Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus

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In January 2019, the presentation of a new Sony with APS-C sensor and the appearance of the FF series was rumored. They surprised us,  with the new Sony A6400. A camera that has the fastest AF on the market according to advertising. Share the design of its sisters of the 6000 series and, thanks to its movable screen, it is very much oriented towards the world of vloggers and youtubers. But this Sony A6400 offers many interesting things for amateur photographers. Let’s meet it.

The Sony A6400 has the same small body as its sisters. It is difficult to distinguish them. Of particular note is the articulated screen, which allows you to record easily. And it is always surprising that this model is far from the successful series of FF cameras and is not far from the professional sector, as the currently fastest autofocus. It has an APS-C Exmor 24.2 MP CMOS sensor, which together with the BIONZ X image processor allows focusing in 0.02 seconds.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
With the camera

You have to know all the virtues very well to see where we can place it. About the A6500 or further? Is it better than the A6300? Many questions to get you started, if we buy a new camera or replace it with a Sony that we have in our pockets. We will know its characteristics.

Sony A6400, main features

It is a light and compact camera, with own specifications of higher-end machines. One without mirror with type E mount and a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400
MOUNTType E mount
SENSORExmor® CMOS sensor type APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
PROCESSORBIONZ X
ISO SENSITIVITYISO 100-32,000 (ISO numbers up to ISO 102,400 can be set as an extended ISO range)
VIEWFINDERElectronic 1.0 cm with 2,359,296 points
SCREEN7.5 cm wide TFT with 921,600 points
AUTOFOCUSRapid hybrid auto focus (auto focus with 425-dot phase detection / autofocus with 425-dot contrast detection)
SHUTTER SPEED1/4000 to 30 seconds
TRIP RATE11 fps (with rear view) or 8 fps (with silent shutter) and 8 fps (for live viewing)
CONNECTIONSHDMI micro connector (type D), BRAVIA® Sync (control for HDMI), PhotoTV HD, 4K video output / 4K photography and 3.5 mm stereo mini-plug
VIDEOXAVC S format, AVCHD, version 2.0
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D)Approx. 120 mm x 66.9 mm x 59.7 mm, approx. 120 mm x 66.9 mm x 49.9 mm (from the grip to the monitor)
WEIGHTApprox. 403 g


Design and ergonomics of the Sony A6400

We are facing a small camera, which has its great advantage in the autofocus system, the screen and all video recording functions. It is sold as a camera to “let your creativity run wild”. In terms of the most advanced models, however, it has a major flaw: it does not have the stabilization of 5 axes in the body. Maybe this is the feature that sets it apart the most from the A6500. We already have something clear.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
The upper part

It can not be said that we have not talked about this Sony range yet. Personally, I liked the design of the famous NEX before this series. The idea is to offer the photographer a quality product with the simplest possible body. Without the proliferation of buttons that we can find at other brands. It wants to be shot and ready. In fact, the upper part is purely Spartan: two wheels, the trigger and a configurable button.

 

The idea is to offer the photographer a quality product with the simplest possible body

In the back we find most of the buttons, placed on the right side of the screen. Where is the big hilt. And this is one of the great problems of this model. Under the same trap door we find the battery compartment and the only SD card that it supports. It is very uncomfortable to try to remove the memory card as you do not have a good nail.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
The problem of the trapdoor

In addition, as in the entire product range, this is the most extensive part, but if you have big hands, the little finger and the ring stay out there. Luckily, the body is made of magnesium alloy and the buttons and dials are dustproof.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
The trigger button

The most remarkable thing in the design is the folding and rotating 180º screen to record yourself or become one of those selfies …  but it also allows you to set it down 74º, which is very special situations is very useful, z concert, if you are in public …

The image quality of the Sony A6400

If we read the chronicles of the previous models, both in the professional field and in the present, we find that the new Sony A6400 has the same sensor as the A6300 with the same BIONZ X-processor of the last generation, probably the leading role plays Sony A9. An interesting combination that should be considered when improving the quality of the photos we take with it.

In advertising we can read that the ISO range goes from 100 to 32,000 ISO . And it can be uploaded, by internal software , to ISO 102400. I have always believed that these forced ISOS are nothing more than eye-catching advertising. It happens with all the cameras. They are not at all useable. But the best thing is to see a graphic example.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400 Iso2500 F5,6 1/80

I have always believed that these forced ISOS are nothing more than eye-catching advertising. It happens with all the cameras. They are not at all useable.

The Sony A6400 defends itself perfectly up to 12,800 ISO. With slightly inferior equipment with the machining programs, up to 25,600 ISO could be used. The last two are completely useless. I do not understand the endeavor to offer these extreme sensitivities in all models of all brands. The color and dynamic range follow the same path as the sensitivity.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus

The image quality improves thanks to the new processor. Now everything is more agile and we can make faster bursts. Up to 11 fps but with the kit that we have tested we have a goal that is not up to the set. I’m talking about E PZ 16-50 mm F3,5-5,6 OSS . It may be comfortable to record video but the electronic zoom is not agile for photography … With how easy it would be to sell the cameras again with good and simple fixed objectives to maintain the price …

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400 Iso100 F8 1/1250

It is a camera that equipped with a lens at height, without distortions, vignettes and others, will improve many integers. But it is something that has always happened, as it happened with the fabulous NEX.

The fastest AF of the moment?

The quality of the autofocus of this camera is remarkable. It is the heir of the system they carry (they will carry, via firmware ) the older sisters. It is an example of what will come sooner than later. The Sony A6400 has 425 phase detection points and other contrast detection points in an area that covers 84% of the overall picture.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400 Iso 800 F5,6 1/400

During the analysis, I worked with it on the street, looking for objects that move quickly as an ambulance, and two people (thank you) who walk and jump in different lighting situations. After setting the camera for the best settings, the results are encouraging.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Tracking AF

The object is focused regardless of how far away the camera is fromadvertising. Some frames do not have the perfect focus, but with a bit of later development they can be totally valid. I am convinced that with a better objective the results will be much better.

 

It’s a good AF system that stays a fair bit in a mid-range camera

It’s a good AF system that stays a good deal in a mid-range camera. It costs it to manage so much information. I do not dare to give that many percent of success, but I can say it’s preferable to work with a good uniform light in high-contrast situations or in low-light conditions if we want to get the best results. Of course it’s not surprising, but I expected more after reading all the specifications.

When recording video for Youtube or moderate use, the reliability of the autofocus in this camera is impressive for the area where the A6400 is located. And it opens the appetite when all the artificial intelligence it carries is integrated into the higher-level models. And is that the improvements attract much attention.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
AF of the Sony A6400

In addition to the already classic Sony Eye AF, the Sony A6400 has a new algorithm for detecting moving subjects, which processes the color, the distance of the subject, the brightness and the face and the eyes as well as the Real Time Tracking. Everything in real time. The camera is no longer an exam, a way to whet the appetite of those expected to drive from A7 or A9 …

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Tracking AF in low light

And if we only work in AF-S the results, as always happens in the new generations, is perfect. Press and go, everything focused. In this sense it is perfect to take the mountain on our weekend excursions. Or for portraits. Or for street photography. In these contexts it is a highly recommended machine.

Conclusion

The Sony A6400 is a good mid-range camera. It contains the autofocus enhancements of the next generations. The 180 ° folding screen is an excellent option for vloggers. It is ideal for families who need a camera to document the growth of children and their activities. It’s very good for a photographer starting (I’d rather tell my story as a young man with this approach than with the EOS 300D).

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400 Iso 500 F3,5 1/30

But it is not a professional camera. There can be no misunderstandings. The photographer who wants to buy it has to see it as a camera that enhances earlier generations like the A6300. And you can confirm the disappearance of the brand 5xxx.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400 Iso 250 F3,5 1/30

Little to add regarding the battery. It is the usual NP-FW50 model of the brand for these models. In the specifications, they speak of 360 to 410 shots per charge. And that has given me a burden. Therefore, as always, it is convenient to travel with a few charged batteries to avoid anxiety when taking frequent shots.

Sony A6400 Review: a mid-range camera with a professional focus
Sony A6400 Iso100 F7,1 1/100

The lack of stabilization of the body is as conspicuous as the A6500. We have to be content with stabilizing the lenses, but if you try something that works very well, you do not want to go back. We therefore do not recommend it if you come from a camera with this feature, as you may be disappointed. And if you want it for videos, remember that you do not have a headphone jack.

The AF, which attracts the attention of this model most, has its lights and shadows. It’s a professional system that can unleash its full potential in superior models. With the Sony A6400, the average user will enjoy many pleasures. However, we can not expect more than 80% focus when working in sports, for example.

For an amateur photographer, it’s perfect. Perhaps in a future Sony 7000 , or in the updates that will come for the A7 / A9 will leave us open-mouthed if we start it in a game or a race. But on the Sony A6400 it will only surprise in a familiar environment. And this is his goal. We can not ask for more. The Sony A6400 is a good mid-range camera. Nothing more and nothing less.

 

85%
  • Features
  • Design and ergonomics
  • Controls and interface
  • Performance
  • Image quality

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