Sony Announces a6400 and Major Firmware Updates for a9, a7 III, a7R III

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Sony Announces its Next-generation a6400 Mirrorless Camera with Real-time Eye Autofocus, Real-time Tracking and World’s Fastest AF

 

New APS-C Mirrorless Camera Features Excellent Image Quality, Compact Design and Many Advanced Technologies From Sony’s Full-frame Lineup

• World’s Fastest 0.02 seconds AF acquisition speed plus 425 phase-detection and contrast-detection AF points covering approximately 84% of image area
• Advanced Real-time Eye AF
• New Real-time Tracking for object tracking
• 24.2MP APS-C Exmor™ CMOS image sensor and latest-generation BIONZ X™ image processor
• 180-degree fully tiltable LCD touch screen for self-recording
• High-speed continuous shooting at up to 11 fps mechanical shutter / 8 fps silent shooting with continuous AF/AE tracking
• High-resolution 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, plus advanced AF speed and stability
• Interval recording for time-lapse videos

Sony-a6400-70-200

SAN DIEGO — Jan. 15, 2019 — Sony Electronics Inc. today introduced an exciting new addition to its E-mount mirrorless camera lineup – the a6400 (model ILCE-6400).

Sony α6400 ($898 Body only) brings many of Sony’s most advanced technologies from their acclaimed full-frame lineup to a compact, lightweight APS-C camera. The speedy new camera boasts the world’s fastesti autofocus (AF) acquisition of 0.02 secondsii, while also introducing the new advanced “Real-time Eye AF” and ”Real-time Tracking” capabilities. Also included are high-speed shooting at up to 11 fpsiv with AF/AE tracking, a new-generation BIONZ X image processing engine that produces excellent image quality, 4Kvi video recording, a fully 180-degree tiltable LCD touch screen and much more, making it the ultimate tool for all types of creators ranging from professionals to vloggers.

“The a6400 represents another important step in the growth of Sony’s overall interchangeable lens camera lineup,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of Imaging Solutions at Sony Electronics. “By bringing so many of our latest and most advanced technologies from full-frame cameras to a brand new APS-C model, we are giving today’s creators more options than ever to realize their vision.”

Speedy Performance that Captures Decisive Moments

The impressive autofocus system on the new α6400 inherits many technologies from Sony’s newest line-up of full-frame cameras including the a9, a7R III and a7 III models. The new a6400 features 425 phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast-detection AF points that are placed densely over the entire image area, covering approximately 84% of the image area. This high-speed, high-performance tracking AF system is paired with a new-generation BIONZ X image processing engine that together allow the camera to acquire focus in as little as 0.02 secondsii and maintain subject lock extremely effectively, ensuring even the fastest moving subjects can be tracked and captured with ease.

The a6400 introduces advanced “Real-time Eye AF,” the latest version of Sony’s acclaimed Eye AF technology. This exciting new capability employs artificial intelligence based object recognition to detect and process eye data in real time, resulting in improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF. In all autofocus modes, the camera now automatically detects the eyes of the subject and activates Eye AF with a half press of the shutter button, and when in AF-C or AF-A mode, the preferred eye (left or right) of your subject can be selected as the focus point. Choices include Auto / Right Eye / Left Eye, and a Switch Right / Left Eye function is able to be assigned to a custom function as well. This exciting new technology completely frees the photographer to focus solely on composition with full trust that focus will be tack sharp on the subject’s eye. Eye AF support for animals will be added in summer 2019 via a system software update, ideal for wildlife photographers.

Also debuting on the α6400 is Sony’s newly developed “Real-time Tracking.” This mode utilizes Sony’s latest algorithm including artificial intelligence (AI) based object recognition and processes color, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness) as spatial information to ensure that all subjects can be captured with excellent accuracy. Additionally, when photographing or videographing humans or animals, face and eye position information is recognized by AI and the subject’s eyevii is monitored in real time with extremely high tracking precision. This can be activated by a simple half press of the shutter button, or can be assigned to a custom function as well.

In terms of overall shooting speeds, the new camera can shoot at up to 11 fpsiv with full AF/AE tracking while utilizing the mechanical shutter, and up to 8 fpsv with full AF/AE tracking while silent shooting. It can shoot at each of these speeds for up to 116 frames JPEG Standard / 46 frames RAW compressed, greatly increasing the chances of capturing the perfect moment.

All-around Advancements in Image Quality

Sony’s new a6400 is equipped with a 24.2 MPiii APS-C sized image sensor with that is paired with an upgraded BIONZ X processor to deliver incredible advancements in image quality and color reproduction in all types of shooting conditions. Standard ISO ranges up to ISO 32000 for both still and movie, and is expandable up to ISO 102400 for still images, with excellent noise reduction at medium and high sensitivities.

The camera also inherits many of the image processing algorithms from Sony’s newest full-frame cameras, greatly suppressing noise while preserving resolution and improving texture depiction.

Advanced High-Resolution 4K Movie Recording with Fast Hybrid Autofocus

The versatile α6400 is an exceptional video camera, offering internal 4K (QFHD: 3840 x 2160) movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning to collect about 2.4x the amount of data required for 4K movies, and then oversamples it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Focusing during movie shooting is fast and stable thanks to upgraded Fast Hybrid AF technology, which keeps the subject in constant smooth focus no matter the scene, and even if an object crosses in front of the camera. This advanced AF plus touch focus functionality make it an ideal camera choice for many vloggers and video creators that are regularly creating and uploading content online.

For time-lapse movie creation, the new camera features built-in interval recording that can be set anywhere between 1 and 60 seconds, with a total number of shots from 1 to 9999. AE tracking sensitivity can be adjusted to “High”, “Mid” or “Low” during interval shooting, allowing for reduced changes in exposure over the shooting interval.

Additionally, for the first time in Sony APS-C mirrorless camera, the new model includes an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) picture profile, which supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased color grading flexibility, as well as Zebra functionality, Gamma Display assist and proxy recording. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow-motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

Upgraded Build to Maximize Versatility

The new camera is designed to offer a high level of functionality and customization to maximize shooting freedom. New on the α6400 is a fully 180-degree tiltable, 3.0-type LCD flip screen with 921k-dots of resolution that allows for simple and effective framing of selfie-style shooting for both still and video capture. Utilizing this capability, vloggers will be able to check and monitor composition throughout their entire creative process. The LCD screen is also equipped with touch functionality, with options for Touch Pad, Touch Focus, Touch Shutter and new Touch Tracking which quickly activates “Real-time Tracking” through the touch screen.

The camera features a high quality XGA OLED Tru-finder™ viewfinder, extensive customization with 89 functions that are assignable to 8 custom keys, the new My Dial and My Menu functionality, enhanced overall menu usability, a help screen for menus, star rating for images, and many other features that allow for a seamless shooting experience. It is also built with a tough magnesium alloy design and has an extremely durable shutter that is rated for approximately 200,000 cycles. It also is capable of seamlessly transferring files to a smartphone or tablet when connected to the brand new Imaging Edge Mobile application.

Pricing and Availability

The a6400 will ship in February 2019 for a suggested retail price of $900 USD and $1,250 CAD. It will also be offered as a kit with the 16-50mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens for a suggested retail price of $1,000 USD and $1,350 CAD, or in a kit with the 18-135mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens for a suggested retail price of $1,300 USD and $1,750 CAD. The camera and kits will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

1 Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras equipped with an APS-C image sensor as of January 2019, based on Sony research
2 CIPA-compliant, internal measurement method with an E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens mounted, Pre-AF off and viewfinder in use
3 Approximate effective megapixels
4 In “Hi+” continuous shooting mode. Maximum fps will depend on camera settings
5 Maximum fps will depend on camera settings. Some distortion may occur with fast-moving subjects or if the camera is moved sideways rapidly while shooting
6 A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC card is required for XAVC S format movie recording. UHS speed Class 3 or higher is required for 100Mbps recording
7 Accurate focus may not be achieved with certain subjects in certain situations
8 “Tracking” must be enabled via the menu beforehand
9 The latest version of Imaging Edge “Viewer” and PlayMemories Home desktop applications is required
10 Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via USB cable when displaying HDR (HLG) movies
11 S-Log2 and S-Log3 are premised on processing pictures
12 Pixels to be read are limited to the sensor area that is required for Full HD movies
13 Sony internal tests with electronic front curtain shutter
14 Availability of transfer / playback depends on the performance of the smartphone and tablet

Sony Announces α9 Camera Upgrade Through Major Firmware Updates

— New Firmware Releases will Deliver Enhanced Autofocus Performance and New Functionality for Sony’s Acclaimed Full-frame Camera —

SAN DIEGO — Jan. 15, 2019 — Sony Electronics Inc. today announced a major upgrade to its α9 mirrorless camera that will be available via a firmware updates.

Sony’s revolutionary α9 camera will receive several major enhancements to its award-winning autofocus (AF) performance and image quality, as well as receive a variety of new features that are designed to improve the overall workflow for professional photographers. In addition, new firmware updates for α7R III and α7 III will be available that update these cameras with the latest enhancements including Real-time Eye AF performance and add interval recording capacities.

“These new firmware upgrades demonstrate the strong commitment that Sony has to our customers,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of Imaging Solutions at Sony Electronics. “Their voice is critical to everything we do, and being able to provide our customers with new capabilities is a source of great pride for Sony.”

Firmware Ver. 5.0 and Ver. 6.0 for Sony a9

The upcoming firmware version 5.0 for a9 adds Sony’s newly developed Real-time Tracking mode for object tracking. This mode utilizes Sony’s latest algorithm—including Artificial Intelligence-based object recognition—and processes color, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness) as well as spatial (distance) information to ensure that all subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and precision. When photographing or videographing humans or animals, face and eye position information is recognized by AI and the subject’s eye is monitored in real time with extremely high tracking precision. In addition, “Tracking On” helps initiate real-time tracking at any time by simply pressing a custom-assigned button and “Touch Tracking,” which quickly activates through the touch screenii.

With this new firmware version 5.0, Sony’s acclaimed a9 camera will receive advanced “Real-time Eye AF,” the latest version of Sony’s acclaimed Eye AF technology. This exciting new capability employs AI-based object recognition to detect and process eye location data in real time, resulting in improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF. In all autofocus modes, the camera can automatically detect the eyes of the subject and activate Eye AF with a half press of the shutter button, and the camera will seamlessly track the eyes at all times when in AF-C mode. The new firmware will also enable photographers to select the preferred eye (left or right) of their subject as the focus point.

Other focusing capabilities that will be available with the new firmware include Touch Pad, Touch Tracking, an extended phase-detection AF aperture range that has been increased from F11 to F16, and Fast Hybrid AF for movie shooting that provides smooth, automated focusing for movies.

Image quality will also be enhanced with the new a9 firmware version 5.0, specifically in the areas of color reproduction. The camera will more accurately account for subtle changes in light for smoother, more natural tonal gradations in elements like the sky. There is a new auto white balance algorithm that gets added as well, which produces more consistently balanced images while burst shooting. Other new functions for efficient controls and data management include My Dial and Dual Slot media menu improvement, rating and protect functions.

In addition to the several new capabilities, the firmware also adds compatibility with Sony’s new Imaging Edge Mobile application – the successor to the PlayMemories Mobile™ application. The new Imaging Edge Mobile application features a ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ function to assist professional workflow. This allows photographers to transfer images from their camera to their smartphone during capture using the FTP transfer functionality,and adds support for including IPTC metadata on transferred images.

Version 6.0 firmware for the α9 camera will add Eye AF for animal eyesi, an exciting new feature for wildlife photographers that will enable interval shooting functionality for creating time-lapse movies.

The new system firmware update version 5.0 is scheduled for launch in March 2019, and version 6.0 is scheduled for Summer 2019.

Firmware Ver. 3.0 for Sony a7R III and a7 III

Sony’s popular α7R III and α7 III full-frame cameras will both receive enhanced Real-time Eye AF performance with the upcoming firmware version 3.0. This will be available in AF-C mode with a simple half-press of the shutter button. Real-Time Eye AF for animals will also be available.

The cameras will also receive interval recording functionality that will allow for simple creation of time-lapse moviesvii. The new feature can be set for anywhere between 1 and 60 seconds, with a total number of shots from 1 to 9999. AE tracking sensitivity can also be adjusted to “High”, “Mid” or “Low” during interval recording, allowing for reduced changes in exposure over the shooting interval.

The new system firmware update version 3.0 is scheduled in April 2019.

A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content related to all of Sony’s exciting announcements can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site built to educate and inspire all fans and customers of the Sony α brand. The new content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery and the Sony Camera Channel on YouTube.

1 Accurate focus may not be achieved with certain subjects in certain situations
2 Function must be set via the menu beforehand
3 A successor application of PlayMemories Mobile. Existing PlayMemories Mobile users can use this by updating PlayMemories Mobile
4 Add-on mobile application for ‘Imaging Edge Mobile’. Available countries: US/Canada/UK/France/Germany/Hong Kong/China/Australia/Japan. User registration is required to use this application. Compatible with ILCE-9 with firmware update Ver.5.0 or later, ILCE-7RM3, ILCE-7M3
5 Compatible with ILCE-9 with firmware update Ver.5.0 or later
6 IPTC metadata for digital image metadata is a standard created by the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council)
7 The latest version of “Imaging Edge” ‘Viewer’ and PlayMemories Home desktop applications is required

New Imaging Edge Software Enhances Mobile Connectivity and Expands the Creative Capabilities of Sony Cameras

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17 thoughts on “Sony Announces a6400 and Major Firmware Updates for a9, a7 III, a7R III”

  1. I watched that announcement live and I must say, Sony appears to be on the ‘bleeding’ edge of both pro and consumer digital imaging technology.

    I can not wait to get the new firmware in my a7’s and see it work.

  2. Hi Brian,
    A couple of more things I hope Sony would address if not already in these newer FWs…
    1. Allow user programmable frame per second settings for L M H and Hs like Nikon has.
    2. Allow different Custom Buttons settings to be saved along with each Memory Settings.
    3. Allow naming for different Memory Settings, ie Sports, Landscapes etc instead of 1 2 M1 M2…
    4. Get rid of Auto Focus Area Selection sleep timer, or match the LCD/EVF/Camera display sleep timer. I leave my Display/Camera sleep to 5min but if I try to select AF area say 2 mins being idle it would not move but the display is still on making me think something is wrong when in fact all it needed was to half press the shutter button to wake up.
    5. Match the RAW/JPEG SD Card Slot Save selection menu to the A7RIII/A7III.

    Thank you.

  3. Hi Brian,

    It is possible that in the future there will also be an firmware update to the a6500 with some of the improvements described here?

    Thanks.

  4. Hi Brian, thanks for this information. Do you think that Sony’s going to release an update for the 7R2, with some of these AF improvements ?

  5. Hi Brian!

    Can A6400 limit the AF area options in the side menu? I read that the new firmware of A9 has a feature called AF Area Limit, which only makes the chosen AF areas showed in the side menu. Don’t know if A6400 can do this?

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