As a photographer, I understand the struggle of choosing the right camera. When I was in the market for a new camera, I was overwhelmed by the options available.
That’s when I decided to try out Sony’s mirrorless cameras – the a6400 and a6600. I find that both cameras perform similarly overall since they use the same sensor, but there are some key differences that influenced my decision.
In this guide, I want to share my experience and provide a side-by-side comparison of the Sony a6400 and a6600.
I’ll cover everything from specs and features to performance and user experience. My goal is to make it easy for you to make an informed decision about which camera is right for you, just like I did.
So, let’s dive in and find the perfect camera for you!
At a Glance
The contest between the Sony a6400 and a6600 is intense. They’re both excellent cameras from Sony’s APS-C collection and came into the market in 2019. They share many features and hardware, but the Sony a6600 wins due to some critical distinctions.
The Sony a6600 distinguishes itself with its remarkable in-body image stabilization, autofocus, and video features. Additionally, its battery life is longer, so I can shoot for longer periods without having to recharge.
In a nutshell, the Sony Alpha a6400 is an excellent camera for beginners or on a budget for stills and casual video shooting. The Sony Alpha a6600 is a perfect choice if you are a more seasoned photographer or videographer.
Keep reading to learn more about the Sony a6400 and a6600.
Key Specifications Comparison
For beginners, the Sony a6400 and a6600 are popular mid-range mirrorless cameras. Both models feature APS-C sensors, fast autofocus systems, 4K video recording, and intuitive touchscreen displays.
The two cameras came into the market in 2019 but at different times. The a6400 came out in February, whereas the a6600 came in August.
At first glimpse, the two cameras appear identical, with the a6600 larger grip being the most apparent physical difference. However, once you look into each camera’s details, you’ll notice that they differ in several ways.
Before we get into the specifics of the Sony a6400 vs. a6600 comparison, here’s a table containing a quick summary of the cameras’ key specifications.
|Sony a6400 Key Specs||Sony a6600 Key Specs|
|24MP – APS-C Sensor||24MP – APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 – 32000 (can reach 102400)||ISO 100 – 32000 (can reach 102400)|
|Sony E Mount||Sony E Mount|
|3.00” Tilting Screen||3.00” Tilting Screen|
|2359k viewfinder||2359k viewfinder|
|11.0fps shooting capability||11.0fps shooting capability|
|4K (UHD) – 3840 x 2160 resolution||4K (UHD) – 3840 x 2160 resolution|
|120fps video speed||120fps video speed|
|403g. 120 x 67 x 50 mm||503g. 120 x 67 x 59 mm|
|Weather protective body||Weather protective body|
|Sensor-shift Image Stabilization|
Body Design, Ergonomics: A6600 for Pros, A6400 for Beginners
When choosing a camera, it’s important to consider how it feels in your hand and the ergonomics required to operate the device.
The Sony a6400 and a6600 both have practical camera bodies that are comfortable to hold for long periods.
Both cameras feature a sturdy and long-lasting magnesium alloy body, with weather sealing to protect against sand, debris, dampness, and humidity. That’s great news if you like traveling and taking pictures in different environments, like:
- Busy towns.
The a6600 boasts enhanced ergonomics with a larger front grip, which makes it a more comfortable option for photographers who shoot for extended periods.
However, both cameras use the same version of Sony’s menu system, including the My Menu page where up to 30 items can be saved.
The a6600 is geared towards professional photographers, featuring two Custom Modes on the mode dial compared to the a6400’s one. However, the menu system can take some time to get used to and the user manual is not particularly helpful.
The a6600 is only slightly larger and heavier than the a6400, with a difference of 0.22 pounds (100 grams) in weight and 0.3 inches (8 mm) in one dimension. While I notice the difference in weight when holding the two cameras, both remain light and portable.
Both cameras have hot shoe connectors for external flashes, which is great for fashion and studio photographers. However, only the a6400 comes with an inbuilt flash, which could be a convenient feature for some.
The button configurations differ slightly between the two cameras, with the a6600 featuring two buttons on top, one near the shutter release button, and a third custom button near the menu button on the back.
The a6400 features one button near the shutter release button, with the flash button replaced by the new C3 button.
Customization is a strong suit for Sony cameras, with the a6400 allowing 89 distinct functions to be assigned to 8 custom keys, and the a6600 allowing 11 buttons to be assigned to 91 different functions.
However, if I prefer large, easily accessible controls, both cameras may be tedious to use.
The cameras share a 3-inch screen, but the quality remains at the lowly 921k-dot quality of the original a6000.
Additionally, both cameras have one UHS-1 compatible SD slot located in the battery chamber, and charging requires micro-USB.
|Features||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Body||Magnesium alloy, weather-sealed||Magnesium alloy, weather-sealed|
|Ergonomics||Practical camera body, comfortable to hold||Enhanced ergonomics with larger front grip|
|Weight and Size||0.22 lbs (100g) lighter, 0.3 inches (8mm) smaller||Slightly larger and heavier|
|Menu System||Same version, including My Menu page||Same version, including My Menu page|
|Buttons||One near shutter release, C3 button replacing flash button||Two on top, one near shutter release, one custom button near menu button|
|Customization||89 functions assigned to 8 custom keys||11 buttons assigned to 91 different functions|
|Flash||Inbuilt flash||Hot shoe connector for external flash only|
|Screen||3-inch screen, 921k-dot quality||3-inch screen, 921k-dot quality|
|SD Slot||UHS-1 compatible, located in battery chamber||UHS-1 compatible, located in battery chamber|
Overall, the a6600′s larger front grip and additional Custom Modes make it a better fit for professional photographers, while the a6400‘s inbuilt flash may make it a more attractive option for beginners or those who value that feature.
Autofocus: Impressive Systems on Sony A6600 and A6400
When taking a photo, the autofocus system is an essential component as it helps ensure that the subject is in focus.
The Sony a6600 and a6400 both have a high-quality autofocus mechanism with a 425-point phase detection and contrast detection hybrid AF technology.
This advanced system provides superb autofocus tracking performance, especially for objects in motion.
Although it may take some time to adjust the settings to your preferences, the performance is impressive, giving me peace of mind that most of my shots will be in perfect focus.
Both cameras have eye AF tracking capabilities, but the Sony a6600 takes it a step further by offering more AF settings like human eye AF and animal eye AF. This feature is particularly useful for nature, street, and portrait photographers.
Additionally, the AF system can produce satisfactory results in sports photography, especially with the Sony a6600’s sophisticated AF settings.
If necessary, I can choose to have the camera focus on the right or left eye. The camera can also switch to face or object recognition when the eye is not visible in the frame, ensuring that the subject remains in focus.
The autofocus system of the two cameras combines contrast detection precision and DSLR speed, delivering top-notch results.
|Features||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Autofocus system||425-point phase detection and contrast detection hybrid AF technology||425-point phase detection and contrast detection hybrid AF technology|
|Eye AF tracking||Yes||Yes, with additional AF settings for human eye AF and animal eye AF|
|Focus on left/right eye||Yes||Yes|
|AF system performance||Excellent||Excellent, with sophisticated AF settings for sports photography|
|Customization time||Takes time||Takes time|
In conclusion, both the Sony a6600 and a6400 offer impressive autofocus systems with advanced technology that allows for excellent autofocus tracking performance.
With the additional AF settings, the Sony a6600 is an excellent choice for nature, street, and portrait photographers, while sports photographers will appreciate the camera’s sophisticated AF settings.
Ultimately, you can expect your shots to be in focus, giving you more time to focus on other aspects of creating a great photo.
Image Quality: Minimal Difference Between Sony A6400 and A6600
When it comes to capturing stunning images, a camera’s sensor size plays a significant role.
The larger the sensor, the higher the Image quality because the pixels are bigger. Full-frame or medium-format sensors are ideal for achieving the best image quality.
Fortunately, the Sony a6400 and the Sony a6600 come with the same high-resolution 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, which is perfect for still shooters.
Both cameras can create high-quality JPEGs and RAWs with a picture resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels. Additionally, the ISO performance and dynamic range of the Sony APS-C sensor are among the best in the market.
Moreover, both the a6400 and a6600 cameras feature Sony’s recent color technology. This means that their out-of-the-camera colors are better than older Sony models.
Additionally, their color rendition, white balance, and exposure are almost identical.
While the a6600 is superior in low-light photography and controlled environments like studios, both cameras are capable of producing high-resolution images.
It’s important to note that both cameras support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections, making it easy to share and transfer pictures with other devices.
When choosing between the a6400 and a6600, many people overlook image quality, which is one of the most critical factors to consider before purchasing a camera.
Some critics consider Sony’s preset color calibration profiles “weak” compared to Fujifilm or Canon. However, shooting in RAW or adjusting the camera’s color calibration settings can improve color accuracy.
It’s also worth noting that the default noise reduction and sharpening in both cameras are strong. But don’t worry, you can easily lower them in the menu options.
|Features||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Sensor Size||APS-C 24.2-megapixel||APS-C 24.2-megapixel|
|Picture Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Wi-Fi & Bluetooth||Yes||Yes|
|Autofocus System||425-point hybrid AF||425-point hybrid AF|
|Eye AF Settings||Limited||Human & Animal AF|
|Focus on Eye||Yes||Yes|
In conclusion, when it comes to image quality, there isn’t much difference between the Sony a6400 and the Sony a6600.
Both cameras feature the same high-quality sensor and color technology. Therefore, when deciding between the two, other factors such as autofocus system, battery life, and price should also be taken into consideration.
Image Stabilization: A6600 for Stabilization and Advanced Features, A6400 for Budget and Portability
When taking photos or videos, camera movement can cause blurry images. Thankfully, most lenses nowadays come with image stabilization technology to combat this issue.
This feature allows me to take sharper pictures even at slower shutter speeds. The number of stops of image stabilization is used to rank lenses by most manufacturers.
The Sony a6600 boasts a 5-axis image stabilization system on its sensor, making it Sony’s second mirrorless camera to have this feature. It also has a compensation rating of 5 stops according to the CIPA standard.
This system is adaptable to any lens, including modified older lenses, and can use three axes without electronic contacts. Additionally, the camera can integrate three axes with optical stabilization on the sensor.
Compared to the a6500’s 5-axis stabilization, which can be jittery and lack sharpness when shooting video, Sony has improved the a6600’s performance.
However, the a6400 lacks in-body image stabilization, and users must rely on lenses with optical image stabilization or external gimbals and supports to achieve smooth footage.
While image stabilization is essential, the quality of the lens itself is crucial for achieving the ultimate image clarity.
The Sony a6400 and a6600 cameras have a Sony E lens mount, which provides a wide selection of lenses, ranging from general-purpose to specialized ones. Sony E-mount lenses are known for their high quality, although third-party lenses’ quality may vary.
If you decide to purchase additional lenses for your a6400 or a6600, make sure they are weather-sealed if you plan to use them in inclement weather.
It is essential to consider the value of weather protection versus the additional cost of the lenses.
|Features||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Image Stabilization||Lenses with Optical Stabilization or External Gimbal and Supports||5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization with Compensation Rating of 5 Stops (CIPA Standard)|
|Lens Mount||Sony E Mount||Sony E Mount|
|Lens Options||Sony E-Mount Collection: General-Purpose to Specialized Varieties||Sony E-Mount Collection: General-Purpose to Specialized Varieties|
|Third-Party Lenses||Varies Widely||Varies Widely|
|Weather Protection||Check Lens Specifications for Weather-Sealed Options||Check Lens Specifications for Weather-Sealed Options|
In summary, both cameras are top performers and offer excellent features for capturing stunning photos and videos.
The a6600 is the better choice for those who value image stabilization and advanced features, while the a6400 is an excellent option for those on a tighter budget or who prioritize portability.
Video: Both Cameras Impressive, A6600 Better for IBIS and Steadier Footage
Understanding Video resolution and frame rate are crucial in creating high-quality videos. Video resolution refers to the number of pixels that fit into a 16:9 display standard, with higher pixel counts indicating better quality.
Frame rate, on the other hand, refers to the number of individual images displayed in a second, with higher frame rates resulting in smoother videos.
The Sony a6400 and a6600 are both great options for video recording, offering 4K video resolution at 2160p and 30 frames per second without pixel binning.
Both cameras also provide S-Log2/3 profiles and HLG support, enabling you to capture wide dynamic range footage. Furthermore, they have slow-motion recording capabilities with frame rates of up to 120 frames per second.
Both cameras come with external microphone ports and headphone jacks, making it possible to capture high-quality audio recordings.
The autofocus performance can also be customized by adjusting the AF drive speed and the AF tracking sensitivity.
The a6600 has additional features like user bit, time code, and focus peaking, which is helpful when editing videos from multiple cameras.
While both cameras are excellent, the a6600 has better overall performance due to its image stabilization (IBIS) technology.
IBIS helps minimize unnecessary camera movement, enhancing the video quality. As a result, it is possible to capture steady footage without needing a gimbal or tripod.
The a6400 and a6600’s screens can rotate up to 180 degrees, allowing for “selfie mode” or front-facing video monitoring.
However, the a6600 has an inconveniently placed record button, making it challenging to switch between shooting stills and videos.
Additionally, it cannot maintain distinct exposure settings for photos and videos, which can also pose a problem.
|Features||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Video Quality||4K @ 2160p, 30 fps, S-Log2/3 profiles, HLG support, no pixel binning||4K @ 2160p, 30 fps, S-Log2/3 profiles, HLG support, no pixel binning|
|Slow-motion recording||Full HD @ 120 fps||Full HD @ 120 fps|
|Video shooting restriction||None||None|
|External microphone port||Yes||Yes|
|Autofocus customization||AF drive speed, AF tracking sensitivity||AF drive speed, AF tracking sensitivity, user bit, time code, focus peaking, zebra functionality|
|In-body image stabilization||No||Yes|
|Screen rotation||Up to 180 degrees||Up to 180 degrees|
|Switching between shooting stills and video||Easy||Challenging due to inconvenient placement of the record button, and inability to maintain distinct exposure settings for photos and videos.|
Overall, both cameras offer impressive video capabilities and are suitable for videographers, but if you prioritize IBIS technology and steadier footage, the a6600 is the better choice.
ISO Range: A6600 Offers Lower ISO of 50, Both Share 100-32,000 Range
When taking photos, the camera’s ISO range setting plays a significant role in determining the brightness or darkness of your images.
Generally, higher ISO values result in brighter pictures, making it easier to take photos in low-light conditions.
Raising the ISO value can also provide greater control over the camera’s speed and aperture. However, setting the ISO too high can make your images too grainy, rendering them unusable.
The Sony a6400 and a6600 have the same ISO range of 100-32,000, which is already quite impressive. However, the a6600 has an added advantage, as it allows you to go as low as ISO 50 in the “expanded range.”
In contrast, the a6400 limits you to 100. Both cameras have an extended range maximum of 102,800, but it’s not recommended to go that high, as the resulting images may not be of the best quality.
|Feature||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
In summary, the Sony a6400 and a6600 have the same ISO range of 100-32,000, but the a6600 has an expanded range that allows you to go as low as ISO 50.
Both cameras have an extended range maximum of 102,800, but using them is not recommended. ISO is an essential setting that controls image brightness, but setting it too high can result in a grainy and unusable image.
Shutter, Continuous Shooting, and Buffer: A6400 and A6600 Fast and Efficient
When taking photos, continuous shooting mode is a helpful feature that allows you to taking pictures without having to press the shutter button repeatedly.
Instead, I can hold it down and let the camera take as many shots as I want. These photos are temporarily stored in a buffer, which writes them to the memory card faster than usual.
The Sony a6400 and a6600 both have an electronic shutter, which lets them shoot at a faster continuous shooting speed of 11 frames per second. They also have a faster processor. At maximum speed, they can record 46 RAW files or 115 JPGs.
However, the memory card slot only supports UHS-1 cards, which means that even if I have a faster UHS-2 card, the camera will transfer images at slower UHS-1 speeds.
When the camera is in continuous shooting mode, live view isn’t available, but I can change the camera settings to get a real-time viewfinder by lowering the picture rate to eight per second.
Both cameras have a larger buffer, but it takes a while to empty it if it fills up, and the cameras take a long time to write pictures to the memory card.
It’s worth noting that neither camera has a dial or front wheel to control the shutter speed or aperture. I have to use the single wheel next to the mode dial or the rotating wheel, which can be tricky to use if I am wearing gloves.
|Feature||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Shutter||Electrical shutter||Electrical shutter|
|Burst rate||11 fps||11 fps|
|Max RAW files at max speed||46||46|
|Max JPGs at max speed||115||115|
|Memory card slot||UHS-1||UHS-1|
|Live view in continuous mode||Not available||Not available|
|Real-time viewfinder||8 per second||8 per second|
|Memory card write speed||Slow||Slow|
|Control wheels||One rotating wheel and one single wheel||One rotating wheel and one single wheel|
Overall, the a6400 and a6600 are fast and efficient, except for the slow memory card transfer speed. However, this limitation shouldn’t be a major problem for most users, particularly if you’re taking pictures in specific action sequences.
Electronic Viewfinder Resolution: A6400 and A6600 Have High-Resolution LCD Screens and EVF
Using an electronic viewfinder can give me a preview of the photo you’re about to take. The camera instantly records data when light strikes the sensor, and the upcoming picture appears on the viewfinder or LCD screen in real-time as I adjust camera settings.
Both the Sony a6400 and a6600 have identical electronic viewfinders and LCD screens. The electronic viewfinder’s 2.36M dots ensure a clear and colorful preview of your photos.
The high-resolution LCD screen with 921k dots is also bright and responsive in live view, making it easy to review my photos with excellent color accuracy and clarity. The touch panel is also very convenient, but it’s a letdown that the touch functionality is limited.
Although both cameras have a tilting touchscreen LCD that’s great for making vlogs and selfies, the screen’s restricted touch functionality can be frustrating.
Unfortunately, I can’t use touch to access menu options or swipe through photos in playback. Instead, I can only double-tap a picture to expand it and then drag the zoomed-in section around with the touch screen, which can be annoying.
One thing to note is that connecting an external microphone to the a6400 and a6600’s hot shoes blocks the screen, and at a 180-degree angle, the screen is not fully visible on top of the camera body and doesn’t rest flat against the camera’s rear due to the rubber eyecup.
|Features||Sony Alpha 6400||Sony Alpha 6600|
|Electronic Viewfinder Dots||2.36M||2.36M|
|LCD Screen Dots||921k||921k|
|LCD Screen Tilt||Yes||Yes|
|LCD Screen Touch Functionality||Restricted||Restricted|
|External Mic Input Blocking Screen||Yes||Yes|
Overall, The Sony a6400 and a6600 have electronic viewfinders and high-resolution LCD screens with excellent color accuracy and clarity.
However, the screen’s restricted touch functionality is a major letdown, and connecting an external microphone to the hot shoes blocks the screen.
While the a6600 does not offer any significant improvements in these areas, the picture rendering is spot on.
Audio: A6400 and A6600 Have Good Audio Quality
Both cameras have a 3.5mm input for connecting an external microphone. The A6600 also has a 3.5mm headphone outlet permitting you to listen to your recordings for better audio control.
The a6400 lacks a headphone outlet, making monitoring audio while recording challenging.
However, with proper settings and adjustments, I can get good audio quality from both cameras. Sony’s versatility means both cameras can use its XLR adaptor and other optional accessories.
All in all, both Sony A6400 and A6600 have good audio quality with an external mic. The a6600‘s headphone outlet provides better audio control, optional accessories add versatility.
Battery Life: A6600 Outperforms A6400
The Sony a6600 wins when comparing the two cameras’ respective battery lives. The Sony a6400’s battery allows for 410 shots with a full charge. For an APS-C compact camera, that’s a good runtime.
The Sony a6600’s bigger battery translates to longer battery life, and the increase is significant. It gives me 810 shots when fully charged, almost twice that of the Sony a6400. That’s a noticeable improvement in battery life while filming.
And I can’t just purchase the a6600 battery and put it into the a6400 because of its size. If I am after that additional power, I’ll need to invest in an A6600 from the get-go.
The two cameras come with a USB charging port. That’s a convenient feature for photographers who are constantly on the move.
There’s no need to carry battery chargers and a bag full of replacements when going on a trip. It’s a fast and simple method of getting a power boost.
Overall, the Sony a6600 outperforms the Sony a6400 in terms of battery life. However, you can’t just swap out the a6400 battery for the a6600 battery because of their size differences. If you want the additional power, you’ll have to invest in the a6600.
Price: A6600 is Pricier than A6400
Price is the most noticeable difference between these two Sony mirrorless cameras and may be your determining factor. The higher the model number, the more costly it is.
Naturally, you’ll get higher specifications and features if you’re willing to spend a bit more. And each advanced feature you get will aid your shooting in some manner.
However, the optimal trade-off between cost and performance is solely yours.
Based on your location, the a6400 model’s body alone can cost anywhere from $870 to $930. The extensions will be costlier.
Depending on where you get it, you may expect to pay between $1400 and $1600 for the a6600 model’s body. The cost of extension accessories will be much higher than that of the A6400 camera’s extensions.
Sony a6400 vs. Sony a6600 Winner: A6400 Cheaper, A6600 More Appealing but Pricier
There are many similarities between the a6400 and the a6600. They both provide excellent results in terms of picture quality and autofocus.
The a6400 is less expensive and boasts an inbuilt flash. The a6600 stands out thanks to its ergonomic design, large battery capacity, and 5-axis stabilization. It’s the most appealing option, but it doesn’t come cheap.
Which Is Best for Professional Photographers, YouTubers, Vloggers, Street Photographers, Travel Photographers, Wildlife Photographers, Filmmakers, and Videographers?
The a6600 shares the a6400’s silent shutter mode and can shoot up to 8 FPS. That’s perfect for weddings and other events where silence is prized.
The a6600 benefits from the same upgrades as the a6400 and adds real-time eye focus and tracking for both moving and still images.
That makes the a6600 a solid choice for wildlife photographers and videographers.
Sony appears to have resolved the perennial overheating problems when capturing video.
In addition, Sony has removed the 30-minute recording restriction, which is essential for YouTubers and Vloggers because they can record full videos without worrying about being cut off in the middle of a sentence and forcing them to start over.
Other improvements include a shortened delay between taking a picture and accessing the various navigation options.
The a6600 is a huge improvement from Sony’s previous bodies. Accessing features like playback or setting adjustments takes less time after taking a photo.
That renders it valuable for all types of photographers and filmmakers.
If you’re looking for a powerful and feature-rich camera, the Sony a6400 and a6600 are excellent options. Since actual prices tend to fluctuate, you may want to check out how much they’re currently retailing at.
Whereas comparing technical specs can give you a good idea of what each camera is capable of, it’s not a substitute for testing the camera yourself. User reviews on Amazon might be helpful in such situations, though some are biased and incorrect.