The New Sony a6400 APS-C Mirrorless Camera Shoots Beyond 30-Minute Cap And Has Eye AF

Sony’s newly announced 24.2-megapixel a6400 APS-C mirrorless camera may not be targeted at pros photographers and filmmakers, but it’s capturing the attention of many, particularly vloggers and others who want to shoot lots of video. That’s because when asked if the new a6400 mirrorless camera can capture video clips longer than 29 minutes and 59 seconds, the company stated, “This camera does not have that limitation.”

It was a feature noted by a number of vloggers who, like me, are attending a Sony shooting event to test the new Sony a6400, including vlogger Max Yuryev of maxcamera.net, who was one of several vloggers who noticed you could shoot longer than 30 minutes of video per clip and was excited about the removal of the cap. For many filmmakers, the only option up until now was to own select Panasonic’s mirrorless cameras, like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, which could record video to the capacity of the memory card or until the battery runs out. Now, Sony’s a6400 will be able to do so as well. Sony noted this won’t be available on previously released digital cameras, including the a9 and the a6500.

The a6400, which is an update to the a6300, has other impressive features, too, including Eye AF technology, which the company is claiming is Real-time Eye AF. It allows the camera to lock focus on your subject’s eye and track focus as your subject moves, allowing you to follow the action and concentrate on composition without worrying about maintaining focus. (The photo below shows the EyeAF in action—it allows you to focus on the eye of the model in the background, instead of the twigs in the foreground.

Additional feature highlights include:

  • A 24.2MP APS-C CMOS image sensor.
  • The latest generation of its BIONZ X image processor.
    180-degree fully tiltable LCD touch screen for self-recording.
  • High-speed continuous shooting at up to 11 fps mechanical shutter / 8 fps silent shooting with continuous AF/AE tracking.
  • High-resolution 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, plus advanced AF speed and stability.
  • Interval recording for time-lapse videos. Some photographers may be disappointed that you won’t be able to produce time-lapse videos in-camera. You’ll need to export the stills to one of Sony’s new desktop Imaging Edge apps (or use a third-party app) to create one. What’s nice about the Sony app. However the mobile and desktop apps won’t be available until this April.

For more, see the press release below.

Sony Announces its Next-generation α6400 Mirrorless Camera with Real-time Eye Autofocus, Real-time Tracking and World’s Fastest Autofocus

New APS-C Mirrorless Camera Features Excellent Image Quality, Compact Design and Many Advanced Technologies From Sony’s Full-frame Lineup

  • World’s Fastest[i]02 seconds[ii] AF acquisition speed plus 425 phase-detection and contrast-detection AF points covering approximately 84% of image area
  • Advanced Real-time Eye AF
  • New Real-time Tracking for object tracking
  • 2MP[iii] APS-C Exmor™ CMOS image sensor and latest-generation BIONZ X™ image processor
  • 180degree fully tiltable LCD touch screen for self-recording
  • High-speed continuous shooting at up to 11 fps[iv] mechanical shutter / 8 fps[v] silent shooting with continuous AF/AE tracking
  • High-resolution 4K[vi] movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, plus advanced AF speed and stability
  • Interval recording for time-lapse videos

SAN DIEGO Jan. 15, 2019 Sony Electronics Inc. today introduced an exciting new addition to its E-mount mirrorless camera lineup – the α6400 (model ILCE-6400).

The α6400 brings many of Sony’s most advanced technologies from their acclaimed full-frame lineup to a compact, lightweight APS-C camera.  The speedy new camera boasts the world’s fastest autofocus (AF) acquisition of 0.02 secondsii, while also introducing the new advanced “Real-time Eye AF” and ”Real-time Tracking” capabilities.  Also included are high-speed shooting at up to 11 fpsiv with AF/AE tracking, a new-generation BIONZ X image processing engine that produces excellent image quality, 4Kvi video recording, a fully 180-degree tiltable LCD touch screen and much more, making it the ultimate tool for all types of creators ranging from professionals to vloggers.

“The α6400 represents another important step in the growth of Sony’s overall interchangeable lens camera lineup,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of Imaging Solutions at Sony Electronics.  “By bringing so many of our latest and most advanced technologies from full-frame cameras to a brand new APS-C model, we are giving today’s creators more options than ever to realize their vision.”

Speedy Performance that Captures Decisive Moments

The impressive autofocus system on the new α6400 inherits many technologies from Sony’s newest line-up of full-frame cameras including the α9, α7R III and α7 III models.  The new a6400 features 425 phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast-detection AF points that are placed densely over the entire image area, covering approximately 84% of the image area.  This high-speed, high-performance tracking AF system is paired with a new-generation BIONZ X image processing engine that together allow the camera to acquire focus in as little as 0.02 secondsii and maintain subject lock extremely effectively, ensuring even the fastest moving subjects can be tracked and captured with ease.

The α6400 introduces advanced “Real-time Eye AF,” the latest version of Sony’s acclaimed Eye AF technology.  This exciting new capability employs artificial intelligence based object recognition to detect and process eye data in real time, resulting in improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF. In all autofocus modes, the camera now automatically detects the eyes of the subject and activates Eye AF with a half press of the shutter button, and when in AF-C or AF-A mode, the preferred eye (left or right) of your subject can be selected as the focus point.  Choices include Auto / Right Eye / Left Eye, and a Switch Right / Left Eye function is able to be assigned to a custom function as well.  This exciting new technology completely frees the photographer to focus solely on composition with full trust that focus will be tack sharp on the subject’s eye.  Eye AF support for animals[vii] will be added in summer 2019 via a system software update, ideal for wildlife photographers.

Also debuting on the α6400 is Sony’s newly developed “Real-time Tracking.”  This mode utilizes Sony’s latest algorithm including artificial intelligence (AI) based object recognition and processes color, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness) as spatial information to ensure that all subjects can be captured with excellent accuracy.  Additionally, when photographing or videographing humans or animals, face and eye position information is recognized by AI and the subject’s eyevii is monitored in real time with extremely high tracking precision.  This can be activated by a simple half press of the shutter button[viii], or can be assigned to a custom function as well.

In terms of overall shooting speeds, the new camera can shoot at up to 11 fpsiv with full AF/AE tracking while utilizing the mechanical shutter, and up to 8 fpsv with full AF/AE tracking while silent shooting.  It can shoot at each of these speeds for up to 116 frames JPEG Standard / 46 frames RAW compressed, greatly increasing the chances of capturing the perfect moment.

All-around Advancements in Image Quality

Sony’s new α6400 is equipped with a 24.2 MPiii APS-C sized image sensor with that is paired with an upgraded BIONZ X processor to deliver incredible advancements in image quality and color reproduction in all types of shooting conditions. Standard ISO ranges up to ISO 32000 for both still and movie, and is expandable up to ISO 102400 for still images, with excellent noise reduction at medium and high sensitivities.

The camera also inherits many of the image processing algorithms from Sony’s newest full-frame cameras, greatly suppressing noise while preserving resolution and improving texture depiction.

Advanced High-Resolution 4Kvi Movie Recording with Fast Hybrid Autofocus

The versatile α6400 is an exceptional video camera, offering internal 4K (QFHD: 3840 x 2160) movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning to collect about 2.4x the amount of data required for 4K movies, and then oversamples it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.  Focusing during movie shooting is fast and stable thanks to upgraded Fast Hybrid AF technology, which keeps the subject in constant smooth focus no matter the scene, and even if an object crosses in front of the camera.  This advanced AF plus touch focus functionality make it an ideal camera choice for many vloggers and video creators that are regularly creating and uploading content online.

For time-lapse movie creation[ix], the new camera features built-in interval recording that can be set anywhere between 1 and 60 seconds, with a total number of shots from 1 to 9999.  AE tracking sensitivity can be adjusted to “High”, “Mid” or “Low” during interval shooting, allowing for reduced changes in exposure over the shooting interval.

Additionally, for the first time in Sony APS-C mirrorless camera, the new model includes an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) picture profile, which supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR[x] imagery.  Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3[xi] are available for increased color grading flexibility, as well as Zebra functionality, Gamma Display assist and proxy recording.  The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps[xii] at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow-motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking. 

Upgraded Build to Maximize Versatility

The new camera is designed to offer a high level of functionality and customization to maximize shooting freedom.  New on the α6400 is a fully 180-degree tiltable, 3.0-type LCD flip screen with 921k-dots of resolution that allows for simple and effective framing of selfie-style shooting for both still and video capture.  Utilizing this capability, vloggers will be able to check and monitor composition throughout their entire creative process.  The LCD screen is also equipped with touch functionality, with options for Touch Pad, Touch Focus, Touch Shutter and new Touch Tracking which quickly activates “Real-time Tracking” through the touch screen.

The camera features a high quality XGA OLED Tru-finder™ viewfinder, extensive customization with 89 functions that are assignable to 8 custom keys, the new My Dial and My Menu functionality, enhanced overall menu usability, a help screen for menus, star rating for images, and many other features that allow for a seamless shooting experience.  It is also built with a tough magnesium alloy design and has an extremely durable shutter that is rated for approximately 200,000 cycles[xiii].  It also is capable of seamlessly transferring files to a smartphone or tablet when connected to the brand new Imaging Edge Mobile application[xiv].

Pricing and Availability

The α6400 will ship in February 2019 for a suggested retail price of $900 USD and $1,250 CAD.  It will also be offered as a kit with the 16-50mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens for a suggested retail price of $1,000 USD and $1,350 CAD, or in a kit with the 18-135mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens for a suggested retail price of $1,300 USD and $1,750 CAD.  The camera and kits will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

[i] Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras equipped with an APS-C image sensor as of January 2019, based on Sony research

[ii] CIPA-compliant, internal measurement method with an E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens mounted, Pre-AF off and viewfinder in use

[iii] Approximate effective megapixels

[iv] In “Hi+” continuous shooting mode.  Maximum fps will depend on camera settings

[v] Maximum fps will depend on camera settings.  Some distortion may occur with fast-moving subjects or if the camera is moved sideways rapidly while shooting

[vi] A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC card is required for XAVC S format movie recording.  UHS speed Class 3 or higher is required for 100Mbps recording

[vii] Accurate focus may not be achieved with certain subjects in certain situations

[viii]“Tracking” must be enabled via the menu beforehand

[ix] The latest version of Imaging Edge “Viewer” and PlayMemories Home desktop applications is required

[x] Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via USB cable when displaying HDR (HLG) movies

[xi] S-Log2 and S-Log3 are premised on processing pictures

[xii] Pixels to be read are limited to the sensor area that is required for Full HD movies

[xiii] Sony internal tests with electronic front curtain shutter

[xiv] Availability of transfer / playback depends on the performance of the smartphone and tablet

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