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tommui987

Sony - A6400 vs A6500 vs A6600

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If I were to give up my A6300, which of the Sonys  - A6400, A6500 or A6600 - would be the best for the bucks spent?

(I realize the A6600 being the newest would probably have the best re-sale value.)

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It's probably more down to what, if anything, you want to keep from your A6300, and what if anything you found missing on it...and then weigh any possible improvements across the newer models.

 

Personally, I would consider the A6500 only if the goal was to replicate exactly what you have now, and just add in-body stabilization.  That's exactly what the A6500 is - the same generation sensor and processor, focus system, etc.  It's the older gen body - and you could honestly put a new A6300 in the same category.

 

The A6400 and A6600 share the same sensor and focus system, with the A6600 possibly receiving very modest processing default differences, though that's really unknown - in RAW output, I'd guess they're identical.  So the real key differences are that the A6400 is very much similar in size, feel, and function to your A6300, but adds the new tracking focus system and newer processor engine...while it loses the Sweep Panorama mode and the two MR positions on the dial that you have on your A6300.


Compared to the A6400, the A6600 adds a larger grip, larger battery with double the capacity, in-body stabilization, and restores the two MR modes to the dial.  Compared to the A6300, you get one more custom button, add the MyMenu section to the menus, the new focus tracking system, and the new processing engine.

 

Whether any of those specific steps are worth the additional cost are up to you.  For me, I needed to replace my A6300 because I've used it very heavily over the last 4 years and I am starting to worry it may wear down - I've run 170,000+ shutter actuations through it and it's just time.  I held off on the A6400 personally as I could not lose the MR modes on the dial.  The A6600 fit the bill because it gives me everything I like on the A6300, and improves in key areas (larger grip, bigger battery, better tracking modes, and IBIS.  When the price recently dropped $200, that made the decision very easy for me, and I bought the A6600.

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You're not going to get any more out of me than you did from Justin. He hit just about every point. 

 

The only thing I'll add is don't make resale value the highest priority. With new tech dropping into the market every couple of years, nothing really retains great value. Get the camera you feel you need (want) and enjoy it. 

 

 

Dave

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On 12/14/2019 at 2:43 PM, pierces said:

You're not going to get any more out of me than you did from Justin. He hit just about every point. 

 

The only thing I'll add is don't make resale value the highest priority. With new tech dropping into the market every couple of years, nothing really retains great value. Get the camera you feel you need (want) and enjoy it. 

 

 

Dave

 

With the collapse of the market.... values are plummeting of brand new... not just used values

With 2-lens aps-c camera kits now starting at $399...

With cameras that are barely a year old seeing 30% price reductions..

 

All I can say is narrow down the camera you want... and if "value" is meaningful to you, then compare within brand and across brands.

I've just started my testing and review of the A6600... all I can say for now, it's a much more interesting camera at $1200 than $1400. I have a ton of complaints that would be applicable to more expensive cameras, that are less an issue with cheaper cameras. So I found $1400 offensively overpriced.. $1200 gets a bit more reasonable. Fact that they slashed the price so quickly suggests Sony came to the same conclusion. Though in comparison to other models across other brands, I still find it slightly high for what it's offering.

It's a good camera that could have been so much more if it truly wanted to be a $1400 semi-pro camera. (It's time to upgrade sensor.. both Canon and Fuji are using a newer generation of aps-c sensor; a $1400 performance camera should have dual UHS-II slots at a minimum, instead it has only 1 slow slut, and dual control dials is a no-brainer for a semi-pro camera). 

 

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On 12/14/2019 at 9:43 AM, pierces said:

You're not going to get any more out of me than you did from Justin. He hit just about every point. 

 

 

 

Justin and Dave:

Thank you for  your comments.

I had replaced one of my A6300 previously with the A6400 and found it to be "better" and was wondering about replacing my other A6300.

 

With Havoc's comment about the new sensor and the fact that the prices seem to be going down, there's lots to think about.

 

Looking forward to his review.

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You're welcome.  I'll add since I've gotten the A6600, I've been very impressed with the first test runs this past weekend.  The battery life isn't just a little improvement - it's massive.  I'll throw in this comparison since with birding and wildlife shooting, the number of shots per battery far exceed any CIPA ratings as you tend to shoot a lot of bursts, no image reviews or playback, and rarely give the camera a chance to rest.  With the A6300, I could pull off about 1,300 shots on a single battery in the heaviest shooting sessions - the average was usually closer to 950 - 1100 frames.  This weekend, I shot the A6600 in the wetlands, and fired off 1,360 frames - at the end of the day when I got home to review my shots, the battery had 75% charge remaining.  That's putting me somewhere in the vicinity of 5,000 frames per battery if that pace held up.

 

I'll also note because my photography is most heavily birding and wildlife which is a specialty photography type, my comments are very specific to my use-case - while I often end up with different opinions or general disagreements with some of Havoc's review comments, it's not disagreement with his overall review or the veracity of the comments, only in how they may or may not apply to my specific shooting.

I do agree that the A6600 is a better sell at $1,200 - I still would have paid $1,400, but it makes a lot more sense at $1,200.

I don't have any issue with the asking price compared to other cameras in the market - but that's again specific to me...no one else makes an APS-C camera that I find as good for birding and wildlife, with too many compromises in focus, features, or speed of operation that don't make them good choices for me.

I don't have an issue with the sensor - comparing to Canon's APS-C sensor, despite the higher MP numbers, it's not getting any more actual resolution and still falls down a bit at the higher ISO levels, so at best it's a wash with the 24MP sensors...it's Canon catching up in my opinion, but not surpassing.  And Fuji's sensor doesn't seem to get any advantages either - at higher ISO, Fuji's own personal ISO measurements differ from other manufacturers and when equalized, they are right in line with the 24MP sensor.  Canon's focus isn't anywhere near Sony's for tracking fast moving subjects, and Fuji's operation with their manual control dials and no memory banks makes it too slow to make constant transitions in the field with completely different settings needed for still and moving animals.

I can't say I've ever found the need for two memory slots - even when I had them...but I wouldn't complain or argue if they wanted to put them in.  I agree it's strange Sony still uses UHS-I slots instead of II, but fortunately I don't shoot in a way that ever hits any bottlenecks in processing, shooting, or buffer limits being reached.

I haven't had any issue with Sony's two control dials - though the jog wheel on back some don't consider a true control wheel and want a separate wheel at the front and back - I rarely shoot in modes that require manipulation of 3 separate wheels at the same time - with birds and wildlife, I'm shooting far too quickly to use dials for every setting and instead set up MR banks for quick settings then adjust one or two fast parameters from there as needed - and when shooting landscape & scenic, I often prefer to just use A Priority or P, and have time to make basic aperture adjustments with the top wheel and EV with the jog wheel.

When reading into comments on cameras, it's always best to take in how any specific comments will or will not affect you and what you shoot.  Negative comments, even when completely valid, may not impact your specific shooting needs - so while all of Havoc's comments are completely fair to raise, in my case, they simply didn't affect how I shoot.  Just as comments about video performance wouldn't impact me, since I never shoot video.

So far, the A6600 has been quite impressive - very good ergonomic improvements with the grip and additional custom buttons, additional menu mapping and expansion options, excellent tracking focus performance with my first BIF shot tests, improved high ISO processing (in JPG), and amazing battery life.  It delivers everything I love about the A6300, and improves in many key areas I particularly like or wanted.

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Justin makes some very salient points. Features that are irrelevant to your general shooting style are just that. Irrelevant. I often chuckle when a reviewer seems to struggle to find something that appears to be a negative to maintain the appearance of "fairness", The A7rIV for instance. Shiny, Shiny, Shiny, Shiny, Shiny...Oh, lord...the menu! The Sony menu is complicated and could use some serious revamping, but having survived their icon driven disaster from the early NEX cameras, I find it very usable for the few times I have needed to dive in after initial setup. Control dials, or the lack thereof? Like the menu system, I have used Sony APS-C mirrorless for so long that I often forget that my A7III has a front dial (I am getting used to it). It just doesn't affect me for day-to-day shooting. Since I shoot in A-mode most of the time, I really only use one dial at a time. Admittedly, I found it handy to use both dials this weekend for tuning manual settings when using strobes for the first time in a while but that only accounts for about .001% of my time with the camera so far. 

 

Pick the features that matter to you. Fuji has more dials. You have Sony lenses. Canon has a (subjectively) better menu. You have Sony lenses. Back to the Sony world, the A6400 has great autofocus, the A6500 has stabilization and the A6600 has both. It also has that battery thing going for it. If I were replacing my A6300 right now, The battery and stabilization would tip the scales for me. 

 

That's as close as I will get to an actual recommendation. Pick the features that are important to you, get the camera that fits and use the heck out of it. That's what they are for, after all! 🙂

 

Dave

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5 hours ago, pierces said:

Justin makes some very salient points. Features that are irrelevant to your general shooting style are just that. Irrelevant. 🙂

 

Dave

 

Dave and Justin - thanks again for your input. I look forward to Havoc's review of the A6600.

 

I have been taking photos for almost eighty years!

In my last trip, I used the A6400 almost exclusively for its fine autofocusing. In all fairness, the A6300 had the 70-300mm lens attached!

 

I doubt if I would ever get to Justin's average of 1,000+ frames per day. I think I would average perhaps 400 shots and half of that would be ARW's (for insurance). So the battery life is not that important having a duo-battery charger.

I'm not sure whether the idea of having two memory cards in the camera is something that I would need

My shooting is strictly as a rank-amateur - family, travel and some food!

 

My lenses are all Sony except for one Rokinon but the idea of stabilization has some appeal - insurance and perhaps future non-Sony lenses.

 

DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS!

(Of course one can always side-step)

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I agree with everything Justin and Dave said...

Different shooters have different needs and priorities. 
 

The value of good reviewers (and I’m not sure I qualify), is they can provide perspective in comparison to other products. 
Most people only have experience over a narrow range of cameras, often only one. 
 

This and similar boards are much quieter than they were a few years ago. But I’ve often seen, “what camera would you recommend for...”

and 20 useless answers of “I shoot with ____ and love it.”

 

Not accusing Dave or Justin of this —- they are both knowledgeable photographers providing good advice. 
 

for me, 95% of my recent shooting is Sony... but I’ve used almost every Sony lens, I’ve used extensively almost every Sony ILC (a9, a9ii, a7riii, a7riv, a6000, a6300, a6400... and currently a6600). 
 

and I do have some experience outside of Sony, as well as following the industry closely. 
 

(Btw, Nikon is essentially lending a full z50 kit for free for a month... you buy it, but can return for any reason in 30 days, they even pay return shipping. A great chance for anyone to test Nikon’s camera). 
 

Now things like dual control dials, 1 front and 1 rear.. so they can both be manipulated simultaneously. This is a very standard feature on $1000+ cameras. 
for people who have never really used dual dials, they naturally don’t know what they are missing. For example, Justin made an interesting comment— that he doesn’t have time to make quick manual adjustments so he uses the memory functions anyway. But here is the thing: dual dials makes it much faster and easier to make those manual adjustments. 
like Dave... I used to shoot in A-priority when I owned cameras with single dials. But now that I’m spoiled by twin dials, i shoot in M very often. 
 

So there are different perspectives and different priorities. 
 

My complaints about the a6600 are not that it’s a bad camera or that it would be a mistake to buy it. Justin loves his a6600 for good reason. 
My complaints about the a6600 are that it is missing a lot of elements that are meaningful and pretty standard in $1000+ cameras. 
but for example... if battery life is a higher priority than IQ... or IBIS is more important that performance.. or the use of specific lenses are a priority... those questions become pretty subjective. 

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