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Sony A6000 vs A6100 vs A6300 vs A6400 vs A6500 vs A6600: how do you choose?

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000
(Image credit: Sony)

With the announcement of the new Sony A6100 and A6600, Sony now has six APS-C mirrorless cameras on the market, all based around a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and all boasting incremental improvements – but not always in the same direction!

Sony likes to design a camera and then release version updates while retaining the same basic form factor. So while the original Sony A6000 dates back all the way to 2014, the latest A6400 and A6100 models look scarcely any different, and the new A6600 is just a bit thicker in the body.

We've included the A6000 and the A6400 in our list of the best Sony cameras, but for different reasons. As soon as we review the new models we'll decide whether these deserve to be in the list too – or even amongst the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now

• The best Sony lenses

The Sony A6100, A6400 and A6600 could be considered modern replacements for the Sony A6000, A6300 and A6500 respectively. However Sony likes to keep old models on sale at discounted prices alongside newer ones, so although, technically, there are three ‘current’ models, it’s likely there will be six to choose from if you count the older cameras.

It may soon be five. The A6300 is getting harder to find, and it was something of a stopgap model before the launch of the A6500 anyway. We hope the A6000 carries on, though, because it’s cheap and powerful, and we hope the A6500 carries on because it has a much bigger buffer capacity for continuous shooting than any of the others – including its ‘replacement’, the A6600.

So let’s take a look at each of these cameras in turn, its history and its suitability for different kinds of photography and video.

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony A6000 (February 2014)

It’s the cheapest, it’s the oldest, but the A6000 is still great for stills

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 1.44m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Sharp 24MP images
11fps shooting
Cheap to buy!
1080 video not 4K
Low resolution viewfinder
No ‘flip’ screen

The A6000 has the same 24-megapixel resolution as later models and essentially the same physical design. The viewfinder resolution is lower and it only shoots 1080 video not 4K, but for stills photographers that won’t be an issue. The autofocus system is more primitive by Sony’s standards but still stacks up well against systems from rival brands, even today. If you just want a stills camera, this will do the job as well as all the others that have come since, and for a lot less money. Later cameras have better processors and better high-ISO image quality, and the A6500 has a much better burst depth. And if you want in-body image stabilization, you need either the A6500 or A6600. Otherwise, the A6000 still has what it takes.

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony A6300 (February 2016)

The A6300 brought 4K video and log modes, but could soon disappear

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast/expert

4K video with log modes
More advanced autofocus
Higher-res EVF
No ‘flip’ screen
Poor buffer capacity
Availability in decline

This model brought 4K video with Sony’s S-Log2, S-Log3 modes, so it was a proper 4K filmmaking tool right from day one. The A6300 also brought a more sophisticated AF system with 425 phase detection AF points and a higher resolution EVF. Still with no in-body image stabilisation, however, and an inexplicably weaker buffer capacity than the A6000, it still didn’t tick all the boxes. In just a few months, Sony launched the much more powerful A6500, and the A6300 looks it will be the first of Sony’s A6000-series cameras to disappear from the dealers’ shelves.

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony A6500 (October 2016)

Superseded by the A6600 but still better for burst shooting

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Expert

In-body stabilization
Excellent buffer capacity
Great for sports
Not the latest AF tech
Limited battery life
Still quite expensive

The Sony A6500 is a real powerhouse. It arrived just eight months after the A6300 and completely crushed it for specs. The A6500 has the same AF system as the A6300 (425 phase detection AF points, 169 contrast AF points), the same 2.36m dot EVF, the same 4K video features and log modes – but added in-body stabilization for the first time in an A6000-series camera and a massive 233 JPEG 107 RAW buffer capacity more than twice as good as any other A6000-series camera before or since. If you want a great stills-video all-rounder which is particularly well adapted to action photography, the A6500 still has the edge.

Read more: Sony A6500 review

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony A6400 (January 2019)

Perfect for vlogging, the A6400 brings ultra-fast AF and a flip screen

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast

180-degree ‘flip’ screen
Eye AF and 0.2sec AF speed
Comes with S-Log2, S-Log3 and HLG
No in-body stabilization
4K 30p now looks a little ordinary
Not cheap

This can be seen as a successor to the A6300, mostly because it falls in the middle of the ‘new’ range just like the A6300 did with the ‘old’ range. The A6400 is designed specifically for bloggers, vloggers and content creators, with a 180-degree flip-up screen so that you can grab selfies or – more important film yourself presenting to the camera. It also has Sony’s new-generation AF system, with a claimed 0.2sec AF acquisition speed, 425 phase detection AF points, 425 contrast AF points and clever Eye AF. Video is captured at 4K and with Sony’s S-Log2 and S-Log3 log modes, but also with the new HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) option. It’s not especially cheap, but the A6400 is an ideal vlogging camera.

Read more: Sony A6400 review

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony A6100 (August 2019)

The new entry-level Sony doesn’t have an entry-level price yet

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 1.44m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

24MP stills and 4K video
180-degree flip screen
Super-fast 0.2sec AF response
Back to a low-res 1.44m dot EVF!
No in-body stabilization
Pricey against the A6000

This can be seen as the entry-level replacement for the ageing A6000, but right now it costs a lot more. The key differences are its 180-degree flip-screen, 4K video capability (but without log modes) and Sony's up to date AF system with a claimed 0.02sec response time. The improved BIONZ processor brings a higher maximum ISO setting, but otherwise these cameras are remarkably similar. The A6100 still has the rather low-res EVF in the A6000 and the same cramped feeling 3-inch 922k dot ‘wide’ rear screen used across all of these A6000-series cameras. Frankly, if your main interest is stills photography, the A6100 doesn’t bring much that the A6000 doesn’t do pretty well already. If you're more interested in video, the A6100 is much better – but the A6400 is better still.

Read more: Sony A6100 hands-on review

Sony A6600 vs A6500 vs A6400 vs A6300 vs A6100 vs A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony A6600 (August 2019)

It’s a 4K powerhouse, but the A6500 still wins for buffer capacity

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast/expert

In-body stabilization
Continuous Eye AF for movies
Bigger battery capacity
No 4K 60p yet?
Average buffer for continuous shooting
Why does it cost so much?

Sony’s new flagship A6600 technically supplants the A6500, but goes in a slightly different direction. Like the A6500 it incorporates in-body image stabilization. It’s not just this that makes the body slightly fatter, but the inclusion of a new FZ100 battery that doubles the battery life compared to the others. The A6600 is especially good at video, offering the same 4K capture and log modes as its stablemates, but adding a headphone socket for monitoring audio levels and continuous Eye AF and Animal Eye AF while shooting video (the others don’t). 

HOWEVER, the A6600 does not match the prodigious buffer capacity of the A6500. If you want a camera for high-speed continuous sports photography, the A6500 is the better option. With the A6600, Sony appears to have gone all-out for video.

Read more: Sony A6600 hands-on review

Read more:

• These are the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now
• How to choose the best Sony camera
• We pick the best cameras for vlogging