Sony Mirrorless Cameras have been frontrunners in the camera market for a few years now. The various ‘A’ ranges have come in at different price points from the incredibly popular A7 models up to the expensive, stills-focussed A9’s.
At the cheaper end, we find the A600’s and they are fantastic cameras for the price. The A6300 had some issues but its recent update to the A6400 makes it a very appealing camera. So how does it compare to the A6500 for shooting video?
It is confusing that the A6400 is newer than the A6500 but it comes down to feature set and price to distinguish the models. First and foremost, the A6500 is higher up the line and is more expensive. However, as the A6400 is the newer camera it does have some distinct advantages.
What are the differences between the cameras?
A6400 vs A6500 Body
The A6400 has 1 custom button beside the shutter button on the hand grip; this makes the grip a little wider and flatter.
The A6500 has 2 custom buttons and it places them on the top edge of the camera body. This means the grip can be a little bigger and that feels more comfortable, giving you more room for your fingers and easier access when using bigger lenses.
Sony Mirrorless Screen
Both of these cameras have high-quality screens but the A6400 benefits from being able to flip upwards. This would be really handy if you are a vlogger or you like to shoot selfies.
One rather annoying caveat to this design is that the screen will be largely blocked if you use a shotgun microphone or wireless pack sitting on the hot-shoe. Everything has a work-around and I would rather have the extra access of screen flip than not, but it’s one to consider for your own style of shooting.
A6400 Flip Screen
The A6500 screen also dims in some shooting modes which can be a nightmare when filming outside on a bright day, whereas the A6400 doesn’t dim.
IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation)
This is a major point of difference between the 2 cameras. The A6500 has and the A6400 doesn’t. It is frustrating that the newer camera is missing this important feature but remember the A6500 is more expensive and higher up the range.
IBIS can feel like a game-changer if you are a fan of handheld shooting. It won’t be as good as a 3-axis gimbal for movement but it will significantly smooth handheld shots. When paired with a stabilized lens the effect is increased and the difference is noticeable.
If you want the stabilization then the choice is made.
The Processor & Software
The A6400 has a more advanced processor than the more expensive A6500. It has the same processor as the Sony flagship A9 camera and it offers some advantages.
The A6400 has the newest version of real-time autofocus tracking, touch the screen and follow system that works really well. The Sony autofocus in these cameras is excellent but having the auto-tracking can be very helpful when filming moving subjects.
The newer processor is also more efficient, meaning longer battery life and cooler running. These cameras have been known to overheat, more so though with previous models, but the A6400 with the new processor will run cooler than the A6500.
The A6400 with the new processor also dispenses with the usual recording time-limits found in the A6500 and others. The A6500 is limited to 30-minute clips while the A6400 will run and run. This is very handy if you shoot long takes.
The Menu system in the A6400 has also been improved over the older A6500. The menus have some handy images, ISO is shown more clearly when in Auto mode and the inclusion of the ‘My Menu’ function is ideal for organizing your most often adjusted settings.
SLOG2 and SLOG3 have had their base ISO reduced further to 500 in the A6400 from 800, a nice improvement that will help reduce noise in your image.
In this video Max decides that he would rather “downgrade” to the cheaper but newer A6400 and sell his A6500, forgoing the IBIS but benefiting from the updates in the A6400. The ergonomics and usability are better and the A6400 is cheaper; if you can live without the IBIS, using stabilized lenses and perhaps a gimbal, then great.
Will the A6500 be updated sometime soon to include the improvements from the A6400 and IBIS? Probably. So if you want to have it all in these little cameras it might be best to wait a little while, keep your eye on the Sony Rumour sites and get the updated A6500. If you want a terrific camera, at a fantastic price then the new A6400 is a great option for video shooters.