Review What I Like About The A6600 Better Than The A6400

Richard Crowe

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First of all - I love my A6400 and plan to keep shooting with it in tandem with the new A6600 which has just arrived. I will often photograph over a hundred dogs a year for Maltese Rescue California and the Animal Eye-AF of both these cameras is nothing short of outstanding. The small form factor of each of these cameras combined with Animal Eye-AF makes it easier to shoot one handed while I am offering the dog treats with the other hand.

I bought the A6600 when it went on sale for $1,200 U.S. Dollars with a decent kit of accessories including a good flash and a very decent SD card among other things...

Here are a few parameters of the A6600 which I really love. I have numbered them in their importance to me personally in my style of shooting. Other photographers would certainly list them in a different order.

1. LARGER GRIP... The grip of the A6600 is significantly larger (actually it should be described as "deeper") than any other A6xxx series camera in order to fit the Z battery. The larger grip is a lot more comfortable to hold than the smaller grips of the previous A6xxx cameras. This is especially beneficial when shooting one handed (see #1 above) and/or when shooting with a slightly larger lens such as the Tamron 28-75mm f.2.8 or the Sony 70-350mm f/4.5-5.6.

2. ISO 50... This has not been addressed by any reviewer that I have noticed. I really like the ISO 50 capability of the A6600. The top shutter speed of any A6xxx camera is 1/4000 second which sometimes is too slow when I want to shoot wide open with a very fast lens in bright conditions using ISO 100 which is the lowest ISO of previous A6xxx cameras.. I have often wished that I had the advantage of 1/8000 second shutter speed. However, the ISO 50 capability should often allow decent exposure wide open at 1/4000 second. This ISO also makes using a very slow shutter speed sometimes feasible without an ND filter.

3. EASIER REMOVAL REPLACEMENT OF SD CARD... The larger Z battery allows space for positioning the SD card slot in a location that makes it easier to remove and replace the card.

4. IBIS... Since I don't shoot video, the lack of IBIS in the A6400 and the IBIS capability of the A6600, is not a deal breaker for me. However, it is nice to have when I am shooting with non-OSS lenses or when I am shooting hand-held with the 70-350mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS lens. I have not yet ascertained just how slow I can shoot using the IBIS/OSS combination with the A6600 but, in early trials it seems that I can effectively hand hold at slower shutter speeds than with the OSS lens and a non-IBIS A6400.

5. GREATER BATTERY CAPACITY... Again, I am not a video shooter so the relatively low capacity of the FW50 batteries of the previous A6xxx series cameras has not impacted on my shooting to any great degree. I always carry extra batteries and my Meike battery grip for the A6400 will provide just about equal battery capacity. This grip will also extend the height of my grip on the camera but, will not impact the depth of my grip. Given the size of my hand (I wear extra large USA size gloves), my grip on the A6600 is basically with my middle and ring fingers around the grip, my index finger operating the shutter button and my small finger curled under the camera body. This is to me a very comfortable and secure grip. I am thinking that a hand strap would even increase the comfort somewhat; since with a hand strap some of the camera weight would be supported by the back of my hand...

6. TWO ADDITIONAL CUSTOM BUTTONS... The C3 and C4 custom buttons allow even more customization of the A6600.
 
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AlwaysOnAuto

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Only reason I say that is I notice the size difference going from A7ii to A7iii. It's subtle to say the least, but it is there and for someone who hasn't held or seen the cameras in person a pic would say a lot, without words.
 

Richard Crowe

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Right off the bat, the A6xxx cameras like the A6400 and A6500 weigh about 2/3 of the A7iii weight. The grip of the A7iii is also deeper than the Sony Crop cameras previous to the A6600. Top to bottom. the grip is longer also. I can get three fingers on the A7ii grip and only two (middle and ring fingers) on the grip of the A6600. My pinkie finger curls up underneath the camera increasing my hold quite comfortably...
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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I won't complain about the weight of a full frame that gives me all the A7iii does. It is just something I'll have to live with to get what I want out of a camera.
 

Richard Crowe

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Here are some images to compare the sizes of the A6400, A6600, and A7iii. In all cases the cameras are image left to right A6400, A6600 and A7iii
Camera Sizes A6400- A6699 - A7iii 04.jpg
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Camera Sizes A6400 - A6600 - A7iii 03.jpg
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Camera Sizes A6400 - A6600 - A7iii  01.jpg
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Camera Sizes A6400 = A6600 - A7iii 02.jpg
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Camera Sizes A6400 - A6600 - A7iii 05.jpg
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The A6400 is at image left and the A6600 at image right in the picture below. .
Camera Sizes A6400 - A6600.jpg
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The A7iii is really a relatively small and lightweight camera as compared to a standard full frame DSLR. I don't have any DSLR cameras left to shoot a comparison but the A7iii weighs 22.93 oz or 650 grams while the Canon 5D Mark IV weighs 28.21 ounces or 800 grams. That is a difference that can be noticed. However, the really telling comparison is between Canon APSC cameras and the Sony APSC models. Sony A6400 weighs 14.25 oz or 403.grams while the Canon 7D Mark-2 weighs, (based on CIPA standard): Approx. 32.10 oz. / Approx. 910.01 g. That means that the A6400 weighs less than half of what the Canon camera weighs and the performance is equal with a lean towards the Sony performance and definite skew toward the performance of the A6600 which weighs 16 ounces or 453 grams.
 
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DaveC

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Excellent post, and very informative. Unfortunately the A6600 in Australia is only about A$300 cheaper than the A7iii, given that if I were to upgrade it would be one or the other, I think forme the A7iii would be hard to resist.
 

Richard Crowe

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As it was to me... I have ended up with four cameras: A7iii which I dearly love, especially for studio and portrait work, plus the A6400 & A6600 which are great for traveling and for walk around shooting as well as a little Sony NEX-7 which I converted to full time IR. selling my Canon gear and other stuff, such as a wide array of fishing tackle which due to health reasons I can no longer use, allowed me to purchase the Sony setup and still have a bit of money left in my PayPal account...

SOME OTHER BUMPS ON MY SONY ROAD:crying:

As far as adapters go to convert AF lenses such as Canon's EF lineup to use on Sony bodies, I was really thrilled when I snagged my first APSC mirrorless camera,an A6500 on eBay, because the auction included a Sigma MC-11 adapter and I went to bed with "sugar plum faeries dancing in my head:dance4:"

My expectation (hope) was to use the set of high grade Canon "L" lenses I owned on the Sony camera. In that hope I was disappointed:frown: I know that some folks have had success in adapting Canon glass to Sony cameras with the MC-11 but, I did not enjoy the interface. Some lenses worked O.K. while others were a complete bust.

I wanted to see just how good a native Sony e-mount lens might be on the A6500 so I purchased a used 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens and was blown away by the performance. The image quality was great (but, so was the I.Q. of my Canon lenses adapted to the A6500 when the AF worked flawlessly). The problem was that the AF did not work flawlessly and was usually a hit and miss situation. The AF of the 50mm f/1.8 lens (which BTW was pretty inexpensive) blew my mind. I just loved the Eye-AF which I actuated with a customizable button.

I tried other adapters including the Metabones IV which was not a great deal better than the MC-11 over the spectrum of my Canon glass. I had particular problems shooting with older Canon lenses as well as my telephoto L glass. Actually, the best performance with my telephoto zooms was with a cheap Viltrox EF-Eii focal reducer using those EF lenses on the crop sensor A6500. I have since learned that the copy of the Metabones IV Adapter I was using may have been flawed.

I shot with both Canon and Sony for quite a while until I gravitated to Sony alone. I must say that the learning curve with the Sony gear was pretty darn steep for me:cautious: and I sometimes wondered if I was making the right decision in changing over to Sony. But, the more I got used to the Sony gear, the easier it became for me to use. Every time a new Canon DSLR camera came along most of the controls were based on previous models. I had been shooting Canon products for close to 50-years and I naively expected to pick up the Sony and use it with the same proficiency as I did with my Canons. That just did not happen:crying:

Another one of the major problems I had with Sony APSC gear at first was the lack of a mid-range zoom lens with a relatively small form factor that would match up well with the Sony APSC cameras. There was nothing in the Sony lineup that I liked. The 16-50mm kit lens was crap and I was very disappointed with both the 28-70mm f/4-5.6 and 24-70mm Sony-Zeiss Vario Tessar. The G-Master lenses were so large and so expensive hat I did not even consider them. I almost was at the point of giving up trying zooms and shooting with nothing but primes.

Sony had some excellent primes such as the 85mm f/1.8 and Sigma began to bring out some APSC primes that were great, such as the 30mm f/1.4. The thing with me is that when I shoot with primes, I like to use two bodies. I began selling off my Canon gear that I had accumulated over the years and had enough money to purchase a second APSC body. The A6400 with full time Eye-AF (no need to activate this by pressing a separate button) seemed interesting and the price was just about the same as a used A6500, so I picked one up and really fell in love with the newer Sony focusing system. Since I photograph upwards of a hundred dogs a year, the animal Eye-AF combined with Continuous AF is a pleasure to use. No more focusing and recomposing and if a lively puppy won't sit still, the Eye-AF will still nail focus on the dog's eyes.

Tamron solved my problems of not finding a zoom lens with the form factor and I.Q. that I was looking for. The 28-75mm lens is great for my dog portraits and I do like the focal range for people shooting. While it is a full frame lens (and works great on the 7iii) I love the lens and APSC body combination for people shooting and at 550 grams it is still light enough to mesh with the APSC bodies. The image quality is all I would ever ask for and then some.

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More and more lenses are being offered for the Sony e-mount. That was the original problem with Sony cameras. Nikon or Canon had a many years jump on Sony and there were (and still are) far more lenses available (often at better prices) for those cameras than for the Sony eMount system.

However, both Sony and third party manufacturers are closing the gap. Sigmas trio of 16mm, 30mm and 56mm APSC f/1.4 lenses are wonderfully sharp and the AF is as good as native Sony glass. Tamron has come out with the 17-28mm f/2.8 and 28-75mm f/2.8 full frame lenses which are great on both full frame and APSC bodies. Tamron is also going to introduce a lightweight telephoto f/2.8 zoom of 70-180mm which should be interesting for both APSC and full-frame users.

Sony has come out with the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens which (although IMO overpriced) seems to be an equal to the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 lens which I loved on my 7D and 7D Mark-2. Sony has also come out with a reasonably light weight telephoto zoom for APSC cameras. The 70-350mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS weighs only 625 grams and both the image quality and auto focus capability are great. Although the f/6.3 aperture at max focal length is relatively slow.

I am certainly not saying that Sony Mirrorless is the only way to go. Both Canon and Nikon are still very viable manufacturers of both DSLR and now mirrorless equipment and Fuji and Olympus have a lot of things going for them, I am just tracing the evolution of my gear from Canon DSLR equipment (actually Canon SLR gear; since I began shooting Canon in the 1960's) to Sony and documenting my mistakes along the way such as thinking that I could seemlessly use my Canon glass on my Sony cameras to the point in which I am really beginning to learn and enjoy my Sony gear. The menu system no longer seems like a jumbled mess - however the early Sony cameras were terrible in the use of menus. Earlier Sony mirrorless cameras also did not have the focusing capabilities of the later models.

Like I mentioned above, it was a long and steep learning curve but, I am finally getting to the point where I a really comfortable shooting my Sony gear and I think that the Sony APSC cameras can produce excellent image quality.

El Dia de los Muertos - Hollywood Forever - 2019_9258.jpg
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An advantage of the mirrorless revolution that will benefit every one is that the prices of used DSLR gear are going down and it has become very easy to afford a very viable Canikon setup which will provide excellent images for years to come. And I think that a used Canon or Nikon DSLR such as the 7D Mark ii is a better camera than older Sony models such as the A7.

If you can afford a newer Sony mirrorless camera and are willing to initially struggle with the learning curve, that may be a viable way to go. However, if you want to gain the benefits of Sony mirrorless gear at a lower price by purchasing an older Sony like the A7, you may very well be disappointed as I suspect you will be if you expect full Sony AF functionality from lenses adapted to the Sony bodies.

Bottom line is that if you are shooting with a modern DSLR or mirrorless camera of any type and your images are not in the very-good to excellent category, you might need to point your finger at your shooting skills not at your gear...
 

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