The rise of Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless cameras have come a long way since first making their presence felt on the scene. When they first came into the market they were widely criticized for their lack of auto-focusing speed, unavailability of good lens options and the absence of a true optical viewfinder.
Most of these complaints (barring the Optical View Finder, OVF) have since been answered. The market has grown akin to the look and feel of mirrorless cameras and the benefits that they provide combining the best of two worlds – DSLRs and compact cameras.
Speaking of mirrorless cameras, Sony cameras have long been considered as the peak of the lot. Sony’s revolutionary EXMOR sensor and BIONZ image processor make a formidable pair.
Sony Alpha a6300 Review
The older model of Sony, the Sony Alpha 6000, set the standard when it came to the performance by mirrorless cameras. The new Sony Alpha 6300 replaces this much-loved camera and takes the Sony flag forward.
Related Post: The Best Lenses for Your Sony a7 and a7II
The Sony Alpha a6300 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) powered by a 24.2 MP APS-C EXMOR CMOS sensor and Sony’s highly acclaimed BIONZ X image processing engine.
The large sensor combined with the lightning-fast image processor is capable of handling internal 4K videos at 30 fps and full-HD videos at a mind-boggling 120 fps.
The acclaimed BIONZ image processor helps produce excellent noise-free images even when shot using a high ISO.
On-chip phase detection auto-focusing
The Sony Alpha a6300 has a newly designed chip which has a 425-point phase detection AF system built-in.
Plus, it also has a 169-area contrast detection system, which it combines with the phase detection system to create a high-performance hybrid AF system. Sony calls this the new 4D Focus system and rates it to lock focus in as little as 0.05 secs (fastest at the time of writing this).
High-density tracking ensures that the AF points which are closest to the subject are automatically activated while tracking a subject as it moves.
Phase detection AF points work with Sony’s A-mount lenses as well.
Related Article: Nikon D500 Review
Focus peaking in manual focusing
The new Sony Alpha a6300 incorporates focus peaking feature for manual focusing.
Focus peaking highlights the sharp edges with the color of your choice, giving a better indication of sharpness of focus acquired.
Continuous shooting speed
Another highlight of the new Sony Alpha a6300 is its fantastic continuous shooting speed (burst rate).
At 11 fps, in bursts of 21 RAW frames each and with 14-bit information, this is as high as it gets in terms of continuous shooting speed. In JPEG format, you can shoot up to 44 continuous full resolution frames before the buffer overruns. In the live-view mode, continuous shooting speed is still a respectable 8 fps.
But what makes this feature even sweeter is that you get actual live-view of the subject in between each captured frame. An explanation of this feature is warranted.
Normally, when using electronic live-view viewfinders, images snapped appears on the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) for a brief moment. During that brief moment, you don’t get to see the scene in front of the camera.
This is a key difference between an EVF on a mirrorless camera and an OVF (Optical Viewfinder) on a DSLR. This impairs the photographer’s view of the scene or the subject, especially if the subject is moving, and throws off the composition.
With the new Sony Alpha a6300, this problem is somewhat marginalized but at a shorter burst rate.
Higher bracketing range
Auto exposure bracketing, as a feature on the older model, allowed the shooting of only 5 frames at the most. That has been bettered in the new camera. You can now shoot up to 9 frames when using 1 step EV compensation.
Related Article: Auto Exposure Bracketing for HDR Photography
4K Video shooting
The Sony Alpha a6300 is capable of shooting in UHD 4K at 30 fps. In full HD format, the camera can shoot at a stunning 120 fps.
The recording is done in Super 35mm format. The Sony Alpha a6300 utilizes full pixel readout and does not involve pixel binning. This has twin major effects. The resulting videos are sharper and they are devoid of moiré or aliasing.
The camera comes with HDMI output. You can use an external recording device to simultaneously record the footages being shot. Stereo sound is recorded via the built-in stereo mic.
Watch this video review of the Sony Alpha a6300 shot in 4K:
Zebra and S-log settings
With the improved zebra functionality, you can now use S-log gamma profiles for better control of the overexposed areas of the frame while shooting videos.
This is extremely effective when shooting in areas with high contrast. You will need to set the desired levels between 0 and 109 and this allows a better adjustment of the exposure during video shooting.
Plus with the S-Log3 gamma setting the Sony Alpha a6300 is capable of picking up a vast 14-stop dynamic range.
Viewfinder / LCD
There is no optical viewfinder. However, Sony has provided a 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder (up from the 1.4 million dot EVF on the outgoing model).
The 0.39” viewfinder produces a bright representation of the image coming through the lens. Viewfinder coverage is 100%.
The 3” rear tilting rear LCD screen has a resolution of 921,600 dots. It also gives 100% frame coverage.
Unfortunately, there is still no touchscreen functionality which is kind of disappointing.
A pleasing new feature on the new A6300 is the silent shooting mode. The silent shooting comes in handy when you want to be absolutely discreet. Examples would be weddings, infant photography and candid street photography as some of the areas that you could use to shoot in silent mode.
Built quality, Dimensions, Ergonomics and Weather sealing
The Sony Alpha a6300 is not an all-weather camera. The magnesium-alloy body of the Sony Alpha a6300 is rated as weather resistant (moisture, dust and dirt), but it is not perfectly weather sealed.
For their part, Sony has not cleared the air around the weather sealing aspect which leaves room for some doubt as to its performance in inclement weather.
The new camera definitely carries a more rugged look from the outside, when compared with the outgoing model.
In terms of ergonomics, Sony has done a good job in this area as well. The protruded right-hand grip gives a firm one-hand grip.
The rubberized thumb rest is perfectly positioned too. Most of the buttons including the AF/MF switch, the video recording button, menu, play, timer etc., fall in perfectly.
The only exception being the flash button which is slightly towards left and beyond the reach of the right thumb, especially for people with small hands.
The dimensions of the camera are 4.7” x 2.6” x 1.9”.
It weighs just about 400 grams with the battery and memory card slotted into place. The camera is designed to be operated almost by one hand.
Related Post: Review of the Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
Connectivity & Final Verdict
The Sony Alpha 6300 comes with both built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities.
One touch pairing and transfer of images between compatible devices ensure a faster upload or your best images to social media.
Alternatively, you can hook on to an available wireless network and transfer images to your laptop or network drive.
The Sony Alpha a6300 is definitely one of the best mirrorless cameras out there. It is perfect especially for shooting sports and action as its 425-point autofocus system can keep the focus on moving subjects.
Related Post: DSLRs vs Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners