The R7 is Canon’s most advanced APS-C mirrorless camera to date, packing interesting specs at a competitive price. Alongside the entry level R10, the R7 inaugurated the APS-C section for Canon’s RF-mount. It is still a young system, and we hope it will continue to grow for years to come.
The A6600 is Sony’s flagship APS-C model, but it is more than three years old. It is the most advanced in the line-up, but lately the company has concentrated its efforts on more affordable, ‘YouTuber oriented’ products such as the ZV-E10.
In this article, we analyse how the recent Canon model competes against the older Sony camera, which remains a popular product like the rest of the A6xxx family.
Editor’s note: this comparison is based on the A6600, but I’ve made sure to include real-world feedback about the A6400 at the end of the article. The latter lacks a few things (IBIS, bigger battery) but is much less expensive, so it’s important to talk about.
Ethics statement: we rented the Sony A6600 for two weeks. The R7 and A6400 are our own. We were not asked to write anything about this product, nor were we provided any compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking one of these links, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
TABLE OF CONTENT
– The 10 Main Differences
– Main Specs
1. Design and Functionality
2. Viewfinder and LCD Screen
3. Memory Cards and Battery Life
4. Image Quality
6. Drive Speed
7. Image Stabilisation
9. Extra Features
10. Price and Lenses
– Canon R7 vs A6400
– YouTube Video
The 10 Main Differences in a Nutshell
- Design: the A6600 is smaller and lighter, but the R7 has a more comfortable grip and a better button layout (except for the hybrid dial/joystick solution that I personally don’t like).
- Viewfinder / LCD: similar specs, but different position for the EVFs. The LCD monitor on the Canon offers better resolution and more touch capabilities. That of the Sony tilts up 180˚ but is not multi-angle.
- Cards and Battery: two slots for the R7 (UHS-II), one for the A6600 (UHS-I). Battery life is similar, but the Sony can last for a little longer.
- Image Quality: more resolution on the R7 sensor, but also more noise at high ISO, and when opening the shadows in post. I prefer the colours on the Canon for the most part.
- Autofocus: the R7 is more advanced and can recognise a larger variety of subjects. Eye AF for humans is more reliable and works for video on the Canon. That said, the A6600 does well when given a challenge (birds in flight).
- Drive Speed: The R7 has a superior continuous shooting speed of 30fps, but it comes with severe rolling shutter. With the mechanical mode, you can work at 15fps. The Sony maxes out at 11fps. Neither excels in terms of their buffer capabilities.
- Image Stabilisation: you can push the R7 further when it comes to hand-held still photos, and it also delivers smoother results for movie recording.
- Video: both cameras offer great quality in 4K up to 30p. The R7 goes up to 60p, but with a choice of reduced sharpness, or a heavy 1.8x sensor crop. The Canon can record 10-bit 4:2:2 internally, whereas the Sony has more advanced settings to fine-tune the image.
- Extra Features: The R7 packs a few more functionalities, like focus bracketing and focus stacking, as well as the Pre-Shooting mode.
- Price and Lenses: The A6600 is less expensive, but not by much, unless you find a special offer. The Sony E-mount system is vaster and more complete (if we look at native lenses).
- Sensor: 32.5MP APS-C CMOS
- Lens system: RF-mount
- Weather resistant: Yes
- Internal Stabilisation: Yes (5-axis)
- Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 5,915 points
- Continuous shooting: 15fps, or 30fps with e-shutter
- ISO Sensitivity: 100 – 32000 ISO (push up to 51200)
- Shutter Speeds: 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb
- Viewfinder: 0.39-in OLED with 2,360k dots, 22mm eye point, 0.72x magnification, 120fps
- Rear monitor: Multi-angle 3.0″ LCD (1.62M dots) with touch sensitivity
- Movie recording: 4K up to 60fps and 340Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit C-Log3 and HDR PQ
- Built-in Flash: No
- Extra Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Focus Stacking, Tethering, Time-lapse, Dual SD slots
- Dimensions: 132.0 x 90.4 x 91.7mm
- Weight: 612g (including battery and memory card)
- Firmware version: 1.2.0
- Release: 2022
- Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
- Lens system: E-mount
- Weather resistant: Yes
- Internal Stabilisation: Yes (5-axis)
- Autofocus: Hybrid with 425 Phase / Contrast detection points
- Continuous shooting: 11fps
- ISO Sensitivity: 100 – 32000 ISO (push up to 102400)
- Shutter Speeds: 1/4000s to 30s, Bulb
- Viewfinder: 0.39-in OLED with 2,360k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.70x magnification, 120fps
- Rear monitor: 180˚ tilting 3.0″ LCD (0.92M dots) with touch sensitivity
- Movie recording: 4K up to 30p and 100Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, S-Log and HLG
- Built-in Flash: No
- Extra Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, AE Bracketing, Tethering, Time-lapse
- Dimensions: 120 x 66.9 x 69.3mm
- Weight: 503g (including battery and memory card)
- Firmware version: 1.10
- Release: 2019
1. Design and Functionality
The differences between these two cameras start with the design and their dimensions. The A6600 is lighter, smaller and slimmer. They both offer a decent degree of weather resistance.
- R7: 132.0 x 90.4 x 91.7mm, 612g
- A6600: 120 x 66.9 x 69.3mm, 503g
The depth of the front grip is similar, but the R7 version is taller and larger, and I prefer it that way. It becomes substantially more comfortable as soon as you attach a medium sized lens, not to mention a long telephoto lens.
The grip on the Sony feels good enough when using small primes, but it’s more difficult to rest all your fingers on it. As soon as you work with a heavy zoom such as the FE 200-600mm G, the compact size becomes a limiting factor. Granted, the 200-600mm is too large and heavy for such a camera anyway. I used it because I own it, but I would advise something smaller such as the Sigma 100-400mm or the Tamron 150-500mm.
In terms of physical controls, they both have two dials to change the exposure and various buttons located on the top and rear panels. The R7 has an extra button at the front, included in the AF/MF switch.
Overall, I find the physical controls on the Canon to be more precise to use, and the buttons especially give you better feedback. I also like the on/off switch that lets you go to movie mode quickly.
What I personally don’t like on the R7 is the AF joystick embedded in the large rear dial on the rear. I tried to get used to it and make it work, but I often ended up touching one or the other inadvertently, only to find that my focus point had moved, or my shutter speed value had changed. I have to use the lock button to turn them off, but that also adds an extra step when I do need to change something. It’s a compromise I’m afraid, unless you disable the joystick entirely and use the 4-way pad on the rear.
Some controls on the Sony move a bit too freely, like the command wheel on the rear. The movie recording button is small and located in an awkward position, but I like the rear lever that allows you to assign two different settings to the same button. Also, all the buttons are on the right side of the camera, which means you can reach all of them with your right hand.
On the R7, 12 buttons can be customised versus 10 on the a6600. These can be mapped separately for stills and video. Both cameras offer a My Menu section where you can shortlist your favourite settings, as well as Quick menu (called Fn menu on the Sony) that can be edited.
The main menu system is more user friendly on the Canon. That of the Sony is more confusing in terms of organisation. Also note that you can’t use the touch screen to navigate the menu on the A6600, but you can on the R7.
To finish this chapter, let’s talk about connectivity. Both cameras have a:
- Micro HDMI port
- 3.5mm mic input
- 3.5mm headphone output
The R7 has a much faster USB C type port (10Gbps) whereas the a6600 uses an old Micro USB 2.0.
Additionally, the Canon sports a 2.5mm remote input.
Cordless connections include 2.4GHz Wi-fi and Bluetooth on both cameras, and the a6600 also has NFC capabilities.
2. Viewfinder and LCD Screen
The two cameras have a similar viewfinder when it comes to specifications: the same panel size, resolution and maximum frame rate. That of the Canon has a slightly larger magnification, but a slightly shorter eye point.
The biggest difference is the position: on the R7, the EVF is found at the top of the camera, in the middle, which is the traditional position of many mirrorless, as well most DSLRs.
On the A6600, Sony placed the viewfinder at the top left corner of the camera, and is embedded inside the main frame rather than sticking out on top. This is the position you traditionally find on rangefinder cameras, as well as some Fuji models (X100, X-Pro and X-E series) and of course the other Sony A6xxx models.
The solution that works best ultimately depends on your to personal preference. For example, portrait photographers may like the Sony design because it allows them to open the left eye and make eye contact with their subject while shooting, something that is more difficult to do with the R7.
Personally, I prefer the Canon solution because it gives me a better feel of overall balance, which is useful when working with telephoto lenses. Additionally, I can’t close my left eye, so I find the R7 more suited to my way of shooting.
As for the quality of the viewfinders, they are both decent and offer a smooth frame rate which is a nice, but they are definitely small and outdated by today standards. The R7 is a bit more disappointing on this front, considering it is a much more recent model and could have included better specs.
Moving on to the rear LCD screen, we find another important difference.
The R7 has the common vari-angle LCD monitor that you can open to the side and flip 180˚. It offers more orientation angles overall, as well as more resolution (1.6M dots).
The Sony LCD has a tilting-only mechanism, but you can move it all the way up to 180˚, so filming yourself is still relatively easy. There are two downsides: A) a small part of the screen is covered by the viewfinder eyecup, and B) you can’t attach a microphone to the hot-shoe when the screen is in the 180˚ position. The resolution is inferior compared to the Canon (0.92M dots).
Both monitors offer touch capabilities, but that of the R7 is more complete: you can access the quick menu or the main menu section. You can also take a picture by simply touching the screen, or move the AF area.
On the Sony, you are more limited: you can’t navigate the menu, but you can take a picture or track a subject. You can also double tap to activate focus magnification.
Finally, you can use the rear monitor on both cameras as an AF pad while composing with the viewfinder. You can change the sensitivity as well as which portion of the screen remains active. I prefer the AF joystick for this, but since the A6600 doesn’t have one, this option becomes an interesting substitute.
3. Memory Cards and Battery Life
The third chapter highlights another difference that some of you may find essential.
The R7 has two SD card slots, both UHS-II compatible, so you can use faster cards and back-up while shooting, or separate the types of files (RAW, JPG, video). The camera has a dedicated compartment for the cards, found on the side near the grip.
The A6600 reminds us it is an older camera because it has just one card slot, and it is UHS-I compliant only. You need to access the card at the bottom, in the battery compartment, which is a less convenient design.
One positive of the A6600 is that it uses the same NP-FZ100 battery as the A7 series (third generation onwards), and that gives the camera excellent performance.
The CIPA rating is very good, with 720 shots when using the EVF, and 810 shots when using the LCD. In real world use, you can do much better than that, easily going past 2,500+ frames and still have a decent amount of battery juice left.
The R7 defends itself well overall, with 500 (EVF) or 770 frames (LCD). Again, you’ll get much more than that when working with the camera. After 2,750 images of birds in flight, there was still 78% power left!
For video, I was able to record nearly 3 hours of 4K 25p footage (maximum quality) before the Sony battery ran out. Granted, that was done without using C-AF or IBIS, but I rarely get that far with other mirrorless cameras in the same conditions.
With the R7, I managed 2 hours and 20 minutes (4K Fine quality) which is also a very good result.
If you want to extend the battery life of your camera, you can use a power bank to charge the battery while the camera is turned off, or power the camera when it is on. On the R7, make sure to use a high current charger: not every power bank will work. Also note that if the cameras are turned on, they will receive power but the battery won’t charge.
There are no official battery grips for either camera. With the R7, I’m afraid you’re out of options. You can buy third party grips for the A6600, but they come with a few caveats, like the necessity to connect the grip via a USB cable.
4. Image Quality
The R7 and A6600 have an APS-C sensor, although the Canon version is slightly smaller:
- Canon APS-C: 22.3 x 14.9mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Sony APS-C: 23.5 x 15.6mm (1.5x crop factor)
The R7 offers more resolution with 32.5MP, versus 24.2MP on the E-mount camera. It’s not a huge difference, but the extra megapixels on the Canon model give you more leeway when cropping in post for example.
Below you can see how the same image looks on each camera when magnified 100%. With a good lens and optimal aperture, both can render a very good amount of detail.
Moving on to the dynamic range test, both cameras are capable of preserving a similar amount of information in the highlights.
If you open the shadows however, the R7 produces more noise, and that becomes especially visible with a tough 4 stop recovery.
The two cameras share the same normal ISO range, but the A6600 has one extra step with the extended values.
ISO – Photo
100 – 32,000
100 – 51,200
100 – 32,000
50 – 102,400
As expected, the R7 gives you more noise, and the difference starts to emerge from ISO 3,200. The final step of ISO 102,400 on the A6600 looks pretty bad.
The last test of this chapter analyses skin tones. When comparing the Standard JPG profile, the R7 has more yellow whereas the A6600 leans towards red.
The Portrait style is punchy on the Canon, with more contrast and more reds. That of the Sony has less colour dominance, but it also looks more unnatural, with less smooth transitions between the different shades of colours.
I find Natural to be the most balanced and accurate looking profile on the R7. The Sony version lacks saturation.
Keep in mind that these examples use the default setting for each profile. You can tweak them by changing contrast, saturation as well as the WB shift. And, of course, you can work with the RAW files and create your own look in post.
The R7 features the latest AF system from Canon, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, which works with phase detection on the entire sensor. It uses a total of 5,915 points (when working with the 1-point mode), or 651 points when using Tracking.
The A6600 has a hybrid system with 425 phase detection points, and 425 contrast detection points. They cover roughly 84% of the sensor area.
The R7 has a more advanced software, particularly the algorithm for subject detection. The camera can recognise humans, animals and vehicles. For each, it can identify different parts: body, face and eyes for humans and animals, a driver’s helmet for motorcycles and open-cockpit cars. All this is valid for photo and video capture.
The A6600 can detect humans, but only face and eyes. Animal detection works with Eyes only, and excludes birds. There is no option for vehicles. The camera has an advanced tracking mode, called real-time tracking, that analyses face, eyes, colour, brightness and distance. In movie mode, only the face and eyes of humans can be recognised.
Let’s start with the Eye AF test for people. The R7 gave me a very good keeper rate of 87%. Only one photo was out of focus, but others lacked precision on the eyes of the subject.
The A6600 couldn’t keep up with this performance, delivering a more disappointing 62% hit rate. There were more images out of focus, as well as more images that were slightly soft.
The same test with 4K video showed a more equal performance. The R7 struggled a bit when the subject was turning on herself, whereas the A6600 was a bit slow in correcting focus when she walked away from the camera.
The Canon has a better low light rating:
- R7: -5EV, measured at ISO 100 with a F1.2 lens (equivalent to -3.5EV at F2)
- a6600: -2EV at ISO 100 with a f/2 lens
My second test in very low light conditions (only two weak lights in the foreground and background that required me to set the ISO as high as 51,200) pushed the two cameras to the limit. The R7 managed a keeper rate score of 48%, but was capable of following the subject from start to finish.
The A6600 had a more difficult time tracking the subject from beginning to end, and in some instances it would not even take the picture, which is why there are fewer photos.
For video, the Canon did better in low light, whereas the Sony was slower in keeping the subject in focus, both during the walk and at the end when she stopped. Also note that the A6600 was not capable of detecting the eye in these dim conditions, relying on face detection only.
So far, we’ve seen the R7 autofocus is superior, but my birds in flight test showed a different outcome.
The best AF score I got with the R7 was 80%, but the performance was inconsistent. I couldn’t replicate the same result on different days, despite using the same settings and lens (the hit rate averaged between 72% and 75%). The camera can detect and lock onto the bird really fast, but can also favour the background, and may struggle to correct focus quickly if the sequence starts with out of focus frames.
The A6600 gave me a score of 85%, which is more than I was expecting. It didn’t mis-focus on the background as much, and was also a bit quicker in correcting focus in the middle of a sequence.
It is fair to highlight that the Sony may have a better score, but the R7 is almost three times faster when it comes to continuous shooting speed: 30fps vs 11fps is not a small difference. So, while I would trust the A6600 more in terms of pure AF performance, the extra speed of the R7 must be accounted for.
Make sure to read the next chapter because there is a big caveat when using the fastest speed on the Canon (spoiler alter: too much rolling shutter!).
6. Drive Speed
On paper, the R7 has a series of advantages here. First, the shutter speed with the mechanical shutter is one stop faster (1/8,000s vs 1/4,000s on the Sony), and you can also push it further to 1/16,000s when using the electronic shutter.
Below, you can listen to the sound each camera makes when using the mechanical shutter.
Then we have the continuous shooting speed: the R7 goes up to 15fps with the mechanical shutter, or 30fps with the electronic shutter. The A6600 does a maximum of 11fps.
The electronic shutter offers a serious boost in performance on the R7, but it comes with one major drawback: the sensor readout speed is slow. When panning, distortion appears and becomes quite severe when moving quickly. As you can see, the a6600 suffers from the same limitation.
In many situations, the use of the e-shutter on the Sony is redundant (unless you want to take advantage of the silent mode), so you’d better stick with the mechanical shutter.
The R7 and its superior capabilities can be tempting for sports and wildlife photographers, but unfortunately rolling shutter proved to be very invasive in the background, and sometimes the subject itself. See an example below.
Of course, you can stick with the mechanical shutter on the R7 and get a more than decent 15fps speed to avoid the rolling shutter problem.
The higher resolution on the sensor and the faster drive speed don’t help the R7 when it comes to the buffer. If you work at 30fps, the camera slows down after just two seconds. You can double that by choosing the Compressed RAW option, or lower the frame rate.
The A6600 offers decent performance, but it’s not outstanding considering the inferior frame rate and lower megapixels. In fact, if we compare it to the 15fps of the R7 with the mechanical shutter, the Canon does much better.
7. Image Stabilisation
Both cameras feature 5-axis in-body image stabilisation on the sensor. The R7 has a rating of 8 stops of compensation, although that can change depending on the lens used (the average is closer to 6.5 or 7EV).
Still, the rating is better than the A6600, which is 5.0EV.
I did a basic hand-held test to see how far I could go with slow shutter speeds on both cameras.
The R7 managed to give me a few sharp shots at 1 second and, overall, the keeper rate was higher than the Sony, which can only start to give decent results from 1/4s.
Stabilisation Test (35mm)
In video mode, the R7 delivers a smoother and more stable result, whereas the a6600 has more jerks and wobbles when walking.
Now, I should point out that my tests are not entirely fair this time. With the R7, I used the RF 35mm F1.8 IS, which is stabilised, and that means the camera combines sensor and optical stabilisation. On the A6600, I used the FE 35mm F1.4 GM, which doesn’t have any OSS. (For the video test, I had the RF 24-105mm F4 IS and E 16-55mm F2.8G, so same situation).
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Sony lens with optical stabilisation available, or a Canon lens with no IS, so it was either this or nothing.
My experience over the years with Sony and Image Stabilisation tells me that an OSS lens would have made little difference. Perhaps I would have been able to get a few decent results at around half a second, or slithly less jerks in the video sequence, but overall I believe Canon still retains the advantage here.
Note: you can watch the video test on my YouTube review, available at the bottom of this article.
The R7 and A6600 offer 4K video recording. Up to 30p, they do it with full pixel readout. The Canon over-samples from a 7K area, and the Sony from a 6K area (having fewer pixels to begin with).
In real world use, this translates into a very small difference, and actually I find the A6600 footage slightly sharper with default profile and settings. Note that when selecting 30p, the Sony applies a 1.2x sensor crop, whereas there is no crop on the Canon.
If you want 4K 60p, you’ll be out of luck with the Sony. The Canon does offer this possibility, albeit with a few catches:
- You can record with no sensor crop, but there is no oversampling: the camera does line-skipping instead, which means it ‘skips” rows of pixels and deliver less sharp results.
- Or, you can choose the 4K crop option, where the R7 records on a 3840×2160 area (1:1 mode), but that comes with a heavy 1.8x sensor crop.
The ISO range is different from stills, as you can see below.
ISO – Video
100 – 12,800
100 – 25,600
100 – 32,000
Like with the photo results, the R7 produces more noise, and that becomes noticeable from 3,200 ISO, and more invasive from ISO 12,800. Note that the Canon has a Noise Reduction setting that also works for video. It can help a little, but you also lose some details in the process.
The A6600 can record internally in 8-bit 4:2:0. The HDMI output doesn’t give you much more, being limited to 8-bit 4:2:2.
The R7 can record more colour information with 10-bit 4:2:2, available internally on the SD card or via the HDMI port. Keep in mind this is valid only when selecting the HDR PQ or C.Log3 profiles.
The A6600 has HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and two Log profiles (S-Log2 and S-Log3). S-Log2 produces darker shadows, whereas S-Log3 is more similar to the Canon Log3 profile in terms of latitude. The Sony produces a bit more noise in the darker areas of the image, but is a bit stronger in the highlights.
The Sony includes Sony’s Picture Profiles, a list of 10 presets that are entirely customisable and that includes advanced settings coming from the company’s cinema cameras. This means you can tweak the image with much more precision, even though you’re limited to 8-bit.
The R7 has a higher bitrate, reaching 170Mbps in 4K 30p and 340Mbps in 4K 60p, when recording in 10-bit. The a6600 goes up to 100Mbps.
Rolling shutter is bad on both cameras, and the Sony does worse when panning quickly. On the R7, you can reduce it a little by shooting at 50p or 60p.
Finally, neither camera has the 30 minute recording limitation. In my test (20˚C room temperature), the R7 was able to record for 2 hours and 20 minutes without overheating. The A660 did almost three hours.
9. Extra Features
Both cameras offer a number of extra features. For the R7, I want to highlight two of them.
The first is Focus Bracketing and Focus Stacking, something that can be of interest to macro photographers, and that you won’t find on the A6600.
You can select a number of settings, such as the quantity of photos to take as well as the focus increment between each shot. A neat option: you can stack the frames automatically in-camera, rather than doing it post. If you’re careful in selecting a focus increment that is not too large, the result is very good.
The second feature is RAW Burst Mode, which includes the Pre-Shooting mode. The latter allows you to save approximately 15 frames before the shutter button is fully pressed, a helpful mode to capture fast action that is difficult to anticipate.
The RAW Burst Mode and Pre-Shooting have two major limitations though: A) they work with the electronic shutter, so we have the same rolling shutter problem mentioned in chapter 6 – B) All the frames are saved into one big RAW file, rather than individually. You can extract single RAW files, but only one by one, using either the camera or Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software.
The A6600 doesn’t have a big list of extra features beyond things we’ve come to expect, such as Exposure Bracketing and the Time-lapse mode.
10. Price and lenses
The R7 is priced at $1500, £1350 or €1500 for the body only.
The A6600 is slightly more affordable, starting at $1400, £1250 or €1300.
The prices are as of January 2023. The Sony is an older model, so you have a higher chance of finding it second-hand, or with a temporary discount.
Note about the A6600: in December 2021, Sony announced it was halting production of the A6600 (alongside the A7C) due to the chip shortage crisis. In September 2022, they released an update saying they were accepting orders from dealers and customers again.
One last and important point concerns the lens system.
At the time of writing, there are only two native APS-C RF lenses designed for the R7. A kit lens (RF-S 18-45mm) and all-rounder zoom (RF-S 18-150mm). If you want a faster aperture lens, or anything more tailored to your needs, you’ll need to look at a few options.
The first possibility is the RF full frame catalogue. There is a decent selection of fast primes at an affordable price (16mm F2.8, 50mm F1.8, just to name a few), as well as three telephoto lenses (RF 100-400mm, 600mm F11 and 800mm F11) that won’t break the bank. Look past those, and the cost can go up significantly if you’re looking for high quality L lenses. At the moment, there is no support for third party brands: Canon seems to want to keep the RF-mount license for itself.
The second possibility is to look at Canon DSLR lenses (EF-mount). Luckily, you can buy the R7 bundled with the adapter for a little extra money, and the EF range is much larger and more balanced when it comes to price and variety (including lenses from Sigma and Tamron).
Sony has a good catalogue of APS-C lenses for E-mount, as well as an extensive list of full frame E-mount lenses. There is plenty of support from third parties, like Sigma, Tamron and Samyang just to name a few. There is an option for every need and budget, excluding adapters and DSLR / rangefinder lenses.
Canon R7 vs Sony A6400
Before heading to the conclusion, I wanted to share some information about the A6400, because it has many things in common with the more expensive A6600. I tested the camera in the past, and I still use it today, for my YouTube videos.
More specifically, the two cameras have the same:
- 24MP sensor and ISO range, image processor
- autofocus system (including real-time tracking and Eye AF for animals, the latter is only available for photos)
- 11fps continuous shooting
- video quality and settings (including unlimited recording)
- microphone input
- viewfinder and LCD screen
- single card slot (UHS-I)
- menu system
The main things the a6400 is missing are the 5-axis sensor stabilisation, the headphone output and the larger battery. The grip is a bit smaller and there is only one function button on top. The autofocus performance is very similar, except for Eye AF which is not available in video mode.
Among the differences mentioned above, I’d say in-body image stabilisation and the battery are the most significant. The old NP-FW50 used on the a6400 has poor performance.
The other improvements really depend on what you want to do with the camera. For example, if you do video portraits with a lot of movements, Eye AF on the a6600 will give you more precise results. But if it is image quality or general autofocus performance you’re after, the two E-mount cameras deliver the same results.
Compared to the Canon, the a6400 has more or less the same pros and cons we saw all throughout this article, except for the lack of 5-axis stabilisation and better battery life, which gives the R7 a bigger advantage in these two departments.
But the a6400 has one main strength: the price! It can be found for $900, £900 or €880, which makes it a bargain against the a6600 and the R7.
There is rarely a clear winner in most of the comparisons I make. Choosing one camera over the other comes down to one’s specific needs. This couldn’t be truer for the R7 and A6600 we covered in this article.
The R7 has the advantage of being more recent and packing more advanced features. The autofocus is a good example of that: Eye AF for humans is more accurate, the camera can recognise more types of animals (including birds), and the same options are available for stills and video. That said, when it comes to challenging subjects such as birds in flight, the A6600 delivers more reliable performance.
The other thing that can attract users to the Canon is the fast drive speed of 30fps, but unfortunately rolling shutter is severe and makes the fast speed often unreliable. To be safe, you can work at 15fps with the mechanical shutter, which is still better than the Sony, but the difference is less significant (15 vs 11fps).
Design and ergonomics is probably a question of personal preferences. I like the R7 better – I find it much more comfortable to hold and use for the most part, except the rear dial / Joystick solution. The A6600 is smaller, so if you plan to use it with small primes, you will get a more compact package.
The image quality is another area where your priorities can be different than someone else. The R7 has more resolution, but also delivers more noise at high ISO.
Aspiring video-makers will be tempted by the 10-bit internal recording of the Canon, and the quality is really good at 30p. If you want 4K 60p, you need to sacrifice a bit of sharpness, or work with a heavy 1.8x crop. The Sony doesn’t go higher than 30p, nor does it record 10-bit, but overall the quality of the video footage is good, and is very sharp too. Expect severe rolling shutter from both of them though.
Finally, the R7 does much better when it comes to image stabilisation, for stills and video, and offers a few extra features such as focus bracketing and focus stacking.
If I were to just look at the bodies, I would say that overall, the R7 is better, mainly because it arrived three years after the A6600 and incorporates more advanced specs you take for granted in 2023. However, the Sony has one major advantage: the lenses. There is more choice, both for APS-C and full frame, and there is support from third party brands, which means you can find high quality lenses at very good price. This is something very important to bear in mind.
One last point not to forget is that if your have a limited budget, the A6400 packs most of the features found in the A6600, but for a much lower price.