Canon R6 vs Sony A6400
The Canon EOS R6 and the Sony Alpha A6400 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2020 and January 2019. Both the Canon R6 and the A6400 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (Canon R6) and an APS-C (A6400) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS R6 and the Sony Alpha A6400? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon R6 and the Sony A6400 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6400 is considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Canon R6. Moreover, the A6400 is substantially lighter (41 percent) than the Canon R6. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the Canon R6 gets 360 shots out of its LP-E6NH battery, while the A6400 can take 410 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon R6||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||680 g||360||Y||Jul 2020||2,499|
|2.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|3.||Canon R5||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||738 g||320||Y||Jul 2020||3,899|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|6.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|7.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Olympus E-M1 III||134 mm||91 mm||69 mm||580 g||420||Y||Feb 2020||1,799|
|9.||Olympus E-M1X||144 mm||147 mm||75 mm||997 g||870||Y||Jan 2019||2,999|
|10.||Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|11.||Panasonic G90||130 mm||94 mm||77 mm||536 g||290||Y||Apr 2019||999|
|12.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|13.||Sony A6100||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749|
|14.||Sony A6600||120 mm||67 mm||69 mm||503 g||810||Y||Aug 2019||1,399|
|15.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A6400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the Canon R6, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon R6 features a full frame sensor and the Sony A6400 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6400 is 58 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the A6400 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the Canon R6. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 6.57μm for the Canon R6). Moreover, it should be noted that the Canon R6 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the A6400, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A6400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A6400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon R6 are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS R6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A6400 are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the Canon R6 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A6400 (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon R6||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4k/60p||24.2||14.3||3394||90|
|3.||Canon R5||Full Frame||44.8||8192||5464||8k/30p||25.3||14.6||3042||95|
|5.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|7.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|8.||Olympus E-M1 III||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Olympus E-M1X||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|11.||Panasonic G90||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|17.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the Canon R6 provides a higher frame rate than the A6400. It can shoot video footage at 4k/60p, while the Sony is limited to 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Canon R6 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A6400 (3690k vs 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon R6, the Sony A6400, and comparable cameras.
|8.||Olympus E-M1 III||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
|12.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One feature that differentiates the Canon R6 and the A6400 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Canon R6 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the A6400 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon R6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The Canon R6 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A6400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The Canon R6 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A6400 only has one slot. The Canon R6 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the A6400 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS R6 and Sony Alpha A6400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|8.||Olympus E-M1 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the Canon R6 has a headphone jack, which is not present on the A6400 This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Both the Canon R6 and the A6400 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A6400 replaced the earlier Sony A6300, while the Canon R6 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon R6 or the Sony A6400 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS R6:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4k/60p versus 4K/30p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3690k vs 2359k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 5 months after the A6400).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 138x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 277g or 41 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2019).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon R6 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon R6 and the Sony A6400 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon R6 and the A6400 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon R6||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499|
|2.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|3.||Canon R5||4.5/5||..||91/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2020||3,899|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon R||4/5||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|6.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|7.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Olympus E-M1 III||5/5||..||83/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2020||1,799|
|9.||Olympus E-M1X||4.5/5||o||..||4.5/5||..||Jan 2019||2,999|
|10.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|11.||Panasonic G90||4.5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2019||999|
|12.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|13.||Sony A6100||..||..||82/100||4/5||5/5||Aug 2019||749|
|14.||Sony A6600||4/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2019||1,399|
|15.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon R6 vs Sony A6400
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon R6||Sony A6400|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||January 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 2,499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon R6||Sony A6400|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.57 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.31 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4k/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 32,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204,800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||90||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.2||24|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.3||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3394||1431|
|Screen Specs||Canon R6||Sony A6400|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon R6||Sony A6400|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/8000s||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon R6||Sony A6400|
|USB Connector||USB 3.2||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon R6||Sony A6400|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
138 x 98 x 88 mm
(5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 in)
120 x 67 x 50 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||403 g (14.2 oz)|
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