Conclusion

What we like What we don't
  • Industry-leading autofocus implementation
  • Good JPEG and Raw image quality
  • Fast burst rates
  • Detailed 4K video, slow mo 1080p
  • No official video record limit, more overheat-resistant than predecessor
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Claimed weather-sealing
  • Screen tilts up 180°, or down almost 90°
  • High-quality electronic viewfinder
  • Good battery life
  • Wi-fi with Bluetooth and NFC
  • Built-in flash that is 'bounceable'
  • Good customization options, including customizable 'My Menu'
  • USB charging
  • Ergonomics are hit-and-miss
  • Default AWB behavior can result in JPEG colors that are too 'cool'
  • Autofocus system can be confusing at first, with redundant or unnecessary settings
  • Lack of in-body stabilization may limit video and low-light shooting
  • SD slot is UHS-I, with slow write times
  • Lossy compressed Raws, no option for lossless or uncompressed
  • No in-camera Raw processing
  • Tap-to-track in video must be enabled and disabled in the menu
  • 4K/30p comes with a crop
  • Pronounced rolling shutter artifacts in video and using silent shutter
  • Doesn't 'remember' your exposure settings between stills and video

It's hard to overstate just how good the autofocus system is on the Sony a6400. It's got one of the best implementations out there: not just in its price range, but on the market, period. Once you set the system up, you can pretty much leave it alone for almost any type of photography, whether you're photographing people, landscapes, sports, you name it.

And Sony didn't stop at autofocus; relative to its predecessor, the a6400 sports an updated menu system, a touchscreen that tilts all the way up for the all-important selfie, reduced risk of overheating while shooting 4K video, and more. But as we stated in our first impressions, at least as much of the story about the a6400 is about what Sony hasn't changed, and really should have.

Out-of-camera JPEG.
Sony 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 | ISO 100 | 1/160 sec | F5.6

The ergonomics of the a6x00 series of cameras has never been our favorite, and there have been no substantive changes on this new model. Though the 4K video is very detailed, Fujifilm's X-T30 has far less rolling shutter and will allow you to monitor audio with headphones. The menus have been updated, but other manufacturers' menus are easier to navigate. Lastly, and perhaps most crucially, the a6400 is still lacking in overall responsiveness compared to the likes of the X-T30 and Panasonic Lumix GX9, and this makes for a rather detached shooting experience.

So that's the full story of the Sony a6400. It is absolutely one of the most capable APS-C interchangeable lens cameras on the market today, with game-changing autofocus capabilities, in an affordable package. If you're after a camera at this price point that is most likely to just 'get the shot,' this is the one. If you're looking for a camera that is engaging and fun to use - a camera that you just want to pick up and take with you - you may want to try out some of the a6400's competitors, and see how you get along with them before making a decision. In the end, the a6400's overall capability nudges it past our handling reservations and into 'gold' territory, if only just.


What we think


Barney Britton
Senior Editor
The story of the a6400 is really all about the autofocus system. With a high-quality lens attached, the a6400 is a dream camera for casual portraiture. I don't love the ergonomics, but when you hardly have to fiddle with any buttons to get the shot, these sorts of handling frustrations matter much less.

Rishi Sanyal
Science Editor
The a6400 is an unprecedentedly capable camera for its price point. Parents, enthusiasts and pros alike will appreciate the class-leading pro-grade AF system that’s also simple enough to use you can just ‘set and forget’. Image quality is up there with the best. Detailed 4K video and easy tap-to-track autofocus makes for a compelling run-and-gun video camera, though you’ll want to stick to stabilized lenses. To sum up: the a6400 truly impresses and is arguably more capable than many cameras at far higher price points. My only concern is its usability: I often find myself using it more as a point-and-shoot, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Compared to other midrange mirrorless cameras

As we stated in our Fujifilm X-T30 review, that camera is the a6400's most natural competitor. They're similarly priced, with similar spec sheets, but couldn't be more different in use. The Fujifilm is far more engaging and responsive, with faster burst rates and better video, but the Sony's autofocus system is really best-in-class. Raw shooters may lean equally one way or the other, but JPEG shooters should take a close look at the Fujifilm - its film simulations are fun to experiment with, and it offers pleasing color out-of-camera in most any situation.

Panasonic's Lumix DC-GX9 is another natural point of comparison. It's a little less expensive than the Sony, but it has a similar rangefinder-inspired design and overall size. The difference between 24MP and 20MP isn't all that much in real-world use, but you may find the difference in sensor size is. Though the JPEG color is fantastic out-of-camera, the GX9 won't be as good an option for high ISO photography, but its in-body stabilization will help you keep ISO values down in low light if you're not photographing moving subjects. The GX9 is a less impressive video camera thanks to a crop in all 4K modes (though the a6400 has a 1.2x crop in 4K/30p), but its built-in stabilizer will give you smoother footage. The autofocus system can't hold a candle to the a6400, but it's a pleasant camera to use and has excellent ergonomics.


Scoring

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Sony a6400
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Sony a6400 is a near-universally capable midrange camera that offers some of the best autofocus performance we've ever seen, backed up by solid image and video quality in most situations. We'd really like to see some further refinement on ergonomics, as Sony has done with its full-frame models over the years, but the a6400 remains an excellent option for a variety of types of photography.
Good for
Family and social photography, fast action and sports, world travelers and anyone looking for the best autofocus bang-for-your-buck.
Not so good for
Those photographers seeking a more engaging or more fun shooting experience, those with larger hands and shooters that need consistently pleasing auto white balance in their JPEG shooting.
85%
Overall score