2017 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras $900-1200
Sony Alpha a6300
24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor | Hybrid AF system | 4K video capture
What we like:
- Excellent JPEG and Raw image quality
- Top-notch AF system
- 4K video capture with extensive controls
What we don't:
- Cumbersome AF-point selection
- Lacks in-camera Raw conversion
- Confusing menu system
The a6300 is arguably Sony's most sophisticated APS-C camera. Its ergonomics and 24MP pixel count might make it look similar to the less expensive a6000 but almost every key specification of the 6300 has been improved. Solid build, a high resolution viewfinder, more sophisticated autofocus, 11 fps shooting and 4K video distinguish the a6300 from the model (now) below it.
Handling isn't the a6300's strongest point. The small body has a good number of control points but the user experience certainly benefits from extensive customization of the camera's function buttons and its Fn menu. The lack of joystick or touchscreen to select AF point is a potential frustration for a camera at this point in the market, as is the reliance on two dials that are both controlled with your thumb. It's worth finding your preferred way of working, given the camera's impressive capabilities, though.
The a6300's autofocus performance is among the best we've seen in a mass market camera: it's extremely quick to focus, highly dependable when subject tracking and particularly good at focusing wide-aperture lenses on people at close range, making it easy to get the shot you want in a wide variety of circumstances. 11 fps shooting (8 with live view) and around 400 shot/charge battery life mean performance is impressive.
Image quality is very good, thanks to an excellent updated 24MP sensor. The Raw performance and dynamic range are impressive, though Sony's lossy compression system can introduce artifacts if you push the files too hard. JPEG processing is very good, with class-leading sharpening and noise reduction, but the color engine could still use some work. The lack of in-camera Raw conversion is disappointing.
The a6300 can shoot very impressive 4K/UHD footage or slightly less spectacular 1080 (though the ability to shoot 1080/120p can be useful, despite the middling quality). It also has a wide range of support tools and image parameters, including super-flat Log gamma curves, to help users capture some excellent video footage. Rolling shutter and temperature-limited shooting duration count against its otherwise impressive capability.
The Sony a6300 requires a greater degree of customization to get the best out of it than most of its rivals, and its ergonomics can't compare to some DSLRs whose ergonomics have been iterated over decades. However, its sheer capability and flexibility is outstanding. It has an excellent autofocus system, superb image quality and kicks out some of the best video footage we've ever seen.
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