In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between the brand new Sony a6300 and its predecessor, the a6000. Sony alpha camera fans have been waiting for this new announcement for quite some time. The a6300 is released two years since the a6000 was first announced, on February 12, 2014, to be precise.
I’ll start with a short introduction to the a6300 move on talking about all its cool new features, then move on comparing the two.
At the core of the a6300 camera, we can find a newly developed 24.2 MP APS-C sized Exmor CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor. This sensor has a new unique design. It employs copper wiring layer that improved the light gathering efficiency due to the copper walls being thinner and smaller than the conventional wiring layer found in a conventional design. This allowed Sony to use larger photodiodes which can collect more light photons. The a6300 has an ISO ranging from 1600 to 25600 (native), and up to ISO 51200 in boost mode for stills or ISO 25600 for movies. It appears like it uses the same sensor design (or even the same sensor) as the Fujifilm X-Pro2, but it’s not a back-illuminated (BSI) sensor as some people have implied.
One of the most ambitious features,in my opinion, is the new 4D FOCUS™ as Sony calls it. Sony measured the AF acquisition as the world’s fastest AF acquisition time, as low as 0.05 seconds with the enhanced Fast Hybrid AF. The AF system employs an amazing 425 on-sensor phase detection autofocus points. This AF points arrangement is very dense and covers almost the entire frame to provide a very fast and accurate subject tracking performance. The A6300 also has the world’s most phase-detection AF points. As a Hybrid AF system, the camera is using the data from both the Phase-detection and Contrast-detection AF systems to deliver a blazing-fast and accurate AF performance.
Sony calls the a6300 Autofocus system ‘4D Focus’ because of several reasons: first, it uses a wide area AF point coverage, which allows the camera to track subjects that aren’t only at the center of the frame. Second, the camera uses both phase-detection and contrast-detection AF to quickly measure the subject distance and third, it uses an advanced AF algorithm, to predict the subject’s next movement. So 3D Space (Area + Depth) and Time, which is the 4D dimension gives us the 4D FOCUS. Well, that’s nice marketing stuff, but for us photographers, what matters that this AF system performs to our liking, means, to deliver super fast target acquisition performance. Keep in mind that the 4D FOCUS isn’t a new thing, the a6000 also uses the same technology but has only 179 phase-detection AF points compared to 425 in the a6300. The a6000 AF speed was measured at 0.06 sec, so the a6300 is even faster measured at 0.05 sec.
Here’s an introduction video by Sony showing the 4D FOCUS in action:
As you can see from the video, the a6300 also provides a High-density Tracking AF technology with dense AF points surrounding the subject and follows the subject as it moves across the frame. The result is a super accurate and reliable tracking performance, and for a mirrorless camera, it’s one of the most welcomed features.
The Sony a6300 can record videos up to 4K resolution with full-pixel readout. It uses a Super 35mm equivalent (6000 x 3376 / 6K equivalent) readout and from that, the image data is used to create 4K videos with exceptional image quality. This means that the camera uses the pixel information gathered from 2.4 times more pixels (equivalent to 6K) compared to a 4K resolution. Sony also supplemented and advanced S-Gamut/S-Log feature which you can use to increment the dynamic range up to 1300% and also offers 14-stop latitude at S-Log3 setting. The a6300 can record Full HD videos at 120fps with full AF tracking for exquisitely rendered slow motion videos. The a6300 can also record these frame-rates using the XAVC S video format. This format applies a high-bit-rate recording to capture movies with slight compression which result in a higher quality video output.
When looking at the a6300 and a6000 side by side, it seems like we are looking at two identical cameras. The external camera design is more or less the same. The a6300 employs a durable magnesium-alloy build and has dust and moisture resistance sealings. At the back, Sony added an AF/MF / AEL lever instead of the AEL button of the a6000. Other than that, everything is more or less the same as the a6000.
Among the camera other features:
- 8fps live-view continuous shooting with minimal display lag
makes it easier to track subject that move heretically inside the frame, and when you find it hard to tell the direction the subject will move next
- Compatible with PlayMemories Camera Apps and PlayMemories Online for Backing up your images and videos on Sony’s secure cloud service
- WiFi / NFC / QR code for seamless wireless connection with a smartphone or tablet device (those that support that connectivity)
- Multi slot for Memory Stick Duo / SD memory card
- Long exposure NR / High ISO NR (can be turned off)
- Auto White Balance micro adjustments
- 1200-zone evaluative metering
- 2359K-dots OLED Viewfinder, 0.7x magnification
- 3-inch 921.6K dots tilting LCD (90°/45°)
- 11 fps burst with continuous autofocus
As you can clearly observe, Sony focused improving the a6300 where enthusiast photographers have hoped it would improve. This includes the AF system, the sensor, the viewfinder, great arsenal of advanced video recording features – all in the same small and even more durable camera form. That being said, there are some things that I’m pretty sure many photographers awaited the a6300 to have and are still absent, like a headphone port, built-in image stabilization (IBIS), touchscreen display, and built-in GPS.
The a6300 seems like a very good technical upgrade overall.
Before we move on, here’s a a6300 5x Slow Motion video sample with the AF tracking – Sweet!
A6300 vs A6000
Now that you’ve got a good overview of the a6300 key features, let’s take a look at what changed in the a63000 compared to the previous model, the a6000.[table "253" not found /]
The a6300 also gets a reinforced lens mount structure to handle larger and heavier lenses apperently, it gets a new shutter release button and mode dial with improved operability and grip.
The new Sony a6300 improves upon the a6000 in many ways, including better durability, a new sensor with better light gathering capability, new improved AF system, a higher-resolution viewfinder, much more versatile video recording specifications and 4K and slow-mo videos in most part. I’ve read some early opinions, and it seems that many people are a bit frustrated with the a6300. I think that they expected it to have a touchscreen and IBIS to make it more attractive versus some of the new mirrorless cameras and compete well against upcoming models, but that aside, the a6300 is an amazing fully-features camera, the pros easily outweigh the cons.
I think that the A6300 is a great camera. I love shooting with the a6000, and the a6300 is going to provide more reliable operation and better performance overall.
Would you upgrade from the a6000? Do you think the Sony a6300 is lacking in some way? Please share your opinion in the comment section below and tell us what you think.