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Nikon D3400 versus Sony A6000

The Nikon D3400 and the Sony Alpha A6000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2016 and February 2014. The D3400 is a DSLR, while the A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3400 and the Sony A6000 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D3400 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000
Compare D3400 versus A6000 top
Compare D3400 and A6000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6000 is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Nikon D3400. Moreover, the A6000 is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the D3400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3400 nor the A6000 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3400) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A6000, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D3400 gets 1200 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the A6000 can take 360 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D3400» 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Sony A6000« 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon M3« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i
Sony NEX-6« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 12.2 oz 360 n Sep 2012 999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3400 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the A6000, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D3400 and Sony A6000 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the D3400 and the A6000 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D3400 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the A6000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

D3400 versus A6000 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the D3400 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A6000 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D3400» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Sony A6000« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
Sony NEX-6« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D3400 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3400 and Sony A6000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D3400»optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Sony A6000«1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n
Sony NEX-6« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n

The D3400 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the A6000 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A6000 was succeeded by the Sony A6300.

Review summary: Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D3400 better than the Sony A6000 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3400:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the A6000 launch.

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 124x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 101g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2014).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 comes out slightly ahead of the D3400 (8 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

D3400 07:08 A6000

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the D3400 and the A6000 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D3400»Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Sony A6000«Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i
Sony NEX-6« »HiRec78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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