Sony continues to tighten its grip as a leader in the mirrorless camera market with the release of the a6400. In an exciting move, they've brought most of the technology from their acclaimed full-frame models to this new, compact version. Built with lightning-fast autofocus—Sony claims it's the world's fastest—and incredible subject tracking capabilities, the a6400 is a dream for people who love taking action shots.
“The α6400 represents another important step in the growth of Sony's overall interchangeable lens camera lineup,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of Imaging Solutions at Sony Electronics. “By bringing so many of our latest and most advanced technologies from full-frame cameras to a brand new APS-C model, we are giving today's creators more options than ever to realize their vision.”
So what exactly can we expect from the a6400? The 24.2-megapixel camera weighs just 14.25 ounces and is paired with an upgraded BIONZ X processor that provides advancements in image quality and color reproduction. By incorporating many of the algorithms from Sony's full-frame mirrorless models, the a6400 suppresses noise while preserving resolution, giving amateur photographers professional quality at a far lower price point.
The real stars here, however, are the focus features. The a6400 has 425 phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast-detection AF points that cover 84% of the image area. The high powered tracking system allows it to get focus in as little as 0.02 seconds, for less blur on those quick, spontaneous shots. Sony is also harnessing the power of AI-based object recognition to improve its Eye AF technology.
Real-time Eye AF is introduced in the model, which lets the camera automatically detect the eyes of a subject and even lets photographers decide whether they want the right eye, left eye, or both eyes as the focal point. Wildlife photographers will be thrilled to hear that the technology will also work with animals after a system software update scheduled for summer 2019.
Another exciting development, particularly for videographers, is the introduction of Real-time Tracking. “This mode utilizes Sony's latest algorithm including artificial intelligence based object recognition and processes color, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness) as spatial information to ensure that all subjects can be captured with excellent accuracy,” Sony states. “Additionally, when photographing or videographing humans or animals, face and eye position information is recognized by AI and the subject's eye is monitored in real time with extremely high tracking precision. This can be activated by a simple half-press of the shutter button”
The E-mount camera is designed for maximum flexibility. Its 180-degree, tiltable LCD flip screen allows photographers and videographers to get a glimpse of what they're shooting, no matter what the angle. If that wasn't enough to convince you, the a6400 can take continuous photos at up to 11 frames per second with the mechanical shutter and 8 frames per second with silent shooting, both with full AF/AE tracking. The camera has a maximum ISO of 32000 (expanded to ISO 102400 for stills), with improved imaging quality ensuring better detail in shadow regions and more lifelike colors.
In terms of video, the Sony a6400 offers 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. “Focusing during movie shooting is fast and stable thanks to upgraded Fast Hybrid AF technology, which keeps the subject in constant smooth focus no matter the scene, and even if an object crosses in front of the camera,” states Sony, noting that this model is perfect for vloggers and habitual content creators.
The Sony a6400 is now available for pre-order with a suggested retail price of $900 (body only). A starter kit that includes the Sony a6400 and the 16-50mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens is also available for $1,000. Sony has also made a kit with the 18-135mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens available for $1,300. Shipping will begin in late-February 2019.