Image quality

Processed in Adobe Camera Raw | ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F8 | Zeiss 16-70mm F4

Key takeaways:

  • Raw performance is all but identical to the older a6300
  • JPEG performance however, has broadly improved with more pleasing color and even better high ISO noise reduction

Studio scene

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

The main story here is that, in a nutshell, image quality is identical to the older a6300 in Raw mode. We can first see this in terms of detail capture throughout the scene. There are instances of moiré visible from all of the Bayer cameras here, with Fujifilm's X-Trans sensor tamping that down somewhat. As ISO values climb, we can see that the Sonys and the Fujifilm perform similarly, with the EOS M50 falling just slightly behind.

The JPEGs, however, tell a slightly different story. Default JPEG sharpening at lower ISO values is still very similar between the two Sony cameras. But, a close look at our ColorChecker shows some differences regarding color rending. Compared to the a6300, the a6400's reds and yellows are a bit richer, and the greens a bit warmer. Color preferences are subjective of course, but for our tastes, these are improvements - particularly for landscape and people photography. Also, when the ISO value creeps up, Sony seems to have tweaked their noise reduction as well. There is a bit more grain, but a bit less mushiness; this is borne out by differences in the dead leaves pattern as well.