The A6400 revives Sony’s APS-C camera range, bringing powerful video tools and upgraded image processing to tempt both stills photographers and videographers with a camera that looks perfect for independent content creators.
For a while it looked like Sony’s APS-C mirrorless camera range was in the doldrums. The last new model launched was the A6500 way back in 2016, quickly superseding the A6300 which was launched just a few months earlier. And yet both cameras remained on sale to the present day, plus the ageing A6000 and A5100, both launched way back in 2014. It felt like Sony was just treading water until it finally pulled the plug on its APS-C camera range.
Officially, the A6400 replaces the A6300, but with no word from Sony on the A6000 and A6500, it looks like these will remain on sale. The A6400’s powerful new features and competitive pricing will put pressure on the older A6500 above it in the range, though this camera does have in-body image stabilisation, which the A6400 does not.
Sony A6400 main specs
The A6400 keeps the same 24-megapixel sensor of the existing A6000-series models, but it’s boosted by the BIONX X processor and advanced autofocus know-how from Sony’s top-end full frame mirrorless cameras.
It boasts a powerful hybrid AF system with 425 phase detection AF points and 425 contrast AF points covering 84% of the screen, and offers real-time subject-tracking and eye AF, boosted by AI (artificial intelligence) and the ability to track both human and animal eyes. Sony claims the world’s fastest AF time of 0.02sec, though in real-world shooting this will obviously depend on the subject, the conditions and the lens used.
The more advanced processing also brings better skintones and better high-ISO image quality. The A6400’s ISO range tops out at ISO 32,000 for stills and movies, but can be expanded to ISO 102,400 for stills.
The continuous shooting speed stays at 11fps and 8fps with live view, but the silent shutter mode gets a boost to 8fps. The buffer capacity has been increased to 116 JPEGs or 46 compressed raw files, but the A6500 still has a big advantage here, offering much longer continuous shooting bursts.
Videographers get 6K oversampled image capture, downsampled to 4K, to produce the sharpest possible footage, plus Sony’s SLog2, Slog3 and HLG modes built in. The new 180-degree rear screen makes selfies simple but should also be good for vloggers presenting to camera. The A6400 keeps the electronic viewfinder of the other A6000 series models too.
Many were expecting the announcement of a new high-end APS-C model, so were surprised by the mid-range A6400. A new flagship APS-C camera announcement is still expected, though, probably in February 2019.
Available: February 2019
Price: £950 body only, about £1,000 with 16-50mm PZ lens or approximately £1,300 with 18-135mm lens
More information: α6400 E-mount camera with APS-C Sensor | Sony UK