on any other series at a similar price point. That’s what we love about this series.
It’s great starting out but allows you to do even more once you progress.
As far as similarity to other models, both the a6600, A6500, and a6400 are very very similar as far as pictures.
If you already rock one of these, there’s no need to upgrade to any other one of these. There just won’t be enough difference.
Both the a6400, a6500, and a6600 have features that put one ahead of the other and vice versa, so there’s no one clear winner as far as which camera overall has more features for shooting content. The a6400 does have almost double faster autofocus than the a6500 at the speed of 0.02 versus 0.05, meanwhile, the a6500 has slightly better color, but it’s all tiny differences.
Ultimately, what will make more of a difference when it comes to your shots is the lens. DO NOT BUY A KIT LENS. EVER.
Even if you are starting out, do not get a kit lens. Kit lenses are often the difference between okay pictures and great pictures.
What’s our current favorite lens? A 35mm F/1.8 by Sony.
Where there’s a huge difference between these models is when it comes to video.
Sony a6400 for Videos
If you are looking to shoot videos, this is where the decision between whether you get the similarly priced but older a6500 or whether you get the a6500 comes in.
Firstly, the a6400 does not come with any stabilization at all.
What that means is that if you want to shoot video handheld, you need lenses from Sony with SteadyShot built-in. Anything else will result in too shaky footage that won’t be fixable.
You either get a camera with stabilization like the a6500 or the a6600 or you get Sony lenses with SteadyShot, but you need one of them.
Sony cameras? They don’t offer great built-in stabilization though overall.
Don’t get us wrong, we will choose Sony stabilization over no stabilization any day, but you won’t be able to shoot truly stable footage with this camera, and how light it is for sure aids with that.
This is why we actually recommend a gimbal overall if you are looking for truly stable footage. We are currently testing the Ronin-SC so we’ll give you our feedback on it as we use it more.
Both the a6600 and a6400 come with an HLG profile unlike the a6500 giving a bit more options as far as color grading options which is great as the S-LOG2 on Sony a6400 isn’t great. It’s poor for autofocusing.
One major advantage of the a6600 in this spectrum? The headphone jack. Without it, you are only guessing what you are hearing based on the level graph on your camera. Outdoors, that isn’t enough.
The much bigger battery also comes in handy allowing you to shoot far more video than previously.
Does that function make the camera worth the extra cost over the a6400? We don’t think so. The a6400 series batteries are quite cheap, and due to their size, it’s quite easy to carry them.
Overall though, the Sony a6400 with the right lenses will allow you for some incredible video content.
Fully rotating screen at last.
We are disappointed though. I mean, we are grateful that Sony finally did it, but they’ve talked about the complexity of it as if they designed some masterpiece. If this is the best you can do after 5 years of not having a rotating screen then you clearly haven’t spent much time on it.
We forgive the weird placement that doesn’t allow for anything being on the stand, but damn, the system overall isn’t very smooth to the point that you need two hands to move it, and we don’t really trust it that much.
But it’s there so we just hope Sony develops on it in the future.
As far as the screen itself, of course, it’s a touchscreen, but frankly, we don’t like to use the touchscreen part of it for anything else than for selecting focus points. That’s the only thing it’s useful for.
Is the a6400 Worth It?
It’s not better than the a6600 as it’s not expected to be, but either get this or go for the slightly bigger and pricier a7iii as it’s a better long-term investment.
If you already have a 6500 or a6300, frankly, you are better off waiting and getting the a7iii.
Where this camera does make a lot of sense is if you rock an a6000 and want better video at the same size. That’s where this camera makes sense.