With 425 phase-detection AF points, continuous shooting at 11fps with autofocus, a 24.2-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor, 4K video capture and a whole host of other features, the Sony Alpha 6300 takes APS-C compact system cameras to a new level. Richard Sibley puts it through its paces.
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.