A Review of the Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Sony Alpha a6300
- Excellent auto-focusing speed
- 425-point AF system
- Native UHD video capability
- Weather resistant
- Compact form
- Lack of a second DSLR-like command dial
The Sony Alpha a6300 is a mirrorless design that is built around a 24.2 megapixel APS-C EXMOR CMOS sensor and the BIONZ X image processor engine. This mirrorless design is a successor of the favorite Alpha a6000. The absence of a mirror means the camera does not have an optical viewfinder and the associated shake of it due to flipping.
With the advent of sensor based phase detection auto-focusing in mirrorless cameras the days of contrast detect only auto-focusing systems are a distant memory. Speaking of auto-focusing this is clearly the USP of the a6300. There are a bunch of other features of the newly revamped camera. Let’s dive in and find out more about them.
The first and the most obvious new feature centers on the sensor. If you think that would be the megapixel then you are wrong. Sony has upgraded the sensor of the a6300 all right. But the upgrades are not fixated on resolution. The new sensor has the similar 24.2 effective megapixels as in the a6000. What has changed, however, is the auto-focusing prowess of the new camera. The Sony Alpha a6300 has 425 AF point compared to the 179 phase detection points on the older a6000. This means better AF lock or off-center compositions and better subject tracking when your subject is moving about.
Sony’s press release for the launch of the a6300 stated, “The camera boasts an unrivaled 4D FOCUS™ system that can lock focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, the world’s fastest AF acquisition time.” As already stated above the a6300 has a 425-point hybrid auto-focusing, a quantum jump from the 179-point phase detection point AF system of the older a6000. All of the 425 AF points are capable of being used with A-mount lenses. For this you need a LA-EA3 A mount to E mount adapter.
Continuous shooting speed of the a6300 is 11 fps. It is the same as the a6000. At that rate you can shoot continuously for up to 21 RAW frames or 44 JPEG frames before the buffer overruns. When shooting in live-view mode the burst mode performance drops down to 8 fps. The 24 megapixel sensor is capable of producing large fine JPEGs of the size 6000 x 4000 pixels. You can opt to choose either in the cinematic 16:9 or the boxier 3:2 aspect ratio. The sensor is capable of recording 14-bits of information.
The greatest advantage of shooting with the a6300 is the highly evolved subject tracking feature of the camera. The a6300 has a total of 425 AF points. Enough to cover almost the entire real estate of the sensor surface. Sony marks it as ‘high-density’ tracking, which dynamically activates all the AF points around the subject of your photo and then fires the relevant AF points as the subject moves.
The Sony Alpha a6300 is capable of recording UHD videos (3840 x 2160p) at a frame rate of 30, 25 and 24 fps. At full-HD it is capable of producing a higher frame rate of 120 fps. This is ideal for capturing fast action sequences and then playing them back in slow speed for a dramatic effect. The a6300 has a built-in mic that is capable of recording stereo sound-bites along with the video footages. Further, you have the option to plug in an external stereo mic for better quality sound recording.
What will make videographers happy is the presence of the S-log2 and S-log3 gamma curves and a video-focused picture profile system which would be ideal for videographers. Not many mirrorless and for that matter DSLR systems have these two features to boot.
The a6300 has a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 sec. There is also the customary bulb mode for shooting long exposure shots.
The native ISO range of the a6300 is 100 – 25600. When it is used in the extended mode it is capable of producing images at ISO 51200.
Rear LCD screen and Electronic Viewfinder
The lack of a mirror inside a mirrorless camera means that the camera has an Electronic Viewfinder. The lack of an optical viewfinder is rarely missed these days. For those who shoot with mirrorless systems as their main body argue that the electronic viewfinder is actually more reliable than the optical variety. The image you see through the viewfinder is always a truer representation of what the sensor sees and is about the capture.
Exposure adjustments are always real time. Thus the view is always a precise demonstration of what you are going to capture when the shutter release is pressed. The a6300’s EVF is a 2.36M-dot OLED finder with a refresh rate of 120 fps.
At the back of the camera is a 3” tilting LCD screen with a resolution of 921,600 dots. The frame coverage is 100%.
Build quality and ergonomics
The Sony Alpha a6300 carries on with the good work done with the a6000 in terms of weather resistance. The magnesium alloy construction has excellent weather resistance. Design wise the camera has a compact form. There are, however, some design issues like the absence of a secondary command dial (sub-command dial) under the right index finger. That would have given the camera almost a DSLR feel. The main mode dial is almost embedded into the top panel, not the kind of feel that would make all photographers happy. There is a built-in flash. Great thing. It recesses into the body only to pop-out when needed. The guide number of the flash is 19.69’ at ISO 100. Maximum sync speed with the flash is 1/160. You can adjust the exposure compensation -3EV to up to +3EV. A hot-shoe is also provided to ensure you can add external flash unit if necessary.
The a6300 accepts both SD cards and Sony’s proprietary storage formats.
The a6300 has built-in wireless and NFC connectivity. Latch on to any available wireless network and you would be able to shoot and share videos and stills seamlessly. With available NFC compatible devices sharing is even easier.
Overall the Sony Alpha a 6300 is a great camera to work with. It has excellent auto-focusing, subject tracking and continuous speed. It also has good weather sealing. This is a camera that is ideal for any situations. A lightweight option for both photographers who may already have a DSLR and those who are looking for their first interchangeable lens body.
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