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Announced: Sony a6300, The new mirrorless 4K for $1K

Yes! Color me excited, this is one particular camera I have been eagerly awaiting. Why you ask? well, let's get into the key specs first:

  • Mirrorless sony E mount
  • New 24megapixel sensor (Not BSI, but still improved)
  • Improved 2.4mp OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" 921.6k Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • Full pixel readout for video
  • 4k video at 100mbit XAVC-S codec
  • Up to 120fps 1080p
  • Slog-3 profile with S-Gamut 3
  • Fast AF with 425 points
  • Weather resistant
  • Standard iso range up to 25600, expanded: 51200
  • Mic input port, HDMI port, Micro USB/multi port
  • Limited to 30min video recording at a time

There's nothing terribly mind blowing about these specs, but it's a very nice feature set for a camera in this price range. The first question would be: is it a worthwhile upgrade over the a6000? That will of course depend on your needs. For me, the 4k video mode alone is well worth the premium. 


Competitors?
It sits at the crossroads of NX500 and GH4, the Samsung and Panasonic mirrorless cameras. The GH4 sits a few hundred above the a6300, the NX500 a few hundred below. For video shooters, the a6300 solves the one big issue that it's competitors share: cropped 4k video. If you're unawares: some cameras use a center crop of the sensor to achieve 4k video, which has made wide angle shots a bit tougher to achieve. But the a6300 claims a full pixel readout, the full 6000pixel width of the sensor for 4k video.


Lenses
I'm a Canon shooter, and thus am invested in Canon glass. This also is somewhat of an advantage for the a6300 over the other mirrorless options, as it currently plays nicest with canon glass via various adapters. Being able to tap into the full canon lineup with full electronic control is big. It's not perfect, but canon hasn't exactly released any mirrorless camera's that intrigue me lately, so it is what it is. 


Low light iso performance
This is the big question mark: how much improvement has the a6300 gained? My biggest gripe with my GH4 is the very lackluster ISO performance. If the a6300 can achieve very clean 3200 or even 6400iso, a happy fellow i will be. 


BSI?

A lot of folks are concerned that the a6300 doesn't have BSI, or Backside Illuminated Sensor tech. What that basically means is that all wiring has been moved to the rear of the photosites so that each photosite can collect more light. The a6300 sensor does not have this. However... It does say that because of the use of copper wiring, they were significantly able to reduce the wiring and thus allow more photosite exposure. So, this looks to be something closer to BSI while not being quite BSI. What's it all mean? We should expect some improvement over the a6300 in low light/iso/noise performance. How much so will have to wait until the proper tests are conducted.


No IBIS?

IBIS is the sensor based image stabilization touted in some of sony's new cameras. It's a fantastic feature, as it takes any lens and gives you stabilization. Unfortunately, the a6300 does not have it. Is it a deal breaker? Certainly not to me, but to some folks out there with super-shaky hands, perhaps!

Stuck on the tilt
One thing about sony cameras that I've never been totally satisfied with, is the lack of a fully articulating swivel screen like on the countless other cameras on the market. Sony for some reason is in love with the tilt screen. It's certainly better than a fixed screen, and works a treat for high and low angle shooting. But for those of us who have uses which involve setting up a shot from in front of the camera, then a forward facing screen becomes invaluable. I do tons of review videos, just me, no one to help set up the shot. I like to keep things as simple as possible, and having a forward facing screen sure helps. 


Size and weight
This camera is also poised to become a favorite for drone'ers. It weighs a mere 404grams with battery and memory card. Throw on the 16mm F/2.8 and you've got a positively tiny and light package for flying or gimbal use.


Worth its salt?
I'm a big pusher of matching gear to your specific needs. If you currently have a camera that's doing everything you need it to, then why spend the cash? But if this new camera does something that you've been wishing your current camera does not, then by all means!

   
           
   
Added on 2016-02-03 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
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