Operation and Controls

The a6300's controls and user interface are continuations of the ones used in the existing a6000.

We've mentioned before that the Sony menu system is beginning to be overwhelmed by the number of functions it contains (even more than is the case for other manufacturers). The settings are grouped into their broad categories sensibly enough but when some of the five top-level tabs contain eight or nine pages of options, it becomes very difficult to remember where a particular setting lives.

Sony has made some effort to simplify the menu, grouping together the HDMI output options under a single heading, for instance, but even after extensive use we still found it difficult to find things in the menus.

Thankfully, the camera offers a level of customization that minimizes the need to dip into the full menu.

Button Customization

Eight of the camera's buttons are customizable, allowing a good number of frequently used settings to be afforded quick access. The a6300 now allows you to assign different functions to the same button, depending on whether you're in shooting or playback mode. We wish this per-mode customization extended to stills vs. video modes.

Functions that can be assigned to the C1, C2, AF/MF, AEL, Center, Left, Right, and Down buttons in shooting mode
• Focus Standard*
• Drive Mode
• Self-timer during Brkt
• Flash Mode
• Flash Comp.
• Focus Mode
• Focus Area
• Exposure Comp.
• ISO
• ISO AUTO Min. SS
• Metering Mode
• White Balance
• DRO/Auto HDR
• Creative Style
• Picture Effect
• Picture Profile
• Smile/Face Detect.
• [Stills] Soft Skin Effect
• [Stills] Auto Obj. Framing
• SteadyShot
• Audio Rec Level
• [Stills] Image Size
• [Stills] Aspect Ratio
• [Stills] Quality
• In-Camera Guide (except center button)*
• Memory
• AEL hold*
• AEL toggle
• [Spot] AEL hold*
• [Spot] AEL toggle
• FEL Lock hold*
• FEL Lock toggle
• FEL Lock/AEL hold*
• FEL Lock/AEL tggle.
• AF/MF Control Hold*
• AF/MF Ctrl Toggle
• Center Lock-on AF
• Eye AF*
• AF On*
• Focus Hold*
• Aperture Preview*
• Shot. Result Preview*
• Bright Monitoring
• Zoom
• Focus Magnifier
• Deactivate Monitor
• MOVIE
• Zebra
• Grid Line
• [Movie] Marker Disp. Sel.
• Audio Level Display
• Peaking Level
• Peaking Color
• [Stills] Silent Shooting
• Finder/Monitor Sel.
• [Stills] Finder Frame Rate
• Send to Smartphone
• Download Appli.
• Application List
• Monitor Brightness
• Gamma Disp. Assist
• TC/UB Disp. Switch
• Not Set

*Functions that require the button to be held down cannot be assigned to the left, right and down buttons.

Custom Function Menu

The Fn menu allows you to select six or twelve settings that you find yourself changing fairly often. You can choose the location that each setting appears in, meaning that you can cluster related settings together (Personally I tend to group stills options together on the left and movie settings on the right).

Assignable to the Fn menu:
• Drive Mode
• Selftime during Brkt
• Flash Mode
• Flash Comp.
• Focus Mode
• Focus Area
• Exposure Comp.
• ISO
• ISO AUTO Min. SS
• Metering Mode
• White Balance
• DRO/Auto HDR
• Creative Style
• Shoot Mode
• Picture Effect
• Picture Profile
• Center Lock-on AF
• Smile/Face Detect.
• [Stills] Soft Skin Effect
• [Stills] Auto Obj. Framing
• [Stills] Image Size
• [Stills] Aspect Ratio
• [Stills] Quality
• SteadyShot
• Audio Rec Level
• Zebra
• Grid Line
• [Movie] Marker Display
• Audio Level Display
• Peaking Level
• Peaking Color
• [Stills] Finder Frame Rate
• [Stills] Silent Shooting
• Gamma Disp. Assist
• Not Set

Oddly, though, you still can't assign movie frame rate/quality as one of the settings. For that, you have to delve into the menus.

Auto ISO

Sony's Auto ISO function seems to get better with every camera. The a6300 gains the ability to set a minimum shutter speed threshold at which the ISO will be increased (something missing from the a6000), as well as being able to set upper and lower limits to the ISO settings it'll use. What's more, this minimum shutter speed setting is assignable to a custom button, allowing for direct access to it. The camera also features five automatic threshold options (Slower - Faster), that maintain a shutter speed threshold related to focal length. This is behavior we'd consider to be best practice.

We're really pleased to see that the camera allows you to use Auto ISO in manual exposure mode, with exposure compensation so that you can specify the target brightness that you want the camera to maintain. This can be useful for both stills and video shooting, for when you want to specify the exposure settings and just let the camera do the rest, using ISO.