Sony Announces the a6400 and Loads of Full-Frame Firmware Updates

sony a6400 camera announced

Hey vloggers. Sony has a camera they want you to see, but you’re probably better off waiting for the a7000 or opt for full-frame. The company announced the oddly named a6400 in San Diego this morning.

First, let’s get the name out of the way. The Sony a6400 is not the successor to the a6500. Instead, think of it as a generational leap over the a5000-series of cameras.  Yeah, I’m with you on the sudden headache. I feel for the salespeople in big-box stores trying to explain that one to new customers.

While most of us were wanting the a7000, we are left with a camera that undoubtedly has some nice features, but also its share of head-scratching omissions. It’s saved by the nice price tag of $900.

Sony a6400 Pre-Orders

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Sony a6400 Specs

Those digging through Sony’s recent sensor announcements will be left disappointed due to the mirrorless camera sticking with the older 24.2MP sensor paired with the latest BIONZ X image processing chip.

sony a6400

On the autofocus front, the Sony a6400 is getting one hell of an upgrade with 425 phase-detection AF points covering 84% of the image area. Eye AF is there, and Sony is promising Eye AF for animals. That’s pretty badass watching the marketing videos.

The company is also promising this is the fastest AF system with it acquiring a subject in 0.02 seconds. Persistent tracking has been added to activate multiple AF points keeping a moving subject in focus at all times. ISO levels have been bumped to 32000 allowing for better low light performance.

Performance is advertised at 11fps and 8fps when in live-view. The buffer can hold around 116 JPEGs or 46 compressed RAW shots.

In a nod to the competition, an HLG picture profile has been added to create HDR images within your workflow. On the video front, no 4K60p, but the a6400 can handle 4K with 2.4x oversampling for increased image quality. The hybrid AF system helps keep moving subject in focus while filming, and it features S-Log and HLG for color grading.

sony a6400 back

A welcome return to Sony cameras is their new interval shooting which can be used to create time-lapse movies. Welcome back Sony.

The vlogging features include a flip-up touchscreen we all wish would have been a flip-out screen. Seriously Sony. We like to mount mics on top of the camera. The Sony a6400 will have an optional XLR adapter if you want professional sound.

What about battery life? No Z batteries from the full-frame line which is a massive disappointment. Expectations are it will be saved for the a7000 flagship APS-C camera. CIPA rates it at 360 shots via the viewfinder an around 410 using the screen. No word on video.

IBIS? Like the Z battery, its MIA. Granted the a6500 IBIS needs some help, but it’s odd to have a new camera lack in-body stabilization. I’d expect it to make a return in the a7000.

And everyone’s favorite question from 2018, does it have dual card slots. That would be a negative, but it’s also only $900.

It’s the price Sony is going to hang its hat on. $900 is a damn good deal. Some will make the argument the Fuji X-T3 is only $600 more and has loads more features. True, but it also lacks IBIS. Sony is giving off the vibe the company is prepping to challenge in the APS-C market. You could already see the marketing with the One Mount for all camera systems. We will see how far they take it in the coming months.

Sony a9, a7 III and a7r III Firmware

It may have been billed as an APS-C announcement event, but expect a lot of the talk to center around the firmware updates coming to the full-frame a9, a7 III and a7r III.

The a9 will be getting two version updates. 5.0 this spring and 6.0 in the summer. 5.0 will bring real-time eye AF to the a9. The entire AF system is getting an upgrade with the AF aperture range hitting F16 over the current F11. Also included in 5.0 will be the new Imaging Edge Mobile app to replace PlayMemories Mobile which never made it on the a9. Yes, that means time-lapses will now be available in the company’s flagship mirrorless camera.

5.0 will release in March.

Summer will bring version 6.0 to the a9, and the marquee feature will be Eye AF for animals. It makes sense. You can’t have a $900 camera outperforming your current flagship.

For the a7 III and a7r III, version 3.0 is expected in April. Like the a9 updates, it will feature the real-time AF tracking and Eye AF for animals. In addition to the AF upgrades, both cameras will get the new interval recording functionality for time-lapse movies.

And that wraps the Sony announcement event. Plenty to look forward to on the full-frame side and Sony’s renewed focus on the APS-C market. Sure, we all wanted to see something extraordinary, but the company is known to have multiple models within a market segment. All signs point to a flagship APS-C to replace the a6500. We have to wait a little longer.

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