Sony A6400 vs Sony A6500 Complete Comparison: Which One to Buy?

Deciding between the Sony a6400 and Sony a6500 for your needs can be a challenging task.

Both cameras are great options for photography and videography, but they have some key differences that could sway your decision one way or the other. 

In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the Sony a6400 vs the Sony a6500, comparing their features, performance, and price to help you determine which one is the better fit for your needs.

Let’s dive in and explore everything these cameras have to offer.


The Sony a6400 is the better option compared to its counterpart, the a6500. Both cameras are excellent choices for photographers and videographers who want a high-quality APS-C camera. 

The Sony A6400 is a great value for the price, especially if you don’t need IBIS ( in-body image stabilization) or advanced video features.

The Sony A6500 is more expensive, but offers some additional features that might be important to some users, such as IBIS and more advanced video options.

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony A6400Sony A6500
Sensor24.2MP APS-C24.2MP APS-C
Image stabilizationNoYes
Video capabilities4K (no pixel binning)4K (pixel binning)
LCD screen3-inch, tiltable touchscreen3-inch, tiltable touchscreen
Electronic viewfinder2.36M-dot2.36M-dot
Battery lifeUp to 410 shotsUp to 350 shots
Weight403g (with battery and memory)453g (with battery and memory)


A comprehensive comparison of the features of the two cameras will help determine which is better for your needs. It’s worth mentioning that neither camera is superior in all categories. In some instances, you may prefer one over the other for your work. 

Below are ten key aspects that differentiate these cameras so you can make an informed decision.

1: Body Design, Ergonomics: a6400 and a6500 Have Similar Designs But Differ in Features

The Sony a6400 and a6500 have similar designs and handling abilities, making them difficult to distinguish from one another. However, there are some minor differences between the two cameras. 

The a6400 weighs 403g (14.22 ounces), while the a6500 weighs 453g (15.98 ounces). This weight difference may seem small, but it can make a significant difference during extended photo sessions, reducing fatigue and providing more stable shots.

The a6400 is also 6.4mm taller than the a6500. While a few millimeters may not seem like much, it could make a difference if you need to pack the camera in a backpack or other small space.

The a6500 has a larger grip and an in-body image stabilization (IBIS) mechanism, which adds to its weight. 

However, the larger grip provides increased comfort when holding the camera, and the IBIS offers some impressive advantages that can lead to sharper, steadier shots.

Despite their differences, both cameras are compact and easy to handle, making them appealing to travel photographers and street photographers who appreciate their portability and discreteness. 

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a6400Sony a6500
Design and HandlingSimilarSimilar
Weight403g (14.22 oz)453g (15.98 oz)
Height6.4 mm taller
Grip SizeLarger
In-Body StabilizationYes
AdvantagesLighter weightLarger grip, IBIS
DisadvantagesHeavier weight
Ideal forTravel & Street PhotographyTravel & Street Photography

In summary, the Sony a6400 and a6500 cameras have similar designs and handling abilities, but they differ in weight, height, grip size, and in-body stabilization. 

The a6400 is lighter and taller, while the a6500 has a larger grip and in-body stabilization.

Both cameras are compact and suitable for travel and street photography, but the choice depends on the user’s preferences and needs.

2. Autofocus: Sony a6400 Outperforms a6500

The a6400 has better autofocus performance compared to the a6500 due to its use of newer autofocus technology. 

Although the a6400 and a6500 have the same number of phase-detection points, their contrast-detection points are significantly different.

The a6400 boasts 425 contrast-detection points, while the a6500 only has 169 points. These contrast-detection points allow the autofocus to extend its reach to the entire sensor, ensuring accuracy and clarity in your photos.

In addition to contrast-detection points, autofocus speed is also a crucial factor to consider. While the a6500 acquires focus within 0.05 seconds, the a6400 does it in just 0.02 seconds. That’s a significant difference, especially when it comes to capturing fast-paced action shots.

There are other several crucial aspects to consider when it comes to checking for a camera’s autofocus capabilities. These include: 

  • The ability for real-time tracking
  • Human eye AF
  • Animal eye focus

Each feature plays a vital role in capturing stunning photos with optimal focus and clarity.

Real-time Tracking

Real-time tracking is a must-have for any serious photographer looking to capture dynamic, fast-paced action. 

The a6400 is the first Sony camera to include this incredible feature, which allows the camera to continuously monitor and adjust focus on a moving subject, ensuring every shot is crisp and clear. The a6500, on the other hand, doesn’t have this feature at all.

The new algorithm for real-time tracking by Sony a6400 is a noteworthy development. It employs pattern recognition to identify the subject accurately and smartly captures spatial information based on color, distance, and brightness to keep up with the subject’s movements. 

With this innovative technology, the Sony a6400 continues to revolutionize photography.

Human Eye AF

Both the a6400 and a6500 have the Human Eye AF feature, which takes things one step further by detecting and prioritizing the eye in portrait shots. 

The a6400 has three distinct eye tracking options: left eye tracking, right eye tracking, and automatic. While not everyone will use these tracking options, having them is a nice feature for some sports or artsy photographers. 

Animal Eye AF

For wildlife photographers, animal eye focus is an absolute game-changer. This feature utilizes advanced algorithms to detect the eyes of various animals, such as cats and dogs, allowing you to snap amazing close-ups with unparalleled accuracy. 

Sony evolved its real-time eye AF to include pets, and the camera autofocuses on animal eyes as well as human eyes in real-time. 

This is a game-changer for wildlife and pet photographers, and the a6400 has this feature while the a6500 does not.

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony a6400Sony a6500
Autofocus technologyUses newer autofocus technology, resulting in better autofocus performance.Uses older autofocus technology, resulting in slightly slower autofocus performance.
Phase-detection pointsSame number of phase-detection points as the a6500.Same number of phase-detection points as the a6400.
Contrast-detection pointsBoasts 425 contrast-detection points, which is significantly more than the a6500’s 169 points.Only has 169 contrast-detection points.
Autofocus speedAcquires focus within 0.02 seconds, which is significantly faster than the a6500’s 0.05 seconds.Acquires focus within 0.05 seconds.
Real-time trackingThe first Sony camera to include this feature, which continuously monitors and adjusts focus on a moving subject.Doesn’t have this feature at all.
Human Eye AFBoth cameras have this feature, but the a6400 offers more eye-tracking options.Both cameras have this feature, but the a6400 offers more eye-tracking options.
Animal Eye AFHas this feature, which detects the eyes of various animals such as cats and dogs, allowing you to snap amazing close-ups with unparalleled accuracy.Doesn’t have this feature.

Overall, the Sony a6400 offers better autofocus capabilities than the a6500, especially in terms of contrast-detection points, autofocus speed, real-time tracking, and animal eye focus. Both cameras have human eye AF, but the a6400 offers more eye-tracking options.

3. In-body Image Stabilization (IBIS): Sony a6500 Outperforms a6400

IBIS in camera technology offers advantages to users by enabling stable and smooth shots without external stabilizers. 

Sony cameras excel in this with remarkable IBIS capacity. IBIS eliminates the need for extra equipment, streamlines photography, saves time, and facilitates shooting in low-light conditions. 

Furthermore, it provides greater creative freedom for photographers to use longer exposure times and experiment with new techniques.

The system accounts for five types of camera shake. That includes X, Y, Roll, Pitch, and Yaw. The a6500 has the IBIS, but the a6400 doesn’t have anything.

This isn’t a big deal in most instances. You can buy Sony e-mount lenses with optical image stabilization (OSS). I put a Sony FE 100-400 OSS on the a6400 and the a6500 to test the IBIS. There wasn’t a significant improvement to the image stabilization of the a6500. 

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a6400Sony a6500
IBIS TechnologyNoneRemarkable IBIS capacity
Types of Camera ShakeNoneAccounts for X, Y, Roll, Pitch, and Yaw
Image StabilizationSony e-mount lenses with optical image stabilization (OSS) can be addedIBIS technology eliminates the need for external stabilizers
Video CapabilityImportant factor for videographersHelps in reducing camera shake while shooting videos, but not a critical factor for most people’s camera buying decisions

Overall, I could see the IBIS making a difference for videographers or low-light photographers, but that’s about it. 

With the a6500, you could shoot video without stressing about your camera shaking. It is a nice feature, but it isn’t a critical factor in most people’s camera buying decisions.

4. Image Quality: Sony a6400 and a6500 Offer Similar Quality

When it comes to capturing images, Sony cameras are an excellent choice.

They deliver lifelike clarity with stunningly reproduced colors and impeccable details, showcasing the company’s dedication to quality products and customer satisfaction.

Comparing the a6400 and a6500 models, both have a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, which makes them capable of meeting even the most rigorous standards set by professionals. 

They share the same base, so the images produced are of similar strong quality, combining resolution and low-light capabilities well. 

While neither camera is a heavy hitter, they are reliable utility players that will make decent work of any task.

It’s worth noting that the a6400 has an upgraded processor, which results in better contrast at lower ISO ranges and improved shadow recovery at higher ISO ranges. 

Additionally, the a6400’s ISO range maxes out at 32000, while the a6500 maxes out at 25600

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a6400Sony a6500
Image QualityStrong quality, combining resolution and low-light capabilitiesStrong quality, combining resolution and low-light capabilities
ProcessorUpgraded processor for better contrast at lower ISO ranges and improved shadow recovery at higher ISO rangesStandard processor
ISO RangeMaxes out at 32000Maxes out at 25600
Image Quality ImpactTechnically better, but difference not noticeable without careful comparisonNo significant impact on image quality

Overall, both the Sony a6400 and a6500 are strong cameras with similar image quality and performance capabilities. 

The a6400 has a slightly upgraded processor and a higher maximum ISO range, but these features do not significantly impact image quality. 

The choice between these cameras should be based on individual needs and preferences rather than on technical differences between the two models.

5. Video: Both the a6500 and a6400 Have Similar Video Capabilities

When it comes to video capabilities, the Sony a6500 and a6400 are closely matched. However, there are some differences worth considering.

That said, both cameras excel in producing visually stunning content.

Both the a6500 and a6400 are capable of recording 4K video at 30 fps/100 Mbps, as well as full HD recording at 120 fps/100 Mbps without pixel binning and with a full pixel readout.

These features make both cameras ideal for capturing high-quality video content.

However, the a6400 has a slight advantage thanks to its Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) support. With HLG, your videos will look more professional and visually appealing. 

This feature provides a superior level of video quality that will give your content a polished and refined look.

Sony a6400

If you’re looking for an example of the a6400’s cinematic capabilities, check out this impressive video.

With this camera, you can capture slow-motion footage up to 5x in high-quality full HD. If you’re looking for quick motion, you can record at the same quality up to 60x.

One of the a6400’s standout features is its lack of a 30-minute video recording limit found on the a6500. This means that you can keep recording without interruption until you run out of memory or battery. 

And speaking of battery, the a6400’s battery life when recording 4K video can last up to 15 minutes longer than its predecessor, the a6500.

This long battery life can make a significant difference when capturing critical shots.

Furthermore, the a6400 boasts upgraded autofocus capabilities, as discussed earlier, making it an excellent camera for locking onto your subject while shooting.

In comparison, the a6500 falls short in this area. 

With these advanced features, the a6400 is more than just another camera. It’s a must-have tool for any photographer, whether you’re a professional or hobbyist, striving for excellence in your work.

Sony a6500

On the other hand, the a6500 has its own advantages, thanks to its In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) system, which can give you slightly smoother videos overall. 

However, there are ways to compensate for the lack of IBIS in the a6400, and credit is due for the a6500’s capabilities.

Here’s an example of what you can shoot with the a6500: Video.

For those concerned about overheating, Sony has made significant improvements in the a6400. While it still may overheat, it lasts at least twice as long as the a6500 before that happens.

In some tests, the a6400 was recorded for hours without shutting down. So, for all the videographers out there, it’s worth taking note of this feature.

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony a6400Sony a6500
Max video resolution4K @ 30fps/100 Mbps, Full HD @ 120fps/100 Mbps4K @ 30fps/100 Mbps, Full HD @ 120fps/100 Mbps
Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)YesNo
Slow-motionUp to 5x in high-quality full HD, up to 60x at the same qualityNo
No video recording limitYesNo
Battery life (4K video)Up to 15 minutes longer than a6500
AutofocusUpgraded capabilitiesFalls short
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)NoYes
OverheatingImproved but may still occurMay occur sooner than a6400

Overall, both cameras excel in producing visually stunning content and have similar video capabilities. 

However, the Sony a6400 has advantages such as Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) support, no 30-minute video recording limit, longer battery life when recording 4K video, and upgraded autofocus capabilities. 

On the other hand, the Sony a6500 has In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) which can give slightly smoother videos overall. 

The a6400 has also improved significantly in terms of overheating, lasting at least twice as long as the a6500 before it may occur.

6. Electronic Viewfinder Resolution (EVF) and LCD Screen: The a6400 is a more affordable option than the a6500

The a6400 and a6500 cameras have a lot of similarities, including their LCDs and EVFs. However, there are some differences worth noting. Let’s take a closer look at the details.

Both cameras have electronic viewfinders with a resolution of 2.4 million dots. While this may not be the best on the market, it’s still impressive, especially considering its small size.

 You’ll be pleased to know that these cameras provide an immersive viewing experience that even the most discerning photographer will appreciate.

For those who enjoy photography and videography as a hobby, these cameras have some exceptional features. The LCD touchscreen displays at a resolution of 922K dots, which is sufficient for casual use. 

However, it’s worth noting that the a6500’s LCD screen can tilt in Live View mode, which is helpful for shooting at odd angles.

Although this feature may seem insignificant to some, it’s worth mentioning if you prefer versatility in your shooting settings. 

The a6400, on the other hand, has a flip-up 180-degree LCD screen, which is beneficial for vloggers and videographers who use the camera frequently. 

Additionally, this feature is also useful for people like architects and macro photographers who shoot at unusual angles. As for me, I find it helpful when capturing pictures of flowers.

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a6400Sony a6500
Electronic Viewfinder2.4 million dots2.4 million dots
LCD Touchscreen Display922K dots922K dots
Tilt ScreenFlip-up 180-degreeTilts in Live View mode

Overall, the a6400 is a more affordable option compared to the a6500, but the latter offers some additional features like the tilting screen and a more robust body build. The choice between the two depends on the user’s specific needs and preferences.

7. Shutter Speed, Continuous Shooting, and Buffer: a6500 Has Some Advantages

Shutter speed, continuous shooting, and buffer all have to do with each other. Your buffer impacts your shutter speed, which impacts your ability to shoot continuously. It’s all connected, so I figured we could talk about them simultaneously. Let’s get into it. 

Shutter Speed

The a6400 and the a6500 have a mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s. Most modern DSLR camera shutters can handle speeds of 1/4000s, so both models are right on target for mechanical. The a6500, however, offers an electronic shutter speed of 1/32000s.

Shutter speed affects the clarity, blurriness, and exposure of a photo. Slow shutter speeds create motion blur, while high shutter speeds freeze motion. 

Slow shutter speeds mean a brighter photo because your sensor is exposed to more light. A quick shutter speed would give you a darker photo for the opposite reasons. 

So, having a camera with a suitable shutter speed will matter to sports photographers, wildlife photographers, and low-light photographers, just to name a few. Shutter speed will affect any photographer’s work; it matters more for certain jobs.  

Continuous Shooting

As for continuous shooting, you get a maximum of 11 frames per second (fps) with both cameras. That’s better than most modern DSLR cameras, but you do lose the Live View to get it. You can get the Live View back when you drop the speed to 8 fps. 

The continuous shooting speed differs between cameras when you switch to silent shooting mode. The a6400 can handle 8fps in silent shooting mode, while the a6500 can only handle 3fps. The higher speeds would make tracking a bird in flight easier without startling it. 


The buffer is the memory your camera has set aside to store image data before it writes it onto the memory card. The buffer size determines how many photos you can take before the camera pauses to catch up. 

Buffer size doesn’t matter much to casual photographers, but it does matter a lot to wildlife and sports photographers. A deep buffer can differentiate between an award-winning photo and a missed opportunity. 

There are some variances in the buffer capabilities of cameras, particularly between the Sony models a6500 and a6400. It is worth noting that in this regard, the a6500 has the upper hand. 

When it comes to shooting continuously, with the a6500, you can take 233 extra fine JPGs or 107 RAW files before running out of room. On the other hand, with the a6400, you’ll only be able to get through 99 extra fine JPGs or 46 RAW files before hitting its buffer limit. 

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a6400Sony a6500
Mechanical shutter speed1/4000s1/4000s
Electronic shutter speedN/A1/32000s
Continuous shooting speed11fps (Live View off), 8fps (Live View on)11fps (Live View off), 8fps (Live View on)
Silent shooting speed8fps3fps
Buffer (Extra Fine JPGs)99233
Buffer (RAW files)46107

Overall, while the a6400 and a6500 share similar features, the a6500 has some advantages in terms of buffer capacity and electronic shutter speed. 

However, the a6400 performs better in silent shooting mode, and both cameras have the same maximum mechanical shutter speed and continuous shooting speed.

8. Battery Life: Depends on Photographer’s Needs and Preferences

I often see people complaining about Sony’s batteries, but they work just fine in my experience.

You must use them for a few weeks before they burn in and start working at full capacity. That’s true for other types of lithium batteries as well. 

Both cameras use the Sony NP-FW50 battery. You’d think that would mean they have equal battery life, but it doesn’t because of other factors.

The a6400 has an improved, faster, and more efficient processor than the processor of the a6500. 

What you’re shooting and how hard you push your camera also affect the battery life. The CIPA rating for the Sony a6500 is 310, while the a6400 has 360 shots. It’s good that there is something to standardize battery life, but this doesn’t tell us much.

I find that a better and simpler test is to see how long each camera can shoot 4K video. The a6400 will shoot a 4K video for approximately 1 hour and 22 minutes.

The a6500 will shoot a 4K video for approximately 1 hour and 7 minutes. That’s 15 minutes more on the a6400. 

Fifteen minutes could matter in a pinch, but it won’t make much difference to a casual photographer. You should always carry two or three backup batteries anyway. 

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony a6400Sony a6500
Battery Life360 shots310 shots
4k video1h 22m 4K video1h 7m 4K video
ProcessorImprovedLess efficient
Continuous Shooting8fps in silent mode3fps
Buffer Size99 extra fine JPGs or 46 RAW files233 extra fine JPGs or 107 RAW files

Ultimately, the choice between the two cameras depends on the photographer’s needs and preferences. 

If long battery life and 4K video recording are important, the a6400 may be the better option.

If buffer size and continuous shooting are a priority, then the a6500 may be a better choice.

9. Menu System: a6400 User-Friendly Menu, a6500 Suitable for Wildlife and Sports Photography

The camera menus offer a plethora of options for users, including basic playback, shooting, and set-up features.

This functionality is essential for photographers who require quick access to these tools anytime. 

By accessing the camera menus, users unlock a treasure trove of settings that provide endless creative opportunities.

These options include image quality, exposure compensation, white balance adjustment, and ISO settings, among others.

The camera menu’s versatile interface serves as a multifunctional tool that meets the needs of both beginner and professional photographers alike. 

However, the menu system of the a6500 was not particularly intuitive initially, although it is not terrible.

But the improved menu system of the a6400 makes it easier for photographers to navigate various settings and options while taking pictures. 

The a6400’s menu system is approximately 3x faster than the a6500’s menu system, including start-up time and navigation time.

This would be especially noticeable if you used both of them side by side.

The Sony a6400 has two exciting new features that set it apart from the a6500. First up is My Menu, which allows users to select up to 30 of their favorite menu items to access them quickly and easily. No more endless scrolling through menus to find what you need. 

The second feature, My Dial, lets you assign frequently used functions directly to your control dial or wheel. This customizable setup makes accessibility simpler than ever before.

To make things even easier, there’s a striking visualized setup screen with both features that provide a clear and concise overview of each assigned button. 

With both My Menu and My Dial on board, the Sony a6400 offers unprecedented customization options for photographers who need their cameras dialed in perfectly for any shoot.

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony a6400Sony a6500
Menu SystemImproved menu systemLess intuitive menu system initially
Menu SpeedApproximately 3x fasterSlower than a6400
My MenuYes, select up to 30 favorite menu itemsNo
My DialYes, assign frequently used functions to control dial/wheelNo
Buffer Size99 extra fine JPGs or 46 RAW files233 extra fine JPGs or 107 RAW files

In summary, the a6400 offers a more user-friendly menu system with additional customization options, while the a6500 has a larger buffer size that may be more appealing to wildlife and sports photographers.

10. Price: a6400 is Cheaper than a6500

Now, we get to the most crucial point: the price. What good are a bunch of cool features if the camera costs excessive money?

Expensive cameras aren’t accessible for most people, even when they’re pursuing a career in photography. 

On the other hand, what good is a cheap camera if it can’t do anything useful? I don’t mind paying more for quality if I buy something like a camera. I like to find a balance between cost and features. It’s always a delicate operation. 

Keep in mind that prices can vary between retailers. Sales may be going on throughout the year, or coupons you can apply. It’s always best to check the latest prices yourself.

As of right now, though, the a6400 is cheaper than the a6500.

Just the body of the Sony a6400 is around $900 while the body of the a6500 is around $1400. You can, of course, get either for cheaper if you buy them used. 

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a6400Sony a6500
PriceCheaper (around $900 for body only)More Expensive (around $1400 for body only)
Customization OptionsUnprecedented

Sony a6400 vs Sony a6500: Sony a6400 Wins

I’m sure you’ll agree after reading this buyer’s guide that the Sony a6400 is hands down the best overall.

We looked at ten different features; the a6400 was superior to the a6500 in six. It tied in two and was technically inferior in two, but they don’t impact much (the IBIS and the buffer). 

In your search for a camera, consider the a6400. Why? It boasts some of the industry’s best autofocus speeds and tracking with features such as Real-time Tracking, Human Eye AF, and Animal Eye AF.

And if you’re into HDR content creation, this camera has HLG support that will not disappoint. Another perk is that it can record videos with no 30-minute time limit. That’s right – unlimited recording capabilities! 

Plus, its battery life and overheating performance have been improved from previous models. Wait, there’s more! You can also use a Bluetooth remote to control your camera. And let’s not forget the cherry on top: the price point for this camera is significantly lower than its counterpart, the a6500!

Final Thoughts

The a6400 is the better of these two cameras for almost every kind of photographer. Its compact size makes it incredibly portable, and its advanced features mean no sacrificing quality. 

You can easily pack it in a carry-on bag or backpack and hit the road. That makes it an excellent choice for vloggers, videographers, street photographers, and travel photographers. 

The autofocus capabilities are head of the pack for DSLR cameras, tiny ones. The a6400 can focus within 0.02 seconds and lock on any object you want with its Real-time Tracking. This makes the a6400 an easy choice for sports and wildlife photographers. 

Finding more bang for your buck will be more complex than with Sony’s a6400. It can do just about any photography and videography job you need and will do it well.

This camera can serve as a reliable side piece for professionals or as the primary tool for hobbyists. You can get one for yourself and see what I mean. Go ahead and try it out!

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