The Sony a6300 hands on
This week I had the chance and great opportunity to be invited by Sony Romania to attend the European launch event of the new Sony a6300 camera and the new G Master lenses (hands on article coming soon) in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
I wrote about this camera specs at the announcement date, but I wanted to discover more by holding it in my hands.
Unfortunately all the Sony a6300 cameras at the event were pre-production models and we weren’t allowed to put our own cards inside and take home the files generated with it, but still I’ve managed to do some tests of the new features and grabbed that on video :).
It was a pleasure to discuss face to face with important Sony figures about the new camera. Mr. Yosuke Aoki, the vice president of digital imaging Sony Europe and Mr. Yoma Hori – Sony Europe ILC Product Manager were kind enough to help me test the new features and were very happy to assist. What an honor!
Highlights of the new Sony a6300
I won’t go into all details about the camera (I’m going to do this when I’ll get the final model for full review), but instead I’m going to present you some of the highlights of the new model, compared to the previous sony a600 (my review of this camera still attracts a lot of readers on my blog).
The exterior of Sony a6300
Nothing much has changed from the previous model, at least not visible. Camera chassis was upgraded to full magnesium alloy and it got dust and moisture sealing.
The grip is better, easier to hold than the previous a6000, which I had with me for real life comparisons 🙂 (and also because I’ve converted it to infrared and wanted to shoot Amsterdam in IR, but more on that soon). A lovely addition was the lever to switch between AF modes and AEL, a button I love so much on my A7s.
Also, they’ve listened to people complaining about the sound recording and they’ve added a so much needed external Microphone jack. Too bad there was no room for a headphone jack, so much needed too in video production.
So much of the exterior differences.
Internals of the Sony a6300
The biggest upgrades are to be found inside this little jewel. For me it’s difficult to choose which I love most, but I think the new XGA OLED EVF went straight to my heart. I think it is the most observable difference between the two cameras.
Because it’s 100 fps mode, the lag when you move the camera around (or with fast moving subjects which we didn’t have at hands inside the conference room) it’s almost gone. Actually I couldn’t notice any with my eye sticked to the viewfinder.
One important thing to notice, confirmed with the Sony rep is this: the camera will consume a little more battery in this mode because of the fast refresh rate of the EVF and also, the image is in lower quality than in normal 50fps mode of the viewfinder, so we’ve got:
- 100 fps – less EVF lag, smooth image transition, higher battery consumption, lower image quality
- 50 fps – more lag, better image quality, less battery consumption
Then, we get to the real treat. The 8 fps live-view continuous display while shooting. I couldn’t understand exactly from the description when the camera was announced, nor from their event presentation what they are talking about. It was necessary just a little press of the shutter button in this mode to had my jaw drop!
It’s impossible to describe how perfect this mode feels and so natural, so close to the “old” good optical viewfinders, but with the added benefit of the electronic ones. The only way I thought I can show it to you, was to film a sequence.
Then, the 4d improved focusing system of the Sony A6300 is a blast too. Again, the conditions to test its full potential were almost non existent in the conference room, but I’ve tried some of the features I wanted to see. I was very impressed when testing the A7R II (review here) by it’s ability to do Eye-AF tracking during AF-C and continuous shooting, and delighted to hear the a6300 inhabited this from its big brother.
Again, with the help of Mr. Yoma Hori, we simulated a situation when Eye-AF is needed, while subject comes towards the camera.
I couldn’t tell when reviewing the images on the camera LCD if any of it was out of focus, I need to check it on a computer screen, when I’ll have the final version at hands.
Sony announced the new camera will be able to focus with all its PD-AF sensors (425 in total) with the A mount lenses with the available Sony adapter, the LA-EA3 one, like it happens on A7R II. It will also do face detection as you can see in the video below.
Another thing I was curious about was how fast the buffer fills in continuous shooting. To make things worse, I’ve set up the camera to write both RAW and Jpeg to the card. I don’t know which card was inside the camera (battery and card cover were sealed by Sony so we couldn’t put our cards in).
Here is the buffer filling in both Hi (8fps) and Hi+ (11 fps)
I managed to stick also the new 70-200 f2.8 GM lens on the little (in comparison) Sony a6300. The lens was also a pre-production model, but worked flawlessly. We weren’t supposed to try it yet so I was closely monitored by a Sony rep :). I put on also the 2x adapter which, unfortunately, will only work with this new GM lens, so no, there not yet a 2x teleconverter available for any lenses.
Camera focused crazy fast, tracking my subjects far away with ease, even with the 2x adapter mounted on. I can’t wait to test this is real life, shooting birds and outdoor sports. I’m sure it will be a blast!
The camera is expected to be available on second week of March. I really hope it will be available by then because on 14th of March this year I’ll be visiting Disneyland and Paris with my family, so it will be a great test playground for the new Sony A6300.
Camera will be available in 3 versions:
- Sony a6300 body only
- Sony a6300 kit with 16-50mm (like the a6000 model which will still be available in parallel at an incredible price)
- Sony a6300 kit with the 16-70mm Zeiss lens