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Are you looking for a new Sony camera but can’t decide between the Sony a6100 vs a6400? Then this article will help you to make the right decision.
In 2019 Sony has upgraded its much loved a6 line with the a6100 and the a6400, with only a small difference in price. With a total of 6 camera models in the line-up so far, it can be hard to decide which is the best fit for you.
The a6100 was released in August 2019 and is essentially a replacement for the vastly popular a6000, an entry-level mirrorless camera for amateurs and enthusiasts.
The slightly more expensive a6400 was released in January and is the mid-range camera in Sony’s a6 lineup, replacing the a6300.
The price difference between the two is relatively small so the question becomes; is it worth paying the extra money for the a6400?
To figure this one out, let’s take a look at the advantages of each of these two cameras…
Sony a6100 vs a6400: A6100 Advantages
The entry-level a6100 is the cheapest option as you would expect, coming in at around $200 less than the a6400. It’s not a huge difference but it will leave you some extra cash.
That extra cash can then be put towards a good quality lens which you can then use on any Sony cameras you get your hands on in the future!
It’s the worst feeling in the world when you run out of battery life. It happens when you are out on location, shooting in a place that you may never return to, and it happens right before the light looks great or an elusive animal comes in to view.
The a6400 actually loses a bit of battery life due to its more powerful processor. The a6100 reportedly lasts for approximately 420 shots or 75 minutes of continuous video recording. Compared to the a6400’s 410 shots or 70 minutes video recording.
This is not a huge difference and what you get from the a6400 in return for this battery life sacrifice is worth it.
Pack those extra batteries!
The a6100 keeps things light and compact at 396grams. Due to its weather sealed magnesium alloy body, the a6400 is slightly heavier at 403g.
This isn’t much of a difference but when you start adding things to your rig (microphone, external monitor, etc.) it all adds up.
In terms of dimensions, the two cameras are almost identical.
Sony a6400 vs a6100: A6400 Advantages
Whether it’s a dusty safari drive in Africa or a foggy morning in the woods, your camera will be exposed to some trying conditions as you search for great images.
One of the main arguments for upgrading to the mid-level a6400 is its weather sealed magnesium alloy body.
Having inbuilt protection from dust and moisture means you can focus on getting the shot no matter the conditions. This is especially important for travel photographers who are always out in the elements.
One of the main benefits of mirrorless vs DSLR cameras is their electronic viewfinders. An EVF allows you to view how the camera sees the scene as opposed to an optical viewfinder which just shows you the scene as it is.
This is a great benefit as your camera picks up light a lot differently than your eyes do. With an optical viewfinder, you can end up with under or overexposed images if you are not careful.
Both of these cameras have EVFs but the a6400 version has a higher resolution that will make all the difference when setting up a shot.
Both of these cameras are capable of shooting at 11 frames per second. Where the a6400 outdoes its little brother is with the size of its buffer.
The camera buffer is similar to RAM (Random Access Memory) you can find on my computer. The buffer allows us to record digital images at extremely fast speeds.
The a6100 can shoot 77 Jpegs or 33 RAW images at 11fps before it needs time to process these shots. The a6400 can shoot 115 Jpegs or 46 RAW images.
This extra size comes in handy when shooting fast paced action or wildlife.
One of the more attractive features in the a6400 for video is the inclusion of picture profiles such as S-log 2 and S-log 3. These profiles give your shots a larger dynamic range which is important for post production.
A6100 shooters will have to make do with ‘Creative Styles’ which give you much less to work with.
Higher Maximum ISO
The a6400 deals with low light situations a little better with a higher ISO limit. While the a6100 stops at 51200, the a6400 extends further to 102400.
This gives you a little more flexibility when it comes to setting up your shutter speed and aperture.
Phase Detection for Autofocus in Video
Both cameras use a phase detection autofocus system rather than a contrast detection autofocus system for photos.
The a6400 however, also puts the phase detection system to use for video. Together with excellent autofocus tracking, this makes the a6400 a great camera for video.
It works faster than a contrast system which means that even when you are shooting video with lots of fast movements, the videos are sharp and in focus.
So What Model Should You Buy?
So the difference in features and quality is more or less in line with the difference in price. The a6100 is a more basic, entry level camera and with the more expensive a6400 you get 3 essential upgrades:
- Weather sealing which makes the a6400 a great travel camera.
- Higher resolution EVF which drastically improves user experience
- A deeper buffer and faster processor which gives you more flexibility no matter what type of photography you do.
For video, the picture profiles and Phase Detection Auto Focus system are must have features, making the a6400 a better choice.
For general photography, these upgrades are surely worth the extra money. For around $200 you are getting a decent step up in quality and user experience.
The a6400 would be my recommendation, even for beginners, as the a6100 will be outdated much quicker. Better to spend slightly more money on a camera you can keep for longer!