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Hands On With the Sony a6300 | Initial Impressions and Sample Images

By Hanssie on March 4th 2016

The a6300 was announced last month, the successor to their wildly popular a6000. On paper, the specs were impressive and fast, but in real life, would it live up to the hype? Sony’s newest offering was put to the test this week at a Sony Media event in Miami, Florida.

I had the chance to play with not only the Sony a6300, but the two of the new G Master series lenses (the 85mm 1.4 and the 24-70mm 2.8), plus a Sony a7R II and a 70-200mm f/4 tossed in for good measure. Some of you may know that this time last year, I jumped the Canon ship to mirrorless with the Fuji X-T1. I love the Fuji ecosystem, but I was open to trying something that was faster and better in low light. So, two days with Sony gear, would I be making another big camera switch? I won’t get ahead of myself, but here are my initial thoughts of the Sony a6300 and some sample images SOOC.

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Tracking and AF

Encased in the little a6300 body (which will be familiar to you a6000 owners as they kept the body pretty much the same) is an upgraded 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor with the copper wiring, but the thing to write home about is both the speed and accuracy of this little guy.

Sports and action shooters are going to love this camera as its ability to track fast moving subjects. At a sports water park, I was able to test the tracking abilities on wakeboarders as they sped by doing jumps, flips, and turns. Using the 70-200mm f/4 (not the new G Master), I found the focus to be pretty spot on – once you turn off the default face detection hidden deep in the Sony menu that is). It struggled a bit more at longer distances to hit its focus, but overall, the fast and accurate tracking was impressive. And with the advanced 4D focus and 425 AF points that locks on a subject in 0.05 seconds, it should be (and it was).

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Indoors and at closer distances, with the new 24-70mm G Master lens, I had little issue with tracking and focus. In continuous shooting mode and at 11fps, you could make flipbooks with the rapid-fire succession of images it produced. 

Manual focus was standard, but with the autofocus on this thing, not many will want or need to manual focus.

Image Quality

I didn’t have a chance to push the camera’s ISO 52000 capabilities, but in a dimmed restaurant setting, focus was still as fast as could be when I was photographing food. The a6300 quickly locked in on the details and the image quality was nice and sharp. (I was also shooting wide open to test the 85mm f/1.4 GM lens).

Sony-a6300-sample-images-9The colors from the a6300 did not impress me, but I’m coming from the Fuji and I prefer the colors on a Fuji which are more vibrant and has a little personality.

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Design

Design-wise, I found no issue with the size even with my long fingers, though you can see in the image below, with a 70-200mm attached, you can’t even see the camera! I never felt like I was going to accidentally drop it and with the large grip, I could hold it in one hand and still feel like it was secure.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the protruding eyecup (the a6000 had the same); though it’s on there securely, I was afraid it would catch on something in my bag if I wasn’t too careful. It’s really large and for someone not used to it, seeing this eyecup sticking out for the first time made me laugh.

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Image By www.SteveHuffPhoto.com

Other Thoughts

  • The battery life is typical mirrorless. If you are a mirrorless shooter, you’ll also need lots of extra batteries.
  • The Sony menu system is intense. Trying to navigate through it will take a little time.
  • Wifi transfer was a bit of a pain because I have an iPhone but I enviously watched an Android user transfer his images via the NFC chip with just one touch of the camera to his phone. (Darn you, iPhone).
  • I would LOVE it if they made a joystick to move the tracking squares. I’ve found this to be an issue with my Fuji as well, where I was to change my focus point quickly but have to press a series of buttons to do so. (Hence the missed focus in the shot below).

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For $1000, this camera does a lot and does it well. Am I going to leave Fuji and jump on the Sony train now? Well, it’s very tempting, especially with the new G Master series of lenses (which I will write about in another article), but no. I’m still in love with the color output of my Fujifilm, but I’ve decided that I have more than enough room in my heart to add the a6300 to my camera family.

If you want the a6300, they ship next week. Grab it here.

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com and www.fittedmagazine.com. Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:
[email protected]

10 Comments

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  1. Dan Sifuentes

    I like the photos. If you’re looking for a full review of the Sony a6300, I have one on my website. Check it out and let me know what you think.

    https://www.digitalcamcentral.com/sony-a6300-review/

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  2. John Priest

    So what LENSES did you use with the 6300? The G-Master lenses on this crop is not realistic to use is it? (I ordered the 6300 w/kit lens, also the new Sigma 1.4 Contemporary Lens) Did you get a chance to use the Kit lens that comes with the 6300 by chance? I just think the G-Lens line up makes more sense on the FF Sony cameras. I need to order a few more lenses for this Sony Crop camera, before this gets shipped to my house! Thoughts? Suggestions?

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    • Orville Griffiths

      10-18mm F4; PZ 18-105mm F4 G (if you shoot video); Zeiss E 24mm F18; Zeiss FE 55mm F1.8 (must have for crop or full-frame Sony bodies)! Very good but less expensive: Sony E 50mm F1.8; Sony E 55-210mm; Sony E 35mm F3.5 macro.

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    • Hanssie

      I only had a chance to use the two G Master lenses they provided. Two whirlwind days isn’t enough to do too much with these, but as much as I begged, they wouldn’t let me take them home with me :)

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  3. Raoni Franco

    Nice article Hanssie, thanks! Sure the a6300 is a great camera, just like the a7 ones. but…….I´m kinda emotional when it comes to the quality of images and the sony files often look “dead” to me, demanding more pp to bring them to life.

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    • Hanssie

      Thanks Raoni.

      Totally agree. Like I mentioned, something about my Fuji color tones gives it a personality that I didn’t find in the files with my time playing with the Sony’s, BUT the G Master lenses…WOW. That 85mm is something special.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Raoni, subtle color preference aside, I found the A7R II ARW’s to be vibrant and punchy right out of the box, yet dynamic and push-able.

      It also depends on what processor you use. Both Nikon and Sony aren’t being done any favors by Adobe; NEF and ARW files look way better in Capture One.

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    • Christian Fiore

      Piece of cake to create custom camera profiles if you’re using Adobe software. You can even recreate Fuji colors on any camera you shoot RAW with.

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  4. Jean-Francois Perreault

    Thanks for the hands-on!

    I’m a Fuji shooter and I’m not even thinking of jumping ship but I’m always interested with what Sony comes up with.

    I think they’re doing a hell of a job getting mirrorless cameras to the next level. That forces other brands to keep up, which is always good for us :)

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    • Hanssie

      I think Sony is definitely pushing the envelope for sure. They keep upping the game and I love it!

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