Replacing the Sony Alpha 6000 was never going to be easy. Released in February 2014, the A6000 has become one of Sony’s best-selling cameras, admired by reviewers and photographers alike. But time, and technology it seems, waits for no man, and a few of the features of the A6000 are now starting to look a little dated, which is where the Sony Alpha 6300 comes in.

The new Sony Alpha 6300 sits at the top of Sony’s APS-C sensor E-Mount line-up. As you would expect, it inherits a number of features from the RX series, as well as the full-frame Alpha 7 series E-Mount cameras. But the Alpha 6300 isn’t just a rehash of features we have already seen elsewhere in the line-up. Sony has deliberately set out to answer the critics of compact system cameras, taking on the two key areas of focusing speed and the electronic viewfinder. In addition, by adding weather-sealing, a magnesium-alloy body and 4K video capture, Sony may have created the best APS-C compact system camera yet.

At a glance:

  • 24.2-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • 425 phase-detection AF
  • 4K video capture
  • Up to 11fps continuous shooting

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Features


Before we come on to the exciting new features, let’s get the key points out of the way. The Alpha 6300 uses a 24.2-million-pixel-resolution Sony Exmor APS-C-sized CMOS sensor. While this resolution may not be anything new and exciting, the fact that the sensor now has the world’s highest number of phase-detection AF points is. The sensor has also been improved by using copper wiring, which can be laid thinner than conventional wiring. This allows for more light to reach the sensor and a larger photodiode to capture that light. The result is that Sony claims the camera has an improved signal-to-noise ratio over the sensor of its predecessor, and as such the camera has a sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600, which is expandable to ISO 51,200. This is 1 stop more than its predecessor.

Some people may have expected the Alpha 6300 to have a backside illuminated (BSI) sensor, especially given that Sony has a 42-million-pixel BSI full-frame sensor in the Alpha 7R II. However, it is perhaps asking a little too much for the Alpha 6300 to have a newly developed phase-detection AF system and BSI.


On the rear of the camera is a fairly standard wideangle, 3in, 921,000-dot screen, but it’s in the electronic viewfinder where Sony has worked its magic. The OLED viewfinder has a 2.4-million-pixel resolution, which is higher than the 1.44-million-dot EVF in the Alpha 6000, but it should be noted that it is the same as the much older NEX-6. Sony has, in effect, reintroduced this resolution, so it is difficult to see it as a brand-new addition. However, the 2.4-million-dot EVF is still on par, or better than most of the camera’s competition. What is impressive is the 120fps display refresh rate of the EVF. This high-speed rate provides a view with no discernible lag and a very realistic electronic view of the scene.

Next up on the list of new features is the continuous shooting rate. The Alpha 6300 shoots at an impressive 11fps, while metering and autofocusing. This is great, but there is also a secondary high-speed continuous shooting mode that shoots at a reduced rate 
of 8fps while metering and autofocusing. ‘Why the lower shooting rate?’ Well, when shooting at this reduced rate, the viewfinder has minimal shutter blackout and presents a live view between shots. Previously, this was a problem with compact system cameras. Early CSCs simply show a completely black screen between shots. On more recent cameras a quick flash of the last image taken is shown between shots. Some do show a live view image, but only with a reduced burst rate of 4-6fps. All of this can make it difficult to frame a moving subject. The 120fps refresh rate of the Alpha 6300, and fast readout of the sensor, mean that the Alpha 6300 can truly keep up when shooting at 8fps.

Sony has gone back to the drawing board somewhat for the AF system of the Alpha 6300, and the new 425 phase-detection points cover virtually the whole frame. For those harder-to-reach corners, there is a further 169 contrast-detection AF, resulting in a comprehensive edge-to-edge focus point array.


As you would expect from a Sony camera, there is a huge number of additional features built into the camera, and short of writing a guidebook on them there simply isn’t enough space or time to go into them all here. There is in-camera panoramic shooting, HDR bracketing, NFC and Wi-Fi, and the ability to add additional features to the camera via Sony’s PlayMemories mobile applications. There are quite a few available, including various timelapse and star-trails apps, as well as the Sky HDR app, which takes an exposure of both the sky and the land and blends them for a gradient-filter-like effect. Sony regularly comes up with new apps for its cameras, so it is worth checking to see what the latest ones can do.

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Build and handling

While there have been a few tweaks compared with its predecessor, the majority of the Alpha 6300 is similar, and indeed if you have used any of Sony Alpha or RX compact cameras, then the button and dial placements will seem familiar to you.

The important things to note are that the Alpha 6300 has a tough magnesium-alloy body, which includes internal frames as well as the top rear and front cover all constructed of magnesium alloy. This makes the Alpha 6300 stronger and tougher than the preceding cameras in the line-up, while still keeping it lightweight. Also new is that the camera has dust and moisture resistance with a number of seals surrounding the buttons, dials and other entrances to the camera to prevent dust and moisture ingress.


Presumably with Sony’s new range of G master lenses, and the fact that the Alpha 6300 will be used for video, the lens mount of the camera has also been made stronger and more robust. This should cope with the weight demands of telephoto and large-aperture lenses, particularly those that may be used for capturing video footage, and for sports and wildlife photographers.

Another interesting tweak of the camera design, which will benefit video shooters, is the fact that the camera can be powered, and not just charged, via USB, provided there is a battery installed. So pack a USB battery pack in your bag and you should be able to keep shooting video and timelapse footage for longer, or just to keep your camera’s battery topped up.

Besides this, the body of the Alpha 6300 remains largely the same. The grip and the shutter button have been enhanced and now feel quite similar to Sony’s Alpha 7 range of CSCs. Sony has also come a long way since its first NEX compact system cameras, and there are a huge number of different settings that can be assigned to the custom buttons on the rear of the camera. Although the Alpha 6300 has only one rear dial, and not the additional front dial that exists on the Alpha 7 cameras, you can still get the Alpha 6300 to operate in a similar manner.


Sony tends to receive a lot of criticism for its menu system, which is very comprehensive but some find it difficult to navigate. However, I have no such problem with the camera, and although it is very much a personal experience I can’t say any of the settings were difficult to find.

In use, the Alpha 6300s is a fairly solid, reliable camera. It may lack the design appeal of something like the Fujifilm X-T1 or the Olympus OM-D series, but it is fairly easy to use, feels comfortable in the hand, and doesn’t weigh a great deal. A useful addition to the body of the Alpha 6300 would be an exposure-compensation dial on the camera’s top-plate, much like in the Alpha 7 series. It really isn’t difficult to change the exposure compensation, but having tested a number of the Sony Alpha 7 cameras over the past couple of years, the exposure-compensation dial would be a nice touch, especially for those who may wish to use the Alpha 6300 alongside an Alpha 7 camera. Those wishing to jump up from one of the RX cameras will find that the Alpha 6300 operates in a similar way to Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and RX10 cameras.

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Performance

Being small and lightweight, I found that the Alpha 6300 travelled with me in my bag for most of my two weeks of testing the camera. With the program dial on the top of the camera, it was easy to switch between shutter, aperture and manual priority, and I also used one of the custom items for my preferred shooting settings. This made it very fast to switch between my video and still-image settings, without having to tweak menu items.

_DSC0289 raw edit WEB

Having the combination of stills and video worked well, and the detail in the 4K video mode is excellent. It is a shame Sony hasn’t incorporated a 4K photo-extraction mode as Panasonic has. Being able to pull 8-million-pixel still images quickly from video files would be useful.

That said, the autofocus of the Alpha 6300, along with the 11fps burst mode, is good enough that you will usually be able to capture the exact moment you want, with a good-quality JPEG or raw file, that would be better than a compressed 8-million-pixel video frame.

The 1,200-segment evaluative metering system allowed me to pull the camera out and point and shoot when an opportunity arose. Generally, the exposures produced by the metering system were accurate, and especially when shooting landscapes it boosted the exposure to the point of highlighting clipping, producing nice detail in shadow areas. Occasionally, I did dial the exposure down slightly to produce darker, more brooding photos when shooting in overcast conditions.

Original raw

Original raw

Edited raw

Edited raw

For those who like shooting JPEG images and getting everything right in-camera, the Alpha 6300 has the standard Sony range of dynamic range optimisation (DRO) settings, with five different levels, as well as an auto feature. These adjust the contrast across the image by boosting the details in the shadow detail and pulling back highlights. Used at the weaker settings, the results look natural, but cranked up to level five you can get an almost HDR effect.

There is, in fact, a lot you can do in-camera to alter the look of JPEG images to your own taste. As usual, there are a numerous preset colour styles that can be applied and tweaked, and let’s not forget there are the PlayMemories camera apps, such as Sky HDR. Better still are the picture profile settings, which are actually designed for video capture, but can also be used for still images. There is a huge amount of advanced image detail that you can adjust within these settings, including the black and white points, as well as the contrast curve, saturation and the particular strength of each of the RGB colour channels. If you can get your head around what each of the settings does, then you can create your very own picture style that can be applied to your JPEG images. And for raw shooters, there is the option of 14-bit uncompressed raw files to eke out every last bit of detail.

Overall, my experience of using the Alpha 6300 was a good one. I didn’t come across any major issues, and the camera lived up to my expectations. I was able to transfer images via Wi-Fi quickly and post images from the Alpha 6300 to AP’s Twitter account while testing the camera. The autofocus is about the best I have used in a compact system camera, and few cameras can match the 11fps shooting rate. The 4K video capture along with 100/120fps slow-motion shooting rates are added bonuses to a comprehensive list of camera features. There really is a lot to alike about the Alpha 6300.

However, there are still a few niggles with the Alpha 6300. First, it is still time consuming to change the AF point. Come on, Sony! We have been asking for a touchscreen for this for around three years now – it would make life a lot easier. Currently, I find that using the AF tracking to centre focus and recompose is the best way of focusing quickly.

Second, I would like to see a front control on the Alpha 6300. This isn’t a huge deal, but an additional control dial is always a good thing, and it would really place the camera just below the Alpha 7 range.

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Image quality

While the Sony Alpha 6300 has a 24.2-million-pixel APS-C sensor that is largely the same as that in the Alpha 6000, what most Alpha 6300 users should consider is the lenses they are using with the camera. We tested the Alpha 6300 with the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom, the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 and the new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lenses. The difference in quality when using the latter two lenses produces far sharper images. Sony could do with a few more premium lenses in its APS-C E-mount line-up. Raw images have a good level of detail, and when editing them using the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw I found that colour, sharpness and noise levels can all be easily controlled. However, Sony tends to be a bit heavy handed with its JPEG compression and noise reduction, and fine textures can look a little soft. However, it isn’t an issue unless you are pixel-peeping.

Dynamic range

With a maximum dynamic range of 12.4EV at ISO 100, the dynamic range of the Alpha 6300 is good. There is a gradual decline in the dynamic range as the sensitivity increases, and it is still a respectable 10.6EV at ISO 800. After ISO 3,200 the drop is quite severe, with it dropping from 8.8EV down to 7.6EV at ISO 6,400, dropping further still at the maximum sensitivities. To get the best out of the available dynamic range, I found it best to overexpose slightly, then darken the shadow and highlight areas when editing.



The Alpha 6300 performed well in our line test chart. It reaches almost 3,200lp/ph at ISO 100, although there are some signs of moiré patterning. The Alpha 6300 holds on to a high level of detail at 3,000/lp/ph until it reaches ISO 800, where there is the first really noticeable drop-off after this point. As with the noise, it is beyond the ISO 6,400 point that the resolution really begins to drop, and although the Alpha 6300 still reaches around 2,700lp/ph at ISO 12,800 it is badly affected by noise and loss of detail.





JPEG ISO 1,600

JPEG ISO 1,600

JPEG ISO 6,400

JPEG ISO 6,400

JPEG ISO 25,600

JPEG ISO 25,600

JPEG ISO 51,200

JPEG ISO 51,200


Both raw and JPEG images taken from our diorama scene are captured at the full range of ISO settings. The camera is placed in its default setting for JPEG images. Raw images are sharpened and noise reduction applied, to strike the best balance between resolution and noise.





JPEG ISO 1,600

JPEG ISO 1,600

JPEG ISO 6,400

JPEG ISO 6,400

JPEG ISO 25,600

JPEG ISO 25,600

JPEG ISO 51,200

JPEG ISO 51,200

Although the copper wiring on the sensor of the Alpha 6300 is said to improve the image quality compared to the Alpha 6000, we found that the differences were quite subtle. That said, at low sensitivities there does appear to be less noise in shadow areas when you manipulate raw images. The extended highest sensitivity of ISO 51,200 (up from 25,600 in the Alpha 6000) suffers heavily from noise and is best avoided. It really isn’t a useful increase, and although it looks better on the specification, leaving the maximum sensitivity at 25,600 would have been sufficient given the level of noise. As usual, I would suggest avoiding the highest two settings, with ISO 12,800 being as high as you really want to push the sensor, and ideally ISO 6,400 should be the highest you want to go unless it’s in extremely dark situations.

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Video


A few years ago, Panasonic was racing away with the market for those who wanted to shoot stills and video, but Sony’s Alpha 7 series of camera has changed all that. And now Sony seems to be standardising a number of features across its camera range. So it is no surprise to see that not only does the A6300 record 4K video, it also has a huge range of other features, such as Picture Profiles that allow you to shoot with an S-Log2 or 3 contrast curve, zebra patterning, smooth AF during video, as well as a 100fps Full HD footage option for converting video to 4x slow motion. An external microphone socket also features on the side of the camera, although sadly there is no headphone socket for audio monitoring.

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Continuous autofocus

With image quality from compact system cameras just as good as from a DSLR, manufacturers are now trying to tackle the areas that are typically weaker, including the speed of autofocus and, in particular, continuous autofocus. Panasonic has made good headway in this area over the past few years, and now it seems it is Sony’s turn to take up the mantle.

The first big step in taking on the the AF systems of DSLR cameras was when CSC’s introduced on sensor phase detection. This was a start in developing an AF system that was as fast as a DSLR in single AF mode, however continuous AF still struggled. With better algorithms and more processing power, this issue is slowly being addressed, and the Alpha 6300 may just be the tipping point where we can say that the £1,000 camera can continuously autofocus as good as an equivalently priced DSLR.

There are two high-speed continuous AF modes, and the camera is able to focus and meter from frame to frame in both. The difference is what happens between shots. The 11fps mode is faster, but doesn’t quite show a real-time preview between shots, whereas the 8fps mode does. The result is that the 8fps mode allows you to frame your subjects just as well as a DSLR.

Using the continuous AF tracking mode, the A6300 utilises a range of phase-detection points across the whole frame; however, it uses a higher concentration of points over the subject, so the camera uses the wide array to detect big jumps in motion, and the more defined range for the more precise jumps. This allows the camera to quickly process the AF position, but without having to continuously monitor all 425 AF points, which would take up a large amount of processing power. You can see the continuous AF in action quite clearly when you are using the camera. When you lock focus on to a subject you will see the AF points change shape and jump around as the subject moves, and although it doesn’t always seem very precise on the live view display, the resulting images are accurately focused.

In our tests, we found that the camera had no problem continuously autofocusing with a moderately moving subject such as a boat or a person walking or jogging. We tested it with a mountain biker, going downhill at a speed of approx 15-20mph, and found we were able to fire off a burst of shots in raw and JPEG mode, and nearly every single one was sharply focused. Where the images were out of focus were where the subject was very close to the camera, and therefore the lens had to make relatively greater jumps in the autofocus compared with the slighter ones from further away.

During testing we used the 16-70mm f/4 Zeiss lens, and tracking our mountain biker we found that the camera hadn’t locked the AF to the subject face, but to his coat, or the front of the bike. Knocking the aperture down to f/5.6 made a difference with the increased depth of field helping to improve the sharpness on the subject’s face.

Overall, the continuous AF is extremely impressive and can rival DSLRs in the same price bracket. However, as with all continuous autofocusing, the key is to make sure you familiarise yourself with how the system works so you can get the best results in a required situation.

Sony Alpha 6300 review – Our verdict

A6300 front

With the Sony Alpha 6000 being one of the company’s most popular cameras of recent years, the Alpha 6300 has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it more than lives up to its predecessor and takes Sony’s next-generation APS-S-sensor E-mount cameras to the next level.

The physical size and shape of the body remain largely the same, although we would have liked a front control dial, and we are starting to sound like a broken record asking for a touchscreen in the premium Sony E-mount cameras. This would make it so much easier to focus and be fantastic for focus-pulling when shooting video, particularly with the advantage of the 425 phase-detection AF points.

But there are some significant improvements to the body, notably the weather-sealing, and the strengthened lens mount. The Alpha 6300 is straightforward to use, and anyone who has used a Sony camera in the past few years will feel right at home.

For videographers, the only thing that is really lacking is a headphone socket for audio monitoring. Other than that, it is a great compact 4K video camera and a perfect accompaniment to an Alpha 7. Image quality is good, but it is the other areas of the camera that steal the show this time.

The Alpha 6300 is really all about the combination of AF, viewfinder and continuous shooting rate. At the price, no DSLR can shooting as fast as 11fps, and certainly not keep up with focusing.

If you already own an Alpha 6000 should you upgrade? In terms of image quality there doesn’t seem to be too much difference, so it really comes down to whether or not you will appreciate the new features of the camera. Certainly, the magnesium-alloy body is a good upgrade, but whether or not the AF system and 4K video are will depend on the type of photography, or videography, that you do.


Sony Alpha 6300 review – Full specification