Sony A6400 vs A7 III
The Sony Alpha A6400 and the Sony Alpha A7 III are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2019 and February 2018. Both the A6400 and the A7 III are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (A6400) and a full frame (A7 III) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-32000 (100-102400)||ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|11 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|410 shots per battery charge||610 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 67 x 50 mm, 403 g||127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A6400 and the Sony Alpha A7 III? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6400 and the Sony A7 III is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side 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 A7 III is considerably larger (52 percent) than the Sony A6400. Moreover, the A7 III is substantially heavier (61 percent) than the A6400. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 III is splash and dust-proof, while the A6400 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6400) and the Sony FE Lens Catalog (A7 III). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
Concerning battery life, the A6400 gets 410 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the A7 III can take 610 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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. 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.
|Sony A6400»||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899||Sony A6400|
|Sony A7 III«||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Canon 2000D« »||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449||Canon 2000D|
|Canon M50« »||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon M5« »||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Leica C-LUX« »||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049||Leica C-LUX|
|Nikon Z6« »||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||Nikon Z6|
|Sony A9 II« »||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A6100« »||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749||Sony A6100|
|Sony A7R III« »||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Sony A7 II« »||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A6000« »||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000« »||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-7« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349||Sony NEX-7|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 55 percent) than the A7 III, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A6400 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A7 III a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 III is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A7 III has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A7 III has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.91μm for the A6400), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the A6400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the A7 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Sony Alpha A6400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 32000, which can be extended to ISO 100-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 III are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A7 III offers substantially better image quality than the A6400 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.4 stops in additional 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.
|Sony A6400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24||13.6||1431||83||Sony A6400|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Canon 2000D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||11.9||1009||71||Canon 2000D|
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon M5||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Leica C-LUX||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica C-LUX|
|Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95||Nikon Z6|
|Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A6100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony A6100|
|Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81||Sony NEX-7|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A6400 and the A7 III are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2359k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A6400 and Sony A7 III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6400|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Canon 2000D||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 2000D|
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon M5||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Leica C-LUX|
|Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A6100||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6100|
|Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-7|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A6400 has one, while the A7 III does not. While the built-in flash of the A6400 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The A6400 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A7 III does not have a selfie-screen.
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 Sony A7 III 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A6400 and the A7 III write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7 III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A6400 only has one slot. The A7 III supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the A6400 can use UHS-I cards.
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 Sony Alpha A6400 and Sony Alpha A7 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A6400||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6400|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Canon 2000D||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 2000D|
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon M5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Leica C-LUX||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica C-LUX|
|Nikon Z6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A6100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6100|
|Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-7|
It is notable that the A7 III has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The A6400 lacks such a headphone port.
Both the A6400 and the A7 III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7 III replaced the earlier Sony A7 II, while the A6400 followed on from the Sony A6300. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony A6400 better than the Sony A7 III or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6400:
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 247g or 38 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (55 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 10 months after the A7 III).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7 III:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x).
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (610 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2018).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 III 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Sony A6400 and the Sony A7 III 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A6400 or the A7 III perform in practice. 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 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Sony A6400
- Canon 1Ds vs Sony A6400
- Canon M vs Sony A6400
- Canon M200 vs Sony A6400
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Sony A6400
- Leica SL2 vs Sony A7 III
- Leica X1 vs Sony A7 III
- Olympus E-330 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic TZ200 vs Sony A7 III
- Sony A7 III vs Sony RX10
- Sony A7 III vs Sony RX100 VII
Specifications: Sony A6400 vs Sony A7 III
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||Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2019||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 1999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-32000 ISO||100-51200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-102400 ISO||50-204800 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||83||96|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1431||3730|
|Screen Specs||Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A6400||Sony A7 III|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||610 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
120 x 67 x 50 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 2.0 in)
127 x 96 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
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