Anthony's Official

Sony A6300 Review

Posted: 4/23/2016

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE Sony A6300

Sony officially announced their new A6300 back in February of 2016 as an upgrade to the wildly successful A6000. Boasting a class leading sensor and completely new internals housed in that familiar A6000 shell, the A6300 sent a clear message that Sony had not forgotten about their APS-C E-Mount faithful.

I have had the pleasure of playing with the A6300 over the course of the last month in a variety of situations from sports to waterfalls. Today I am here to summarize my experience and share my thoughts on this impressive new flagship offering from Sony.

A6300 SPECS & DESIGN TOUR

24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor
XGA Tru-Finder 2.36m-Dot OLED EVF
Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC
BIONZ X Image Processor
Internal UHD 4K30 & 1080p120 Recording
Max ISO 51200 
4D FOCUS with 425 Phase-Detect Points
3.0″ 921.6k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
Up to 11 fps Shooting

The Top

The top of the A6300, as far as most cameras go, is pretty simple. You have your hotshoe for connecting a speedlight or Sony microphone, your mode dial for selecting your shooting mode (Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, etc), a control wheel which you can configure to change one of your exposure settings, one custom button which you can map to one of many functions, the on/off switch, and the shutter button.

The Left Side

The left side of the A6300, like most cameras, is home to it’s I/O ports. This model has just three of them: A microphone port, a welcome and needed feature for those wanting to use the A6300 as a video camera. An HDMI port, another welcome feature for the video crowd which allows you to connect the A6300 to an external recorder. The final port featured on the left side of the A6300 is a micro-USB port that can be used for charging the battery or transferring files off the SD card.

The Front

The front of the A6300 is rather simple, like its predecessor and other small form factor mirrorless cameras. The only button on the front of the A6300 body is the lens release button. Beyond that, the front of the A6300 features Sony’s E-Mount (obviously) and a focus assist beam that can, in low light situations, improve the A6300’s ability to focus.

The Right Side

The right side of the A6300 features just two things of note; The all important (and annoyingly placed) video record button, and the NFC chip for easily connecting the A6300 to your NFC-capable smartphone. This is one of the big areas where the A6000 design could have been improved upon, but Sony decided to stick to their original design, despite EVERYONE wanting them to move than freaking record button.

The Back

The back of the A6300 features the overwhelming majority of the cameras buttons and control. On the top left you get the EVF, which is greatly improved over the one in the A6000. You also get Sony’s version of the flip screen, which is capable of tilting up or down to help you shoot better with the camera above or below your head. The back also features the A6300’s second custom function button.

The Bottom

The bottom of the A6300, as is standard on virtually all modern cameras, features a 1/4 20 thread for easy attachment of quick release plates, tripods, stabilizers, etc. In addition to that, you will also find the SD/Battery compartment door, which (you guessed it) houses the A6300’s SD card slot and battery. I will get more into this later, but this is another area where Sony failed to improve over the A6000.

A6300 Pros

  • Convenient compact size
  • DSLR-Like AF performance
  • Above average APS-C ISO performance
  • Best EVF for action shooters on the market
The A6300 is an outstanding APS-C offering from Sony that once again pushes the envelope of what we thought was possible from an APS-C mirrorless camera. The A6300 features one of the best, if not THE best, crop sensors on the market with outstanding ISO performance and dynamic range.

The real star of the A6300 show, though, as it was with the A6000, is the AF capability of this camera. In my testing during several low light, live action, professional sports events I was able to use the A6300 and rely on its tracking in ways that I have never been able to do with a mirrorless camera before. I was not just settling for passable results, I was getting shots that I previously had to rent a DSLR to get with any amount of certainty. That in and of itself is incredibly impressive.

A6300 Cons

  • No front control dial
  • Poor video record button placement
  • SD/Battery combo compartment
  • Back LCD tilt range is very limited
Given the stellar performance and the great results the A6300 is capable of you might think that I would be willing to look past design flaws; but I just can’t. I did give the A6300 a ‘Pro’ for its convenient size, but for me it causes several ‘Cons’. Simply put, in my opinion, the A6300 is too small. Increasing the size just a small amount would allow for a front control dial for easier shutter/iso/aperture changes, a true SD card slot (not that SD/Battery combo crap), and better placement of the video record button.

Virtually all of my complaints about the A6300 have to do with issues caused by Sony failing to address the design flaws of the A6000 when they developed the A6300. It’s so frustrating to love the results out of a camera so much, and then be so annoyed whenever you have to use it.

A6300 Sample Images

I was able to test the A6300 in a variety of situations and tried to give a good sampling of results from the camera in the sample images that you see below.

Gear Used: Sony A6300, Sony Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, and Sony 16-50mm Power Zoom.

ISO Samples

I just ran a simple ISO ramp test on the A6300, keeping exposure as close to the same as I could to account for changing ISO values. Starting at ISO 100, then ISO 1000, 3200, 6400, and so on. As you will see in the results below, the A6300 performs really well (though not quite as well as my X-Pro 2) up until the highest of ISO settings.

ISO 12800 is totally usable in a pinch; I probably wouldn’t go any higher than that unless absolutely necessary. But let’s be honest, usable shots at ISO 12800 from a crop sensor camera is pretty great.

Full Res RAW Sample

Image is for personal evaluative purposes only. Not to be copied, shared, or used for any other purpose without my consent.

Download this Full Res RAW File

Final Thoughts on the Sony A6300

Let me start off by saying that I have enjoyed my time with the A6300 over the last month immensely. I talk about my annoyances with its size, and some (in my opinion) design flaws that Sony failed to address, but when push comes to shove, I would be very happy to have an A6300 in my bag wherever I am going.

In much the same way that Sony is rocking the Full Frame world with their A7 series cameras, the A6300 sits upon a similar perch, looking down upon most of the of the APS-C market. Its combination of specs, performance, and size make the A6300 a uniquely powerful camera that you can take with you virtually anywhere.

While I know there are some, most Professionals are likely not going to be ditching their DSLRS for the A6300 simply due to its size. But they may still consider the A6300 as an ideal family or travel camera thanks to its incredible image quality and ‘easy to take with you size.’

For their next round of upgrades, I would love for Sony to consider increasing the size a bit. I have already stated my case above, but I really do think that the usability improvements from it would make it well worth it (and still very compact). While I am on the subject of future improvements, some other things that would be nice include a touchscreen (with touch AF capability), an improved LCD tilt mechanism, and bigger or better batteries.

Fans of Sony’s E-Mount cameras to date will love the A6300 and potential converts from other systems will have a hard time finding issues with its capabilities. Sony has a winner of a camera on their hands here, anyone lucky enough to own one has my envy as a sports/action hobbyist.

Buy The Sony A6300

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