Question Sony A6400 or Sony A7iii

m11rphy

Active Member
Hi guys looking to get my first proper camera and I know I want a Sony for certain. I have my my eye on the A6400 and it looks like the perfect camera for me, however I can’t help thinking I should just go all out and get the A7iii from the start. Can you guys give me some thoughts and views on what to get
 

snerkler

Member
Hi guys looking to get my first proper camera and I know I want a Sony for certain. I have my my eye on the A6400 and it looks like the perfect camera for me, however I can’t help thinking I should just go all out and get the A7iii from the start. Can you guys give me some thoughts and views on what to get
Lots of different factors here. Firstly what's you budget? Secondly what do you intend to shoot and what are you hoping to achieve? Lastly are you aware of the differences in full frame and APS-C in terms of image quality, depth of field and noise handling, and are you aware of the weight and size differences between the lenses?
 

m11rphy

Active Member
Lots of different factors here. Firstly what's you budget? Secondly what do you intend to shoot and what are you hoping to achieve? Lastly are you aware of the differences in full frame and APS-C in terms of image quality, depth of field and noise handling, and are you aware of the weight and size differences between the lenses?
Looking for a step up from my iPhone XS, as I say the A6400 looks perfect, but I worry I’m mak9 g a mistake not going full frame
 

snerkler

Member
I just like to get the best and from what I’ve seen FF is the best format
Well to be pedantic medium format and large format will have better image quality ;)

But yes in terms of general cameras the FF will give you the ultimate IQ. However, a lot of the time you will be hard pressed to tell the difference. I recently posted two identical photos, one taken with my D850 (FF) and one take with my EM1 (micro 4/3) and asked folk if they could see which is which. 70% of folk thought the m4/3 was the FF photo.

My point is, in the real world there’s little to separate them and the biggest factor is the photographer. FF will always have better noise handling (comparing similar era tech), but even then I can get useable images from my EM1 at 6400 ISO. The other main difference is the ability to get more shallow depth of field with FF.

There are drawbacks with FF, and that’s size, weight and cost of FF lenses. There’s always a compromise and it depends on what compromises you’re willing to make. I’m just about to sell a few of my FF lenses in favour of some m4/3 ones as I’m sick of carrying all the weight around.

You sound like me a few years ago tbh, and probably won’t be satisfied until you’ve had FF as there will always be that thing in the back of your head gnawing away at you that FF is better and you can’t achieve the images you want without it ;)
 

m11rphy

Active Member
Well to be pedantic medium format and large format will have better image quality ;)

But yes in terms of general cameras the FF will give you the ultimate IQ. However, a lot of the time you will be hard pressed to tell the difference. I recently posted two identical photos, one taken with my D850 (FF) and one take with my EM1 (micro 4/3) and asked folk if they could see which is which. 70% of folk thought the m4/3 was the FF photo.

My point is, in the real world there’s little to separate them and the biggest factor is the photographer. FF will always have better noise handling (comparing similar era tech), but even then I can get useable images from my EM1 at 6400 ISO. The other main difference is the ability to get more shallow depth of field with FF.

There are drawbacks with FF, and that’s size, weight and cost of FF lenses. There’s always a compromise and it depends on what compromises you’re willing to make. I’m just about to sell a few of my FF lenses in favour of some m4/3 ones as I’m sick of carrying all the weight around.

You sound like me a few years ago tbh, and probably won’t be satisfied until you’ve had FF as there will always be that thing in the back of your head gnawing away at you that FF is better and you can’t achieve the images you want without it ;)
I think you hit the nail on the head, I think the A6400 is probably the better option for me but i’ll Always be thinking about the a7iii
 

snerkler

Member
I think you hit the nail on the head, I think the A6400 is probably the better option for me but i’ll Always be thinking about the a7iii
Then I think you’ve answered your own question ;)

Have a look at the lenses you may want though to see if you can afford them, Sony full frame lenses are expensive.
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
Personally I think both cameras are bad choices to begin with, they're both high end expensive cameras and at the moment you don't know how you're going to use the camera. With photography there's no one best camera or setup, it all depends on what suits your needs. It's not unusual to see people who spend a lot of money on camera equipment with the sentiment they should start with the best and it ends up gathering dust.

I would start with something like the Sony A6000 and 16-50mm, it's a fraction of the price of the A6400 but its APS-C sensor offers similar image quality to its pricier siblings. People assume that IQ gets progressively better the more you spend but in reality, it's mostly features which set cameras apart in the range aside from going up to a larger sensor. Crucially it will give you a much better idea what you want from a camera both in terms of the camera itself and lenses as well.

The A6000 prices are very stable these days and you won't lose much selling it on down the line if you decide you want something better while the A6400 being new is likely to come down in price and with the FF mirrorless market heating up I can see the A7 III coming down a bit as well. I do have an NEX-6 (very similar camera to the A6000) and although it's not one of my main cameras and surpassed by newer models, it's still a cracking wee camera and capable of great IQ.

I do use an FF setup as well and when I need the IQ and capabilities, it is good but at the same time it's a bulky setup and I tend not to use it unless I particularly need it.
 

snerkler

Member
Personally I think both cameras are bad choices to begin with, they're both high end expensive cameras and at the moment you don't know how you're going to use the camera. With photography there's no one best camera or setup, it all depends on what suits your needs. It's not unusual to see people who spend a lot of money on camera equipment with the sentiment they should start with the best and it ends up gathering dust.

I would start with something like the Sony A6000 and 16-50mm, it's a fraction of the price of the A6400 but its APS-C sensor offers similar image quality to its pricier siblings. People assume that IQ gets progressively better the more you spend but in reality, it's mostly features which set cameras apart in the range aside from going up to a larger sensor. Crucially it will give you a much better idea what you want from a camera both in terms of the camera itself and lenses as well.

The A6000 prices are very stable these days and you won't lose much selling it on down the line if you decide you want something better while the A6400 being new is likely to come down in price and with the FF mirrorless market heating up I can see the A7 III coming down a bit as well. I do have an NEX-6 (very similar camera to the A6000) and although it's not one of my main cameras and surpassed by newer models, it's still a cracking wee camera and capable of great IQ.

I do use an FF setup as well and when I need the IQ and capabilities, it is good but at the same time it's a bulky setup and I tend not to use it unless I particularly need it.
Sound advice this. The only thing I tend to differ on is people advising buying entry level cameras to begin with as others are too advanced. However, my counter argument is that if you're serious about photography then buying something with all the features to begin with saves you have to buy and sell equipment and in the end lose money.

I don't put the A6000 into that category though, the A6000 is a feature packed camera which has enough for eh beginner and serious enthusiast alike. I agree with John in that whilst it might not have the latest tech of the A6400 it's still a cracking piece of kit and I very much doubt you'd tell any difference in the final picture between the two. Camera manufacturers (as well as all tech manufacturers) are superb at marketing and making you feel like you have to have the latest tech and 'last year's' tech is only good enough to be used as a paper weight. The truth is that most of modern tech is just numbers that help sell new gear, whereas the final image is actually no better than it was 5 years ago.

Take the EM1-II that I've been looking at recently, part of the big marketing hype was that it shoots at 60fps and everyone marvelled at this. Now whilst it's a impressive feat who really wants 60fps???? Can you imagine sifting through that lot when you come to editing :eek: Even on my camera shooting at 7-9fps I end up with a lot of images that all look pretty identical, let alone 60fps. Even for BIF I think 10-12fps is pretty much all you'll ever need.

Another big marketing trick is selling megapixels. Now don't get me wrong, there is one advantage of high MP and this is if you crop heavily for things like wildlife (and hence the reason I have the D850) but for everything else you absolutely do NOT need high MP. Most people don't print, and most people view on phones are computers. But even if you view on a 4K TV they are 'only' 8.3MP, so any more than that is wasted. Shoot with a 24MP camera and you're throwing away 16MP.

The point is, don't believe the marketing hype. Think about the specs and whether they are something that you truly need. Most modern cameras deliver more than most people need. What newbies should be told is not to focus completely on specs and think more about the system. Does it have the lenses that you think you will want, does the camera feel right ergonomically, are the button and dial placements comfortable, are the menus easy to navigate or are the confusingly complex like Sony ;)
 

m11rphy

Active Member
Sound advice this. The only thing I tend to differ on is people advising buying entry level cameras to begin with as others are too advanced. However, my counter argument is that if you're serious about photography then buying something with all the features to begin with saves you have to buy and sell equipment and in the end lose money.

I don't put the A6000 into that category though, the A6000 is a feature packed camera which has enough for eh beginner and serious enthusiast alike. I agree with John in that whilst it might not have the latest tech of the A6400 it's still a cracking piece of kit and I very much doubt you'd tell any difference in the final picture between the two. Camera manufacturers (as well as all tech manufacturers) are superb at marketing and making you feel like you have to have the latest tech and 'last year's' tech is only good enough to be used as a paper weight. The truth is that most of modern tech is just numbers that help sell new gear, whereas the final image is actually no better than it was 5 years ago.

Take the EM1-II that I've been looking at recently, part of the big marketing hype was that it shoots at 60fps and everyone marvelled at this. Now whilst it's a impressive feat who really wants 60fps???? Can you imagine sifting through that lot when you come to editing :eek: Even on my camera shooting at 7-9fps I end up with a lot of images that all look pretty identical, let alone 60fps. Even for BIF I think 10-12fps is pretty much all you'll ever need.

Another big marketing trick is selling megapixels. Now don't get me wrong, there is one advantage of high MP and this is if you crop heavily for things like wildlife (and hence the reason I have the D850) but for everything else you absolutely do NOT need high MP. Most people don't print, and most people view on phones are computers. But even if you view on a 4K TV they are 'only' 8.3MP, so any more than that is wasted. Shoot with a 24MP camera and you're throwing away 16MP.

The point is, don't believe the marketing hype. Think about the specs and whether they are something that you truly need. Most modern cameras deliver more than most people need. What newbies should be told is not to focus completely on specs and think more about the system. Does it have the lenses that you think you will want, does the camera feel right ergonomically, are the button and dial placements comfortable, are the menus easy to navigate or are the confusingly complex like Sony ;)

The reason I would go for the A6400 is the425 point auto focus which on the you tube videos Ive seen looks amazing
 

snerkler

Member
The reason I would go for the A6400 is the425 point auto focus which on the you tube videos Ive seen looks amazing
It is very good, but what do you need it for? In other words, what kinds of things are you planning to take photos of?
 

Faldrax

Well-known Member
My 'Travel' camera is the A6000, with the 16-50, 55-210 and 50 f/1.8 lenses.
I have looked at the A6400 as a possible upgrade, and the improved EVF and AF look appealing, but I'm not convinced the A6400 is worth an extra £550 - over twice the price of an A6000.

The biggest weakness of the A6xxx cameras is the lens options - you have the Sony 35 and 50 f/1.8 OSS primes, both of which are nice, and a number of decent Sigma primes (but they lack OSS). There are no 'high quality' APS-C zooms (though you can always use FF E mount zooms - but the best are large, heavy and expensive).

The 16-50 and 55-210 kit zooms are actually quite good for what they are - cheap, small and light - capable of producing very good images provided you are aware of their limitations (the 16-50 has no lens hood, and is quite susceptible to flare, for example).

Below is one I took with my A6000 - using the 16-50 kit lens, handheld.

 

AMc

Distinguished Member
FWIW I wouldn't recommend you jump in with Full Frame camera any more than I'd suggest someone learned to drive in a Ferrari. It takes a while before your gear will limit you more than your skills and technique.
Sure you may discover a deep passion for photography and quickly grow into the camera or you may discover it's hard work and then the camera just gathers expensive dust.
I'd pop into a proper camera shop if you can and try out the cameras you're thinking of.
I'd also recommend to anyone buying used from a reputable source - most camera shops have used stock (even Jessops sell through CameraJungle online).
Camera gear is generally quite reliable and if you decide to abandon the hobby or change up then you lose a lot less reselling used gear.
 

snerkler

Member
FWIW I wouldn't recommend you jump in with Full Frame camera any more than I'd suggest someone learned to drive in a Ferrari. It takes a while before your gear will limit you more than your skills and technique.
Sure you may discover a deep passion for photography and quickly grow into the camera or you may discover it's hard work and then the camera just gathers expensive dust.
I'd pop into a proper camera shop if you can and try out the cameras you're thinking of.
I'd also recommend to anyone buying used from a reputable source - most camera shops have used stock (even Jessops sell through CameraJungle online).
Camera gear is generally quite reliable and if you decide to abandon the hobby or change up then you lose a lot less reselling used gear.
TBH I have no issue with people going straight into FF, after all I grew up with 35mm film in which case we didn't really have a choice ;) However, they really need to know why they want FF and not wrongly assuming that FF will automatically give them the best images. As we've discussed already m4/3 and APS-C can give just as good images when viewed at normal viewing sizes.

The only advantages of FF in this day and age are better noise handling, more shallow DOF (although this can also work against you), and depending on what bodies you are comparing to, better dynamic range.

But again this depends on what you're comparing. For example, the Canon 5D-II is still a top FF camera in terms of the images it can produce, yet the EM1-II has comparable noise handling (and less colour shift) and better dynamic range. No one would 'scoff' at someone shooting with a Canon 5D-II, in fact people would 'marvel' at the images it produces. I know it's different age tech, but my point is a lot of the photography world would praise the images from the 5D-II yet diss the ones from m4/3 ;)
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
The thing about film was even the most complex cameras had very few controls - focus, aperture, shutter speed and iso controlled by what film you loaded ;)
The only feedback you got was the focusing split view in the prism and the light meter then a wait for your prints.

I’d caution against going in with a full frame body as there are so many ways to get the control wrong. Even quite modest bodies can be overwhelmingly complicated.

I know all cameras have auto modes but you don’t want to be stuck on auto because the leap to A, S & M is so great you never get a decent result.

A FF sensor has a great capacity to give you razor thin sharp focus but if that’s on the back of your subjects ear and their eyes are blurred you won’t be delighted with the results.

Of course the OP can make their own choice but I really would liken it to learning to drive. You’ll learn the basics of clutch control better in a Ford Fiesta than an Aston trying to get to grips with launch control when you just need a hill start ;)
Once you know how to handle the basics then you can step up and enjoy the extra toys.
 

snerkler

Member
The thing about film was even the most complex cameras had very few controls - focus, aperture, shutter speed and iso controlled by what film you loaded ;)
The only feedback you got was the focusing split view in the prism and the light meter then a wait for your prints.

I’d caution against going in with a full frame body as there are so many ways to get the control wrong. Even quite modest bodies can be overwhelmingly complicated.

I know all cameras have auto modes but you don’t want to be stuck on auto because the leap to A, S & M is so great you never get a decent result.

A FF sensor has a great capacity to give you razor thin sharp focus but if that’s on the back of your subjects ear and their eyes are blurred you won’t be delighted with the results.

Of course the OP can make their own choice but I really would liken it to learning to drive. You’ll learn the basics of clutch control better in a Ford Fiesta than an Aston trying to get to grips with launch control when you just need a hill start ;)
Once you know how to handle the basics then you can step up and enjoy the extra toys.
I see your point, but that is not a full frame vs smaller format thing (except the DOF), but more a feature set. Granted as FF cameras are more geared towards the enthusiasts and pros they do tend to be more feature packed than entry level cameras, although as you say you can have it in full auto and semi auto until you get familiar with it. Also, it depends on what you're looking at. The 'entry level' Olympus EM10 is pretty feature packed and can confuse even the most proficient of us. Something like the Nikon D750 is much easier (imo) to get to grips with. And don't get me started on the Sony controls and menus again ;)

I guess we will all have different opinions, but I don't necessarily think high end cameras are any more difficult to learn on. You still need to learn the basics, such as the exposure triangle, metering, when to use s-af and when to use c-af etc. As long as you stay away from the all the bells and whistles initially it's pretty much the same ;)
 

m11rphy

Active Member
The more videos I watch I'm leaning towards the A7iii, the way I see it is I can stick it auto and give it a try and then gradually build up my knowledge in manual mode.

I think I'll pick it up when I go to the US in May
 

snerkler

Member
The more videos I watch I'm leaning towards the A7iii, the way I see it is I can stick it auto and give it a try and then gradually build up my knowledge in manual mode.

I think I'll pick it up when I go to the US in May
TBH I don't think you'll be happy unless you do ;) You never answered the question as to what you intend to shoot? Also, what lenses would you get with it?
 

m11rphy

Active Member
Honestly a bit of everything, Vacations, go to Disney a lot and NYC. Will also go to a couple of American car shows
 

rancidpunk

In Memoriam
At least if you go to Disney a lot you'll only have to cancel a couple of trips to afford a Sony FF lens :laugh::rotfl:
 

snerkler

Member
Honestly a bit of everything, Vacations, go to Disney a lot and NYC. Will also go to a couple of American car shows
Sounds good. Certainly won't need the latest greatest AF system for that though. I loved NYC when I went :smashin: A couple of my favourites from that trip

PC014313 by TDG-77, on Flickr
PB303847-Pano by TDG-77, on Flickr
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
The thing about film was even the most complex cameras had very few controls - focus, aperture, shutter speed and iso controlled by what film you loaded ;)
The only feedback you got was the focusing split view in the prism and the light meter then a wait for your prints.

I’d caution against going in with a full frame body as there are so many ways to get the control wrong. Even quite modest bodies can be overwhelmingly complicated.

I know all cameras have auto modes but you don’t want to be stuck on auto because the leap to A, S & M is so great you never get a decent result.

A FF sensor has a great capacity to give you razor thin sharp focus but if that’s on the back of your subjects ear and their eyes are blurred you won’t be delighted with the results.

Of course the OP can make their own choice but I really would liken it to learning to drive. You’ll learn the basics of clutch control better in a Ford Fiesta than an Aston trying to get to grips with launch control when you just need a hill start ;)
Once you know how to handle the basics then you can step up and enjoy the extra toys.

I agree particularly as the OP has mentioned starting on full auto which I find is a bad idea on FF, the much shallower depth of field means you have to really be aware of aperture, depth of field and iso performance to be able to balance what type of shot you want. I find auto systems often favour opening up the aperture first whereas in some shots you need greater depth of field and therefore will want to increase the iso first.

Also it takes a bit of work to bring out the best of an FF sensor as straight out of camera they're often underwhelming.

A while back I saw someone posting their delight with their new phone camera and posted an example of how it beat their FF camera. The shot was taken early evening and the person admitted they only ever used the FF camera on auto and jpegs. The phone camera picture was noticeably better in comparison, the full scene was in good focus, it had made some attempt to recover detail in the shadow/highlights and the colour was more vivid. The FF camera picture in comparison was mostly out of focus as it had chosen the maximum aperture, the sky was blown out and the trees were underexposed plus the colour was very flat.

If the FF camera had been used properly the aperture would have been stopped down a bit, it would have been a raw photo and it would have the exposure pushed to bring out the detail in the underexposed and overexposed areas plus the colours brightened to produce a much better photo.

Last year when with a friend at a race track they offered to take photos for me and I was split between handing them my D750 which was the better camera but more difficult to use or the RX10M2 which is better at full auto. In the end I lent him the D750 but I configured it first with the aperture stopped right down to get a decent depth of field, the auto iso set faster to get a higher shutter speed at the cost of a little more noise, the drive mode set to high speed burst and the auto focus set to the most suitable tracking mode. In full auto mode the camera would have been next to useless as it would have chosen middling settings that wouldn't do what was needed.

I can certainly see situations where it would worth jumping straight into a FF camera if needing for example the best low light performance and were prepared to spend the time to get that. But with no specific requirements I think it's a lot of cost and bulk to begin with as it ultimately may not be the right system.

I agree with your analogy and would extend it by saying you may find after a few months of struggling with the compromises of the Aston that actually you prefer the stability from an RS6 Avant or the clever electronics on a Nissan GT-R to help get round the track faster.
 

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