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Sony a6300 emphasizes speedy autofocus, shooting

Create: 02/03/2016 - 22:21
Sony a6300


  • Autofocus features 425 phase-detection focus points
  • Can shoot 11 frames per second with autoexposure and autofocus for each shot
  • Top end of sensor's sensitivity is ISO 51,200

Sony has announced a new flagship for its rangefinder-style Alpha cameras. It's the a6300, and the improvements over the previous model are primarily about speed.

The a6300 features a new 24.2-MP APS-C CMOS sensor that has an ISO range of 100-25,600, which can be extended upward to 51,200. Sony says the a6300 will provide cleaner images (which means less noise) at higher ISO settings.

The camera uses the E-mount and can can accept a growing range of Sony and Zeiss lenses, as well as the handful of others that are made by third-party lens makers.

Sony has overhauled the focusing system. The phase-detection system now has 425 focal-plane phase-detection focus points, which Sony says is the higher number for any camera. Sony claims a 0.05 second autofocus speed, which probably would be under optimal lighting conditions. Sony says the new system provides a 7.5x increase in autofocus coverage density over the a6000. The camera also has 169 contrast-detection points. For comparison, the a6000 had 179 and 25 phase-detection and contrast-detection points, respectively.

The a6300 can shoot 11 frames per second for 21 RAW frames with autofocus and autoexposure enabled for each shot. That's using the electronic viewfinder. If the photographer uses Live View through the LCD, the frame rate drops to 8 fps. Sony claims there is "minimal" display lag when shooting bursts. The a6300 has a silent mode that reduces the shutter sound sharply. The continuous frame rate drops to 3 fps when the camera is used in silent mode.

Both the electronic viewfinder and the tiltable 3.0-inch LCD provide 100% frame coverage.

As you would expect, the a6300 can record movies. The surprise is that it can shoot 4K Ultra HD video at a resolution of 3840x2160. Sony produced a sample 4K movie that can be played at full resolution. However, the movie might buffer because of the sheer amount of data that is being streamed. Video recordings are limited to 29 minutes, 56 seconds. 

Although the magnesium alloy body is not weather sealed, Sony says it is dust and moisture resistant. 

Shutter speeds run from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds plus B. The a6300 has a built-in flash, which synchs at a maximum speed of 1/160.

The battery is rated at 350 shots when using the EVF and 400 shots using the LCD. There is no accessory grip that would allow for an extra battery to be used.

The new camera is slightly heavier than its predecessor, weighing 14.3 ounces (404 grams) compared with the a6000's 12.1 ounces (344 grams). The physical dimensions of the two cameras are nearly identical, with the new camera being 0.1 inch (3.8mm) thicker.

Sony did not mention availability, Pre-orders begin Feb. 10, 2016. The body will cost US$999. With the 16-50mm kit lens, the price rises to US$1,148.


About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.