We Review the New Sony a6700 Mirrorless APS-C Camera

We Review the New Sony a6700 Mirrorless APS-C Camera

After four years, Sony finally released this new APS-C camera. This is the a6700 with a completely new design. It features the new A.I. engine for identifying and tracking subjects. Unfortunately, Sony forgot to make a few other improvements.

With the new Sony a6700, the APS-C line of mirrorless cameras is finally up to date, for the most part, at least. Although there are some things that would complete the upgrade, most of the modern techniques and features are now available, one of which is the A.I. engine for recognizing and tracking a wide range of subjects.

Also, the camera body benefits from a new design. It makes the camera more ergonomic than any other Sony camera I have used until now. It's not perfect, but enough to make using this little camera a joy.

The Sony a6700, a great little camera.

Some Specifications

Although you may find it at every corner on the internet, I've added a list of the more important specifications. 

  • 26 MP Back Side Illuminated CMOS APS-C sensor
  • Bionz XR processor with A.I. engine
  • AF tracking with object recognition (human, animal, animal/bird, bird, insect, car/train, and airplanes)
  • In Body Stabilization over 5 axes, rated at 5 EV
  • Fully articulating 3-inch LCD screen with 1.04 MP resolution
  • 2.36 MP EVF with 1.07x magnification and a refresh rate of 120 fps
  • Continues shooting with 11 fps both mechanical and electronic shutter
  • Recording in 4K 60p, oversampled from 6K capture
  • 4K 120p recording with 1.58x crop
  • 10-bit video, 4:2:2 with S-Cinetone, S-log3 and HLG profile
  • Focus stacking option and bulb timer

A Tour of the Sony a6700

The APS-C sensor allows the camera body of the a6700 to be a lot smaller compared to its full frame siblings. It measures only 12.2 x 6.9 x 6.4 centimeters without a lens, and it weighs 493 grams, including the battery.

Despite its small size, the body is well-designed and offers a lot of grip. Most buttons and dials are positioned at well-thought-through locations. There is also a dial in the grip, just below the shutter release button, which is a big improvement over the previous model. Unfortunately, a joystick is still missing.

The buttons and dials on the Sony a6700.

Besides the difference in overall design between the predecessor and this new model, the buttons are also better in quality. Although I still encounter the same problems with the buttons that are located in the dial on the back. These are pressed too easily while rotating the dial.

The LCD screen is now fully articulating, which is good news for the vlogger. Unfortunately, the resolution of the screen has not changed. It's still 1.04 megapixels. The electronic viewfinder only received a minor update. Although the resolution did not change compared to its predecessor, it now has a high refresh rate setting available.

A fully articulating LCD screen is great. Unfortunately, the resolution isn't improved.

The camera features one UHS-II SD card slot next to a micro HDMI port, a PD USB-C port, headphone jack, and microphone jack. The hotshoe has the multi-functionality connectors as well. You need a V90-rated memory card to record in the best available video options. If you don't need that video quality, a slower card can be used without any problem.

The connections on the Sony a6700. 

The a6700 is powered by a large NP-FZ100 battery. It allows you to shoot up to 570 frames according to CIPA standards. Sony doesn't give you a battery charger when you buy the camera, nor a PD-USB-C cable to charge the battery in-camera. That's important to know.

The Sony a6700 has a large battery, rated for 570 shots.

Image Quality and ISO Performance

At the time of this writing, Lightroom Classic does not support the raw files from the Sony a6700 yet. Therefore, I cannot look at the raw footage to check on the ability to raise the shadows in post. 

So, for now I'm limited to the in-camera JPEG images, and they look great. I think every modern camera performs well in that regard. But I can check the ISO performance, and that's what I did.

The test scene. This is a ISO 3,200 image, which I find acceptable regarding noise levels.

The ISO performance with the standard in-camera noise reduction setting.

Every ISO value below ISO 800 looks great. Over ISO 800, the noise levels or noise reduction issues become apparent. I find ISO 3,200 still acceptable. Over ISO 6,400, the image quality becomes worse. Although the camera can be used up to the expanded ISO 102,400, the results are unusable from ISO 25,600 and up. 

Autofocus, Tracking, and Speed

The possibilities for setting up the autofocus can be overwhelming at first. It's not only about the the seven autofocus areas that are available, but also the choice of the subject and the customization for every specific subject. You have to dive into the possibilities and try things out. This can be time-consuming, but it's worth the effort.

There are many settings available for the autofocus. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sony has added the A.I. engine for subject recognition and tracking, which first appeared on the Sony a7R V. Although it promises machine learning for better autofocus performance, I encountered some strange behavior.

If there is only one clear subject in the frame, the autofocus will find it without a problem. If the focus is locked, the tracking works like a charm. The focus stays on the subject, even if the subject is out of the frame for a short moment.

Tracking works like a charm if the focus is on the right spot.

The behavior becomes different if there are multiple subjects in the frame. I noticed on different occasions how the camera will focus on the wrong subject. It will ignore the selected subject recognition. It makes its own choice.

For instance, I took action photos of my dog, Bruc. Although I chose animal subject recognition, the camera focused on my girlfriend in the back and kept focus on her instead of the dog, not once, but on different occasions. It seems the A.I. engine has its own will and ignores the settings completely. This makes the autofocus less reliable than expected. Don’t forget, this was only noticed at home, because the low resolution of the 3-inch screen doesn't allow a detailed check of the focus when you’re on location.

Don't trust the A.I. autofocus engine. It has a will of its own. Although animal AF was chosen, it decided to focus on the human instead.

No matter if you choose an electronic shutter or mechanical shutter, the speed is limited to 11 frames per second. Although this is fast, I think a lot of action photographers will find this on the slow side nowadays. The camera doesn't show any noticeable rolling shutter, and the buffer is large enough to capture a lot of continuous frames.

Using the Sony a6700 for Photography

Unfortunately, I only received a wide angle zoom lens for this review. I did manage to get my hands on a Sony FE 55mm ZA lens. Still, most photography was done with the Sony E PZ 10-20mm f/4 G lens and a Sony E 11mm f/1.8 lens.

In the field, shooting a bracketed exposure. Although it's in JPEG, an HDR can be generated without problem.

I enjoyed using the camera a lot, thanks to its ergonomics and how well it handled. It feels comfortable, and the majority of the controls are well-placed. Sony has made some strange choices regarding the basic settings for the dials, but that's easy to change. The camera offers a lot of customization options.

The AF-ON button stands out enough. It can be found without looking.

It features the modern menu structure and good touchscreen functionality. However, there are some downsides. It lacks a joystick, and some buttons don't provide enough feedback. The dial on the back hasn't changed, making it too easy to accidentally push one of the four functions while rotating the dial. On the bright side, the AF-ON button is easily recognizable because it stands out enough.

A couple of options that are available for photography. 

The a6700 offers a few nice camera options. It has focus stacking and a bulb timer. Additionally, a skin retouch option is available, although the results aren't to my liking.

I noticed strange behavior regarding the exposure compensation. Although it offers a 10-stop range, from minus 5 EV up to plus 5 EV, the exposure simulation only shows the range from minus 3 EV up to plus 3 EV. If you dial beyond plus or minus 3 EV, it won't show up on the LCD or in the EVF.

However, if the camera is set to manual exposure, this limitation isn't present. Even with a setting of ±5 EV or more, the exposure simulation shows the result of that setting. It's something that you need to be aware of since it can result in a gap in exposure and what is shown on the LCD screen or in the EVF.

Using the Sony a6700 for Video

Video is an important aspect of the Sony a6700. It is suggested that it has the same sensor as found in the FX30 Cinema camera. One of the most significant improvements for video is the fully articulating screen. It's no longer necessary to tilt the screen on top of the camera, making the a6700 much more suitable for vlogging.

Filming our dog, Bruc, with the Sony a6700. The results can be checked in the video below.

The camera has a wide range of video capabilities, with 4K 60p from an oversampled 6K recording and 4K 120p with a 1.58x crop. It can reach up to 240 frames per second in full HD.

For the best performance, a V90-rated memory card is required. If you keep it below 4K 25p, a slower card will suffice. The camera offers 10-bit 4:2:2, S-Cinetone, S-log3, and HLG. The fast readout of the sensor prevents any noticeable rolling shutter.

The video settings are extensive. For the best quality, you need a V90-rated memory card.

More video settings that are available on the Sony a6700.

The image stabilization works reasonably well, but it is possible to use an active digital stabilization option. This comes at a cost since it uses a 1.13x crop, but it allows for a better result. The camera also offers auto framing, but in that case, the stabilization is turned off. Although I used it for my video, it's mainly for filming from a fixed tripod, allowing the camera to make adjustments in composition if the subject is moving.


I liked the Sony a6700 from the first moment. It feels quite comfortable while holding it, especially in combination with the small APS-C lenses I received as well. I can't say how it balances with larger lenses and telephoto lenses.

Is the Sony a6700 a winner? Almost, but it's not quite there yet.

The design and features of the camera make it fun to use. The results, although only in JPEG for now, look great. It doesn't allow for a very high ISO setting, but ISO 3,200 should be enough for most circumstances. If the built-in noise reduction is switched off, perhaps one of the modern A.I. noise reduction software programs can achieve a better result with ISO values beyond the limit of ISO 3,200 I find acceptable.

Talking about artificial intelligence, the A.I. autofocus engine did not impress me that much. The times it went its own way, ignoring my chosen settings, were too frequent to trust it completely. Still, when it did focus, the tracking worked well.

Of course, I had a limited amount of lenses and focal ranges available for this review. But in the situations I used the autofocus and tracking, it shouldn’t be that difficult to lock onto the right subject.

This is the set Sony Netherlands provided. Unfortunately, no longer focal length was available.

For video, the Sony a6700 works well, with enough possibilities and video formats. The 4K result from the 6K oversampled recording is sharp and crisp. The full HD 120p looks a bit softer, but perfectly usable. I used the built-in microphone for my recording, and although it is acceptable for some situations, an additional microphone should be the first investment.

It's too bad Sony did not make a complete upgrade with this new camera. Why not improve the viewfinder and LCD screen as well? That would have made the a6700 definitely a winner, although it doesn't affect the results from the camera, of course. 

It has a lot of improvements over its predecessor. In general, it's a very capable camera that makes photography and filming a lot of fun.

What I Liked About the Sony a6700

  • Small form factor while still comfortable to use
  • Better design compared to its predecessor
  • AF tracking works very well
  • Fully articulating LCD screen
  • Dedicated and easy to identify AF-ON button
  • The grip now features a dial below the shutter release button
  • Modern menu system
  • Fast sensor readout results in unnoticeable rolling shutter effect
  • Focus bracketing option (no in-camera depth mapping and merging)
  • Bulb timer available
  • Customization options are extensive (almost too much)

What Could Be Improved

  • Autofocus is not always that reliable 
  • Resolution of the electronic viewfinder and LCD screen
  • Continues shooting of 11 frames per second
  • Adding a joystick on the back
  • Exposure simulation can’t show more than 3 stops exposure compensation (but it can in manual)
  • Less aggressive noise reduction for jpeg
  • Not every button gives the same or enough feedback while pressing
  • Tilting LCD screen like the Sony a7R V

Although it has some issues, it's a very interesting camera. I would recommend it.

Should You Buy the Sony a6700?

The Sony a6700 isn’t a perfect camera by far, but then again, a perfect camera doesn’t exist. I think the a6700 is worth the investment. So yes, if you’re in the market for a compact light weight camera, and don’t mind the APS-C sensor, the Sony a6700 is a good choice.

Nando Harmsen's picture

Nando Harmsen is a Dutch photographer that is specialized in wedding and landscape photography. With his roots in the analog photo age he gained an extensive knowledge about photography techniques and equipment, and shares this through his personal blog and many workshops.

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After owning every Sony APSC camera up to the A6600,then switching over to Fujifilm with the X-T1 thru X-T5 I can say with certainty that the A6700 isn't worth upgrading too. It's barely an upgrade over the A6600. If anything, it's more of a firmware upgrade that adds little to the actual shooting experience, and even less toward functionality and image quality. As far as APSC cameras, every other manufacturer has pushed the limits and surpassed Sony. Fujifilm, Nikon and Canon are so far ahead of Sony that it's not even funny. Then there's the issue of not receiving a charger or cable. What's up with that? If your paying $1300+ for a camera, the least they could do is give you a charger, or cable, or both!

There's absolutely no way any Fuji out performs any recently made Sony in terms of autofocus and subject tracking. It may not be worth upgrading from the a6600, but Fuji and Nikons (besides the Z8 and Z9) don't compare in terms of sports/video autofocus capabilities. I own a Nikon Z6 II, and it's just not there yet when you compare to the recent Sony stuff. For me the rest is so similar that it doesn't make a huge difference - image quality, low light capabilities, and frame-rate. The only reason I'd shoot Fuji is for the color.

I hope your kidding. Autofocus and tracking is the only area where Sony beats Fujifilm. Fujifilm wins in every other aspect. More resolution for both stills and video. Better colors and more customization, better native lens selection, better build quality, better tactical button and dial placement....ect. Don't forget about the Fujifilm firmware updates that will keep coming for the next few years. The list goes on and on. The A6700 would have been a great camera had it been released 4 years ago. Nikon and Canon have eclipsed the Sony APSC too. Sony full frames are magnificent, but their APSC users are an afterthought. Lastly....every other brand gives a means of charging their cameras too.

I am not kidding. Fuji seems to have their product line laid out in a pretty weird way when you compare it to Sony, Canon, and Nikon. Fuji has super high megapixel crop sensor cameras (when you compare it to their competition in Sony, Canon, and Nikon), no full frame, but they do have medium format. When you only have crop sensor and medium format, that puts the lineup of camera bodies in a sort of weird spot - especially since most industry pros are sitting at full frame. I don't think that you'll ever really see any of the other manufacturers besides Fuji or maybe Olympus do super high res small sensors (smaller than full frame), because they don't have to. The reserve full frame for that use. Crop sensor is just a smaller more accessible formfactor for them. The X-T4 and X-H2 are more similar in size and capability to the full frame high res cameras from Sony, Canon, and Nikon.

The rest of your message is mostly your preferences. I agree Fuji looks great out of camera, but you can get there with any of the others and some editing tweaks. I would be surprised if they're still winning if you compare native lenses that were released in the past 5 years. Sony is for sure winning in native lens availability either way, unless your saying crop sensor lenses for crop sensor bodies. Having access to their full range of full frame and crop sensor lenses for the z6700 is definitely a strength. Fuji's older lenses make bad autofocus worse and that hurts if you're using something that's f/1.2.

By the way I like Fuji, too. They're a lot of fun, but they're not for everyone.

Having to put full frame lenses on an APSC body because the manufacturer only wants to support the platform to the bare minimum and to use it to make the FF options look good is anything but a strength.

The whole point of APSC is the Goldilocks option of high performance in a compact package. If you're just going to stick big full frame lenses on it, what's the point?

With the newest Fuji bodies, even the old 56 1.2 becomes a solid AF performer. I've used it with C-AF for sports on the x-t5 with no problem. Already with the x-t3 it was a decent performer if set up and used to get the best out of it. Cameras get a lot of blame for their owners' shortcomings though.

But then most people using full frame would have their needs perfectly met with an APSC or M4/3 body. Sony marketing is its biggest strength!

When you only have apsc and then large format it doesn't put you in a weird spot. It means you put everything you've got into the system to produce the best possible lenses and cameras, without deliberately holding back for FF.

If you are going to buy an APSC camera, it's really hard to recommend Sony or any of the FF big three over Fuji. They just don't care enough beyond setting the models and lens line-up to push users to full frame. And now Fuji even has models that are not in the Retro-Classic style, should PASM be your thing. I'd be more inclined to go to OM M4/3 or even Pentax APSC than a Sony APSC.

If it were the other way round, looking for camera with a sensor bigger than APSC, it is far more nuanced. Few really need FF, but even fewer need large format. The big three are basically targeting the same users, and all very capable so it's more or a coin toss, although Canon seems to be the brand pushing the envelope more than most at the moment. Then you've got the likes of Panasonic, Leica, Pentax all doing something rather different.

But with APSC, it's a one horse race, with a few other competitors making a half-hearted appearance.

For APS-C, nikon is currently the furthest behind, for using an older 20.9 megapixel sensor with a slow readout, no IBIS on a platform where they are abandoning OIS in many of their lenses, and a lack of performance focused firmware updates compared to their higher end offerings.

Sony is making decent incremental improvements though we will have to wait for proper support for the A6700 raw files to tell how much things were improved, since Sony has always had pretty bad jpeg processing.

Canon has made great improvements over the years, though they got overzealous with the cripple and DRM hammer, and ruined a lot of the value in their product lines.

Thank you for producing this detailed and thoughtful review. I'll admit I'm more of a Canon fan, but I used an a6400 as my main body for a couple of years and loved it. As a stills shooter, I was initially disappointed by the a6700 specs, but it seems that Sony has put their emphasis on beefing up its video features. Still, four years after the a6600, I expected more. 26 MP just doesn't seem competitive for a camera at this price in 2023. I know there's more than resolution, and you can do plenty with 26 MP (even 24), but in my experience, many users of high-end APS-C bodies are using them with long lenses to get high pixel density on small distant subjects like birds in flight. Maybe that's my Canon bias, but I'm struggling to identify anything that I think will compel large numbers of a6600 users to fork out for this upgrade.

Glad they upgraded to the NP-FZ100 battery the same battery that I have in my A9ii and A7iv but I wonder why only 570 frames? I get way more frames than that from my other bodies. I have an old 6500 sony that I use as a vacation camera and it has the older smaller batteries that are so horrible I rarely take the camera out any more. I'd consider upgrading to a 6600 or 6700 just to use the larger battery

570 frames is based on the CIPA rating, which is not real world. As you've experienced, you get way more frames from your A9ii and A7iv. Those are rated 500 and 520 respectively.

Whenever I see CIPA ratings, I multiply their number by 3. Even that's just a guesstimate of the minimum, but, much closer to real world frames than relying on their rating.

Interesting your comment on rolling shutter.
I saw a review where a swinging bat photo looked like a wet noodle being swung.
Pretty severe rolling shutter for action and sports types of photos.

I'm sure a swinging bat move at an incredible speed. Much more than what you get while panning with a camera. For normal action photography I think the A6700 will perform nicely regarding rolling shutter. If such high speed movements as mentioned in you comment is involved, you probably need a high end camera. I can't imagine which one that would be. Perhaps a Nikon Z9?

In camera jpeg noise reduction is always bad, the process if focused on speed and not getting the best possible quality since even with more efficient SOCs, they are unlikely to use a process that will be computationally expensive. We will likely need to wait for proper support in ACR for the raw files to see how much they were able to improve the SNR with that sensor.

It is also good to see that many of the usability and focusing issues are likely easily solvable in firmware.

"if you don't mind the APSC-sensor" rather let's the cat out of the bag of a bias against anything smaller than dull frame. Why even put that in the review at all?

The only reason you should be mindful of the APSC-sensor is because Sony only really uses the platform to push users to FF, holding back considerably on specs and APSC lenses.

Perhaps at the end of every Full Frame camera review you will be adding "if you hand-on-heart really need a full frame sensor"?

Sony's refusal to put a front dial on the a6xxx bodies always seemed like a strategy to push enthusiasts to 35mm format. Now they've finally stopped doing that, making the 6700 much more palatable to this owner of three a7RIIIs.

Looks good if I could afford the upgrade. I have the A6000 and 6400. IBIS, extra subject recognition and better battery life are worth it to me. I rarely do video, but I'm glad they fixed the record button. If you have the earlier bodies and want hand-held filming using the viewfinder, you have to fumble with using your thumbnail to press the record button. Awkward position, too small and too recessed.

I just got the Sony a 6700 to have around as a lightweight travel option. I currently own a Nikon Z6Ii and an entire slew of Z lenses. I got tired of waiting for Nikon to come up with a compact camera. I ordered the Sony with kit 18–135 lens and Sigma 18–5 2.8 lens. This is my first Sony camera. I can say the Sony auto focus is miles ahead of my Nikon. There is absolutely no comparison in that department. So far, I absolutely love the size, ergonomics, and features of the camera. Being ultracompact it has its short comings, but those are to be expected. An APS-C sensor obviously has its limitations too. The purpose of the camera is to be able to have it around more often than a full frame for daily and Street photos.