Sony a6100 vs a6400 – Which Is Best & Why

The Sony a6100 vs a6400 comparison reveals two capable mirrorless cameras with distinct features. While the a6100 offers excellent value for beginners, the a6400 provides advanced capabilities for enthusiasts. Both cameras share core strengths, but the a6400’s enhanced autofocus, weather-sealing, and video features make it a compelling choice for more serious photographers.

Sony a6100 vs a6400

Sony a6100 vs a6400 Side by Side Comparison

FeatureSony a6100Sony a6400
Autofocus System425-point Phase-Detection AF425-point Phase-Detection AF
Real-time TrackingYesYes (more advanced)
Real-time Eye AFYesYes (more advanced)
ISO Range100-32000 (exp. to 51200)100-32000 (exp. to 102400)
Continuous Shooting11 fps11 fps
EVF Resolution1.44M dots2.36M dots
LCD Screen3-inch tilting touchscreen3-inch tilting touchscreen
Video Capabilities4K/30p, Full HD/120p4K/30p, Full HD/120p
Picture ProfilesNoYes (incl. S-Log2/3)
Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots410 shots
Interval ShootingNoYes
Max Shutter Speed1/4000s1/4000s
Price (at launch)Check Sony a6100 PriceCheck Sony a6400 Price

Why Do I Recommend Sony a6400

While both cameras are excellent choices, the Sony a6400 edges out its younger sibling in several key areas. Here’s why I recommend the a6400 for many users:

  • Superior Autofocus System: The a6400 boasts Sony’s advanced Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF, which provide more accurate and reliable focus tracking for both stills and video.
  • Weather-Sealed Body: Unlike the a6100, the a6400 features a weather-sealed construction, making it more suitable for outdoor shooting in various conditions.
  • Enhanced Video Capabilities: The a6400 offers additional video features like S-Log2 and S-Log3 profiles, which provide greater flexibility in post-processing for videographers.
  • Longer Battery Life: With a slightly higher-capacity battery, the a6400 can capture more shots per charge, reducing the need for frequent battery swaps.
  • Improved EVF Resolution: The a6400’s electronic viewfinder offers a higher resolution (2.36M dots vs 1.44M dots), providing a clearer and more detailed view when composing shots.
  • Faster Maximum Shutter Speed: The a6400 can shoot at up to 1/4000s, compared to the a6100’s 1/4000s, allowing for more control in bright conditions or when using wide apertures.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: The a6400 includes Bluetooth functionality, enabling easier pairing with mobile devices and accessories.
  • Slightly Better Build Quality: While both cameras have similar designs, the a6400 feels a bit more robust and premium in hand.
  • Picture Profiles: The a6400 offers customizable picture profiles, which can be particularly useful for videographers looking to match footage with other cameras or achieve specific looks.
  • Interval Shooting: Built-in interval shooting capability on the a6400 allows for easy time-lapse creation without the need for additional software or accessories.

Common Strengths

Common StrengthSony a6100Sony a6400
24.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
BIONZ X Image Processor
4K Video Recording
425-point Phase-Detection AF
11 fps Continuous Shooting
Real-time Tracking AF
Real-time Eye AF
3-inch Tilting Touchscreen LCD
E-mount Lens Compatibility
Wi-Fi and NFC Connectivity
Built-in Pop-up Flash
Microphone Input
USB Charging
Silent Shooting Mode
Multi-Interface Shoe
Price:Check Sony a6100 PriceCheck Sony a6400 Price

What Can Both Do?

Both the Sony a6100 and a6400 are versatile cameras that share many capabilities:

  • Capture high-quality 24.2MP stills with excellent detail and dynamic range.
  • Shoot 4K video at up to 30 fps and Full HD at up to 120 fps for slow-motion footage.
  • Utilize a fast and accurate 425-point phase-detection autofocus system.
  • Achieve continuous shooting speeds of up to 11 fps with AF/AE tracking.
  • Take advantage of Sony’s E-mount lens system, offering a wide range of compatible lenses.
  • Use a 3-inch tilting touchscreen LCD for easy composition and menu navigation.
  • Connect to smartphones via Wi-Fi for easy image transfer and remote control.
  • Employ in-camera jpeg processing with various creative styles and picture effects.
  • Capture images in both RAW and JPEG formats for maximum post-processing flexibility.
  • Utilize a built-in pop-up flash for fill light in challenging lighting conditions.
  • Record high-quality audio with the built-in stereo microphone or via an external mic input.
  • Take advantage of various shooting modes, including full manual control for advanced users.
  • Use the electronic viewfinder for more stable shooting and clearer viewing in bright conditions.
  • Benefit from Sony’s color science, known for pleasing skin tones and overall color rendition.
  • Employ various focus modes, including single-shot AF, continuous AF, and manual focus.

Features/Specification Sony a6100 vs a6400 Table:

key aspects of the Sony a6100 vs a6400 comparison, let’s delve deeper into how these cameras perform in various scenarios and which one might be the better choice for different types of photographers and videographers.

Image Quality and Performance:  Both the a6100 and a6400 feature the same 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, which means they produce nearly identical image quality in most situations. Users can expect excellent detail, good dynamic range, and impressive high ISO performance from both cameras. The a6400, however, has a slightly higher extended ISO range (up to 102400 vs 51200 on the a6100), which may provide a marginal advantage in extremely low-light situations.

In terms of continuous shooting, both cameras offer an impressive 11 fps burst rate with continuous autofocus, making them suitable for capturing fast-moving subjects like sports or wildlife. The buffer depth is also similar, allowing for extended bursts before slowing down.

Autofocus System: While both cameras boast a 425-point phase-detection autofocus system covering approximately 84% of the image area, the a6400 has a slight edge in autofocus performance. Its more advanced Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF algorithms provide better subject recognition and tracking, especially in challenging situations or with moving subjects. This makes the a6400 a more reliable choice for action, sports, or event photography where consistent focus is crucial.

The a6100’s autofocus system is still highly capable and will satisfy most users, but those who frequently shoot fast-moving subjects or work in challenging lighting conditions may appreciate the a6400’s enhanced capabilities.

Video Capabilities: Both cameras offer 4K video recording at up to 30 fps and Full HD at up to 120 fps, making them versatile tools for videographers. However, the a6400 pulls ahead with its inclusion of picture profiles, including S-Log2 and S-Log3. These flat color profiles provide greater dynamic range and flexibility in post-processing, allowing videographers to achieve a more cinematic look or match footage with higher-end cameras.

The a6400 also offers a clean HDMI output for use with external recorders, which can be beneficial for more serious video production work. While the a6100 is still a capable video camera, the a6400’s additional features make it a more attractive option for those who prioritize video work or want room to grow in their videography skills.

Build Quality and Weather-Sealing: One of the most significant differences between the two cameras is the a6400’s weather-sealed construction. This makes it more suitable for outdoor shooting in various weather conditions, providing peace of mind for photographers who often work in challenging environments. The a6100, while still well-built, lacks this weather-sealing, which may be a concern for some users.

Both cameras have a similar overall design and button layout, but the a6400 feels slightly more robust in hand. This difference in build quality may not be noticeable to casual users but could be appreciated by those who use their camera frequently or in demanding situations.

Electronic Viewfinder and LCD Screen: While both cameras feature a 3-inch tilting touchscreen LCD, the a6400 boasts a higher-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2.36 million dots compared to the a6100’s 1.44 million dots. This higher resolution provides a clearer, more detailed view when composing shots through the viewfinder, which can be particularly beneficial in bright outdoor conditions or for users who prefer shooting with an EVF.

The touchscreen functionality on both cameras is limited to touch focus and touch shutter, rather than full menu navigation. This is a minor drawback compared to some competitors but doesn’t significantly impact the overall usability of either camera.

Battery Life and Connectivity: The a6400 has a slight edge in battery life, rated at 410 shots per charge compared to the a6100’s 380 shots (according to CIPA standards). While this difference is not dramatic, it could mean capturing a few extra crucial shots during a long day of shooting.

Both cameras offer Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for easy image transfer and remote control via a smartphone. However, the a6400 adds Bluetooth connectivity, which can be useful for maintaining a constant connection with a smartphone or for use with certain accessories.

Price and Value Proposition: The Sony a6100 is positioned as the more budget-friendly option, typically retailing for less than the a6400. For many casual photographers or those just starting their journey into interchangeable lens cameras, the a6100 offers excellent value, providing most of the core features and image quality of its more expensive sibling.

The a6400, while more expensive, justifies its higher price tag with additional features like weather-sealing, advanced video capabilities, and a more robust autofocus system. For enthusiasts, semi-professionals, or those who know they’ll be pushing their camera to its limits, the a6400 may provide better long-term value despite its higher initial cost.

Who Should Choose the Sony a6100?

The Sony a6100 is an excellent choice for:

  • Beginners or casual photographers looking for high-quality images without breaking the bank.
  • Those upgrading from a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera who want more control and better image quality.
  • Hobbyists who primarily shoot in good lighting conditions and don’t need weather-sealing.
  • Users who prioritize still photography over advanced video features.
  • Budget-conscious buyers who want access to Sony’s E-mount lens system.

Who Should Choose the Sony a6400?

The Sony a6400 is better suited for:

  • Enthusiast photographers who want more advanced features and better build quality.
  • Videographers who need professional-level features like picture profiles and clean HDMI output.
  • Action or sports photographers who will benefit from the enhanced autofocus capabilities.
  • Outdoor photographers who require weather-sealing for shooting in various conditions.
  • Users who frequently shoot through the viewfinder and will appreciate the higher-resolution EVF.

FAQS About the Sony a6100 vs a6400

How does the a6400’s weather-sealing impact long-term durability compared to the a6100?

The a6400’s weather-sealing provides better protection against dust and moisture, potentially extending its lifespan when used in challenging environments. While the a6100 can still be durable with proper care, the a6400 is better suited for frequent outdoor use or in harsh conditions.

Can the a6100’s autofocus system be updated via firmware to match the a6400’s performance?

Unfortunately, the autofocus improvements in the a6400 are partly hardware-based, so the a6100 cannot be fully upgraded to match its performance through firmware alone. However, Sony may release firmware updates that could incrementally improve the a6100’s autofocus capabilities.

How do the a6100 and a6400 compare in terms of heat management during extended video recording?

Both cameras can experience heat buildup during long video sessions, but the a6400 generally manages heat slightly better due to its more robust construction. This can result in longer continuous recording times before thermal shutdown occurs, especially in 4K mode.

Is there a significant difference in color science between the a6100 and a6400?

The color science is virtually identical between the two models, as they use the same sensor and processor. Any perceived differences in color output are likely due to variations in picture profiles or settings rather than inherent differences between the cameras.

How do the a6100 and a6400 compare in terms of buffer clearing speed during burst shooting?

The buffer clearing speeds are similar for both cameras, but the a6400 may have a slight edge due to its more powerful processor. In practice, this difference is minimal and unlikely to impact most shooting scenarios significantly.

Can the a6100 use the same external battery grips as the a6400?

Yes, both cameras are compatible with the same external battery grips, such as the Sony VG-C31AM. This allows users of either camera to extend battery life and improve ergonomics for vertical shooting.

How do the a6100 and a6400 compare in terms of start-up time and overall responsiveness?

The a6400 has a marginally faster start-up time and slightly better overall responsiveness due to its more advanced processor. However, the difference is minimal in real-world use, and both cameras are considered quick and responsive.

Is there a difference in the quality of the silent shooting mode between the a6100 and a6400?

Both cameras offer a silent shooting mode with similar performance. However, the a6400’s more advanced processor may provide slightly better image quality when using this mode, particularly in challenging lighting conditions or with moving subjects.

How do the a6100 and a6400 compare in terms of in-camera image stabilization for video?

Neither camera has in-body image stabilization (IBIS), but both offer electronic stabilization for video. The a6400’s implementation is slightly more effective due to its more powerful processor, resulting in marginally smoother footage when using electronic stabilization.

Can the a6100 use the same remote control accessories as the a6400?

Yes, both cameras are compatible with the same range of remote control accessories, including wireless remotes and smartphone apps. The a6400’s additional Bluetooth connectivity may offer more stable connections with certain accessories, but overall compatibility is similar.

Key Pints About Sony A6100 vs a6400

In the Sony a6100 vs a6400 comparison, both cameras emerge as capable and feature-rich options in Sony’s APS-C mirrorless lineup. The a6100 offers excellent value for beginners and casual shooters, providing high-quality images and 4K video in a compact, user-friendly package. Its lower price point makes it an attractive option for those entering the world of interchangeable lens cameras or looking for a capable backup body.

The a6400, on the other hand, justifies its higher price with enhanced features that appeal to more serious enthusiasts and semi-professionals. Its advanced autofocus system, weather-sealing, and expanded video capabilities make it a more versatile tool for those who demand peak performance in various shooting scenarios.