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Only a few days ago, Sony has announced the a6400, its new APS-C camera which will be available for purchase in February. We already made a review on the Sony a6400, where we introduced its primary specs and features. In this article, we will compare this camera to its siblings – the a6300 and a6500. Oldest camera in this series is Sony A6000 for which we have provided detailed review on our website PhotographyTalk.com.
Don’t be confused with the numbers; the a6300 and a6500 are both preceding the a6400, as they were announced and released in 2016. Two years later, many photographers continue to find these models useful for wide range of applications, but will it stay like this after the release of the new model?
After the announcement of the a6400, we want to see if it is really good enough to replace its predecessors. So, before you decide to put away your old Sony cameras in the corner, take your time to read this article and decide if it is really worth it.
The Sony a6400 Has the Largest ISO Range
All three cameras we are comparing in this article feature an APS-C sensor of the same size and offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixels. Still, because of technological advancements over the last two years, the A6400 has the largest ISO range that goes from 100 to 32000 (expandable to 102400).
This seems like a great improvement over the other two models that offer native ISO range of 100 - 25600 (expandable to 51200).
One more distinction among these cameras is that the A6300 does not have a front-end LSI chip which boosts the processing speed.
Additionally, all three cameras incorporate the same BIONZ X image processing engine.
The Sony a6500 Has 5-Axis Image Stabilization
The 6500 stands out as the only camera in Sony a6000 series that incorporates 5-axis in-body sensor stabilization. This makes things a lot easier while shooting handheld because it eliminates or reduces the blur in images.
The other two cameras will need to use Sony lenses with built-in optical image stabilization in order to achieve the same effect.
Impressive Autofocus in the Sony a6400
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All three cameras have impressive autofocus features, but the a6400 is definitely the winner in this category. It acquires focus in 0.02 seconds, in comparison to the a6300 and a6500 that have autofocus acquisition speed of 0.05 seconds.
This autofocus speed does not only put a6400 in front of its siblings, but in front of all other cameras in the world.
In addition, all three cameras have 425 phase detection points, but while the new camera has the same amount of contrast-detection AF points, two other models have only 169 contrast detection areas.
The 6400 also uses the latest autofocus technology, so its Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking features promise to accomplish great results.
If You Want the Biggest Buffer, You'll Find It in the a6500
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When it comes to shooting speed, there are only slight differences...
All three models offer 11fps continuous shooting with the mechanical shutter and an option for silent shooting mode. The A6400 stands out as the best performer when using the electronic shutter since it can shoot at 8 fps. In comparison, the a6300 and a6500 offer only 3 fps continuous shooting in silent mode.
The a6500 has the biggest buffer depth and it can record 233 JPGs or 107 RAW frames at full speed. This is a much better performance than that of the a6300 which can record only 99 JPGs and 46 RAW frames at full speed. The new camera stands in the middle and it can record 99 JPGs or 46 RAW frames.
4K Video Upgrades
At the time of its release, the A6300 was very popular because of its 4K video capabilities. The camera offered 4K recording with full pixel readout and Full HD video recording at up to 120 fps.
The a6500 added new “Slow and Quick” mode which allowed users to record up to 5x Slow Motion and up to 60x Quick Motion FULL HD video internally. Also, it added an option to extract 8MP stills from 4K recordings directly on the camera.
What is new about the 6400 is that it includes SLog2, SLog3, and HLG modes, making it an even more capable camera for video work.
Sony Alpha a6300 vs a6400 vs a6500: Dimensions and Weight
At the first look, the 6300, 6400 and 6500 share the same design. Still, those with a good eye for detail will spot minor differences. While the 6300 and 6400 share the same weight of 14.3 ounces, the A6500 is almost 2 ounces heavier.
The dimensions of the new camera are 4.8 x 2.8 x 2.4 inches, which is 0.2 inches longer and 0.5 inches thicker than the 6300 and 0.2 inches longer than the 6500.
Of course, these differences are relatively irrelevant and what is important is that all three cameras have a lightweight and compact size so they can be carried around without a fear that they will become a burden.
There are also slight differences in grip size and controls, but not as important to write about them in this article.
The a6400 Has the Best LCD
There have been substantial upgrades in LCD display from one model to another.
The Sony A6300 incorporates a tilting 3-inch LCD screen, but without touchscreen technology.
The A6500 adds touchscreen features which make using autofocus a lot easier, but although tiltable – the screen can be angled only by 90 degrees.
Finally, the A6400 improves the disadvantages of earlier models and adds 180 degrees tiltable LCD display so now you can rotate the screen to face the same direction as lenses. This feature will be particularly appealing to vloggers who couldn’t use earlier two models to fully accomplish their needs.
Looking for the Lowest Price? Go With the Sony a6300
With a brand-new price of $748, the Sony A6300 is the most affordable camera among these three siblings. The reason for this is not a mystery – this camera can’t compete with the other two in any of the above-mentioned categories.
Still, for this price, you will get a great camera that can perform similarly well as the other two. You can save even more money if you decide to buy a used one.
The Sony a6400 goes on sale next month for about $900 (body only) or you can opt for the bundled version with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens for about $1,000. It seems that it is worth spending $200 more and buying the a6400 instead of the a6300 because it definitely brings a lot of improvements in features and usability.
The most expensive among the reviewed cameras is the a6500. With the price of $1,198.00 (about $934 if you buy used), this camera is a good option if you want to have 5-axis image stabilization, a feature that lacks in the 6300/6400.
Have Sony questions? Ask in the Sony Camera Forum.