First Impressions: Sony a6300

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (8 of 8)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 4.0

Last year around the holiday season, the Sony a6000 was available at a crazy low price point. Not too long afterwards, the Sony a6300 was announced. Some of the biggest upgrades include the autofocus: which wasn’t a slouch to begin with. The new system is called the 4D focus–and it involves 423 AF points being positioned on the sensor. Plus, there are new video options for those of you who shoot video. Capable of shooting at 11 fps and with a new silent shooting mode, those of us who like the rangefinder form factor may really enjoy this camera and its 24.2MP APS-C sensor.

On the recent press trip to Miami, I had the chance to play with the Sony a6300 for a while. For most of us, it seems to be all the camera we really need.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images sports stuff (2 of 2)ISO 4001-2000 sec at f - 5.0

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Adorama listing.

Lens Mount
Sony E-Mount
Camera Format
APS-C (1.5x Crop Factor)
Pixels – Actual
25 Megapixel
Pixels – Effective
24.2 Megapixel
Maximum Resolution
24 MP: 6000 x 4000
Imaging – Aspect Ratio
3:2, 16:9
Sensor
Type: CMOS
Size: 23.5 x 15.6mm
File Formats
Still Images: JPEG, RAW
Movies: AVCHD Ver. 2.0, MP4, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC S
Audio: AAC LC, AC3, Dolby Digital 2ch, Linear PCM (Stereo)
Bit Depth
14-bit
Dust Reduction System
Yes
Memory Card Type
Memory Stick Pro Duo
Memory Stick PRO HG-Duo
SD
SDHC
SDXC
Video Recording
Yes, NTSC/PAL
Image Size (Pixels) – NTSC
XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (30p/100 Mbps, 30p/60 Mbps, 24p/100 Mbps, 24p/60 Mbps), XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (60p/50 Mbps, 30p/50 Mbps, 24p/50 Mbps, 120p/100 Mbps, 120p/60 Mbps), AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (60p/28 Mbps/PS, 60i/24 Mbps/FX, 60i/17 Mbps/FH, 24p/24 Mbps/FX, 24p/17 Mbps/FH), MP4: 1920 x 1080 (60p/28 Mbps, 30p/16 Mbps), 1280 x 720 (30p/6 Mbps)
Image Size (Pixels) – PAL
XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (25p/100 Mbps, 25p/60 Mbps), XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/50 Mbps, 25p/50 Mbps, 100p/100 Mbps, 100p/60 Mbps), AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28 Mbps/PS, 50i/24 Mbps/FX, 50i/17 Mbps/FH, 25p/24 Mbps/FX, 25p/17 Mbps/FH), MP4: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28 Mbps, 25p/16 Mbps), 1280 x 720 (25p/6 Mbps)
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Video Clip Length
Up to 29 Minutes 59 Seconds
Audio Recording
Built-in Mic: With Video, Stereo
Optional External Mic: With Video, Stereo
Focus Control
Focus Type: Auto & Manual
Focus Mode: Automatic (A), Continuous-servo AF (C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus (M), Single-servo AF (S)
Autofocus Points: Phase Detection:425
Contrast Detection:169
Viewfinder
Type: Electronic
Size: 0.39″
Pixel Count: 2,359,296
Eye Point: 23.00mm
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: Approx. 1.07x
Diopter Adjustment: – 4.0 to +3.0 m
Display
3″ Rear Screen Tilting LCD (921,600)
Screen Coverage: 100%
ISO Sensitivity
Auto, 100-25600 (Extended Mode: 100-51200)
Shutter
Type: Electronic & Mechanical
Speed: 30 – 1/4000 second, Bulb Mode
Metering Method
Center-weighted average metering, Multi-zone metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes
Modes: Aperture Priority, Auto, Intelligent Auto, Manual, Movie, Program, Scene Selection, Shutter Priority, Superior Auto, Sweep Panorama
Metering Range: EV -2.0 – EV 20.0
Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)
White Balance Modes
Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
Continuous Shooting
Up to 11 fps at 24.2 MP for up to 21 frames in raw format
Up to 11 fps at 24.2 MP for up to 44 frames in JPEG format
Up to 8 fps
Up to 6 fps
Up to 3 fps
Flash Modes
Auto, Fill-in, Hi-Speed Sync, Off, Rear Sync, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Wireless
Built-in Flash
Yes
Flash Guide Number
19.69′ (6m) ISO100
Flash Max Sync Speed
1 / 160 seconds
Flash Compensation
-3 EV to +3 EV (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)
Dedicated Flash System
TTL
External Flash Connection
Hot Shoe, Wireless
Self Timer
10 seconds, 5 seconds, 2 seconds
Connectivity
1/8″ Microphone, HDMI D (Micro), Micro-USB, USB 2.0
Wireless LAN (Built-in)
Wi-Fi Compatible, IEEE802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz band)
Playback of still images and movies on smartphones, PCs and TVs
Battery
1x NP-FW50 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack, 7.2 VDC, 1080 mAh
AC Power Adapter
AC-PW20 (sold separately)
Operating Temperature
32 to 104deg F (0 to 40deg C)
Dimensions (WxHxD)
4.7 x 2.6 x 1.9″ (120.0 x 66.9 x 48.8mm) excluding protrusions
Weight
14.25 oz (404g) with battery and memory card

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (2 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The Sony a6300 mirrorless camera is pretty darn small. Then again, all of the flagship APS-C cameras always have been too. If you’re a veteran Sony user, then this camera will make total sense to you. On top, what you’ll find are the on/off switch, shutter release, custom function buttons, mode dial, exposure dials, hot shoe and brandings.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (4 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 4.0

The front of the camera has a lens release button and a grip. Otherwise though, it’s very minimal.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (5 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 4.0

When you come to the back of the camera, you’ll find all the controls. For some it may be intimidating, while for others it’ll be fine. The LCD screen is the flippy type, the EVF is on the top left, and the button layout lends itself to the right handed person. Plus there are buttons on the top area.

Like many other higher end Sony products, the LCD screen isn’t touch capable. Why? I’m not quite sure.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (3 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 4.0

The Sony a6300 is built with weather resistance that Sony often calls splash and dust proofing. I took the camera onto the beach for a while, and it worked fine amongst the sand flying around. Plus, it was splashed once or twice by water athletes. The camera kept working with no problems.

Ergonomically speaking though, it’s best with smaller lenses when you’re talking about balance. For that reason I think that small primes are best with this camera despite the fact that its autofocus system lends itself to sports shooting. In all honesty though, the 70-200mm f4 wasn’t too bad with this camera.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images sports stuff (1 of 2)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 6.3

Sony touts the 4D focus system–and it involves 423 AF points being positioned on the sensor. When you combine that with 11fps, it’s tough to miss a shot. Other journalists on the trip reported the camera and lens focusing on a subject, then focusing on water or a tree, and then focus on the athlete again.

I didn’t actually experience that. Instead, I got a combination of things:

  • The camera and lens focusing and tracking the athlete as I panned with them.
  • The camera and lens focusing on the water, then the athlete for a quick second then the water again.
  • The camera saying that it’s locked onto the athlete but not being the most accurately focused.

Mind you, all of this was done when shooting wide open with the 70-200mm f4 OSS. When stopped down to f5.6 or 6.3 then that problem was eliminated. In truth, that’s what an actual sports photographer may do to begin with: stop the lens down a bit.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (5 of 18)ISO 64001-160 sec at f - 4.0

Lots of my images were sharp and perfectly in focus much to my surprise. But to be fair, this was all in good lighting. when it came to low lighting, the hit rate went down slightly more when shooting without tracking and while shooting with tracking in low light it wasn’t really working incredibly well. Sure, the hit rate kept up, but not as well as with great lighting.

To be fair, you have to expect that.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (7 of 8)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 4.0

The menu system from other Sony cameras is present here. You’ve got the newer version or the option to have the older tile based menu if you choose it. But both of them work if you wish.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (18 of 18)ISO 4001-250 sec at f - 4.0

The image quality overall is being measured using the JPEG quality because the RAW files aren’t supported yet. For what it’s worth, the JPEGs are nice, but they’re not Fujifilm’s or Olympus’s. Where Sony’s biggest strength comes in is with the RAW files.

I’ll let you judge for yourself.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (17 of 18)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 4.0

This image was shot using the camera Vivid profile and a flash was added on the left. Not as vivid an image as you’re used to seeing, huh?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (16 of 18)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (15 of 18)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (14 of 18)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (13 of 18)ISO 4001-4000 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (12 of 18)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (11 of 18)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (10 of 18)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (9 of 18)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (8 of 18)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (7 of 18)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (6 of 18)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (4 of 18)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (3 of 18)ISO 1001-20 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (2 of 18)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 first impression images (1 of 18)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

First Impressions

The Sony a6300 is a very powerful camera. For general use, it’s more than enough. But where it’s really going to be tested is in the studio with RAW files, sports, wildlife, and street photography. The a6000 is still a great camera; and while I’m sure that it won’t be worth an upgrade I could be very wrong.

  • Elin
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.85):2633954410

    Which lens was used in these examplepictures? 16-70?
    Im thinking about buying a6300 and one lens for now. Should I go for 10-18 or 16-70? I love the image quality in 10-18 but I dont know so much about 16-70. I zoomlens would be nice but at the same time Im after good quality

  • Hector
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2570891368

    We should all be thankful to Sony for pushing the boundaries of photography with their technical innovations, they have really shaken the industry… but despite all the technical capabilities they are not a photographic company and it shows a bit. The biggest issue for me is the lack of APS specific quality optics. This is a terrific camera if you do video though.

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2570910319

      What are you talking about? There are are than enough of them!!!

      So many primes, so many zooms! Go here: http://www.sony.com/electronics/lenses/t/camera-lenses?cameramount=e-mount&sensor-lens=aps-c

      There are 15 E mount lenses. That 24mm f1.8 is one of the best lenses that they’ve ever made!

      • Hector
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2570922161

        Yes, they have a number of good lenses most of which are for full frame cameras, most of their APS lenses are not too good. The kit lens is specially bad.

        • Aykroyd
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2571070605

          ‘the kit lens is specially bad’…
          i hate to be a dick but i can’t stand comments like this. if you’re a decent photographer you should be able to make a picture sing with a kit lens!!! what is it these days, it’s like it’s trendy to hate on kit lenses and put yourself in that ‘i’m to good to use a kit lens’ bracket! i have the 16-50 and i use it regularly because it’s good enough! and by good enough i mean it’s sharper than my nipples on a cold day. is it sharper than the 16-35FE??? probably not but who in the hell is really going to notice?

          • Hector
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2571117418

            Yes of course, but then what is the point of also buying a technologically avant garde camera if you could also shoot the image with a first generation Canon Rebel or a mechanical Nikon FM10?

            Nikon’s and Fuji’s kit lenses are quite good in comparison and optics do matter.

          • Lainer
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2573197777

            I’ve owned many Sony cameras. The kit lens that comes with it is soft. It’s very noticeable. I actually preferred the 18-55mm kit lens on the NEX 5 back in the day, even though it was bigger. Also, I would like to see a kit lens in the 16-55mm range that is at the very least F/2.8 all the way through. Yeah, that would make it bigger. Or maybe a couple of pancake lenses that are actually sharp and 2.8? It gets frustrating. I think Sony beats the pants off Fuji for speed of focus and fps, but it lacks really sharp kit lenses.

        • Kevin Zhang
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572179885

          Hey mate… the 18-55mm kit lens is an awesome video lens and the 24, 35 and 50 f1.8 lenses are all terrific.

          • Hector
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572196414

            Those three primes are ok but not great, about he standard kit zooms. This is what Photozone has to say:

            E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
            “The native distortion reach epic dimensions at the wide-end of the zoon range. At 16mm it almost behaves like a fisheye lens”
            “the (vignetting) figures are among the very worst we have ever tested”
            “The amount of CAs (color shadows at hard contrast transitions) is also on the high side”
            “The Sony broke a couple of records but unfortunately not in the positive sense”

            E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

            “The Sony may perform decently on lower resolution NEX cameras (the 3 and 5 series). However, its capabilities are clearly overstrained on Sony’s 24 megapixel sensor.”

            “The quality is rather miserable at 18mm”

            “Another weakness is the high amount of lateral CAs at 18mm and 35mm”

            • Aykroyd
              Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
              Disqus/1.1(2.84):2573170073

              Hector, it’s cool, you obviously have very high standards and that’s great. Photozone can say whatever they want, I’ve taken some very nice shots with the 16-50, despite what websites say.

              As for shooting with a canon etc. I own an A6000 because it’s small, has sweet AF, and for my purposes I like having 11fps. Again, the lens offerings are more than adequate. Optics matter, but at some point, in my opinion, it becomes an exercise in wanking for perfection. To each their own.

              BTW, the FE lenses, comparatively speaking, are still quite compact and light. For the most part they feel pretty good.

              • Lainer
                Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
                Disqus/1.1(2.84):2573208108

                It’s exactly why I don’t get rid of the Sony. The grip is magnificent. The size is perfection. The menu system is improved. The only thing is the kit lens. Sony needs to make it sharper. Fuji kit lenses are so much better. I just want a carry-all camera that is small enough to fit in a bag or jacket pocket without having to bring out the big guns with extra lenses. This is my carry everywhere camera. It’s between this and a Ricoh GR. Ricoh GR is wonderful but doesn’t have an EVF/OVF, and is fixed. Sometimes you want a small kit pancake zoom for every day use. Also, I am angry that Sony cheesed out the EVF. I do get more nauseous using it over the NEX 6.

            • Lainer
              Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
              Disqus/1.1(2.84):2573201327

              Which is why I don’t use it on the A6000. I would have liked to dump the 16-55mm kit lens for the older 18-55mm lens.

        • Kevin Zhang
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572196398

          Plus, putting full frame lenses on the sony a6300 is not that bad

          • Hector
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572199256

            Not really, most APS cameras depend on FF lenses to complete their line ups but then what is the point of buying a more compact and cheaper camera if you still have to pay for the more expensive and larger lenses?

            Manufacturers could do a better service to their APS client base, and I’m talking of Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sony.

    • Kevin Zhang
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572178409

      I’d agree. Sony has always been pushing out amazing cameras but they never seem to be polished. I’d rather Sony go down the canon way and release polished and reliable products every 2 years or so. Right now their cameras seem more to be making impacts rather than making actual reliable and polished cameras.

      Before I bought the a6300 I would definitely say that it’s the “APS-C KING” of the camera world. But now, after I received it, I’m really pissed off with the rolling shutter. It’s like the Sony engineers were retarded or something! Terrific ISO performance, terrific down sampled 6K footage, S-log 2… rolling shutter??? WTF! Even a slow pan shows tiled lines! And I do agree with your statement regarding the lack of lenses for the aps-c system, but sony did just release 4 full frame cameras last year so you know… it takes some time for the engineers to shift their focus. I’d expect to see some lenses for the APS-C lineup soon. Sony usually releases lenses in coordination with their camera releases, and since they haven’t released an APS-C camera in a while they haven’t released an APS-C lens for a while.

      • Hector
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572204007

        I have never thought of the rolling shutter issue as I’m a stills amateur.

        I had an A7II about a year ago. I won it on a contest. It was a very good camera but I didn’t feel too engaged to it and the kit lens felt terribly cheap. I knew that if I wanted to build on a collection of good lenses for this camera I would have to sell my car so I sold the camera instead along with my humble Nikon entry level APS reflex and bought an X-Pro1 with three primes a tripod and a bunch of nice accessories. I love using the X-Pro1 to this day.

        Then maybe if photography was my business it would have been possible for me to consider investing that much in FF lenses.

        • Kevin Zhang
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572314680

          It might just be Sony’s strategy you know. There’s a good chance they’re just pushing you to buy the more expensive lenses.

          • Hector
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2572747145

            That’s quite plausible.

    • Lainer
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2573182051

      Agree. If I could put Fuji or Olympus optics on it and have it still be AF, or maybe smaller sized lenses that are sharp. not soft, then this would be the perfect camera for ergonomic grip, size and speed. As much as I hate the grips on the Fuji X-T10 camera, and the slower shutter, I love the lenses. The Sony lenses just don’t measure up without having to spend a ton of cash on them. No thanks.