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Sony a6400 Review

Although it launched in February 2019, the Sony a6400 remains a strong contender in the hybrid market, with specs that staunchly defy any notion of being outdated. We recently spent a few days capturing a variety of photos to discover its relevance, and find out whether it’s still worth buying in 2024.

Sony a6400 Review – Still Worth Buying in 2024?

This hands-on review of the Sony a6400 includes sample photos of street photography, landscapes, nature and everyday snapshots. We explore its features such as Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking, which were introduced by Sony via this model, and are now ubiquitous throughout the Alpha mirrorless range.

If you’re looking to satisfy your curiosity about whether to buy a new or used Sony a6400, our review has got everything you need to know to make the right decision to suit your needs.

Pet dog captured with the Sony A6400 camera

Pet dog sample image captured at 16mm. Camera settings 1/800 sec. f/2.8. ISO 100

Sample images

To accurately showcase its image quality, all sample images in this Sony a6400 review are straight out of camera unedited JPEGs. The majority were shot in Aperture Priority mode, using Auto ISO and a minimum shutter speed setting with subject detection on and AF-C (Continuous AF) for moving subjects.

For most landscape images I shot in Manual mode, which is easy to learn and gains full control over settings and maintain a low ISO and they were all made with the versatile Sony E 16-55mm F/2.8 G E Mount Lens used.

Sample landscape with trees and wild garlic shot with the Sony a6400

Landscape captured at 24mm. Camera settings 0.4 sec. f/10. ISO 100 (tripod mounted)

Key camera features

Given its age of five years, one might expect key specs to appear long in the tooth, yet this list highlights the relevance of the A6400, even in 2024.

  • 24MP APS-C image sensor
  • 11fps continuous burst shooting
  • 180º flip touchscreen
  • Hybrid AF with 425 phase and contrast-detect AF points
  • 84% of the image area covered with AF points
  • Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking
  • 4K video up to 30fps and 1080p at up to 120fps with video tracking AF
  • Sony NP-FW50 battery for approx. 360 shots (EVF) / 410 shots (LCD)
  • Built-in intervalometer for timelapse content
  • Supports Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi
  • Moderate weather sealing
  • Weighs 403g and measures just 120mm wide and 59.7mm deep

Robin captured in spring flowers with the Sony A6400 APS-C camera

Robin captured at 55mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/2.8. ISO 320

What’s missing from the a6400?

This model does not have any built-in image stabilisation, a fully articulating screen, nor a headphone jack. While the 180º flip screen is excellent for composing images, when shooting with the LCD flipped forward in selfie mode you can add a mic or flash, but this obscures the screen.

Aside from these minor omissions, it’s a well-featured hybrid camera, which is definitely capable of capturing great quality stills and video content today. However, if these are features you must have for video, selfies or run-and-gun content, look for an alternative like the A6600 or the flagship A6700.

Close-up flowers showcasing excellent detail with the A6400

Flowers captured at 55mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/2.8. ISO 500

How much does the Sony A6400 cost?

The Sony a6400 price is £899.00, although at the time of writing it was available new for £699.00. You can also find a Sony a6400 used in excellent condition for around £569.00, but you have to be quick as this is a very popular second-hand Sony camera.

The Sony A6400 is also offered in lens kits, including the Sony A6400 with E PZ 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS lens kit, which has an RRP of £999.00, and A6400 with E 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens Kit (RRP £1,199.00). These kits provide an excellent entry point into the Sony mirrorless ecosystem, and the benefits that a lightweight APS-C system provides.

London Statue captured on the Sony camera

Statue captured at 22mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/4. ISO 125

Is the a6400 easy to use?

Thanks to its compact and lightweight design the Sony a6400 is an excellent camera for creators who require portability from their camera. Its smaller size is ideal for remaining incognito for street photography and candid shots, yet it’s perfectly capable of capturing great image quality.

The grip has just enough purchase for comfortable single-handed shooting and the ergonomics will be intuitive for Sony camera users, and quick to learn for newcomers to the system. There’s a dedicated C1 customisable button, but no dedicated exposure compensation dial, although it’s straight forward enough to program the main dial as EXP. Comp.

While neither the LCD nor the EVF boasts especially high resolution or magnification by current standards, both are certainly adequate for capturing and reviewing images, provided the ambient light isn't too bright.

Yes that's a T-rex in real life!

T-rex at 39mm. Camera settings 1/250 sec. f/3.2. ISO 6400

I found the LCD screen preferable for photography, and perhaps more so than the 2.36m dots 0.7x magnification EVF given my experience with the exceptionally crisp 9.44M dot 0.9x magnification EVF of the Sony A7R V.

It’s worth mentioning the NP-FW50 Sony a6400 battery, which can be charged via USB cable and gets around 400 shots, based on a picture of EVF and LCD shooting. As with any camera accessory it’s worth having a spare or two in your bag so you don’t run out mid shoot.

Monumental whale bones captured at 19mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/3.2. ISO 4000

Whale skeleton at 19mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/3.2. ISO 4000

Is Sony Alpha A6400 good for photography?

Yes, this is a great Sony all-rounder for photography. The a6400 is good for street photography due to its size and weight, great for sports or wildlife thanks to 11fps burst shooting and it’s even good for landscape photography due to the 13.6 EV stops of dynamic range.

You can see from several of the sample images here how great this camera is for low light photography too. The 24MP sensor has no problems shooting right up to ISO 6400, and all of the sample images have only had noise processing done in-camera.

Another benefit of this APS-C format mirrorless body is the perceived sharpness and 1.5x crop factor sensor. If you happen to enjoy distant subjects such as wildlife, sports, and other genres, this effectively brings you closer to the action, with plenty of pixels to render high levels of detail in your images.

Whichever subjects you want to capture, the a6400 has you covered, especially when photographing human subjects, which we explore below.

Exterior architecture from the museum

Museum architecture captured at 16mm. Camera settings 1/4000 sec. f/3.2. ISO 100

How good is the a6400 Subject Detection AF?

With Sony’s first implementation of Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking, the autofocus system is reliable for portraits, family photography and other human subjects. The a6400 AF (autofocus) is also quite sticky, tracking a subject once locked-on with relative ease, even when they turn away or become obscured in the frame.

If you’re new to subject tracking it’s a bit of a revelation, and although it’s not flawless and does occasionally wander off, you can expect plenty of tack sharp in-focus shots, which you may have otherwise missed.

Closer look at the Sony a6400 camera with flip LCD screen

Is Sony a6400 a good beginner camera?

Yes, if you’re a beginner getting started in photography or video creation the Sony a6400 is a brilliant choice, and has everything you need to progress your skills without being overly complicated. Another benefit is its compact size and weight, which will also appeal to advanced creators who want a second camera for B-roll and as a backup.

The body’s small form suits newcomers, especially anyone stepping up from a smartphone or compact.

Ice cream cone shot in low light setting

Ice cream cone at 55mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/2.8. ISO 500

Lens options

One of the attractions of the Sony system is the huge variety of E mount lenses from Sony and other manufacturers including Sigma, Samyang, Laowa, Viltrox and ZEISS. This ensures you have plenty of lens choice to suit your style of content creation, whether buying new or used Sony lenses.

For the duration of this review I used one of the best APS-C format options, which is covered in our accompanying Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G Lens review. With an equivalent 24-82.5mm zoom range and constant aperture this little lens is capable of pro-level image and video capture across a truly diverse range of subjects.

The Sony a6400 camera is an excellent tool to learn about what makes a great photo, practice Manual photography and understand the exposure triangle, as well as discover compositional rules like the rule of thirds. You can also gain an understanding of camera lenses, and all of the gear which goes along with content creation, with an affordable and extremely versatile little camera.

Sweet shop shot on the Sony a6400 body

Sweets captured at 16mm. Camera settings 1/500 sec. f/2.8. ISO 640

It has good battery life, great image quality and amazing portability, certainly enough to go unnoticed when capturing street photos or discreet sporting shots.

Given that the camera has been on the market for over five years, there's an opportunity to save money by purchasing a Sony a6400 used. Additionally, keep an eye out for Sony special offers, which can provide savings when buying a new Sony a6400 body, lens kit or accessory.

Fatefull seascape made with the Sony A6400

Seascape at 16mm. Camera settings 1/1000 sec. f/11. ISO 5000

If you’ve got an older generation model, or other camera gear to sell, why not grab a free quotation from us and we’ll ensure the entire upgrade process is as seamless as possible.

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By Nick Dautlich on 09/04/2024

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