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Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400
Comparison

Optics
Video
Features
Storage & Battery

Nikon Z50

Nikon Z50
Winner!
81%

Sony a6400

Sony A6400 mirrorless camera image
79%
Nikon Z50
vs
Sony a6400
Price
from $856.95Shop 2 Offers Cart
from $672Shop 4 Offers Cart
Brand
Nikon
Sony
Model
z50
A6400
Released
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
2019
2019
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
October 10, 2019
January 15, 2019
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Mirrorless
Camera Size
Camera Weight

Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400 Overview

Today’s head-to-head is the Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400. They’re two mid-range mirrorless cameras. They were both released in 2019. And they remain popular cameras with photographers and video makers to this day.

Sony is the master of mirrorless. And Nikon has decades of camera experience. But which model comes out on top in the Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400 battle? The overall score is about equal. But each camera has its own specialist areas. We’ll take you through the talking points in this article.

Sony a6400 on a white table with lenses behind
© Nicholas Santoianni

Body and Handling

Mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sensor often make compact models. And that’s true of both these cameras. They’re a handy size and lightweight cameras, making them easy to transport.

The Nikon DSLR range has a reputation for excellent ergonomic design. And Nikon has continued that tradition in their mirrorless range. The Nikon Z50 doesn’t have the satisfying heft of its DSLR cameras. But it’s a comfortable fit for the average size hand. People with larger hands might find it fiddly.

The same goes for the Sony Alpha 6400. It’s a comfortable fit for average hands but the body can feel delicate in larger hands.

Both cameras are lightweight. But the Nikon Z50 is slightly heavier than the Sony Alpha. The Nikon weighs 0.99 lb (450 g), and the Sony a6400 comes in at 0.89 lb (403 g). That’s only a difference of 0.10 lb (47 g), so there’s not much in it. You’ll be able to shoot with both cameras for longer periods without feeling any fatigue.

A Nikon Z camera in purple light
© Lukaso Luky

Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400 Optics

Sensor Size and Performance

The Nikon Z50 and the Sony a6400 both have an APS-C sensor. The sensor size is identical, but the Sony a6400 beats the Z50 in most optical metrics.

The Nikon Z50 has a sensor resolution of 21 MP. That’s not bad for an APS-C sensor, so you can expect excellent image quality. But the Sony a6400 beats it with a megapixel count of 24.2.

The higher MP count of the sensor also gives you a higher resolution for images. The Nikon Z50 has an image resolution of 5568 x 3712 px. But the a6400 trumps it with a 6000 x 4000 px resolution. That’s a significant discrepancy. And you will notice the difference in the final images, especially if you enlarge them.

This also gives the Sony Alpha a wide dynamic range. The extra pixels bring out the details in darker and lighter areas. The Sony a6400 has an excellent dynamic range for the sensor size category.

ISO and Low-Light Performance

Both cameras have a minimum ISO setting of 100. That’ll give you wonderful detail and quality. And you can’t complain about a 100 ISO at this level of camera.

The Sony a6400 beats the Nikon Z50 for low-light sensitivity. It has a wider ISO range, maxing out at 102,400. That gives you plenty of room to play with when you’re low on natural light.

The Nikon Z50 doesn’t have a bad ISO range. 100 to 51,200 ISO still gives you plenty to work with in low light. But the Sony Alpha has that extra bit of wiggle room for night shooters.

The Sony a6400 also produces better quality images at higher ISO settings. It’s a result of the higher resolution and MP count. The a6400’s sensor can extract more information from the scene, meaning you’ll experience less digital noise. That’s good news for low-light photographers.

Image Stabilization

This is an area where both cameras start to show their age. Image stabilization is something we’ve come to expect from modern cameras. But neither of these models has a stabilization system. That’s disappointing, but it doesn’t help us find a winner in the Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400 debate.

Compatible Lenses

Nikon and Sony are both fabulous lens manufacturers. The optical quality is never in doubt when you see their logos on a lens. But the Sony a6400 steals this one due to the range of lenses available.

The Sony a6400 is compatible with all Sony E-mount lenses. That’s one of Sony’s most varied and extensive series of lenses. The Nikon Z50 uses Nikon Z-mount lenses. The quality isn’t in question. But the Z series doesn’t have the incredible selection of Nikon F-mount lenses. Nikon is putting energy into the Z-mount series. And we’re happy to see it growing all the time. But it’s still a bit behind the Sony E-mount collection.

Optics
Optics
76%
72%
Megapixels
The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
21 MP
24.2 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
5568 x 3712 px
6000 x 4000 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
CMOS
CMOS
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
23.5 x 15.7 mm
15.6 x 23.5 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
APS-C
APS-C
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
11 fps
11 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon Z
Sony E
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 6
Bionz X
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
3:2
3:2
Minimum ISO
Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
100
100
Maximum ISO
Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
51,200
32,000
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 4000 s
1/ 4000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
209
425
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Electronic
Electronic
Viewfinder Resolution
2,360,000 dots
2,359,296 dots

Nikon Z50 vs Sony a6400 Video Performance

It’s a close call when we look at the video stats for the Nikon Z50 and Sony a6400. At first, it might look like they’re hitting the same levels. But there are a couple of differences that put one above the other.

Video Quality and Frame Rates

The Sony a6400 and Nikon Z50 both give you 4K video quality. And we see the same maximum video dimension of 3840 x 2160 px. You won’t have any complaints when you play back the footage from either camera.

The Nikon gives you more frame rate options when shooting 4K. It has 30, 25, and 24 fps settings. The Sony Alpha has 30 and 24 fps in 4K.

Both cameras give you excellent slow-motion videos. You need to drop the quality down to Full HD (1080p). But both cameras give you 60 and 120 fps frame rates for slow-motion videos.

Audio Recording

The Nikon Z50 and Sony a6400 are good hybrid cameras. And the audio recording abilities add to their value as video cameras. They both have stereo microphones built in. And they both have ports for external microphones for more professional audio recording. They both score high in this section.

Video
Video
91%
91%
Video
Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
4K
4K
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
120 p
120 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
MPEG-4, MOV
XAVC S, AVCHD Ver. 2.0, MP4

Features and Benefits Comparison

The Nikon Z50 and Sony a6400 have excellent features. They add value and give the cameras more appeal in a competitive camera market. But we need to compare their features to see which camera is right for which photographer.

Flash

Both cameras have a built-in flash, which is good for casual photography. But they also have hot shoe connectors for more professional flash setups. That’s a positive for the Z50 and a6400.

Electronic Viewfinder

Mirrorless cameras have electronic viewfinders. And these cameras both underachieve in this department. They have similar EVF resolutions. But we’re disappointed by the quality of both.

The Nikon Z50 beats the Sony Alpha on electronic viewfinder resolution. It has 2.36 million dots compared to the Alpha’s 2.35 million dots. It’s close, but the Z50 takes it.

A nikon Z series camera with LCD screen seen from behind
© Konstantin Dyadyun

LCD Screen

The Sony a6400 and Nikon Z50 are equipped with LCD touchscreens. And both screens can be flipped and rotated for better shooting angles. You can turn the screen 180 degrees for a front view on both cameras. That’s perfect selfies, vlogs, and streaming.

The Nikon Z50 wins for screen resolution. The Z50 LCD screen has a resolution of 1.04 million dots. And the Sony Alpha only has a 921k dot screen resolution. It’s not a huge difference. But the Nikon does give you more accuracy in live view.

Autofocus

The Sony a6400 is the clear winner for autofocus. It not only beats the Nikon Z50, but it also beats most other cameras in this division. And it still holds up against more modern cameras.

It has a hybrid AF system, using phase and contrast detection. It has 425 focus points giving you nearly full frame coverage. It’s fast and accurate. And it has excellent subject tracking. It includes face and eye detection.

The Nikon Z50 also uses phase and contrast detection. But this system only has 209 focus points. You also get face detection and tracking. That’s a strong showing for a camera at this level. But it doesn’t look strong compared to the Sony a6400 AF system.

Wireless Connectivity

The Sony a6400 and Nikon Z50 have wireless connections. You can use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections to transfer and share media with other devices. It’s a handy feature. And something we’ve come to expect from the most popular cameras.

Features
Features
71%
67%
Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
LCD
LCD
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
3.2"
3"
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
1,040,000 dots
921,600 dots
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Storage and Battery Comparison

Storage

The Nikon Z50 and Sony a6400 score high for digital storage. They are compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. And both cameras have dual memory card slots. Busy photographers will appreciate that feature.

Battery Life

Mirrorless cameras have a bad reputation in the battery life department. And neither the Z50 nor a6400 does much to remedy their image. When compared to each other, the Sony a6400 has a longer battery life. It’ll give you 410 shots compared to the Z50’s 320 shots.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
32%
30%
Memory Card
SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo (UHS-I compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
EN-EL25
NP-FW50
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
320 shots
410 shots
USB Charging
DXO Mark Scores
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
N/A
83%
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
N/A
24 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
N/A
13.6 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'
N/A
1431

Our Verdict

The Nikon Z50 and the Sony a6400 have an equal score on the Camera Reviews leader board. It was a close race all the way through. And now we have a tied game. But that’s not to say they’re identical cameras. Each has its strengths in different areas.

The Sony a6400 wins for image quality. The sensor has more power and better low-light performance. The autofocus is also superior to the Z50. But the Nikon Z50 isn’t far behind in any category. And it beats the a6400 in the video stats.

They are both excellent mirrorless cameras. They’re compact and powerful hybrid cameras. Their size and performance make either a fantastic choice for street photography. But they’re versatile machines with a broad scope of applications.

It’s a head-scratcher when it comes to picking the best camera. But there’s no wrong decision between the Nikon Z50 and Sony a6400.

User Scores
B&H photo video
N/A