Photography News Issue 70

Big test

PERFORMANCE: ISO

800

1600

6400

100

3200

12,800

51,200

25,600

32,000

102,400

To test the a6400’s performance throughout its ISO range we set up a simple scene with lots of highlights, shadows and colours. Images were shot in Raw and processed with no noise reduction, then compared. Inspecting images at 100% they were pleasingly smooth up to around ISO 1600. From ISO 3200 to 6400, noise began to creep into the shadows, but not offensively, just taking on a more grainy look. Even the top end of 25,600 and 32,000 just have a fast film look and I wouldn’t be put off using them, though colour and sharp detail do suffer a little. It's a great ISO performance.

PERFORMANCE: EXPOSURE LATITUDE

Final word

-3EV

-1EV

-2EV

Verdict Despite a fewminor handling issues and the lack of in- body image stabilisation, the a6400 is a great camera. Its image quality is excellent, and it has a very healthy burst rate of 11fps, but it’s the a6400’s Real-Time TrackingAF that really sets it out.The performance is spookily good, and I soon foundmyself sticking to that modemost of the time.At £1299 with the 18- 135mmOSS lens it’s a complete package, and a great everyday or travel camera.

-4EV

0

+1EV

+2EV

+3EV

+4EV

FEATURES Pretty much everything that the enthusiast photographer could ask for HANDLING A compromised body shape and underwhelming EVF, but mainly good and with plenty of customisation PERFORMANCE 11fps is great, but the face and eye tracking AF is the real star VALUE FOR MONEY Well priced against its rivals and includes lots of features from the £3400 a9 OVERALL This may be the mirrorless camera to hook you once and for all

23 /25

To test the a6400’s Raws, we shot a sequence of images, starting off with the as-metered exposure, then biasing it by +/-4EV. Files were then corrected by the corresponding amount during Raw processing. Starting with the underexposed shots the a6400 performed well, showing little difference between the as-metered shot and images corrected at from -2EV. At -3EV noise was more pronounced and images corrected from -4EV were a lot rougher. With regards to the overexposed files, results were good up to +3EV, though inevitably very bright highlights were difficult to return to detail. At +4EV, the image began to grey and posterise a little.

20 /25

quality of the image in the a6400’s EVF didn’t seem all that refined to me. It’s certainly not up there with the performance of the full-frame Nikon Z and Panasonic S cameras. It also lagged a bit when brought up to the eye, so if you’re looking for something to break the spell of shooting with an optical finder, this may not do the trick. I also found a slowness in changing exposure settings, but this can be speeded up by switching off the animations that go with them. In terms of handling, I found the a6400 a mixed bag. Its stubby little grip will be fine for some, but it’s not big enough for me, and I think anyone who’s used to a more sculpted grip may feel the same. Though it was fine with the lightweight 18-135mm, it

would be progressively more difficult to hold if heavier lenses were added. Button placement is okay, and there is a good level of customisation, but what the a6400 really needs is a front control dial; using the top plate dial and the ring that surrounds the directional pad feels quite unbalanced, needing a shift in hand position to do it. If you’re coming from a compact or similar small body it’s not going to seem like a problem, but from a DSLR or CSC, the a6400 feels a bit like you’re holding onto a margarine tub. Shooting speed on the a6400 is a healthy 11fps in its Continuous Hi+ mode, which isn’t up there with the fastest bodies, but pretty aggressive all the same. And that’s all with AE

and AF tracking. If you need more frames per second, you may need to ask yourself exactly why, as it’s plenty for sports and wildlife. You can keep 11fps up for 99 Extra Fine Large Jpegs or 44 Raws and it doesn’t lock up, but instead gives a countdown of the frames it’s writing, letting you extend shooting in short, controlled bursts. Arguably this could be faster if the a6400 supported UHS-II cards, but it doesn’t. Battery life tops out around 360 shots if you’re using the viewfinder, which is okay, but will mean investing in another battery or two if you’re planning to use the camera for an extended period between access to power. It can be charged by USB, which is very handy. A good performance overall. KS

23 /25

23 /25

89 /100

PROS Amazing AF, versatile features and great value CONS Minor handling issues, no in-body IS

Issue 70 | Photography News 49

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