Sony a6300 Review

Introduction

Sony re-enters into the APS-C mirrorless arena, this time smashing in with the Sony a6300, a much improved and proud successor to the previously released a6000. Originally released fall of 2016, the a6300 comes in with a 24 megapixel Exmor RS sensor coupled with industry leading autofocus, low light, and video performance all aimed squarely at the amateur photographer who’s serious about their development. Today, my friends, we discuss whether or not the a6300 still lives up to its original hype. 

What Kind of Camera is the Sony a6300 Classified as?

The Sony a6300 is classified as an mirrorless APS-C camera. Interestingly enough, this camera competes directly with the several higher priced Full-Frame cameras, namely Canon 80D and Nikon D500. Overall image quality, focusing ability, low light and video performance is comparable to these higher end models, in some cases even better too. Let’s take a moment now to assess what are some of the pros and cons with this specific camera.

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What are some of the goods, bads, and the uglies of the Sony a6300?

As with all improvements, nothing is perfect and kinks still exist because improvement also means trade-offs along the journey as well. The Sony a6300 is no exception and does have quite a few cons, though the cons present are very specific and incredibly minor in the larger picture. Let’s discuss the goods and bads now.

Pros:

Superior autofocusing performance as a result of 425 Contrast and Phase Detection autofocus points covering nearly the entire sensor. Even in 2019, the autofocusing performance from the a6300 is more than sufficient for both complex video compositions and action in stills. For those primarily looking for a camera to do B-roll, VLOG, or video content this camera is a total work horse. 

Small, complex, and lightweight making the need for larger storage space less. The size of this camera removes much of the cumbersome backbreaking effort needed when traveling with traditional Digital SLRs. 

Has a Micro USB port that allows for both file transfer and charging, a needed plus considering battery life suffers greatly on this camera. Thankfully, an auxillary battery pack or portable charger can be mounted directly to the camera itself (through brackets) considerably improving battery performance.

With the E Mount platform, photographers have the ability to purchase non-native lens adapters which allows Canon EF, Simga, and Nikon lenses (to name a few) to be used significantly increasing the lenses available for use with the a6300. 

Impressive low light performance that comfortably provides usable images and videos up to ISO 3,200, a marketed improvement over the predecessor. This fact now makes the a6300 a rival to larger Full-Frame cameras in raw performance above its price range. 

Has a microphone input port, a needed option for those of you looking for stronger video content with more comprehensive audio capture. 

Records 4K video at 24 Frames Per Second.

Records 1080p video at 120 Frames Per Second.

The electronic Viewfinder covers the entirety of the sensor and also supports Live View shooting, this allows changes made to exposure to be viewed directly on the Viewfinder itself prior to taking a photo.

Shoots video in Super 35, S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 modes, this makes color correction or color grading in post processing a breeze. 

Very fast Burst firing, up to 11 Frames Per Second. 

Weather sealed

Completely silent shooting

Cons:

As mentioned previously, battery longevity is poor and is, on average, 300-450 shots per single charge depending on shooting style. Thankfully, they’re cheap and there are a number of proven workarounds to increase longevity. One of which is using an external battery pack mounted to the camera via the hot shoe adapter, as this camera does support USB charging.

This camera overheats after 15-20 minutes of continually video recording, especially in 4K. This problem can be solved by using faster SD cards. Granted, if you’re shooting outdoors, this problem will still occur. 

No headphone jack output port. If you’re serious documentary or interview videographer, this camera would be best suited with an external recorder as you will be unable to monitor audio otherwise. Also, the internal recorder found on the a6300 is noisy, even at low levels of ambient noise. So an external recorder will be best to prevent noise in your audio recordings as well. 

The a6300 suffers dramatically from rolling shutter, which refers to the tendency of a camera to blur when panning back and forth while shooting video. So much that panning during video is found to be quite distracting and even disorienting. Overall, this will be a deal breaker for those looking for a moderately priced video camera, especially if your goal is to also shoot handheld. 

The primary LCD is not a touchscreen nor does it swivel or articulate. This becomes somewhat of a deal breaker for those of you looking for a solid VLOGging camera, as the lack of an articulating screen will make proper framing and composition difficult for you. Thankfully, this problem can be fixed using the Sony Companion app to see a LIve View of the camera from your paired smartphone. A convenient fix to this problem indeed. Even still, the lack of touchscreen does mean this camera has no ability to perform tap to focus, a disadvantage for those looking for simple focus selection without being forced to navigate with the rotary pad. The primary LCD also suffers when used in direct sunlight and is found to be washed out, making viewing in playback difficult. Lastly, the range of motion the LCD  is limited. It does move, but is not adequate for videographers looking to consistently shoot at higher angles. 

No built in body stabilization, a disappointment given the original price of this camera at release. This con primarily affects video recording and makes footage captured shaky even when shot using a monopod. Thankfully, Sony does offer stabilizes E-mount lenses that are very competitively priced that will work great. However, if you ever find yourself in situations where these lenses are not usable, the lack of stabilization will be a huge drawback. 

It has poor ergonomics. The placement of the selection wheel and primary directional pad are awkward, to say the least. Not only that, there’s only one customizable wheel is available and it’s placement makes unintentionally changing other settings likely. The primary directional pad itself is also easy to mistakenly press down, which also will cause unwanted changes. The buttons are also small relative to the average sized hand. The Video record button is strangely placed and is not particularly sensitive either. The SD card is located in a slot that’s on the bottom of the camera next to the battery, and quickly removing the SD card is difficult. And if you’re a video shooter and constantly find yourself needing to swap SD cards, this fact will definitely slow down workflow. 

The menu navigating isn’t user friendly and is complex,  making finding specific functionality difficult. Sony has been notorious for complex menus and the a6300 is no different.

Is the a6300 a good beginners camera?

Yes. This is a phenomenal camera for those of you serious about developing and sharpening your skills. The Sony a6300 is the camera that has single handled solidified the trend of making Digital SLRS irrelevant, and mirrorless cameras the future. And now in 2019, finally other manufacturers are catching onto the power of mirrorless cameras. The a6300 is best suited for those of you looking for a capable camera to do any of the following: strong photo and video performance, shooting 4K on a budget, industry-leading autofocusing ability or superior low light performance while still retaining quality. If you are willing to look past some of the minor nuances as listed above in the cons, the a6300 will be an absolute killer starting camera. 

What are the best lenses for the a6300?

Here are some general recommendations if your looking to stay within the sony lens ecosystem and wanting to spend the least amount while still covering the basic necessities: 

General Photography: 

Sony E 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

Sony-E-18-135mm-lens

Sony E 55-210 mm f/4.5 – 6.3 OSS

Sony-E-55-210mm-lens

Sony E PZ 16-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS 

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Specifically for Macro Photography:

Sony FE 90 mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS 

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Specifically for Landscape Photography:

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 

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Specifically for Portraits:

FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

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E 50 mm F1.8 OSS

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Sony a6300 bundles

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Is the Sony a6300 a good camera for you?

Yes. While it does suffer from poor ergonomics, overheating, and a very complex menu layout, it’s still hard to compete with what the camera offers from a results standpoint. Not to mention, the a6300 still has one of the top 10 best autofocusing systems and overall performance in APS-C sized cameras to date. The overall quality, features and performance offered allows the a6300 to compete with higher valued Full-Frame cameras. It’s because of these facts the Sony a6300 still  remains competitive in 2019, and we absolutely recommend this as one of our top three beginner cameras. 

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Overview
  • Price
5

Summary

Solid video performance, especially in low light conditions up to ISO 6400. Has a number of features from higher end cameras within the sony ecosystem packed into this body. Arguably the best Super 35 APS-C camera available in regards to low light performance.