Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony A6400
The Nikon 1 V3 and the Sony Alpha A6400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2014 and January 2019. Both the V3 and the A6400 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an one-inch (V3) and an APS-C (A6400) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 18.2 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.
|Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon 1 mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|18.2 MP, 1" Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 160-12,800||ISO 100-32,000 (100 - 102,400)|
|Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1037k dots||3.0 LCD, 922k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|60 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|310 shots per battery charge||410 shots per battery charge|
|111 x 65 x 33 mm, 381 g||120 x 67 x 50 mm, 403 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon 1 V3 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 V3 and the Sony A6400. 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 dimensions 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 notably larger (11 percent) than the Nikon 1 V3. Moreover, the A6400 is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the V3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V3 nor the A6400 are weather-sealed.
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.
The power pack in the A6400 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899|
|Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon 1 V1||113 mm||76 mm||44 mm||383 g||350||n||Sep 2011||799|
|Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Sony A6100||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749|
|Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The V3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the A6400, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 V3 features an one-inch sensor and the Sony A6400 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6400 is 216 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the A6400 offers a higher resolution than the V3 (18.2MP), but the A6400 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.52μm for the V3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A6400 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 10 months) than the V3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the V3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
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 Nikon 1 V3 are 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm for good quality, 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon 1 V3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. 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 is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6400 offers substantially better image quality than the V3 (overall score 31 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.2 bits higher color depth, 2.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|Nikon 1 V1||1-inch||10.0||3872||2592||1080/60i||21.3||11||346||54|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A6400 provides a better video resolution than the V3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6400 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the V3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the V3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DF-N1000. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon 1 V3 and Sony A6400 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V1||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
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 Nikon 1 V3 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 V3 writes its imaging data to micro SDXC cards, while the A6400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of 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 Nikon 1 V3 and Sony Alpha A6400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the A6400 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The V3 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
The A6400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the V3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the V3 from Nikon. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 V3 and the Sony A6400? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon 1 V3:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 11 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 18.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (31 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 310) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the V3 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6400 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 6 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 Nikon 1 V3 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the V3 and the A6400 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Sony A6400||+||85/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|Canon M50||+||79/100||..||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon M5||+||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon 100D||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X-T10||+ +||80/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X-M1||+||77/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|Nikon D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon 1 J4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|Nikon 1 V2||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon 1 V1||+||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||799|
|Panasonic G6||+ +||..||5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GF6||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Sony A6100||..||82/100||4/5||..||5/5||Aug 2019||749|
|Sony A6300||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon 1 V3
- Canon 650D vs Nikon 1 V3
- Canon D30 vs Sony A6400
- Canon G1 X Mark III vs Sony A6400
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Nikon 1 V3
- Leica M9 vs Sony A6400
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Panasonic GX1
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Panasonic LX10
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony RX10 III
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony RX100 V
- Olympus E-P3 vs Sony A6400
Specifications: Nikon 1 V3 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||Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2014||January 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5232 x 3488 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.52 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||15.71 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 32,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||52||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.8||24|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.7||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||384||1431|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||micro or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Sony A6400|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||310 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 65 x 33 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
120 x 67 x 50 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||381 g (13.4 oz)||403 g (14.2 oz)|
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