With the introduction of the a6100 and the a6600, Sony now has seven mirrorless cameras targeted at beginner-to-prosumer photographers. All have 24-megapixel APS-C image sensors, and all will work with Sony's range of E-mount lenses, but that's where the similarities end. Here's a rundown of each of Sony's mirrorless cameras, and who they're best for.
Sony's mirrorless cameras are good for more than just photography: The company released software that lets you use your Sony mirrorless camera as a webcam. For more details, including compatible cameras, here's how to use your camera as a webcam.
|Sony A6000||Sony A6100||Sony A6300||Sony A6400||Sony A6500||Sony A6600|
|Price (body only)||$448||$848||$748||$898||$1,198||$1,398|
|Sensor size (MP)||24.3||24.2||24.2||24.2||24.2||24.2|
|AF (phase/ contrast)||179/25||425/425||425/169||425/425||425/169||425/425|
|AF features||Lock-on AF, Eye AF||Real-time tracking, Eye AF, Animal Eye AF||Lock-on AF, Eye AF||Real-time tracking, Eye AF, Animal Eye AF||Lock-on AF, Eye AF||Real-time tracking, Eye AF, Animal Eye AF|
|Stabilization||None||None||None||None||5 axis||5 axis|
|Viewfinder||1440K SVGA||1440K SVGA||2359K XGA||2359K XGA||2359k XGA||2359k XGA|
|Display||Tilting LCD||180-up/74-degree down touch screen||Tilting LCD||180-up/74-degree down touch screen||Tilting touch screen||180-up/74-degree down touch screen|
|Battery life (CIPA)||360||420||400||410||350||810|
The Sony a6100 is the best Sony mirrorless camera for most people. Price-wise, it falls in between the more basic a6000 and the pricier a6400, a6500, and a6600, yet you get a good number of features found in the more expensive models.
For instance, the a6100 has real-time tracking, Eye AF and Animal Eye AF, as well as a touch screen that can tilt both up and down. It can also shoot video in resolutions up to 4K.
The chief limitations of the a6100 are its lower-resolution viewfinder, a body that's not as resistant to the elements, and no in-body image stabilization. But for the price, it's the best value.
Read our full Sony a6100 review.
Now that the a6100 is out, the Sony A6000 is showing its age—it can only shoot video at a max of 1080p, and its rear tilting LCD is not touch-enabled—but for a starting price less than $500—including the lens—it makes for the best Sony mirrorless camera for beginners.
That's because the a6000 takes great images for the price, and though its menu structure—as with all Sony cameras—is Byzantine, it has a good number of in-camera tutorials for novice shooters.
Read our full Sony a6000 review.
The Sony a6600 is the successor to the very capable a6500, and not surprisingly has many of the same features that made its predecessor so good: A 24.2MP image sensor, in-body, five-axis image stabilization, which is great not just for low-light handheld photography but also for shooting videos, and a magnesium-alloy body that can withstand dust and moisture.
However, the a6600 has a faster processor, a more robust autofocus system, so it's better able to track moving subjects, and its battery life is more than double that of the a6500. Additionally, the a6600 has a headphone jack, so you can hear what the camera's audio is recording.
Read our full Sony Alpha a6600 review.
The a6500 was Sony's first mirrorless camera in this series with built-in image stabilization, which greatly helps when shooting video as well as photos in low-light conditions. Now that the a6600 is available, Sony is starting to phase out the a6500, making it harder to find, but it's at a lower price.
It's still a great camera, with a sharp electronic viewfinder, 4K video, and a tilting touchscreen. It also has a magnesium alloy body, making it better able to withstand the occasional bump. If you want image stabilization for less than $1,000, this is the camera to get—while supplies last.
Read our full Sony a6500 review.
The a6400 was Sony's first mirrorless camera with a display that could flip 180 degrees vertically, which makes it easier for those taking videos or photos of themselves to compose a shot. However, we found that this feature isn't all that helpful, as the camera's body and lens blocks a good portion of the screen.
The A6400 also lacks in-body image stabilization, making it less of a value than the a6500, which can currently be found for less. However, we found that the a6400 produced excellent photos, good 4K video, and overall was a very good performer.
Read our full Sony A6400 review.
The a6300 has been one of the best Sony mirrorless cameras for a few years, but it's showing its age, and is being phased out by Sony. It takes excellent photos, can record 4K video, has a high-resolution viewfinder, an external mic jack, and a solid alloy body.
However, this camera is lacking in some newer niceties. For instance, it lacks the same number of contrast-detection points and has a less-capable subject-tracking autofocus than the less expensive a6100. And, while the a6300's LCD can tilt, it's not touch sensitive.
Read our full Sony A6300 review.
Sony's first foray into mirrorless cameras, the a5100, is now very inexpensive, but it lacks a lot of features many have come to expect, including an electronic viewfinder, touch-screen display and 4K video. Still, at less than $500, it could be a good model for kids who want to learn more about photography.
Read our full Sony A5100 review.