Sony introduced the a6400 model of digital cameras in early 2019. The a6400 rapidly became a best-seller among both professional and amateur photographers. The camera is smaller than standard digital single reflex cameras but still uses Sony’s extensive line of lenses. Sony has achieved all this using an APS-C sensor system in a mirrorless body.
What is Sony a6400 crop factor?
The Sony a6400 features a crop factor of 1.534x using an APS-C 15.6 x 23.5 mm CMOS sensor. This combination of APS-C sensor and Sony 18mm flange total distance gives images sizes such as:
- 3:2 6,000 x 4,000 pixels (native format)
- 16:9 6,000 x 3376 pixels
- 1:1 4,000 x 4000 pixels
Which is all very impressive, if you understand ASP-C, crop factor, native format, and pixels. We’ll help you grasp these fundamental details of the Sony a6400 features, making it easier to understand how this camera can give you better control over your photography and better results in the composition of your photographs.
It all Goes Back to 35mm
Not so many years ago, most of the best cameras on the market used 35mm film. These cameras produced negatives with an actual size of 24mm x 36mm. The cameras and lenses used with this film took advantage of the entire space available on the film for each picture.
Enter the digital camera age and things began to change. Photography is no longer based on film and expensive processing. Now the image is captured by an electronic device that translates the colors into electronic bits that can be stored, retrieved, and manipulated with no developing or printing required.
The Electronics at the Heart of the Sony a6400
Digital cameras depend on two types of sensing devices to convert light images into digital signals that can be stored. Both types of these sensors use the same technology to capture the image, but what they do with the image next is the important difference.
- CCD Technology (Charge Coupled Device) – This type of sensor captures the image in the form of pixels that are amplified on the chip and then passed to the computer in the camera to be converted into digital format and stored on the data card or internal memory of the camera.
- CMOS Technology (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) – CMOS sensors are more sophisticated in the way they handle the image on the sensor. Each photosite on the sensor that reacts to light has electronics that can manipulate each pixel on the sensor giving the CMOS sensor the ability to respond to lighting conditions immediately.
The Sony a6400 uses CMOS technology in its sensor. The ability to include editing features as well as advanced pixel-level control in the camera gives the Sony a6400 a much broader appeal to both professional and amateur hobby photographers.
CMOS sensors come in a wide range of standard sizes. These include:
- APS-H typically used by Canon and measuring 28.7 x 19mm
- APS-C which is the type used in the Sony a6400 with dimensions of 23.6 x 15.7mm
- Foveon used by Sigma which measures 20.7 x 13.8mm
- Four Thirds System found in Panasonic, and Olympus cameras at a size of 17.9 x 13mm
- The 1” format used in some Nikon and Sony devices with dimensions of 13.2 x 8.8 mm
Sony has chosen to use the APS-C CMOS sensor in the a6400 camera body. The APS-C format is very close to the standard 35mm format, which gives the a6400 a relatively low crop factor or 1.53. The low crop factor gives the a6400 several advantages.
- Less loss of field of view
- Less loss of depth of field than smaller sensors
- Less overall weight in the camera
CMOS vs. 35mm
The standard 35mm film format is 36mm x 24mm. Camera lenses are designed to fill that area with the image on which the camera is focused. Unfortunately, CMOS sensors are smaller than this standard 35mm size. The Sony s6400 uses an APS-C sensor that measures 23.6 x 15.7mm. The difference in the size of the image captured is the crop factor. In this case, the crop factor for the Sony a6400 is 1.534.
To simplify things a bit, if you put the same lens on a 35mm camera and then onto a camera using an APS-C CMOS sensor, you will see a smaller amount of the image with the digital camera. This cropping effect is due to the smaller capture area on the sensor.
This difference affects several other things with the camera and the image.
- Smaller image area than a 35mm film camera
- Smaller viewfinders than on older cameras
- Smaller sensors have a shallower depth of field requiring different settings on the camera
- Different aperture settings may be needed with smaller sensors
Fortunately, the Sony a6400 automates many of the adjustments that might be necessary. Automated features mean fewer things for the photographer to consider when choosing a lens or camera settings. Fewer things to remember allows photographers to concentrate on taking pictures and not technical settings. For amateur hobby photographers taking a picture is often more important that learning and remembering levels of technical settings.
Is Digital better than Film?
The argument over digital photography vs. film photography continues even as film has almost disappeared from the photography landscape. There are advantages and disadvantages of each. The choice boils down to personal preference.
Pros for Film and Digital Photography
- Resolution for most digital cameras is usually high enough to allow large scale prints
- Film is often better for capturing images in black and white
- Memory cards are much smaller, lighter and easier to store than film canisters
- Film is considered a more artistic format than digital by many photographers
- Digital cameras allow on the fly adjustments of photos and recording video
Cons for Film and Digital Photography
- Film cameras are usually heavier and bulkier than digital cameras
- Processing photos afterward on a digital camera requires additional software and skills.
- Purchasing and developing film has become expensive.
- Digital images tend to lose detail in black and white
- With film, you never know what you have until after it is developed and printed
Number of Pixels in the Sony a6400
The Sony a6400 is advertised as a 24.2-megapixel camera. This large number of pixels allows the Sony a6400 to produce stunningly detailed photographs. The image quality is fine enough to allow pictures taken with the Sony a6400 to be blown up to incredible sizes without loss of clarity or focus. However, they are some things to consider other than just pixel count.
We need to put to bed some common misconceptions about pixel count in cameras.
- Higher pixel counts equate to better photos – This is not necessarily true. Poor photos are often taken on high pixel count cameras. The quality of the picture is much more about the skill of the photographer than the pixel count of the camera.
- There is more to the equation than pixel count – Your camera must act as a unified piece of equipment. The choice of lens, the quality of the lens, how large you intend to print the picture, all contribute to the final product, and your decision on how many pixels you need.
- Bigger is Better – This depends on how you use your camera and the types of photos you take. For the amateur hobby photographer, the added expense of a very large factor senor just doesn’t make sense for the type of photos you are taking.
The Advantages of the Sony a6400 Digital Camera
The a6400 camera offers both the professional and the amateur hobby photographer a huge list of features that make this camera especially attractive.
- 11 frame per second shooting for rapid follow-up shots
- Eight frames per second continuous shooting with no sound for silent operations
- Smart subject tracking based on AI technology
- Automatic and accurate eye recognition
- 24.2-megapixel sensor
- Enhanced image processing engine
- Improved low light image recognition
- 4K video production technology
- Time-lapse technologies
- Video Log features
- Slow-motion, quick motion and many other video functions
Click the link if you are interested in purchasing a Sony a6400 camera.