What’s up guys, Sagi here and welcome to another Tech Gear Talk. Today we’re going to compare the Sony a6400 and the Canon RP and see which one is right for you. the A6400 is an impressive and very affordable APS-C sensor camera from Sony with fast autofocus, very good low-light performance, up to 4K 30and FullHD 120fps, and a ton of other features we’re going to discuss in this comparison.
The Canon RP on the other hand, is Canon entry-level Full Frame mirrorless camera which uses the new RF mount. It offers 4K video, a fully-articulating touchscreen, built-in 4K time lapse and the proven Dual Pixel Autofocus system. e’re going to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of both cameras when it comes to photography and video, and hopefully I can help you decide which option is best for you.
My goal with every camera comparison is to give you a detailed overview of the cameras and compare them in a way that relates to real life use. Ok, let’s get going! I’m going to get into details for each aspect of the two cameras but I want to first quickly go over some overall key features in case you’re just starting your research:
I want to start talking about the sensor and processor. The a6400 come with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor. The a6400 sensor is BSI or back side illuminated, meaning that some of the elements were moved to the back of the sensor with the goal being better low-light performance. And I think that Sony did a very good job with this sensor and for the price, it performed very well in low light. The Canon RP comes with a 26MP Full Frame CMOS sensor with good jpeg performance and excellent color. In terms of resolution, there is a slight advantage to the RP with 2 additional megapixels.
Moving on, the Sony APS-C sensor has a crop factor of 1.5x and of course the RP having a full frame sensor has no crop factor. That means that if I put a 50mm lens on the a6400 and apply a 1.5x crop factor, it will give me a 35mm equivalent field of view of a 75mm lens. On the other hand, if I put that same lens on the RP I am actually getting a 50mm equivalent field of view. This means that the Canon provides a significantly wider angle of view when using the same focal length lenses.
To put this in real-world terms, here is the same shot, using the same lens at the same focal length using the a6400 and the RP, and you can see that the a6400 produces a much more cropped final image. This is going to give the advantage to the RP when we’re using wide angle lenses, because we’re actually getting the full field of view of the focal length we’re using.
On the other end of the spectrum, the a6400 will have the advantage when we use telephoto lenses. In this case, when I use a 200mm lens, the RP gives me a true 200mm field of view, whereas the a6400 now gives me a 300mm field of view, effectively bringing the subject in closer, and filling more of the frame with it.
So again, to show you a real-world example, here is the same shot with both cameras places in the exact same spot at 200mm, and you can very clearly see the difference. If you’re someone who uses a lot of wide angle lenses, for example for landscape and architecture photography, you may prefer the RP. On the other hand, if you’re shooting wildlife, or subjects that are farther away from you, you may like the additional effective focal length the a6400 provides. A full frame sensor will also give you a shallower depth of field to help you separate the subject from the background.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each sensor size, so I’m not going to give an inherent advantage to one over the other, but I did want to outline the differences. The a6400 has an iso range of up to 102400 whereas the RP has a range going up to 40,000. At lower ISO values both sensors did very well, but as ISO numbers began to rise, I would give the advantage to the a6400 because of the outstanding JPEG noise reduction. As far as processors, both the a6400 use a Bionz X processor and the RP uses the DIGIC 8 processor. The combination of sensor and processor on both cameras produced very nice images and video for me.
In addition, general menu operation is fast for both cameras, both have very quick startup and things like Image preview and video playback are nice and fast. Because of how I shoot, one of the features I look at for every camera I get is continuous or burst shooting. You can just point the camera at the subject, hold down the shutter and the camera will just keep firing. This is a nice feature if you’re photographing sports, pets, kids running around, or any fast moving subjects. Of course, the more frames you have per second, the more exposures you’ll have to pick from later on. The a6400 can shoot at up to 11fps in burst mode and the RP can shoot at up to 5fps. When we look at buffer memory, we see that the Sony reports 99 JPEG or 46 RAW images for the a6400 vs unlimited JPEG and 50 RAW images for the RP. So as far as continuous shooting, the a6400 definitely has a significant edge when it comes to speed, with more than double the number of frames per second. When it comes to buffer size, the RP clearly has the edge with unlimited JPEGS and only a slight edge when shooting RAW. For me, the a6400 fits with how I shoot because I value having more exposures over a larger buffer and I don’t ever shoot more than 99 JPEGS in burst mode. I do know that some users definitely take advantage of large buffer sizes, so it comes down to what you plan to do with the camera.
Moving on, one of the most important things for me with any tool that I use, is ergonomics in terms of both handling and functionality. As far as size goes, both cameras are relatively small which makes them both a great option when it comes to portability. I always consider the camera size in terms of performance, ergonomics and portability. Although the RP is small for a full frame sensor camera, it is quite a bit bigger than the a6400. It was more comfortable for me to hold, especially with larger lenses and had a deeper and more secure grip.
On the other hand, the a6400 while slightly less comfortable, is noticeably smaller and lighter. So if I you something that small and light to just put in your pocket and go you might like the a6400. If you like a bit of a bigger body that might be more comfortable to hold and use for long shoots and with larger lenses, you might prefer the RP. I liked the build quality on both cameras, but the a6400 has some weather-sealing to make it dust and moisture resistant, which is something that isn’t mentioned with the RP.
As far as battery life, the a6400 uses an older NP-FW50 battery and is rated for 360 shots using the viewfinder and 410 shots using the LCD. The RP uses the LP-E17 and is rated for about 250 shots. If you’ve seen my detailed Canon RP review you would have heard me mention that the LP-E17 seems undersized and I’m definitely giving the advantage to the a6400. One feature that I like about the a6400 is that they can be used while plugged in, so if you record long video sessions or for streaming, you don’t need to worry about the battery. The RP can be has a similar feature but you have to use a coupler and I’ll put a link in the description to the one I use. I’m giving the edge here to the a6400 because it doesn’t require me to buy another item and take out the battery every time I want this functionality.
When it comes to charging, the a6400 doesn’t come with a battery charger, so you have to charge the battery in the camera. The RP, also allow you to charge the battery in camera, but in addition to that it comes with a dedicated battery charger. If you end up buying extra batteries for the a6400 just remember that you’ll also need to pick up a charger so that you can charge the battery while you’re using the camera.
Let’s talk a little about the viewfinder. Because of the a6400’s rangefinder style design, the viewfinder does not protrude from the body which contributes to a more compact design. The RP has a nice and bright EVF which was more comfortable for me to use because the camera’s overall larger body. The a6400 does have the advantage of a higher selectable refresh rate of 120fps which can lead to a smoother viewing experience when panning or following a moving subject.
Next I want to discuss the button and dials on these cameras. I think if you’re buying a camera and are just using it with the factory settings you’re really missing out. Part of what you get for buying a higher end camera is the ability to customize it to work better for how you shoot. The a6400, uses the top dial and the control wheel on the back for aperture and shutter speed, and has 2 custom buttons that you can use to get quick access to frequently used features. The RP, has two dials at the top, one in the back and one toward the front.
For basic operation, I prefer the ergonomics on the RP because I can use 2 different fingers, one to control the shutter speed, and another for the aperture – whereas on the a6400, I have to move my thumb from the top dial to the control wheel. I also like that I can lock the top dial on the Canon RP so that I don’t accidentally change that setting. This was particularly useful when I was shooting video and didn’t want to accidently change my shutter speed. On the other hand, while both cameras can be customized, I feel that the a6400 gave me more options as it simply has more buttons that can be assigned a dedicated function. This ties right into the next thing that I want to talk about and that’s ease of use where I’m going to give the edge to the RP.
I found it simpler and easier to use, both in terms of the controls, the menu and with the ability to use the full touch screen which I’ll get to later on in the video. I understand, of course, that there is a subjective component here, and I’m curious to know what you think in the comment section.
Next I want to talk about resolution, framerates and image quality. For photography, the a6400 offers a 6000 x 4000 pixel image, and the RP offers a 6240 x 4160 image, so as far as strict head-to-head resolution, the slight edge goes to the RP. Both cameras can shoot in both JPEG and RAW so you can decide just how much information you want to capture depending on what you plan to do with the images in post production. I was super happy with the images I got from both cameras for the price and the photos were clean and crisp, and I really love the color I was getting from both. In terms of image quality, both cameras produced an overall image that I was very happy with, but I’m going to give the advantage to the a6400 because of the improved low-light performance of the sensor. This allowed me to shoot at higher ISO values when I needed to and the JPEG noise reduction on the a6400 is excellent in my opinion. I can do a more detailed image quality comparison in another video. So if that is something you’re interested in, let me know in the comment section and make sure you’re subscribed and have notifications turned on.
For video, the a6400 can record 4k video at 24 and 30fps and FULL HD or 1080P at 24, 30, 60 and 120fps. The RP can shoot 4K only at 24fps, and Full HD or 1080P at 24,30 and 60 – and of course these are the framerates when shooting in NTSC mode. 4K on the RP is also limited by an additional crop factor of 1.7x which is now more significant than the a6400’s APS-C center and completely negates the wide angle of view advantage the full frame sensor has for photography. 4k on the RP is also hampered by the lack of dual pixel autofocus which is replaced by contrast detection AF. Both cameras can record 4:2:2 8 bit via a clean HDMI. The a6400 has a significant edge here with a slightly smaller crop factor at 4K24, 4K30 (which the RP can’t do at all), 120fps in Full HD for great slow motion and much better autofocus when shooting in 4k. Overall, 4K footage from the a6400 is just better than the M50, so if that’s a feature you’re looking for, I would suggest you go with the Sony.
For 1080P, I’m happy with the footage I get from both cameras at 24, 30 and 60fps, but again, the Sony has the option for 120fps which gives it the edge in my opinion. The a6400 also offers a video option called S&Q which if you’re not familiar with, allows you to select frame rates ranging from 1 frame per second all the way up to 120 frames per second. The camera will then either slow it down or speed it up to either 24 or 30fps. So if you’re using S&Q 120fps, and you watch the clip in camera or on your computer, it will already be slowed down, vs shooting regular 1080p 120fps which will still need to be slowed down in your video editor.
Next let’s talk about time lapse. The a6400 offers interval shooting, which lets you have full control over your timelapse, you can drag your shutter and get the results you want. Once you’re done shooting, you’ll need to take the individual photos and compile a timelapse video using software. The RP comes with in-body 1080p and 4k timelapse, meaning that the camera will actually compile the timelapse for you so that it is ready to view.This is where you’re going to have to make a choice. The a6400 gives you much more control over the timelapse and a higher resolution, but it means you have to do work in Post production. The RP does the work for you, but you’re more limited in terms of exposure. I’m not going to pick a winner here because different users are going to have different preferences.
Moving on, since both cameras offer a clean HDMI out, they are both good options when it comes to livestreaming. One of the features that I really appreciate about the a6400 is that there is no longer a 30 minute recording limit for video. This allows for continuous shooting of longer clips and removes the hassle of having to keep track of the length of the current clip so that you don’t accidentally reach the 30 minute mark and have your camera automatically stop recording. So if you’re using this for YouTube, or to shoot an interview or record and event, you’re going to love the fact that you can record continuously for much longer.
Alright, next let’s talk about autofocus, and if you’ve watched my dedicated reviews of these cameras, you know that for the most part, I’ve been extremely impressed with the autofocus on both of these cameras. The a6400 has 425 phase and 425 contrast detection points covering 84% of the sensor. The RP uses Canon’s amazing dual pixel autofocus system and has a reported 4,779 autofocus points.
For photography, both cameras performed well with maybe a slight edge to the a6400 in terms of speed. In terms of low light, I’m going to give the edge here to the RP because it has a focus sensitivity range starting at -5 EV vs -2 EV on the a6400 and this could help you focus on underexposed areas of your image.. The Eye AF has been good with both cameras and I absolutely love it when I shoot portraits because I don’t have to worry about getting a focus point exactly on the subject’s eye, and I can just concentrate on framing. If eyes are not detected, both cameras will revert back to face tracking. In my experience, the a6400 Eye-AF worked better and was able to pick up the eyes on a subject that was a little farther away from the camera. The a6400 also offers Animal Eye AF which is really important to me because I take a lot of photos of my dogs and traditional zone autofocus options would focus on the nose because it’s closer to the camera.
For video, in 1080p I have always been a fan of Canon’s dual pixel autofocus and the RP does a great job. I am completely confident that when the camera is facing me, my face is identified, is being tracked and that there will be no hunting. The a6400 also has Face tracking which works really well and I did not experience the type of hunting I sometimes got from older Sony models. Both cameras also offer subject tracking which is great and can be activated using the touch screen, but the RP has an easier to use in my opinion. Moving to 4K, the a6400 is the clear winner because the RP loses the dual pixel auto focus and instead uses a much slower and less reliable system. So to recap, in 1080p, I’m happy with what I get from both cameras, but when you move to 4k, the a6400 wins and it’s not even close. The RP autofocus modes and interface using the touchscreen makes it much easier to use for tracking, but if you plan on shooting in 4K, you should definitely take the autofocus limitation into account if you don’t plan on using manual focus.
Let’s talk a little about the screen. The a6400 has a 3” 922K LCD tilting flip screen so we can finally see ourselves when we’re in front of the camera without using an external monitor. It’s not the most elegant implementation and if you want to know more about it check out my detailed review, but it does work. The RP has a fully articulating screen that can be tilted up, down and to both sides, plus turned 180 degrees to face the front. If you take into account different types of photography, using the camera on a slider and a gimbal, there is no question that the advantage here goes to the RP in terms of screen positioning. Both companies refer to their screens as touch screen, but the RP has a full touch screen while the a6400 only has a partial one. On the RP, you can navigate the menu, select options and features from the screen, and touch or drag to focus. On the a6400, you can only use the touch functionality for focus so once again, I’m going to give the advantage to the RP. Overall, as I mentioned in the ergonomics section, the screen on the RP is much more versatile and contributes to a more streamlined and intuitive user interface experience.
The next set of features that I want to bring up have to do with Audio. Both the a6400 and the RP have an external mic input, so you can use an external microphone to get excellent audio right into the camera. A feature I liked about both cameras is that audio levels display is always available on the LCD when you’re in movie mode. So as you’re preparing to record, and even while you’re shooting, you can see the levels and you can also adjust them while recording. Part of my custom setup for the a6400 included making this change more accessible without having to go into the menu, and I’ll put links in the description to that video. With the RP, you can just click on the Q button and then use the touchscreen to make adjustments to the audio levels. I recently put out a video discussing the importance of audio for video and I’ll link to it up in the corner and in the description. In addition to an external mic input, the RP also has a headphone jack, so I can plug in a set of headphones to monitor audio. I use this feature with every one of my cameras that offers it, because it has saved me so much work. The levels display is great for setting the gain or volume levels, but there have been so many times when I put on a pair of headphones to monitor audio and then realized that I can still hear a dehumidifier in the other room, or any type of interference that I wouldn’t know about otherwise. Overall I’m going to give the edge to the RP when it comes to audio, because I appreciate being able to monitor audio using the headphone jack.
Next I want to talk about lens options. The RP uses the new Canon RF mount. This new mount has a wide diameter and a 20mm flange focal distance so it’s supposed to allow Canon to create lenses that are smaller and faster than their DSLR equivalents. At the time this video is being made, the RF lineup of lenses is, to be fair, limited and quite expensive. So far there is a 24-105mm f/4 for $1099, and new 85mm f/1.2 for $2,699, a 28-70mm f/2 for $2,999, a 35mm f/1.8 macro for $449 and a 50mm f/1.2 for $2,099. We are finally starting to see more affordable options with a soon-to-be-released 24-240 f/4-6.3 IS lens for $899. If you want to use your EF or EF-S mount lenses on the RP you can use an adapter. There are some limitations when using EF-S lenses but there are also some interesting options with drop in filters. I discuss this in more detail in my dedicated review, but I want to mention that every time you use an adapter you’re adding another part and you’re also increasing the size of your setup.
The a6400 uses the E-mount which offers a ton of options. Normally, people complain about the cost of the high-end Sony lenses but if you compare them to the RF mount lenses lenses, you are in the same ballpark or even lower. There are also a ton of more affordable options for non-professionals and many more options from third-party manufacturers. At this time, I’m going to give the edge to the a6400 because there are a lot more options that don’t require an adapter, and if you buy full-frame sensor lenses, you can upgrade your body in the future and re-use your lenses.
I also want to talk about other features that this camera has that may help you make a buying decision. First I want to talk about Image Stabilization.
The a6400 does not have image stabilization so you’ll have to rely on lens-based OSS. The RP also does not have sensor-shifting In-Body Image Stabilization, but it does offer in-body digital image stabilization which can work together with the lens-based IS. I normally don’t rely on it and would rather use warp stabilizer in premiere pro but if that’s something you plan on using it would be an advantage for the RP.
The next thing I want to talk about is the apps. The a6400 uses the Imaging Edge app which is fairly basic. You can control shooting mode, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and White Balance for both photography and video. For stills, you also control the self timer, continuous shooting settings, and there are some flash options. For video you can adjust your framerate, movie format and you can start and stop recording. The biggest problem is that you can’t see which autofocus mode is selected and you can’t change modes. You also can’t see where the focus point or select a focus point – this makes the app useless for me when it comes to video, unless I’m only using it for framing and to start and stop video. The Canon Camera Connect app gives you full functionality for photography and video which includes seeing and select focus modes and points. Both apps let you preview and transfer images and video to your mobile device. I’m going to give the edge to the RP because the focus feature on the app is critical to how I shoot.
Ok, so which camera is a better value and which one should you get?
In order to make a decision we need to discuss the cost. At the time I’m making this video, the a6400 costs $900 and the RP costs $1,300, so that’s a significant difference when you’re looking at this price point. The a6400 has more framerate options in 4k, 120fps 1080p for excellent slow motion, great video quality in 4k with better autofocus, better low light performance, faster burst shooting, more dials and custom buttons and dials, a better battery life, no time recording limit and is less expensive. Overall, I preferred the ergonomics on the RP, it can do in-body time lapse, has a fully articulating real touch screen, an easier to use interface, offers digital image stabilization, uses a better app and offers audio monitoring with a headphone jack.
I always say, you can’t have everything in every camera so it comes down to what’s important to you and how you shoot. I do my best to answer every question, so if you have any additional questions for me, put them in the comments section. I really hope this article gave you a good comparison between the Sony a6400 and Canon RP, and I would love to hear in the comments section which option is best for you and why.
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