Sony a6300 Field Test Review

Sony a6300 mirrorless camera

Sony a6300 mirrorless camera ($999 body only | $1,148 with 16-50mm kit lens) is Sony’s follow-up to their extremely popular Sony a6000 which holds the title as “Best Selling Camera Over $600” since it’s introduction in 2014.

Key New Features:

  • New & Improved 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor with larger photo diodes and faster read-out
  • 425 Phase Detection AF points + 169 Contrast Detection AF points for Hybrid AF
  • Phase Detection AF with Third-party glass on Smart Adapters
  • 4K (UHD) video with S-Log3 – 25/24p from full width, 30p from smaller crop
  • 11 frames per second continuous shooting mode
  • 8 frames per second continuous shooting mode – with no preview lag!
  • Silent Shooting mode for stealth shooting
  • 2.36M-dot OLED finder with 120 fps mode
  • Dust and moisture resistant magnesium-alloy body
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC connection option
  • Built-in microphone socket

    That’s a LOT of stuff to love, but here are the two things I wish it did have…

    What??? No IBIS???

    Let’s face it, everyone would have been in favor of IBIS if it could have been added without adding size, weight and cost, but it would have added all three.

    I’m certain many of you would be fine with this – but MORE users preferred keeping the size and weight as close as possible to a6000 and not paying the price that adding IBIS would add to the cost.

    I’m guessing you’re either in agreement with this choice – or sadly disappointed. If you were in the camp that wanted IBIS no matter the size, weight and cost it would add (and I’m there with you) – you simply got out-voted

    Built-in Microphone Jack – but no Headphone Jack

    If you shoot video the good news is that a6300 added a microphone jack. The bad news is they didn’t add a headphone jack. If you don’t shoot video – you don’t care about this. But if you do shoot video and wish it had a mic jack, I hear ya…

    Sony a6300 Raw Support:

    Whenever I test a new pre-release camera I always shoot Raw + Jpeg and posting from Jpeg until Raw file support is available. These images were posted from the Jpeg since at the time of this initial post, Sony a6300 Raw files were not yet supported, however as of March 16th, Sony a6300 Raws are supported by:

    Sony Image Data Converter for MAC | WIN
    Lightroom CC 2015.5 & Lightroom 6.5
    Adobe Camera Raw 9.5
    Capture One Pro 9.1

    Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the actual shooting experience. Here are my first shots with the new Sony a6300 taken at Sony’s Miami Press Event starting off with a sunrise shoot on Miami Beach.

    Sony a6300 Miami
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm | 1/125 sec | F9 | ISO 100

    11 fps + 425 Phase Detection AF points

    The combination of 11 fps + 425 Phase Detection AF points make this camera an absolute BEAST for sports action photography! Sony a6300’s PDAF covers virtually the entire sensor – unlike DSLRs which cluster AF point closest to the center of the frame. Sony a6300 offers options of either 11 frames per second continuous shooting mode – or 8 frames per second continuous shooting mode with no preview lag!

    Sony a6300 Miami
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 70-200 F4 G OSS at 159mm | 1/1250 sec | F4.5 | ISO 200

    Beach Volleyball at Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach shot on Sony a6300
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm | 1/500 sec | F5.6 | ISO 200

    Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach shot on Sony a6300
    Sony a6300

    New Improved EVF

    Speaking of sports action, Sony a6300 gets a new and improved 2.36M-dot OLED with a 120 fps refresh option (Sony a6000 has 1.44M-dot OLED). The 2.36 M-dot resolution matches the EVF found in a7 Series cameras but the 120 fps refresh is a new feature aimed at fast panning action (something many birders have requested). This setting uses a bit more power, so you’ll want to turn it off when you don’t need it.

    …of course its compact size also make it great for travel shots…

    Sony a6300 Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 60mm | 1/80 sec | F5.0 | ISO 100

    Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach shot on Sony a6300
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm | 1/30 sec | F8 | ISO 400

    Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach shot on Sony a6300
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm | 1/30 sec | F2.8 | ISO 400

    Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach shot on Sony a6300
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 33mm | 1/100 sec | F2.8 | ISO 400

    Sony a6300 Field Test Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 53mm | 1/50 sec | F5.6 | ISO 400

    Sony a6300 Field Test Fountainbleau Hotel MIAMI BEACH
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 52mm | 1/40 sec | F2.8 | ISO 1600

    Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach shot on Sony a6300
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm | 1/160 sec | F5.6 | ISO 100

    low light portrait Sony a6300
    Sony a6300 | Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master | 1/8 sec | F1.4 | ISO 400

    Gear List:

  • Sony a6300 Camera
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
  • Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master Lens
  • Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master Lens
  • Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS

    Other Recommended Lenses:

  • Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS APS Lens
  • Sony E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS APS Lens
  • Sony E 18-105mm F4 G OSS APS Lens
  • Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens
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    31 thoughts on “Sony a6300 Field Test Review”

    1. Tom Rosencrantz

      Can you say if they plan to come out with another high end camera body model, in 2016? Not asking what, just curious if they plan to? Sony that is.

      1. Interesting he skipped answering your question. Answered earlier and later questions, but doesn’t seem to want to give an answer here to your valid question ?

      2. I don’t have a6000 and a6300 to compare side-by-side but I don’t know that there was much need to improve low ISO performance of a6000. Improvements in a6300 were more along the lines I mentioned in earlier about improved AF, larger pixels for better performance at high ISOs, best in class 4K video and features like silent shooting mode.

        1. Brian,

          I may have confused things . . . I meant improvements in low light shooting. Your reference to “larger pixels for better performance at high ISOs” sounds promising. Do you have any impressions of how many stops the A6300 would improve in low light applications?

          We just tested a A7R2 and it seemed to be 2-2.5 stops better than the A6000 at high ISO’s (6400 and above), but the size/weight increase for body and lens makes one pause. Trying to decide which way to go for the next upgrade.

          Thanks very much for taking the time to respond.

          Jack

    2. Would the A6300 be a good counterpart to my a7ii? I take full advantage of the a7ii’s IBIS, as I shoot many Canon FD lenses…but would like to have the ability to shoot 4K and with fast AF when needed (also have FE glass). I suppose I could just get an a7rii, but would be nice to have two bodies. Do you see pairing the a6300 and a7ii as redundant or complimentary? Thanks…love your stuff!
      -Steve

    3. I’ve been contemplating the move from Canon EOS FF to Sony as I was sold on their RX100M3 that I literally carry everywhere. My conundrum is A7ii vs A6300. The A7 has the lenses and IBIS but the A6300 would seem to have the focusing system and nice compact size – coming from a 5D MKII that is a real benefit as it’s tracking focus is poor, has no eye focus, and is rather bulky. My RX100M3 beats it in a portrait eye focus every time. The problem I have with pulling the trigger on this camera is the lens lineup. 24-70 is of little use as a general purpose lens due to the lack of short end on APS-C.
      Would you consider the 16-70 f4 a good enough lens for this camera or would I be better off sticking to an A7 due to the better more native lenses?

    4. Amazing pictures! I am looking to buy my first serious camera for the family – we have an important trip coming up. How important is the “G” lens over the lens that ships with the camera? A friend who has the NEX-6 complains that the 16-50 that shipped with his camera had distortion and poor light throughput. But the G lens increases the price of the whole camera from $1200 to to $3400. You clearly know your cameras. Is it worth almost tripling the price of the camera? Thanks!

    5. Brian , Love your work mate! quick question , would you recommend the a6300 as a backup camera for portrait photography ? my work horse is the Sony a7ii.

      1. I tend to gravitate more to a6300 for sports action where the crop sensor is a plus for it’s added “reach” and 11 FPS come in handy, but it could be used as a back-up portrait camera as well…

    6. Big thanks for your response on the Sony a6300 backup camera option Brian , just purchased it today and familiarizing myself with the buttons. The AF is mental on this thing , i love it !

    7. Hi Brian, just a quick question about A6300 and external flash (Godox TT350s). Can I dial in negative exposure compensation to darken the background without altering the flash output? Purportedly, the A6300 allows you to apply exposure compensation to “Ambient & Flash” or “Ambient Only”. However when I use the latter option with my flash set to TTL mode, I get both a darker background and a slightly darker subject! Any thoughts why that might be?

    8. Thanks for your reply. I think I have figured it out now. The problem mainly occurs when shooting a backlit subject indoors, e.g. a person in front of a window. In those cases, it does indeed help to dial up EV compensation on the flash. I got different results when shooting outside as in those situations selecting the “Ambient only” setting affects the ambient light but not the subject (as expected).

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