At this point I think we’re all pretty clear that Sony is set to make history with its mirrorless cameras. I own quite a nice lineup of Sony cameras and a few weeks ago got the brand new a6300 in my hands. I never owned an a6000, I decided to get an RX100IV instead. So this is my first camera in the a6xxx lineup. This is not meant to be a full-blown review, just my initial thoughts on the camera and what it can do for you. To be honest, I think the hardest question at this point is not whether to get Sony versus other brands, but which Sony camera to get. I am a very big supporter of the Sony cameras and definitely like to see so many people moving in this direction. So here we go.
I played with the a6300 at home for a bit before taking it to a proper shoot. The first thing with any camera is the initial settings configuration based on how you shoot and what you shoot. There are several advantages of having an a6xxx camera. It’s one of the fastest on the market, and it’s compact yet versatile with the E-mount lenses and adaptors. You get to wok with 11 fps (8 fps in live view mode) and up to 21 images in a burst. That alone is a huge factor for me. Focusing system will also blow you away, 425 points.. You don’t have full frame camera in your hands, but this little beast definitely has something special inside. Slow motion video recording will be another favorite feature of this camera for me. Silent shooting mode, 4K video, 24MP resolution, magnesium alloy body, and a fantastic viewfinder make it a complete package.
All this sounds very good and there are dozens of quality detailer technical reviews out there. So I took the camera for a shoot to see what I can do with it in my normal shooting scenarios. At first I mounted Loxia 50mm on the a6300. I love this lens and I wanted to have a bit more of a hands on manual control experience to get the feel for the camera. I was shooting with both a7RII and a6300. I love the sharp previews and the quickness of a6300 so in about 20 min I fully switched to shooting with a6300 for the day. Keep in mind that these were ballet auditions and I would never sacrifice the quality of my shoot, but in this case I felt like I’m actually getting some awesome results, even with 24MP resolution.
The grip of the a6300 doesn’t feel small for me. I liked the shooting experience and my hands didn’t get tired even after 3 hours of non-stop work. It’s a bit of a side note, but still an important factor. So after a bit I mounted 70-200 FE lens f4 and kept shooting. The camera was so quick I almost felt like I am getting more and more excited about the shoot just because of that. I felt I won’t miss crucial moments. I felt that I am always ready for when the moment comes. It’s a very nice feeling to have.
Next up was my FE 24-70 f4 lens. F4 may seem a bit too slow for such indoor shooting, but I’ve been shooting f4 indoors for several years and it’s all about light management in the end. You can work with what’s available in most cases. All three lenses performed really well with a6300. I kept saying “wow” in my head for a while until I did a short clip for my Instagram. I got so excited that I forgot to include the sound in the video. Here is that clip. It’s pretty impressive I think.
With all this being said, I think I might put my RX100IV on a shelf and carry this setup everywhere I go: a7RII with FE 24-70 f4, a6300 with Loxia 50mm, and FE 70-200 lens. This covers everything I need until I get my hands on the G Master lenses. The big question for most shooters will be whether to upgrade from a6300 or which single Sony camera to purchase with so many cameras on the market. I’ve shot with most of what came out in the last few years and personally if I was shooting let’s say on the weekends and during travels, this a6300 camera would be my top choice. It’s not as compact as RX100IV but it allows for interchangeable lenses. It’s also unbelievably fast and is a great lens to shoot any type of action. It will be my go-to camera for all surf stuff this year. I cannot wait to pair it with 70-200 G Master and a converter. It will be a blast of a setup! When it comes to a7xx cameras, you really need to evaluate your needs some more. I would definitely consider it a great second camera after a7RII, I am even letting go of my original a7R body in favor of a6300. I love how snug my lenses are mounted on the a6300, definitely an improvement there. a6300 is a definite jump in quality of the build across the board.
Are there any other comments other than “It’s a fantastic camera”?.. yes.. The battery life is as expected, stack up 4-6 spares. Size of the body can also be considered an issue since most of the public still expects a huge rig whenever a photographer or videographer is hired, so you have to fight perceptions. This camera is not an entry level by any means, but visually it doesn’t scream expensive $10K equipment setup.
I get that you cannot always jump on the next new thing on the market. It’s a personal decision to upgrade or to buy a new body. I’d recommend getting the body and then configuring your lens needs. Is this camera worth $1,000 price tag – in my opinion yes! Do you need to switch now? It depends. I am always cautious of getting in a position where you expect the camera to do the job for you. I think this camera is a very tempting purchase. It depends if your wallet is ready for it.