24MP APS-C, 11 FPS, 4K Stereo
Presented in ultra-high resolution.
Sony a6300 (14.3 oz./405g with battery and card, about $998) and PZ 16-50mm OSS. bigger. I got mine at B&H; I'd also get it at Adorama, at Amazon, or at Crutchfield. It also comes as a kit with the 16-50mm lens as shown, 18.4 oz./521g total.
This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony's boxes are not sealed in any way, so never buy at retail or any source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, store demo, damaged, returned or used product. My approved sources ship from remote automated warehouses where no salespeople or lookie-loos can ever get their sticky fingers on your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.
Sample Images (more in the review) top
Flowers, 29 March 2016. Sony A6300, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 44mm, f/8 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 1000, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately). In this case, not all the flowers are in focus.
Light Blue Water Pipes, 29 March 2016. Sony A6300, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm, f/7.1 at 1/200 at Auto ISO 1000, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately). Only the center of these pipes is in focus.
Mercedes SL500, 29 March 2016. Sony A6300, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 42mm, f/5.6 at 1/3 hand-held at ISO 1,600, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately). The image gets softer at ISO 1,600 because the noise reduction deliberately dulls the image to reduce the apparent noise.
Lifeguard Station 6B, Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Flash ON to light up the retroreflective 6B, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/11 at 1/160 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full size image to explore on your computer; mobile devices rarely are able to display the full resolution file properly.
Sunset over the Grand Wailea, Maui, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 20mm at f/4 at 1/3 hand-held (rested on railing) at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger.
Vivid rainbow and cross, scenic overlook on Maui's west coast looking northeast, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 23mm at f/8 at 1/400 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full size image to explore on your computer; mobile devices rarely are able to display the full resolution images properly.
Ryan as we enter the Shops at Wailea through Longhi's, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/5 at 1/80 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger.
The Shops at Wailea, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/8 at 1/160 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full-size image to explore on your computer (portable devices rarely display the full resolution files correctly).
Dan's Green House, Lahaina, April 2016. Ryan wanted to go for a ride, so we went driving, and wound up in Lahaina. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 27mm at f/4.5 at 1/15 hand-held at Auto ISO 800, Perfectly Clear.) bigger.
The Banyan Tree at night, Lahaina, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/3.5 at 1/15 hand-held at Auto ISO 2,000, Perfectly Clear.) bigger.
The Banyan Tree at night, Lahaina, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/3.5 at 1/15 hand-held at Auto ISO 3,200, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or much bigger.
Tiki shopping at night, Lahaina, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/3.5 at 1/15 hand-held at Auto ISO 2,000, Perfectly Clear.) bigger, or full size to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely show the full resolution files properly).
Storm blowing through Lahaina at night, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/3.5 at 1/15 hand-held at Auto ISO 1,000, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or much bigger.
Lahaina shoreline at night with wave, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 19mm at f/4 at 1/2 hand-held on railing at Auto ISO 1,600, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or much bigger.
The Sony A6300 is a superb APS-C mirrorless camera with an equally superb built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF).
This A6300 replaces the old A6000, which is still available for half the price.
The a6300 focuses super-fast and makes great-looking images in just about any light. The biggest reason to pay more for the A7R II or A7S II is if you need a dedicated exposure compensation dial, lacking on this α6300 — but you can assign the rear command dial to this in the Gear 7 menu. The full-frame cameras are better if you really need ISOs above 25,600 (you don't) or need more than 24 megapixels, which you don't either.
The biggest difference between APS-C cameras and full-frame is that there's more in-focus on APS-C, while full-frame systems have shallower depths of field. They're all super-sharp and work great at high ISOs; if you prefer smaller size, weight, more in focus and higher frame rates get this A6300; go full-frame if you prefer shallower depth-of-field or want to use old 35mm lenses on adapters.
The A6300 is fantastic for any kind of shooting. This A6300 adds critical features that were missing on the A6000 which used to make us have to buy the A7R II or A7S II: silent mode, an electronic level, memory recall modes on the top dial and fully programmable minimum shutter speeds in Auto ISO. Bravo; even though the A6300 costs twice as much as the A6000 and takes exactly the same pictures, the features that matter to me are now on the A6300, which sells for only a third the price of the A7R II or A7S II.
I refer to the A6300, a6300 and α6300 interchangeably; they're the same camera. Sony uses all three designations depending on where you read it.
Memory 1 and Memory 2 recall modes on the top mode dial, hooray!
Metal top and bottom covers.
Top ISO of 51,200, up from 25,600.
Programmable minimum shutter speeds in Auto ISO.
Even higher resolution OLED finder (2.36 vs. 1.44 megadots).
Easier to get the SD card out.
4K video with time code.
Mic input socket.
New sensor with more AF points, but the same picture resolution.
Sony claims autofocus is even faster, but the A6000 was also super fast.
AF now works in focus magnifier mode.
2.8 oz. (78g) heavier than the A6000.
Small, light, fast, tough and makes great-looking pictures.
Superb electronic viewfinder.
Two Memory recall modes on the top dial.
Pretty good ergonomics.
Remote control via a phone app.
WiFi & NFC.
Completely silent in Silent mode.
Flash, Bulb mode and high frame rates don't work in Silent mode.
Sony's menu system is the worst in the business.
LCD is too dim for daylight, too small to show pictures, and doesn't flip very far.
No exposure compensation dial (you can assign the rear dial to this, or you have to fiddle in a menu).
No 1:1 square crop mode; native 3:2 and a silly 16:9 crop mode, only.
No way to back up the complete camera state as Nikons can do.
Programmable Memory recall modes don't recall everything, for instance, the memory modes don't save and recall whether or not you're in Silent mode.
No second card slot.
No in-body stabilization.
The LCD isn't bright enough to see in direct sunlight.
No LCD auto brightness control.
No headphone jack.
No NTSC and no PAL video.
Lens Compatibility and Adapters top
Sony A6300. bigger.
The A6300 uses the Sony E-Mount, first seen on the NEX cameras. Sony sells its own lenses and Zeiss lenses that are native to this mount.
All full-frame FE and APS-C E lenses work great.
Native Sony & Minolta Adapters
While the Alpha and MAXXUM SLR lenses lack the optical quality of the latest Zeiss E and FE lenses, they do work.
Since this is an APS-C camera and those SLR lenses are full frame I'd not bother with this adapter, unless you have a pro-level tele zoom like the MAXXUM 80-200mm f/2.8 or a macro like the MAXXUM 50/2.8 or MAXXUM 100/2.8.
Other Brand Adapters
The biggest gotcha with the Sony system is that there are very few native lenses for it, and most of Sony's and Minolta's lenses aren't that great; Zeiss, Canon and Nikon make better lenses.
This great little camera becomes a clunky contraption once you add an adapter. The thing may or may not work that well, and probably won't give you anywhere near the resolution you thought you wanted unless you use the native Zeiss lenses.
Forget LEICA, Nikon or other old manual focus lenses; you'll have to operate the diaphragm completely manually for each frame!
The best non-native solution is to use a decent Canon EOS to NEX adapter and you'll get full autofocus, auto exposure, EXIF data and diaphragm operation with every Canon lens made since 1987.
Better, with a Canon adapter you can use a real man's lens like the Canon 50mm f/1 for great results in starlight. The Canon 50mm f/1 doesn't cost much more than the NOCT-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2, and it's decades ahead in speed and performance. The Nikon NOCT sells for what it does because collectors pay that much, while collectors haven't discovered the Canon 50mm f/1 which still sells for the same price it has for the past 25 years.
APS-C 15.6 x 23.5 mm.
1.534x crop factor.
6,000 x 4,000 pixels native.
1.5:1 aspect ratio.
Short 18mm flange focal distance allows better lens designs than DSLRs do — the same advantage rangefinder cameras have.
6,000 x 4,000 (24 MP), 4,240 x 2,832 (12 MP) and 3,008 x 2,000 (6 MP)
Also 16:9 crops to 6,000 x 3,376, 4,240 x 2,400 and 3,008 x 1,688.
No Square Crop.
ISO 100 ~ ISO 51,200.
Auto ISO 100 ~ ISO 51,200.
sRGB and Adobe RGB.
JPG, raw and JPG + raw.
Contrast and phase detection.
Tracking & continuous AF.
Face and smile detection.
11 FPS maximum.
8 FPS with no finder blackout.
Three rate settings: Very High, High, Medium and Low.
Only the Low setting is available In Silent Mode. You need to be in the regular mechanical shutter mode for the fastest frame rates.
When set, the electronic shutter of the Silent mode bypasses the focal plane shutter and is completely silent.
1/4,000 ~ 30 seconds.
Remote control via a phone app.
1/160 sync speed.
Resolution and Frame Rates
3,840 x 2,160: 29.97p, 23.976p.
1,920 x 1,080: 119.88p, 59.94p, 59.94i, 29.97p, 23.976p
1280 x 720: 23.976p.
NTSC & PAL
No NTSC and no PAL video.
MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S and H.264
X-AVC S up to 100 Mbps
ACHD to 28 Mbps
Mic input connector.
One mono speaker.
2,359,296 dot OLED.
-3 ~ +4 diopters.
Can run at 120 fps for fluidity.
Sony A6300. bigger.
Short 16:9 "chopped" 3" LCD.
Black bars on the sides of the LCD leave only 2.6" (66mm) effective image diagonal for 3:2 images on the 16:9 LCD.
One SD slot for an SD, SDHC or SDXC card.
3.5mm Mic input.
WiFi & NFC.
Power & Battery
Rated 400 shots.
Charges via USB in-camera.
Sony NP-FW50 battery. enlarge.
Included Sony AC-UUD12 universal USB power adapter. bigger.
4.72 x 2.64 x 1.93 inches.
120 x 67 x 49 millimeters.
14.285 oz. (405.0 g) actual measured weight with battery and card.
Rated 14.2 oz. (404g) with battery and card.
18.380 oz. (521.1g) with battery, card and PZ 16-50mm OSS.
Sony A6300. bigger.
Made in Thailand.
03 February 2016.
Camera, maybe a lens as a kit.
USB cord and universal wall USB power supply.
Sony A6300 box. bigger.
Back, Sony A6300 box. bigger.
Legal USA Version (applies in USA only) top
So long as you get yours from an authorized source, you'll get a legitimate USA version with a warranty from Sony USA.
In your unsealed box you will get this piece of paper which specifically mentions the USA and has Sony's USA phone number:
Sony USA Warranty card. bigger.
Buying gray market is always taking a chance compared to getting a legal USA version. If you can save $1,000, go for it, but if you only get $100 off, I wouldn't risk it.
The A6300 is a great little camera.
I love its EVF, speed, tiny size, tough build and great looking pictures in any light — as well as its completely silent operation.
It just shoots and shoots and shoots in any light, even with the tiny kit lens.
Autofocus is great: it's fast and accurate.
Face recognition really works. It finds and focuses on faces with no need to select them manually. It puts a green box around them and tracks them all over — but only if you activate this feature in the Camera 6 menu first!
It's ultrafast, but on rare occasions can miss perfect focus.
It works swell in the dark outside at night and doesn't need its AF illuminator, hallelujah!
The EVF is superb.
It's sharp, bright and colorful and works flawlessly in anything from daylight to moonlight. Sony makes the best EVF there is.
It stays in focus because the finder focus wheel is where it doesn't get knocked.
The optics are OK, but still a little swimmy in spots due to the diopter adjustment optics. I prefer good old-fashioned fixed eyepieces.
In its regular mode, the mechanical shutter only moves at the end of an exposure. Even though you hear what sounds like a shutter firing, you'll notice at slow speeds that there is no sound at the beginning of the exposure, only the end.
This is magnificent, because it means that there will be no vibration from the shutter to blur handheld images.
In silent mode, the mechanical shutter doesn't move at all.
My A6300 actually motors along at 11 frames per second in its HI+ mode, which is superb — but only for for targets that don't move since it locks focus and exposure.
For moving targets, you have to select the regular (slower) HI mode, which lets it focus, and also slows it down.
It only runs this fast in the usual shutter mode; in Silent mode it only runs at the slowest LO mode.
I LOVE the Silent mode. Set in the Gear 5 menu, it makes the a6300 completely silent. I can shoot anything and anyone and anyplace, and people presume I haven't taken any pictures!
There is no Bulb setting in the Silent mode; you have to know to disable Silent mode to make the Bulb option appear in the Manual mode.
Only the LO option works in the continuous shutter mode, the faster MID, HI and HI+ modes are disabled in Silent mode.
Ditto for flash; you have to know to disable the Silent mode to let the flash fire.
While the in-camera sensor-shift stabilization of Sony's full frame A7 series gives a very subtle kick you can feel when firing in the Silent mode, this a6300 has no built-in stabilization. Therefore there's no sound and not even a subtle kick to let even you know that the camera took a picture. The only way you'll know is if you have Image Review on, or hit Play.
While Sony's menu system is the worst in the business, the position of the buttons and knobs is excellent.
Noteworthy is that the MENU button is on the right side, so now ALL the camera's functions are available while shooting with one hand.
Once you get the camera set it works very fast, but getting it set can be maddening since important menu options are carelessly spread all over its arbitrary menu system. Expect to wade through the entire system every time you want to find something. It takes a long time to learn this camera.
All the buttons are flush and feel the same, so good luck finding them by feel.
Unlike a DSLR, it always takes a moment to wake up and be ready to shoot. The A6300 locks-up for a second or so whenever you change the mode dial between its two memory 1 and 2 settings.
Silent mode is not saved in memory, so it's several menu operations to get out of it to be able to use the flash or bulb mode.
It's super sharp.
With 24 Megapixels, you have about 20 megapixels more than you really need for anything. If you can't get a sharp photo, it's because you're doing something stupid, like shooting at f/32, aren't in focus, something moved or you're using an old lens on an adapter instead of a Zeiss lens.
Sony keeps getting better and better at color rendition, and the A6300 is their best yet.
Color rendition is how pictures look in the real world. Real-world color rendition has nothing to do with color accuracy measured in a lab. Color rendition is dependant on how a maker programs all the color matrices, curves, and look-up tables to generate color from the data read from the sensor, and varies widely between makers once you set a camera away from its defaults. I never shoot at defaults.
For people pictures I set it to Standard and +1 saturation (see Usage) and get quite pleasant results.
I use my images right out of the A6300. If you shoot raw and complete the processing later in software, your results will depend heavily on your choice of software and how you use it. I'm looking at how the A6300 processes my images.
Yes, I get good colors right out of the A6300, but they aren't as great as I get more consistently out of my DSLRs.
I'm a working artist, not some online tweaker or tech blogger, and color is critical to my work. I'm pickier about color than most; I see things most people don't. I can get photos that get oohs and ahhs with my A6300, but I don't get to WOW! as often with my A6300 as I do with my Nikon and Canon DSLRs.
Crazy VW van, Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 19mm at f/8 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or Full size image to explore on your computer; mobile devices rarely are able to display the full resolution file properly.
Coconut and strawberry shave ice, Halfway to Hana, Keanae, Maui, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 31mm at f/7.1 at 1/100 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full size image to explore on your computer; mobile devices rarely are able to display the full resolution file properly.
Auto ISO is superb, letting us set the minimum and maximum ISO as well as the minimum shutter speed, and the A6300 does the rest by itself.
It's smart enough to let us have the camera choose the minimum shutter speed based on focal length, and lets us set an automatic offset two stops up or down from there. Bravo!
You also may select any speed from 30 seconds to 1/4,000 in full stops as the slowest shutter speed for Auto ISO.
It cheerfully runs up to whatever insane high ISO you've programmed it to go if it needs to, so you really can use all of the great high ISO performance of this camera.
High ISOs look great. They look as good as they can, and the Auto ISO system lets you use them automatically in any light without fiddling.
Shoot at ISO 12,800 or 25,600 if you need to, and all is well.
ISO 32,000 and above may look a bit ratty, and the camera warns you as you set it (or as Auto ISO sets it) by putting lines above and below the ISO number as a hint not to do this unless you really need it.
King Kamehameha III School at night, Lahaina, April 2016. (Sony A6300, Vivid Creative Style with +3 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 34mm at f/5 at 1/15 hand-held at Auto ISO 4,000, Perfectly Clear.) bigger.
This was cropped from a larger horizontal shot:
Pops, Ryan, Dad and Noni at Charley's Restaurant and Saloon, Paia, Maui, April 2016. The A6300 is smart enough once I programmed it to grab ISO 10,000 if needed in this dim light all by itself. (Sony A6300, Standard Creative Style with +1 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/3.5 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 10,000, Perfectly Clear.) bigger.
Merriment at West, 29 March 2016. Sony A6300, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/8 at 1/13 hand-held at Auto ISO 12,800, Perfectly Clear. © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).
Ryan at West, 29 March 2016. Sony A6300, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 34mm at f/5 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 40,000, Perfectly Clear. bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).
Video is the usual, with the usual stereo sound. Here's a camera-original file for you:
Katie sees turtles near Makena Beach, Maui, 10 April 2016, 11:48 AM. (Sony A6300, flash ON, Standard Creative Style with +1 Saturation, Sony PZ 16-50mm OSS at 16mm at f/4 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.)
LCD & Playback
The electronic viewfinder is superb, but the rear LCD isn't very good. It's too small and too dim, and it doesn't swivel very far.
The LCD isn't bright enough to see in direct sunlight.
It uses a 16:9-shaped short or "chopped" LCD, so the image never fills the screen; it either has black on either side, or crops off part of the image if zoomed. It's too short for its width.
Because it's a 16:9 LCD and the sides are black when showing pictures, its effective diagonal is only 2.6" (66mm).
There's no way to read the file number.
It flips up and down a bit, but not left or right, and it doesn't reverse for self-portraits. It flips only enough to help you shoot from high or low angles.
The A6300 is about half metal and half plastic.
The top & bottom plates, lens mount, front & rear covers and the top all-black dial are metal.
All the smaller bits are plastic, like the power switch, shutter button, rear controls, flash, hatches, battery cover, LCD monitor and viewfinder frames and the top mode dial.
Cards are not properly formatted, they are left as "NO NAME" instead of "SONY_A63."
It takes too long to format a card; about 15 seconds for a 4GB card.
It's easy to set the first three characters of the file name; I use A63.
Its reasonably easy to program it to add copyright EXIF data to each file as you shoot.
Sony litters our cards with too many folders and hides videos in a different folder than our pictures.
Auto ISO reads properly in Media Pro up through ISO 32,000. ISO 40,000 reads ISO-25536 and ISO 51,200 reads ISO-14336.
Clock accuracy is important if you need your clocks synchronized across several cameras so you can sort images intelligently among them.
Clock accuracy will vary; every sample of A6300 will be different.
My A6300 is poor, sometimes losing a few seconds in a day.
It has a battery percentage indicator, but no long-term battery health indication.
The A6300 charges via USB only
It draws 430mA when charging with the battery at 75%, and less than 5 mA when done.
Versus a DSLR
Get this A6300 for your vacations, or if size and weight are more important than price or performance.
Nikon and Canon DSLRs take better pictures, at least if you're as critical about color rendition as I am. They also handle faster, have much better battery life, and cost less for the same features. By the time you spend as much as an a6300 for a DSLR, you're getting a very fancy DSLR. A basic DSLR like the Nikon D3300 or Canon SL1 costs only one-third as much as this A6300, and takes pictures at least as good. Basic DSLRs are also not much bigger or heavier than the A6300.
The A6300 is the girl you date for fun and good times until you find something better, while a DSLR is the woman you marry for a lifetime of serious pursuits. The A6300 is easy and fun, while a DSLR makes better pictures if you're serious beyond just posting on Facebook to be forgotten in a day.
I shoot my DSLRs every day for serious work. When I go on vacation, I'm pooped and leave my pro cameras at home and take an A6300. Its colors aren't as good, but if I'm tired of carrying cameras, the A6300 is the ticket. I jam it in a sock and throw it in my carry-on bag, and I'm good.
Versus Sony & the α6000
The A6300 takes exactly the same pictures as the A6000. While Sony claims faster autofocus in this A6300, the A6000's autofocus is so fast I wouldn't pay any more for it just for faster AF.
The reason the A6300 is worth twice as much as the A6000 is because Sony fixed all the little things that make or break me being able to shoot quickly and get my shot with the A6300. Specifically, having preset memory recalls on the mode dial, an excellent electronic level, completely silent shooting and programmable minimum shutter speeds in Auto ISO are in the A6300 but not the A6000, and I need and use all these features. This makes the A6300 a camera I can use all day, every day, as opposed to the A6000 which I can't.
See also Sony Cameras Compared.
Sony and Fuji are completely different from each other:
Fuji's cameras are designed by and for real photographers. Fuji cameras have far superior ergonomics, with real shutter, aperture, exposure compensation and other dials.
Sony's cameras have the world's worst menu systems, and then they force you to into menus and screens to set the most basic things like ISO and shutter speeds.
Sonys are designed for and by amateurs and online tweakers who don't actually know what's important in a camera.
Fuji, like Canon, makes almost all of its cameras and lenses domestically in Japan.
Sony usually offshores its cameras — even the $3,200 made-in-Thailand A7R II — to whatever country can do it the cheapest.
Fuji's cameras and sensors are strongly optimized for people pictures. For skin tones, Fuji is unbeaten. Fuji cameras make people look great in any light.
Unfortunately this strong optimization for skin tones makes the Fujis very bland for nature, landscape, architecture, and just about every other kind of photography. Except for people pictures, I much prefer the look I get from Sony cameras.
If you shoot raw or otherwise fiddle with everything in your computer that's one thing, but if you demand saleable JPGs right out of the camera, Fuji wins for people pictures, and Sony wins for everything else.
Shot as JPGs direct from the camera, I can't get the wild, vivid colors I demand for pictures of places and things that I can get right out of the Sony set to Vivid and +3 saturation. Fujis are simply too desaturated and too low-contrast — but for people pictures, Fujis rock.
Fn Button & Frame Rates
We set many things with their own buttons and with the MENU button, however many new users take a while to discover that many other important settings are hidden behind the Fn button.
Press Fn, and 12 settings appear across the bottom of your screen.
You set the advance mode, frame rate, white balance and many other things here.
To change the frame rate, press the Fn button, select the advance mode icon which is usually at the left, select the continuous mode (usually a bearded rectangle icon) and that's where you can select among LO, MID, HI and HI+. In Silent mode, MID, HI and HI+ are not available and therefore grayed-out.
You can customize what options appear at the bottom of the screen. I like to add Auto ISO Minimum Shutter Speed and Silent Mode to these options instead of some of the defaults. You assign these in the Gear 5 menu (press MENU > Gear 5 > Fn Button set.)
General A6300 Settings
First I set the time zone, date and time.
Then I set these away from their defaults:
The Bulb shutter option isn't grayed-out in Silent mode; it's simply not there!
There is no warning message; you have to know to turn off the Silent mode to get the Bulb option to appear!
The flash won't fire in Silent mode.
There is no warning message; you have to know to turn off the Silent mode to get the flash to fire.
Specific A6300 Settings
Now I set my A6300 for my styles of shooting, and set each into the Memory 1 and Memory 2 positions on the top dial for easy recall.
I set M1 for photos of places and things, which I set to high resolution and slower shutter speeds and ultra high color saturation.
I set M2 for photos of people: moderate resolution and saturation, and set Auto ISO to a slowest speed of 1/125 to stop motion.
To set and save each, I set the A6300 as I like it, and then I save that by going to MENU > Camera 9 > Memory, selecting the memory location into which I want to save my settings, and pressing the big rear central ● button.
If you're using the M1 or M2 mode, any changes you make are saved with the power off. It doesn't reset to your saved settings until you reselect M1 or M2 with the power on.
This is good; it means you can change things for conditions, and when you return to either M1 or M2 setting that everything is then recalled to your originally saved values.
Tips & Hints
The A6300 locks up for a moment as you swap the top dial to either of the 1 or 2 memory recall positions.
This is bad because the whole point of these settings is to save time.
To make this faster, turn off the power, move the dial, and turn the a6300 back on. It will wake up and bypass the black screen you usually have to wait to clear out of your way.
The LCD is dim in daylight. You could try to find the Daylight option in the menus, but I just use the superb finder in daylight instead.
Use the top dial to swap images while zoomed.
If you're on a tripod and the subject holds still, always use ISO 100 for everything for the best results.
Setting ISO manually for hand-holding went away ten years ago. Today we program our cameras to do it for us automatically based on our preferences and subjects.
For each kind of shooting, pick the highest ISO to which you'd like your camera to go, and the slowest shutter speed at which you will get a sharp shot, and the camera does the rest.
You set this in the Camera 4 menu.
I let the camera go to ISO 51,200. You might want to set a lower maximum, like 25,600 or 12,800, for landscape shots.
I set 1/125 as the minimum shutter speed for people photos. At 1/60 and slower often you'll get some blur as people are talking and laughing.
For sports and action, I'll pick 1/250 or 1/500.
For nature and landscapes, I let my A6300 pick a minimum speed based on the focal length of my lens. That's the "Standard" option at the top of the Auto ISO Min. SS options in the Camera 4 menu.
If my lens has a stabilizer, I set the minimum shutter speed top option to SLOW or SLOWER, since I get sharp shots a stop or two slower than the Standard 1/focal length option.
Sadly I never found any "MY MENU" option to group these where I can find them, so here's where to find the important options:
Camera 3: AF illuminator. Turn it off; the a6300 doesn't need it.
Camera 4: ISO and Auto ISO settings. Covered above.
Camera 5: Creative Style (saturation, sharpening and contrast). Covered above.
Camera 6: Face detect (won't work if you're racked out in digital zoom). Turn on.
Camera 9: Save settings to the memories on the top dial. Covered above.
Gear 3: Enable digital zoom.
Gear 4: Release w/o card. Set it to DISABLE, otherwise you may think your taking pictures all day — without a card in the a6300!
Gear 5: Silent shooting. Set this ON, but you have to leave it off to use flash, high frame rates or the Bulb setting in manual exposure mode.
Gear 7: Fn button set: Function Menu Set. This is where you can assign the 12 functions that appear when you press the Fn button.
Gear 7: Dial/Wheel EV Comp. I set this to Wheel to make my rear dial set exposure compensation.
Play 1 menu: (playback) Display Rotation: set to Auto. Now the a6300's playback screens rotate automatically as you turn the camera, just like an iPhone.
Suitcase 1 menu: Audio Signals: Turns off the beeps.
Suitcase 5 menu: Copyright Info: lets you add your contact information into the metadata of each file.
Suitcase 5 menu: Format. Do this every time you put a card back in your A6300. Of course it erases all the pictures, as well as any potential errors or other garbage on the card.
The A6300 is a fun and fast camera that produces pretty good results. It doesn't replace my Nikons, Canons or Hasselblads for serious work, but for carrying as little as possible, the A6300 is a hoot.
The A6300 is a premium camera; you pay extra for all the features and tiny size. A Nikon D3300 or Canon SL1 costs only one-third as much and doesn't weigh much more. If you can afford it, great, but if not, inexpensive DSLRs cost less and can take even better pictures.
The A6000 has been the world's top selling interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera for the past two years, and this new a6300 is now twice as good in my book for actual shooting.
The A6300 is a fantastic little camera. If you think you want one, get one — but be sure you can get the lenses you want for it. Unlike Nikon and Canon DSLRs, there are relatively few lenses for the Sony.
Personally I love the tiny, automatic collapsing PZ 16-50mm OSS lens that comes as a kit. The whole point of this camera is small size, and the 16-50 does this in spades. The Zeiss 16-70mm is superb and also highly recommended, but it adds to the weight. I like to carry this camera around my shoulder under a jacket, and a big lens won't let me do that as well as the self-collapsing 16-50.
Be sure to use the a6300 only with Sony or Zeiss lenses made for E-Mount. Performance won't be as impressive with adapted lenses, and takes most of the speed out of it. Adapted manual lenses are foolish; they slow down the operation so far that you may as well be shooting film for the same amount of effort.
The A6000 costs only half as much and focuses just as fast, has the same resolution and high ISO performance and takes the same pictures. The a6300 is worth it to me because I use the new silent mode, electronic level, memory recall modes on the top dial and fully programmable minimum shutter speeds in Auto ISO that the A6000 doesn't have. The A6300 is also built tougher, but since digital cameras get replaced every few years, that doesn't matter. If these features aren't important to you — or you don't care about plastic versus metal covers — by all means get last year's A6000 instead for half price. If you don't find these little tweaks as important as I do, it's 99% the same camera for 50% of the price.
See also Is It Worth It to figure out of the A6300 is worth it — to you.
Where to Get Yours
Unlike a bottle of milk or a roll of toilet paper, Sony doesn't seal its boxes in any way, so you have no idea if you're getting a used, returned, incomplete or damaged product if you risk buying at retail. Never buy at retail. Use only my personally approved sources for the best prices, service, return policies and selection— and they ship from secure remote warehouses where no customers or salesmen can get their sticky hands on your new camera before you do.
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29-31 March 2016