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Sony α6400 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.10
Reviewed Feb 08, 2021 at 07:40 am
Sony α6400 Picture
8.0
Travel Photography
8.0
Landscape Photography
7.3
Sport & Wildlife Photography
7.3
Vlogging
7.3
Studio Video
5.7
Action Video
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Tested Lens
Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS
Sensor Size
APS-C

The Sony α6400 is a compact APS-C mirrorless camera. Thanks to its impressive image quality, it takes detailed, sharp images that are mostly free of visible noise, and its effective autofocus system helps keep your shot in focus as your subjects move. It also delivers impressive video recording quality in both 4k and FHD. Unfortunately, it can struggle to smooth out camera shake if you're recording in 4k, so it's not ideal for filming while walking or running.

Our Verdict

8.0 Travel Photography

The Sony a6400 is great for travel photography. It has impressive image quality, so your pictures are sharp and free of visual noise. It's equipped with an excellent autofocus system that can track subjects without issue and its minimum shutter speed is suitable for long-exposure shots. This camera is relatively lightweight, very well-built, and comfortable to use, even for people with fairly large hands. It should also have enough battery life for long shooting sessions.

Pros
  • Excellent overall autofocus performance.
  • Great photo quality.
  • Sturdy, portable design.
  • Comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Occasionally confusing menu system.
8.0 Landscape Photography

The Sony a6400 is great for landscape photography. It feels sturdy and is rated as being weather-sealed, though that this isn't something we currently test for. It's relatively lightweight, comfortable to use, and has a touchscreen that's bright enough to be read even under direct sunlight, though you can only use the screen to set timers or change focus points. While the image quality is impressive overall, its kit lens does exhibit noticeable light falloff, which can make the corners of your photo noticeably darker than its center.

Pros
  • Great photo quality.
  • Sturdy, portable design.
  • Comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Occasionally confusing menu system.
7.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Sony a6400 is good for sports and wildlife photography. Image quality is impressive and it has a responsive and fairly reliable autofocus system that can help you maintain focus on fast-moving subjects. Its maximum shutter speed should help you take clear pictures of fast-moving subjects. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to clear its buffer, so you need to keep continuous shooting bursts short.

Pros
  • Excellent overall autofocus performance.
  • Great photo quality.
  • Sturdy, portable design.
  • Comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Occasionally confusing menu system.
  • Long buffer clearing time.
7.3 Vlogging

The Sony a6400 is good for vlogging. Its flip-out screen can be flipped up to be used as a selfie screen, which is nice. Whether you're recording in FHD or 4k, video recording quality is impressive, so your videos are clear and detailed. However, it does a poor job of smoothing out camera shake in 4k if you're walking or running while recording, though it performs decently in this regard while filming in FHD.

Pros
  • Excellent overall autofocus performance.
  • Sturdy, portable design.
  • Great recording quality in 4k and FHD.
  • Flip-out screen.
Cons
  • Poor video stabilization performance in 4k.
7.3 Studio Video

The Sony a6400 is a great option for studio video. Recording quality is impressive in both 4k and FHD, and its autofocus system does an excellent job of tracking faces and inanimate objects. It has a decently wide selection of inputs that let you use microphones and other recording accessories, though its lack of a headphone jack is a little disappointing. It doesn't have a recording time limit, which is good if you frequently record longer videos.

Pros
  • Excellent overall autofocus performance.
  • Great recording quality in 4k and FHD.
Cons
  • Occasionally confusing menu system.
  • No headphone jack.
5.7 Action Video

The Sony a6400 isn't designed for action video. When recording in 4k, it supports few frame rate options, and you can't film slow-motion videos. Also, it does a terrible job of smoothing out camera shake if you're running or walking while recording. That said, it's sturdy, relatively compact, and rated as being weather-sealed, though we don't currently test for that.

Pros
  • Sturdy, portable design.
Cons
  • Poor video stabilization performance in 4k.
  • Limited frame rate options for 4k recording.
  • 8.0 Travel Photography
  • 8.0 Landscape Photography
  • 7.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 7.3 Vlogging
  • 7.3 Studio Video
  • 5.7 Action Video
  1. Updated Sep 16, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  2. Updated Aug 04, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  3. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  4. Updated Dec 22, 2021: Adjusted menu system score to be more in line with other Sony cameras we've tested.
  5. Updated Nov 08, 2021: Reprocessed and re-uploaded 4k and FHD video stabilization videos.
  6. Updated Jun 28, 2021: Retested object tracking performance for photography. Updated 'Autofocus' box accordingly.
  7. Updated Apr 29, 2021: Corrected input error in 'In The Box' section.
  8. Updated Apr 28, 2021: Retested for 'Tested Battery Life In Video' and updated score for 'Battery' section.
  9. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Review published.
  10. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

There's only one color variant of the Sony a6400: 'Black', and you can see its label here. We tested it with the Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS lens.

Other lenses are available for purchase with the Sony α6400, including the Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, but we haven't evaluated its performance when configured differently. It can also be purchased without a lens at all.

If you come across a different variant of this camera, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Sony α6600

The Sony α6400 and the Sony α6600 are both APS-C cameras, and they perform similarly overall since they use the same sensor. The biggest difference between them is the inclusion of in-body image stabilization on the α6600, which can help stabilize the image at slower shutter speeds or longer focal lengths, even without an optically stabilized lens. The α6600 also has a larger battery that gives it nearly twice the rated battery life. However, the larger battery makes it bigger and heavier than the α6400. The α6600 also has a headphone jack and a couple more customizable buttons, though the α6400 has a built-in flash.

Sony α6000

The Sony α6400 is better overall than the Sony α6000, especially if you're interested in video as well as photography. The biggest difference is that the a6400 can record video in 4k resolution. It also has a higher-resolution EVF, a newer sensor with better high-ISO performance, and an improved autofocus system. The a6000 is a bit more portable and offers similar photo performance at a fraction of the price since it's an older model.

Sony ZV-E10

The Sony α6400 and the Sony ZV-E10 are both great mirrorless cameras for beginners. The a6400 is a little better suited for photography since it has a viewfinder, and it's a little more comfortable to shoot with and better-built, with a weather-sealed magnesium alloy construction. The ZV-E10, on the other hand, is aimed specifically at vloggers and has a few advantages over the a6400 in that area, specifically a better built-in mic, an e-stabilization feature, and a fully articulated screen.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
8.0
Design
Portability
Height
2.8" (7.1 cm)
Width
5.2" (13.1 cm)
Depth
2.4" (6.0 cm)
Volume
34.1 in³ (558.0 cm³)
Weight
0.89 lbs (0.40 kg)
Weight With Lens
1.16 lbs (0.52 kg)
8.0
Design
Build Quality

  • Body made of magnesium alloy
  • Inputs are covered by hinged flaps
  • Aperture dial is imprecise, sometimes causing incorrect setting selection

Design
Body
Body Type
SLR-Style
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
E-Mount
Built-In Flash
Yes
Design
In The Box

Update 04/29/2021: Corrected input error in calling the 'Startup Guide' a 'User Guide'.

  • Sony a6400 mirrorless camera
  • Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS lens
  • Lens cap
  • 1x NP-FW50 battery
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB charger
  • Micro-USB cable
  • Startup guide

8.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No

  • Weight is well-distributed
  • Easy to adjust ISO, aperture, and shutter speed with either eye pressed against viewfinder
  • Handgrip is well-textured and fairly deep
  • May not be enough room on thumb rest for people with large hands

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.7
7.8
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Flip-Out
Screen Max Brightness
798 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited

If you'd prefer a camera with a fully articulated screen, check out the Sony ZV-E10.

6.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Imaging Edge Mobile

Update 12/22/2021: We've adjusted this camera's menu system score to match other Sony cameras we've tested and to better reflect its ease of use relative to other menu systems.

  • Can customize menus and remap camera controls
  • More complex settings can be tricky to find
  • Touch screen feature doesn't allow for menu navigation

6.6
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
3.5 - 5.6
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/5.4
Tested Lens
Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS
Minimum Focal Length
16 mm
Maximum Focal Length
50 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
77 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
Yes
Luminance
76.3%
Light Falloff
51.9%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
Exmor CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.2 MP
Sensor Size
APS-C
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
N/A
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
32,000
Tested Firmware
Version 2.0
7.8
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Sony NP-FW50
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
410 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
92 min

Update 04/28/2021: The camera's battery life in video was retested. The score for this box has been adjusted.

Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/4,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
6.1
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
4 fps
High Speed Continuous
11 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
8 fps
Raw Buffer Size
48 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
108 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
25 s
8.5
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
75%
Face Tracking Success Rate
78%
Face Detection Distance
158" (402 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
425

Update 06/28/2021: We retested this camera's object tracking autofocus performance, reuploaded the object tracking slideshow for reference, and updated the score accordingly. Note that the score is an average of three test runs, and performance can vary across different runs.

7.8
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/13 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No
Photo Image Quality
8.4
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
10.7 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
8.6 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
7.3 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
6.7 f-stops
8.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,910 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,919 LW/PH
8.4
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
39.50 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
36.54 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
34.64 dB
8.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.54 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
39.16 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
37.23 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
34.92 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
32.48 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
29.59 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
26.96 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
24.35 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
20.92 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
19.52 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
4:2:2
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
8 bits
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
7.2
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.22 x
7.1
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
60 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
N/A
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
2
8.7
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
9.3
Face Tracking In 4k
9.5
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
No
7.4
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
7.8
4.5
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
9.0°
Full HD Video
9.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes, with a Crop
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1.14 x
8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
16 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
N/A
8.9
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
9.7
Face Tracking In FHD
9.5
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
No
7.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
7.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.5
6.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
5.3°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
7.8
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Discussions