Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 24.2-Megapixel Exmor CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • BIONZ X image processor
  • 425-point Phase Detection AF system
  • 3.0-Inch, 921k-dot Tilting LCD Screen
  • Sony E-mount accepts E-mount lenses and A-mount lenses with optional adapter
  • 2.4-million dot EVF
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • Up to 11fps continuous shooting
  • Full 1080p HD and 4K video recording
  • High frame rate recording for smooth slow-motion playback
  • Hot Shoe for external accessories
  • Built-in WiFi with NFC
  • Microphone Input
  • HDMI Output
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Program and iAuto produce overall excellent quality images
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Outstanding video control provides many professional settings
  • Pop-up flash is always available
  • EVF with high refresh rate provides smooth, easy follow view for shooting and tracking
  • Nice, Bright 3.0-inch LCD tilts for tough shooting situations and reduce glare
  • Awesome shooting performance
  • Competitively priced
  • HDMI Output
  • Audio Input
  • Lack of optical image stabilization built into body (as we are seeing on many of the new Sony models)
  • Camera boosts ISO to keep images sharp
  • Battery Life is average for an ILC, way below a DSLR
  • USB power adapter leaves you charging your batteries in the camera
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.2 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 to 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.66 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.90 seconds
  • Sequential burst High= 8.6fps
  • Sequential flash burst High= 1.23fps
  • High Speed Burst (Hi+)= 10fps up to 45 images
  • All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Sony a6300 is a very compact and very powerful consumer level ILC. Sporting the Sony E-mount system and powerful features, this camera has all the power and quality that you will find in a DSLR, packed into a compact frame.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a consumer ILC that is compact, powerful, and produces outstanding image quality.
Sony's new flagship consumer mirrorless camera, the a6300, brings a whole new level of features and performance to the consumer market. It sets new standards, sporting an APS-C sensor with the ability to focus as fast as 0.05 seconds and features 425 phase detection AF points; the most for a mirrorless camera (as of 2/16). The camera also features the Sony E-mount system, BIONZ X processor, 24.2-Megapixel EXMOR imaging sensor, Full 1080p HD and 4K UHD video capture, built-in WiFi, and so much more.

The Sony E-mount system offers a great variety of consumer and professional grade lenses for any and all shooting situations, and is one of the fastest growing collections on the market. All of these features combine to give you a high-quality, portable camera system that is fun and easy to use.

Adding a whole new level to photography, the built-in WiFi allows you to take control of your camera from a distance. Connecting a smartphone to the camera is easy, and once connected, you have the ability to view and copy any of the images that are saved on the camera's memory. This lets you upload and share your images from just about anywhere. This will also give your phone the capability to control the camera remotely. Exposure settings and shutter release can be controlled by the smartphone, allowing you to shoot in difficult situations without having to be near the camera.

Handling the a6300 is a pleasure for anyone that has any experience with a dSLR or ILC. The body is small, compact and fairly lightweight; making it easy to wield with a sturdy, solid feel. It features a basic set of controls, keeping the camera body simple and un-intimidating; while still providing you with all the control you need, including two customizable buttons. A protruding right front grip and thumb pad offer a solid, slip-resistant grip that will comfortable in almost everyone's hands. The grips allow you to handle the camera with any of Sony's E-mount lenses, from the 16-50mm power-zoom lens to the new G Master 85mm f/1.4 lens.

Composing and viewing your images is accomplished with either the 2.95-inch, 921.6K dot wide LCD screen or the 1.0-cm, 2.3M dot XGA OLED Electronic viewfinder. Starting with the LCD screen, it is wider than what we are used to seeing; allowing the camera to show the true video aspect for all of the camera's settings, no matter how wide. It also allows you to see the still image shooting frame clearly, with most of the shooting information and settings off to the side and clear of the image. The screen also tilts, assisting you in composing your images in tough shooting situations.

Your second option is the incredibly high definition Electronic Viewfinder, which gives you the old fashioned SLR feel to the camera; only better. It is so clear it takes no time at all to adjust to, even if you are a fan of optical viewfinders. Along with the crystal clear image, the EVF also shows all of the shooting information in the same way as the LCD, including showing you your shooting setting adjustments in real time; something an OVF cannot do.

Our timing tests produced excellent results once the camera has turned on. Taking 2.2 seconds to capture its first image after being turned on, this is the only area that could slow you down. Once on, the camera is very fast. Shutter lag is nearly non-existent, coming in at less than 1/10 of a second. Depending on the conditions the AF system took approx. 1/10 to 1/2 second to focus, but most of our tests were between 1/10 and 2/10, producing outstanding performance. Shot-to-shot delay in single shot mode comes in at 0.90 seconds when using the built-in flash and a speedy 0.66 seconds without the flash. Several burst modes produced some very good results as well, with burst rates as high as 10fps (Hi+) for up to 45 images. Continuous comes close with 9.6fps and adding the flash lowers it to 1.23fps. Continuous AF burst shooting is capable of an outstanding 7.5fps. RAW images were able to keep the same rate, but filled the buffer after 29 images. All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

Looking at our outdoor sample images, we were actually a little surprised at how sharp and full of detail these images are. Color and exposures are excellent, producing very eye-catching images. These images were also free of aberrations and other image flaws, leaving nothing to pull your eye away from its intended subject. Our outdoor sample images were all captured with the kit 16-50mm power-zoom lens that is an option to be purchased with the camera. The lens is very compact, making it easy to carry with the very small camera body. Along with this lens, all of Sony's e-mount lenses work with the a6300. With an optional adapter, you can even mount all of the Sony's A-mount lenses, as well as legacy Minolta A-mount lenses.

Our indoor sample images show the same great quality as the outdoor images. The a6300 provides us with the some of the best image quality that we have seen from a consumer level or APS-C sensor camera. The amount of detail, combined with the exposure and color comes together with fantastic results. The lower ISO settings show crystal clear images with minimal, if any, noise within the image. It isn't until ISO 1600 that noise starts to become noticeable within the color swatches and around some of the sharp lines. From here the noise levels increase as expected, however the a6300 allows you to easily use settings through ISO 6400. After that the settings are questionable in quality, to downright un-usable.

Assisting with your low-light shooting, a small but powerful for its size pop-up flash unit will assist you if you stay close enough to your subjects. It is also great for filling shadows in harsh lighting, again as long as you stay close enough. A hot shoe and wireless flash capabilities give the a6300 some extra lighting options that allow for on-camera and more advanced wireless setups, all supplying much more power than the built-in flash.

As we see with all digicams these days, the a6300 features a fantastic face detection system. This is one of the better systems at detecting and following faces when they are within the camera frame, and you even have the ability to register faces to make sure that they are always the priority. Face detection can be turned on and off, so shooting in situations with a lot of people when you do not want them to be the subject is easy as well. Our sample portrait images came out very well; as the camera made sure that our subjects were the priority. ISO is a little high, as the camera raises the setting in order to help steady and keep your subjects as sharp as possible. Exposure and focus were kept for the faces, adjusting the settings to make sure they were properly exposed, no matter the outcome of the rest of the image.

The a6300 features a slew of video recording options, offering Full HD, 4K UHD, and slow motion video capture, along with some very advanced shooting controls. Professional controls combined with some great shooting modes, including MP4, ACVHD and XAVC-S give you plenty of options no matter what your needs. Our sample videos play back very smoothly, are well exposed and very sharp; giving us very pleasing overall results. Either on a computer, HDTV, or via the camera's LCD screen; the videos are easy to watch and enjoy no matter what shooting mode you decide to use. Slow motion video can record Full HD video at up to 120fps, allowing you to slow down the action with smooth slow motion video. Audio is recorded with a compact, built-in stereo microphone. As with all built-in microphones, they are very sensitive and pick up all sounds around the camera. An external microphone can be added to the camera to greatly increase the audio quality.

Powering the a6300 is the NP-FW50; a 7.2V, 1020mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This is the same battery used in many of Sony's Alpha and NEX models, so it makes for an easy upgrade if you already have one. This battery is enough to capture approx. 350-400 images on a single charge, depending on your shooting settings. While completing our tests, we were able to capture over 200 images and a few short videos before having to recharge. This is a decent battery life for an interchangeable lens camera, but battery life is still the biggest drawback when comparing these cameras to DSLRs. Also included with the camera is a USB cable and power adapter for easily charging your battery while it is inside the camera. This makes it little more difficult to keep a spare battery or two charged and ready to go, but external battery chargers are available.

Bottom Line - The Sony a6300 blew us away with its image quality and outstanding feature set. It provides outstanding performance in both still image capture and video capture, offering fast and professional results. The new AF system, featuring 425 phase detection points, adds a new level to the camera. It can focus almost completely to the edges of the frame and continuous tracking is adjustable and works like a charm. With a MSRP of US $999 (body only) or $1,149 with the 16-50mm powered zoom lens (kit), it is not the cheapest ILC on the market, but well worth every penny.

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