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

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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

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

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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.