Sony’s latest APS-C mirrorless features some remarkable technology, says Andy Westlake, but is let down by its out-dated body design.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Sony Alpha A6400

Features:
Build/Handling:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
Image quality:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • + Astonishingly capable subject-tracking autofocus
  • + Excellent image quality in almost any shooting situation
  • + High level of control customisation available
  • + Relatively compact size and decent build quality

Cons:

  • - Out-dated body design is much less pleasant to use than its competitors
  • - Control setup is poorly-configured out of the box
  • - 16:9 LCD screen gives small display area for 3:2 stills
  • - Minimal touchscreen functionality
  • - No in-body image stabilisation

Product:

Sony Alpha 6400 review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£950.00 (body only)

Sony Alpha 6400: Performance

Once you’ve got it set up to your liking, in practical use the A6400 is a quick, reliable camera that operates with minimal fuss. It’s not especially discreet, though: in stereotypical Sony fashion, the shutter fires with a relatively loud clack. This is another area where the firm has stood still, while the competition has worked towards making quieter cameras.

Sony Alpha 6400

The A6400 is capable of fine image quality, especially when processing raw. Sony A6400 + E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, 1/160sec at f/8, ISO 100

The camera takes a second or so to turn on, and thereafter responds to control inputs without any lag. About the only time it’ll hold you up is when recording a burst of images to the card. In this respect, it’s disappointing that the SD slot doesn’t support the faster UHS-II format, which means that a full burst can take a while to write; almost 40 seconds with a 90MB/s Sandisk Extreme Class 10 card. While Sony has ironed out one bug, and it’s now possible to access the onscreen Fn menu during this time, you still can’t change drive mode while the camera is writing, or initiate video recording.

Sony A6400

Dynamic range is superb. Here most of the image was in deep shadow, with barely any visible detail in the ‘straight’ JPEG. Sony A6400 + E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, 1/60sec at f/8, ISO 125

The A6400 creates pretty good images, though. In typical Sony fashion, auto white balance tends to err on the cool side, and the standard JPEG colour palette is noticeably subdued compared to the punchier, more attractive output you’ll get from the likes of Canon, Fujifilm or Olympus. But with a bit of tweaking the quality can be truly excellent, with minimal noise and plenty of fine detail in good light.

High ISO image quality is excellent, with strong colour and detail. Sony A6400 + E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, 1/1000sec at f/5.6, ISO 6400

High-ISO image quality is also extremely good. Not only does Sony manage to maintain colours extremely well up to ISO 6400, its JPEG processing provides an unusually strong impression of fine detail. But while ISO 12,800 is usable at a push, I’d avoid going any higher.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sony Alpha 6400: Features
  3. 3. Sony Alpha 6400: Body and Design
  4. 4. Sony Alpha 6400: Viewfinder and screen
  5. 5. Sony Alpha 6400: Autofocus
  6. 6. Sony Alpha 6400: Performance
  7. 7. Sony Alpha 6400: Image quality
  8. 8. Sony Alpha 6400: Verdict
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