Updated in: May 6th 2019
The Sony a6300/a6400/a6500 cameras are excellent tools for still and video work thanks to their high quality 24MP APS-C sensor, fast AF system and professional 4K capabilities. Their compact size makes them the ideal companion for everyday photography but as soon as you start to use them intensively, you will likely need a few extra accessories to make the shooting experience more comfortable. This is why we decided to compile this in-depth list of all the products we felt could be useful for an a6300/a6400/a6500 user.
Just as with our Fuji X-T20 / X-T30 accessory article, we carefully selected and tested all the items to make sure they are reliable. For many categories, you will find two products that each fulfil different needs or budgets.
Before beginning, please take a moment to assess the following:
- Suggestions: as you can imagine, it is very difficult to try all the accessories available for these cameras. If there is an accessory you enjoy and would like us to mention, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. We always welcome suggestions from our readers!
- a6300, a6400 and a6500: we previously bought the a6300 and a6500 for our tests and comparisons, and we currently own an a6400. If you are wondering about the differences between the three cameras, you can read our comparison preview here. Most of the accessories listed here were tested on the a6300 but we made sure to include compatibility information for the a6400 and a6500 as well.
- Updates: if we come across other products worth mentioning, we will add them to the list.
Ethics statement: We bought many of the accessories mentioned in this article while others were loaned to us for a limited period of time. A few of the products we tested in the past on similar cameras. We were not asked to write anything about these products, nor were we provided with any sort of compensation. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
- May 2019: added compatibility information for the a6400, updated the thumb grip list, added extra accessories for audio, v-log and memory cards
- September 2017: added the lens adapters section
Design and comfort: half case
Half cases are there to beautify the camera more than anything else but they also do the job of providing some extra comfort and protecting the bottom half of the camera.
- Leather can discolour after a long period of time
- If you attach a tripod plate, it may leave some marks on the leather at the bottom
- Even if it is a snug fit, some dust will inevitably make its way inside the nooks and crannies over time.
Sony LCS-EBE body case
The Sony body case has a few smart features like the opening on the left side that allows you to access the connectors. You can also swap batteries and SD cards without the need to remove the case but bear in mind that it adds considerable depth to the bottom which makes it difficult to extract the memory card.
The case can be attached easily thanks to the locking knob at the bottom without additional keys or coins and it features a tripod socket. It doesn’t interfere with the wireless NFC connection. The design fits the shape of the a6300 well including the front grip. It is available in black or brown.
What didn’t impressed me is the overall build quality. The faux leather finish feels a little cheap. The case is made of different parts stuck together (including a plastic base) rather than one or two single blocks. The side and bottom openings don’t feel particular strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if they come off after intense or careless use. Given the price, I was expecting something better given that it is an official Sony accessory.
- Good: battery/SD card and side connector access, tripod socket, easy to attach
- To consider: the faux leather and overall build quality feels cheap
- Compatibility: Yes for the a6300 and a6400, no for the a6500 because the grip is slightly larger. However there is a separate case designed by Sony for the a6500 called LCS-EBG. It has the same features but is made of genuine leather which suggests a better quality. It is available in black only and is more expensive.
Bolin (Boliner) Camera Case
The Bolin half case is reasonably priced, is made of genuine leather, feels well built and is comfortable to use. You can find it in different colour combinations and it adds a nice vintage touch to your Sony camera. You can access the battery and SD card compartment easily because the case doesn’t add much height to the bottom. The connectors on the side remain accessible. To attach the case you need a screwdriver or coin to tighten the copper knob at the bottom, which also includes a standard tripod attachment.
Depending on where you live, you may find slightly different versions of the case. Mine came with a matching colour leather wrist strap that is very nice to use but you can also find it with a full body cover (compatible with the 16-55mm kit lens) and neck strap.
- Good: price, colour choice, grip and comfort, tripod socket, battery/SD card remain accessible
- To consider: comes in different bundles depending on your location (wrist strap, neck strap etc.)
- Compatibility: Yes for the a6300 and a6400. For the a6500, make sure to choose the correct version since the grip is slightly larger. Bolin also has a second version for the a6500 with premium leather quality, more colour choice and a different closure for the battery compartment. However it is more expensive and doesn’t include extra items.
Better ergonomics: thumb grips
The front grip of the cameras are more than enough for most situations. However if you want some extra comfort, thumb grips are a good solution because they are small and discreet and improve the ergonomics without adding extra bulk.
Lensmate Thumb Grip
We mention Lensmate products a lot because we love the build quality as well as the clever and comfortable design. The a6300/a6500 version is no different. It improves the grip and provides a convenient and accessible place to rest your thumb.
There is an important aspect to take into account however: because of the nature of the camera’s design, the grip rests on the shooting mode dial (a small rubber cushion prevents scratching). To access the dial you have to flip out the thumb rest which can be a somewhat annoying if you frequently use the dial. All the buttons on the top rear as well as the other dials remain accessible.
- Good: comfortable, good build quality, buttons remain accessible
- To consider: you need to flip it out whenever you want to turn the shooting mode dial
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400 and a6500
Note: the previously listed Gadget Thumb Grip has been replaced with the better designed Fotodiox Thumb Grip E
Fotodiox Thumb Grip E
The Fotodiox grip attaches to the hot-shoe and has a cold-shoe on top which means you can keep mounting accessories in the same place. Note however that there aren’t any electronic contacts so it won’t work with flashes or other products that need to communicate with the camera electronically. This includes Sony’s multi interface shoe accessories.
The thumb grip is in a good position and makes holding the camera more comfortable because you can position your thumb higher than on the native grip on the rear of the camera. If you need to rotate the two main dials, simply put your finger underneath and lift the grip a little. It works well for the shooting mode dial but not as well for the exposure dial. With the latter however, you can rotate it by positioning your thumb on the right side rather than behind – that way the grip doesn’t really interfere.
When mounted, the grip doesn’t obstruct the screen view too much when flipped up 180˚. You can also flip it to the other side when not needed instead of removing it and inserting it again.
- Good: comfortable, doesn’t obstruct any controls, can be flipped to the other side when not in use
- To consider: the exposure dial is more comfortable to rotate from the right side
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
More power: battery grip, spare batteries and charger
Sony mirrorless cameras have a short battery life and the a6300/a6400/a6500 are no exception. Luckily there are affordable solutions to increase the performance.
Meike MK-A6300 Battery Grip
Sony hasn’t developed an official battery grip for the a6000 line-up but fortunately a few third-party manufacturers have. However because the cameras don’t have dedicated electronic contacts at the bottom, there are a few limitations to be aware of:
- in order to use the shutter button you must connect the grip to the external USB port. Basically the grip acts like an external wired remote
- you won’t find additional controls such as aperture/shutter speed dials or a back focus button.
The Meike battery grip can house two NP-FW50 batteries which doubles the capacity of the camera. It works by inserting the supplied dummy battery into the camera that will act as a power supply. Connecting the grip is easy as it aligns naturally with the camera: just make sure that the sticky contacts of the dummy battery are properly connected to the socket on the grip. A locking mechanism allows you to secure the pair. Remember that you will have to remove the grip every time you want to change the memory card. The build quality is good but it is not weather sealed.
The shutter button of the Meike is precise to use and responsive and I actually prefer it slightly to the native one of the a6300. The grip is covered with rubber and is comfortable to hold in vertical orientation: your middle, ring and pinky fingers rest comfortably and the grip is large enough for people that have big hands. If I were to nitpick, I could say that the front should be a little thicker. When using the camera in landscape mode, the grip still adds more comfort.
The lack of any other buttons or dials on the rear makes it more uncomfortable to use in vertical/portrait mode however. You can still manage to reach the camera’s rear command wheel but to rotate the top exposure dial or access other buttons, you need to use your left hand as well.
The camera doesn’t recognise two batteries so it will display the percentage left for the first battery, then switch to the percentage of the second once the first is empty. I noticed that the readings are sometimes misleading. For example it can switch to the second battery while the first is not yet empty (18/20% of juice left). If you want to use the remaining charge of the first battery, you will need to pull out the second.
Note: the same product can be found under different brand names including Vello and Neewer.
- Good: not expensive, increases the battery life, improves the grip in vertical mode, shutter button is responsive
- To consider: it’s a two handed operation in vertical orientation if you want to reach all the buttons and dials, battery percentage reading can be misleading
- Compatibility: Yes for the a6300 and a6400, there is a separate version for the a6500 (MK-A6500) that offers the same features
Patona NP-FW50 (Europe)
Patona is one of the most trusted companies in Europe when it comes to spare batteries. We own two of them that we got in a bundle with a USB charger. They’ve been working fine although after two years of use they’ve started to lose some endurance in comparison to the originals. The new premium versions have more amperage, a lower power consumption and should prove a better choice in the long run. You can easily find a bundle with two batteries at an attractive price and Patona sells cheap chargers as well.
- Good: cost less than the official battery, can be found in bundles, premium version available
- To consider: performance can decrease over time
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
RAVPower NP-FW50 (Europe and US)
RAVPower gives you a better deal than Patona if you are lucky enough to find a bundle with two batteries and a USB charger. They share the same amperage characteristics of the Sony originals but come at a much cheaper price. The dual charger is very handy and can re-charge two batteries from 0% to 100% in approximately two and a half hours. Charging one battery is faster with a duration of approximately 1 hours 1/2. Two handy LED lights show you when the first and then the second battery are charged.
The double charger comes with a USB cable which is useful to charge from a computer, portable charger or even in your car. You will need an optional USB wall adapter to charge it via a regular socket though (the one provided with the camera worked fine for me).
As for the performance, they lasted more than my original used Sony batteries especially when recording 4K video with a 30min clip consuming approx. 30% instead of 45%. The battery life decrease more rapidly when there is a 50% charge remaining though.
- Good: inexpensive, same endurance as the originals, interesting bundle that includes a dual charger
- To consider: the dual charger comes with a USB cable only and not a wall socket
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
Extra protection: screen shields
Sony cameras aren’t famous for their rear LCD build quality. The coating in particularly often starts to come off after a year of use. Applying a screen shield is not a bad idea and gives you more protection against scratches or severe impacts.
- clean the LCD and make sure that there aren’t any tiny particles left before applying the screen protector
- don’t rush and spread from the centre towards the edges or carefully from one side to the other. If some bubbles appear, drag them out right away.
Sony PCK-LM17 screen protector
The PCK-LM17 is a semi-hard screen shield with a dark frame that matches the size of the a6300/a6500 LCD monitor. Actually after applying it I noticed the screen is ever so slightly smaller but it is not a big concern.
To apply it, you simply remove the two protective covers, align the black border to the top left corner of the LCD and press it against the screen to attach. Just make sure to apply it with the right orientation: the Sony name goes at the bottom and the thinner border goes on the left. The installation was super easy and I had no trouble at all with bubbles. Sony also advises you not to press at the centre to avoid having a rainbow pattern appear on the shield. When applying it, it might be a good idea to take off the EVF eyecup just to have a better view.
Although Sony lists the accessory as compatible with the a6000 and a6300 only, the a6500 screen size is exactly the same and several users have reported that it doesn’t affect the touch screen capabilities.
- Good: perfect size, semi-hard, easy to apply
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
Expert Shield screen protector
Expert Shield is one of our favourite brands. They produce excellent soft screen covers if you don’t like the semi-rigid types. We’ve used them on several of our mirrorless cameras and always find them resistant and reliable. There are three shield types you can choose between: Anti-Glare features a special matte finish that reduces reflections, Glass is 0.28mm thicker while the Crystal Clear version is more discreet (0.15mm thick only). They are easy to install and don’t interfere with the touch screen. Included in the package is a lint cleaning cloth.
- Good: quality, easy to install and remove, three types to choose from
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
Carrying solutions: neck straps
The strap provided with the camera does the job but you may be tempted to use something more comfortable, stylish or practical.
Peak Design Leash II
The new Leash strap is a great improvement over its predecessor. Available in two colours (Black or Ash), it features two quick adjusters to shorten or lengthen the strap while wearing it, which are really comfortable and easy to use. The strap is made of high quality material including aluminium anodised hardware, hypalon and nylon webbing.
It is small yet resistant and comfortable to wear around your neck (especially when using small prime lenses) or over the shoulder thanks to the aluminium plate that you can attach to the bottom of your camera. The quick release anchor links are thinner than the previous ones which allows you to slide them in the eyelets of the camera directly.
- Good: robust, easy to adjust, anchor link system, can be worn around the neck or over the shoulder (bottom plate provided)
- To consider: if you use large and heavy lenses, you may want to consider something larger like the Slide Lite or Slide straps. You can see them all in our Peak Design strap comparison here.
If you like simple and minimalistic straps made of real quality leather, then Nucis is an excellent choice. There is a good selection to choose from: some have more of a vintage look while others are more elegant. Personally we like the Good Vibes series because of the contrasting colours on either side (red and black or orange and brown). They are comfortable to use and have a premium feel. There is also a version compatible with Peak Design anchor links. Finally if you like eco-friendly products, the Cork version is an interesting alternative and is surprisingly robust.
- Good: premium quality, good selection, simple and elegant design
- To consider: if you use heavy lenses on your camera, you may want to look for something larger
Check price of the Nucis straps on the Nucis website
Carrying solutions: wrist straps
If you like to use your a6300, a6400 or a6500 with one small prime lens, then a wrist strap might be all you need. Here are two products I really like.
Peak Design Cuff II
The original Cuff was a little bit too simplistic and lacked the “wow” factor of Peak Design’s other products. The new Cuff is a good step forward. First it comes in two different colours (Black or Ash). Second it has a clever one-handed adjustment mechanism whereby you simply tug or pull the strap. When not attached to the camera, you can wrap it around your wrist like a bracelet: the anchor link placeholder remains attached thanks to the internal magnet that you can reposition. Here as well the quality of the materials is excellent and the strap is soft and comfortable.
- Good: premium quality, 1-handed adjustment mechanism, can be used as a bracelet when not attached to the camera
- To consider: when worn as a bracelet, the magnet is not strong enough so it can detach and doesn’t fold well around small wrists.
4V Design Ergo
The Ergo strap has a nice pre-curved shape that rests naturally on your wrist and prevents it from slipping away. It is made of tanned Italian leather and is available in five different colours. On the inside, soft foam padding improves the comfort. At the end there is a robust 10mm attachment band that is adjustable. Included you find a metal split ring, a protective leather pad and a quick release extension. Yes, it is a little bit pricey but it is one of the most comfortable wrist straps I’ve ever tested.
- Good: premium leather quality, well designed and very comfortable to wear
- To consider: on the expensive side
More light: compact flash units
Sony offers an interesting range of speedlights going from the most simple to the most advanced but they are usually expensive. Here are two affordable alternatives if you want to begin to experiment with flash.
The Godox TT350S is a lightweight and compact flash that fits the size of the a6000 series perfectly. It has a good plastic build quality and doesn’t feel too cheap despite the low price. You may find the head stiff to rotate at first but it will loosen over time. It comes with a soft pouch, a soft box and small stand.
The TT350 is very easy to use thanks to the rear LCD screen and user interface. The buttons are responsive and easy to press and the central dial is precise in operation. There is a USB port to receive firmware updates. Unfortunately the AF Assist beam doesn’t work with E-mount cameras but that is a Sony limitation.
The flash has lots of interesting features including full TTL compatibility, HSS and a Multi strobe mode. Its guide number however is not really powerful (GN 36m / 118f) and you can see its limitation when working outdoors in HSS mode for example: the flash is not able to output a lot of power unless you keep it really close to the subject. It is powered by two AA type batteries and the battery life as a result isn’t great. The recycle time isn’t bad when the batteries are fully charged but it can easily decrease to 5 or 8 seconds especially when using the flash at full power.
The good news is that it can work as an optical slave in manual mode and more important, it can be used as a master or slave unit with TTL and HSS with the 2.4GHz radio transmission. It is compatible with many other flash units of the same brand.
- Good: affordable, easy to use, lots of features including HSS and radio wireless capabilities
- To consider: short battery life, recycle time decreases rapidly, limited power in some situations
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
Check price of the Godox TT350S on B&H Photo
The Nissin i40 is a compact flash that I’ve used extensively with Micro Four Thirds cameras but there is a Sony version with the same range of features. It is made of plastic but the build quality is excellent. You won’t find a LCD screen on the rear but rather two main dials that are easy to use but move a little too freely. It comes with a soft box, a small stand and a soft bag.
It’s not the most powerful flash you can find but the decent guide number of 40m means it does a little better than the Godox. Features include TTL, HSS and optical wireless functionalities with 4 channels and 3 groups. Unfortunately there aren’t any radio capabilities.
The recycle time stays above 3s but can increase a lot when the battery life starts to shorten. It takes 4 AA batteries which means the overall battery life is better than the Godox.
- Good: small and lightweight, decent light output, TTL and HSS available
- To consider: more expensive than the Godox for not much more, wireless is optical and not radio, recycle time decreases rapidly once battery life is halfway through
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
More artistic control: filters
Filters can be an excellent ally for long exposures, landscape photography, portraits and many other things. Choosing the right one depends on a number of factors, including the type of mount you want to use.
Circular filters are a good solution if you work with lenses that share the same filter thread or if you mainly use it one lens or two. If you have lots of lenses with different filter sizes, then a square filter system might be more appropriate.
Lee Seven5 system
The Lee Seven5 series is smaller than the 100mm series and specifically aims at mirrorless cameras since they offer lenses with a small filter thread. The holder can take up to two filters and there is a good selection like the Little or Big stopper and a specialised polariser that you can attach to the filter holder directly.
To attach the filters you will need an adapter ring that matches the filter thread size of the lens. The filters are expensive but the quality is high. There are different kits available (excluding the adapter rings that must be purchased separately).
Note that the E 10-18mm f4 and PZ 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 are not compatible. You can check out the full list of compatible lenses on the Lee website here.
- Good: high quality filters, small size
- To consider: expensive, adapter rings must be purchased separately, not compatible with certain lenses
Tiffen Variable ND filter
There are lots of different options when it comes to circular filters. I have experience with Hoya products and I recommend both their polariser Pro1 as well as the Infrared R72 if you want to experiment.
Another good idea can be a variable ND filter especially for those interested in doing stills and video. For the latter especially it becomes an extra tool to control the exposure in daylight. For example if you are working outside with a mix of clouds and sun, it is likely that the light intensity is constantly changing. Adjusting the filter by half a stop or 1 stop to maintain a correct exposure allows you to keep your desired shutter speed and aperture.
The Tiffen Variable Filter has a range that goes from ND 0.6 (2 stops) to ND 2.4 (8 stops). It is well-built and the markings on the ring allow you to select the value easily. There isn’t any visible loss in sharpness but there are a few cons to be aware of. First at the maximum value there is visible cross-type vignetting unless you use a focal length of 30mm or longer. Second between the lowest value (ND 0.6) and highest (ND 2.4) there is a relevant shift in colour hue going from a warmer to a cooler tint. If you can live with these limitations, the Tiffen Variable ND is a good all-rounder for different applications.
- Good: build quality, no loss in sharpness, worth it if you want different ND levels without the need to change filters and to control external light when recording video
- To consider: strong vignetting at ND8 with short focal lengths, colour shift between the lowest and highest value
Check price of the Tiffen variable ND on B&H Photo
The a6300, a6400 and a6500 can shoot as slow as 30s, after which you must use the Bulb mode. This means pressing and holding down the shutter release button until you reached the desired duration, which can not only be annoying but also increases the risk of micro vibrations because your finger is touching the camera. The Smart Remote app on your smartphone doesn’t solve the issue either. There is another app called Smooth Reflection which merges multiple shots to give you the same look of a long exposure image but if you prefer the old fashion way, you need a remote trigger to go along with your filters.
Sony RMT-DSLR2 Wireless Remote Commander
The official Sony remote looks like a mini TV remote (I had a similar one for my old HDV camcorder). To use it you need to turn on the Remote Ctrl setting in the Setup menu (page 3). From there you can use the remote to start the exposure in Bulb: a second press of the button will end it. Or you can use it to take a picture at a select shutter speed and even delay the shot by two seconds. You can start and stop movie recording as well.
The official manual says that the other buttons can only be used when the camera is connected to the TV but that’s not entirely the case: you can navigate the menu or go into playback mode and delete some pictures. The four arrows and centre button activate the same functions you assigned to the rear control wheel. Despite the infrared sensor being at the front of the camera, the remote works fine from the rear too.
- Good: remote shutter trigger and start/stop movie recording, can control many camera settings and lets you navigate the menu
- To consider: if you just want a simple remote trigger, there are cheaper options
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
Foto Tech IR remote
As mentioned above, if you just want a remote trigger for long exposures, then look no further than the Foto Tech remote. There are two buttons only: one to release the shutter and one to add a 2s delay: nothing more, nothing less. Note that it won’t start movie recording.
- Good: inexpensive, basic use for long exposures
- To consider: it doesn’t start/stop video
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
The a6300/a6400/a6500 have one of the best phase detection autofocus systems with 425 points. The hybrid AF allows you to use DSLR lenses (Sony A-mount, Canon EF-mount) with excellent results thanks to select compatible adapters. Just keep in mind that the small size of the camera body isn’t really suited to large and heavy lenses.
The camera is popular for video shooting and there are some other adapters with clever characteristics for filmmakers.
Sigma MC-11 (EF-mount)
The MC-11 is one of the best adapters around and comes at a competitive price. It offers compatibility with all the recent Art and zoom lenses by Sigma (full list here) and works with many Canon lenses too.
The build quality is excellent and the adapter features a handy LED light that tells you if the lens is compatible or requires a firmware update (Sigma lenses only, USB Dock required). There is a USB port to receive firmware updates.
The MC-11 is compatible with most autofocus settings including Zone, Lock-On and EyeAF. In Single AF the camera sometimes prefers contrast detection rather than phase (you can’t select the optional manually) but in C-AF the performance is fast and reliable. It won’t perform miracles with very fast subjects but the keeper rate is decent. The AF works for video too but the performance is slower.
- Good: reasonable price, access to all the AF settings, good performance in C-AF
- To consider: slow in video mode
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400, a6500
Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA II (EF Lenses)
Usually when mounting a full frame lens on an APS-C camera, there is a 1.5x crop factor that reduces your field of view (also referred to as focal length equivalence). However the Metabones adapter incorporates optical elements designed to make the lens 0.71x wider. So if with a normal adapter, the Sigma 35mm Art for example gives you the same field of view as a 52mm, with the Speed Booster ULTRA II you maintain a similar angle (the new crop factor becomes a mere 1.07x).
That’s not the only trick. Because the sensor receives more light information and intensity, you gain one stop of light and a shallower depth of field. So the 35mm Art becomes the equivalent of a 37.5mm f/1.
The Metabones adapter has an excellent build construction and includes felt material inside to reduce reflections. Rubber protects the mount from dust and rain. There is a detachable tripod mount and a small switch to give priority to in-body stabilisation (A7 II series) or OIS. The USB port allows you to update the firmware and change certain functionalities such as using phase or contrast detection (via a dedicated app and a computer). Note that the small rubber cover of the USB port can easily get lost if you are not careful. A LED indicator shows you various information concerning the operation mode, OIS activity and communication status.
The AF works well on the a6300 and a6500 for stills if you select the green operation mode that uses phase detection. If you choose the advanced mode, AF works for video but I personally find it unreliable most of the time – plus the lens makes more noise when focusing. The adapter doesn’t affect the optical quality of the lens but there is no support for lens corrections to vignetting, CA and distortion. For more information on lens compatibility and other limitations, I suggest that you give the [official product page] a good read.
- Good: 1 extra stop of light, keeps approx. the original field of view of your full frame lens, works with OIS, decent AF for stills in green mode
- To consider: expensive, worth the investment for video work if you regularly use Canon or Sigma DSLR full frame lenses
- Compatibility: yes for the a6300 and a6500, the a6400 is not officially supported yet
Continuing in the video vein for a moment, another accessory worth considering is a proper microphone. The built-in stereo mic doesn’t give you great results so you can take advantage of the 3.5mm mic input to record better sound.
Rode VideoMic Pro
The VideoMic Pro is a popular shotgun microphone and good value for the money to start with. It is extremely lightweight and comes with a shock-mount that provides isolation from the camera body, preventing unwanted vibrations or rumbling when touching the camera. It does feel fragile though and I would be careful when mounting it. The VideoMic takes a 9V battery but inserting it on the front is annoying and uncomfortable.
The 3.5mm jack socket connects to the camera’s mic input directly and provides a dual mono signal. On the rear of the microphone you will find two switches. The first turns the mic on and allows you to select a high pass filter (80Hz) which helps to reduce background noise such as traffic or air conditioning. The second switch decreases the recording level (-10db) if your source is close and loud (live music for example), or boost it by +20db. The latter can allow you to reduce the recording level on the camera and therefore generates less background noise due to the small pre-amps and circuitry of the camera.
The audio quality is very good and you can definitely feel the difference in comparison to the built-in microphone. The sound is deeper and cleaner. If the person remains close to the camera the voice is audible enough even with noise around, whereas the built-in mic wouldn’t be able to separate the voice from the background noise and everything would feel more distant as well. If you’re lucky, you can find the product in a bundle with the DeadCat wind shield which does an excellent job of minimising wind noise (another example of the limitations of the camera’s built-in mic).
- Good: excellent audio quality, high pass filter and recording level options, comes with a shock-mount
- To consider: the shock-mount feels fragile
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400 and a6500
Check price of Rode VideoMic Pro on B&H Photo
To record people speaking, one solution is to have a shotgun which can be helpful for interviews on the fly where there is no time to set-up a microphone on the person. Otherwise a lavalier type is a better solution: it is small and can easily be clipped to the person’s clothes. The one we’ve been using for our YouTube videos is the Rode smartLav+.
You can connect it to the camera directly via the optional SC3 adapter (TRRS to TRS) if you want to record audio on the video file directly. However you may not always have the liberty of being able to stay close to your subject as the cord is not very long. This is where the smartLav+ becomes interesting because its native TRRS 3.5mm plug can be used on a mobile device that becomes your audio external recorder. Rode has a native app with lots of settings for recording quality, metadata and other things but you can also use a third party app. Its the audio solution we’ve been using for our video reviews and is an excellent starter kit if you don’t want to spend a lot of money or do v-logs on a regular basis.
- Good: competitive price, fine quality, can be used with your mobile device or in-camera directly
- To consider: to record in camera directly you need the SC3 adaptor
- Compatibility: a6300, a6400 and a6500
Ulanzi PT-5 Shoe Bracket Extension
The a6400 allows you to flip the LCD screen up 180˚ for selfies or V-Log work. However any accessory mounted on the camera’s hot-shoe (such as a microphone) will block the screen view. One affordable solution is to buy a shoe extension so that you can relocate the microphone to the side and keep the screen view clear. Smallrig is building one designed for the a6400 but it wasn’t yet available to buy, so I tried the PT-5 plate from Ulanzi instead.
The plate is made of metal and attaches to the bottom of the camera via the tripod socket. The knob used to tighten the plate has a 1/4″ thread hole which is the same size as the one built-in on the camera, so you can still attach a tripod plate if needed. There are approximately 4cm from the camera to the centre of the cold shoe on the plate, and that should be enough space to put a variety of microphones including those that have a shock mount. It is worth checking the mic dimensions to be sure though.
- Good: inexpensive, metal build, placing the camera on a tripod is still possible
- To consider: there might not be enough space if your microphone is too large
- Compatible with: a6300, a6400, a6500 (but recommended with a6400 especially)
If you’re into V-Logging and want to take advantage of the 180˚ tilting screen of the a6400, you’ll find holding the camera with the help of a mini tripod much more comfortable. Below are two products that I haven’t yet used with the a6400 but did experienced with the Fuji X100F.
Joby GorillaPod 1K
The Gorilla Pod can be used for many things. In addition to being a mini tripod that you can place on most surfaces, its flexible legs can be wrapped around many things like a street sign, a branch or a handrail, allowing you to secure your camera in different ways. The legs are well made and do a good job of holding the camera firmly in place. The Gorilla Pod comes with a ball head to adjust tilting and panning. It has a standard 1/4”-20 thread so it will attach to your Sony camera directly.
Alternatively, you can keep the legs closed or even create some a custom shape to hold the camera while walking. It’s interesting to have one support that can help you with your V-Log work on the go. It is also lightweight and not very expensive. This particular model can hold about 1Kg which is more than enough for an a6400, extension plate and microphone.
- Good: versatile thanks to the flexible legs, good stability, lightweight
- To consider: not as sturdy as a proper tripod
Check price of the Joby GorillaPod on B&H Photo
If you want something smaller, the Manfrotto Pixie might be the one to go for. It is tiny, inexpensive and very easy to place inside small bags. The closed legs provide a good grip and make holding the camera in front of you comfortable and easy.
If you want to place the camera on a surface, you won’t have the same freedom as with the Gorillapod but the three legs are robust and stable. The integrated ball head allows you to orient the camera by pushing a button on the rear but it can’t be oriented at 90˚ for vertical shooting.
- Good: affordable, robust build, easy to use
- To consider: the ball head doesn’t rotate 90°
Check Pixie price on B&H Photo
Memory card wallets
A card wallet can be a good accessory to carry with you, especially if you like to separate your cards according to your needs, such as stills and video. Here are two products we’ve been using lately.
Cecilia Memory Card Wallet
The Cecilia wallet has an elegant design and is available in different colours and materials (Black leather, Brown leather or Charcoal Cotton Canvas). The interior features soft microfibre and the wallet can hold 9 SD and 4 Mini SD cards. Each card slot is tight so you don’t need to worry about the cards slipping out. In fact I find them a bit too tight: if you push the card to the bottom, it becomes a bit difficult to pull it out.
The build quality feels premium and the wallet is compact when folded, so it is easy to carry in your pocket or the pockets of your camera bag. There is a small metal hook to close the wallet and make sure it doesn’t unfold by mistake. An additional strap with a snap hook clip allows you to attach the wallet to the interior of your bag or other surfaces. Note that this strap can’t be detached from the wallet.
- Good: elegant design and finish, stores 13 cards (9 SD and 4 MiniSD)
- To consider: the strap can’t be removed
The Cosyspeed ST-Wallet is a smaller alternative and you can find it in different colours. It is made of the same materials used for the popular Camslinger Bag (Nylon 600D and 900D).
The cards are stored on a removable pad and can hold four card on each side. The card slots are a bit narrow for the width of the SD card, but the elastic band makes it work and I find it easy enough to insert and remove them. Inside the wallet there is another pocket that can take bigger cards like SQD or CF.
According to Cosyspeed, the ST-Wallet is protected against RFID scanners because it has a special protective film inside. If you care about privacy, you might like this characteristic and the wallet becomes a safe storage for credit cards as well. Finally, there is a scratch on the outside to attach the wallet to the interior of camera bags.
- Good: compact, protected from RFID scanners, can take 8 cards plus a few more in the internal pocket
- To consider: the card slots don’t have a perfect shape but it doesn’t compromise the usability too much
SD cards and lens cleaning kit
A good accessory list can’t skip a few SD card recommendations. The one we recommend these days is the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC 64GB (U3, Class 10) which is good for the Sony XAVC S 4K video codec and gives you plenty of space if you shoot in continuous mode. It can hold up to 2500 RAW files, 3500 JPGs or 80 minutes of 4K video approximately.
As for the lens cleaning kit, we like the Zeiss one that comes with a handy pouch, a large air blower, dry/wet cleaning solutions and a soft high quality microfibre cloth.
Do you have any other accessories to suggest for the Sony a6300/a6400/a6500? Leave a comment below!