The Sony A6300 and Sony 85 1.4 GM combo is STUNNING. 1st Look.

The Sony A6300 is STUNNING. Small, fast, powerful. 1st Look. 

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I was going to wait to write about the new Sony A6300 until I did a full review. After using it for the past two days, I became excited by it and knew that I would be using this camera over the next few weeks more and more. I own the A6000 (see that review here), and have since it was launched. I have used it for video, I have used it for family snaps and even loaned it to others when they wanted a quick, and very nice camera. I will admit, when the A6300 was announced I thought it would be just another rehash and slight improvement.

But seeing that the Sony A6000 was the hottest selling mirrorless camera over $600, I knew I needed to drop my A7RII for a while and my other cameras to concentrate on the A6300, which comes in at under $1000. So I will be using and digging into the A6300 over the next 2-3 weeks and will be writing up a full review soon, using all  kinds of glass from Sony native to Zeiss to other surprises, even the TECHART adapter. For now, I just wanted to share some 1st thoughts on performance.

An Orangutan who was just staring into space, looking very very sad. I would be too if I were imprisoned. Click for larger.

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With its new sensor, new 4D focus, amazing focus speed and tracking abilities (that are still not perfect) and great low light performance, the A6300 is a very real alternative to the much more pricey and larger A7 series. It is smaller, but faster. It is very versatile with its EVF, 4K video, Swivel LCD and very hard to knock AF performance. IQ is up there with the best of APS-C and for many this is better than full frame as we do not have to worry about TOO SHALLOW depth of field with some of these fast lenses. The A6300 is small, sleek, built well, weather sealed, has a great EVF, swivel LCD and fast and accurate AF. All under a grand.

NEW SENSOR AND AF SYSTEM

*The a6300 has a new 24.2MP sensor with a top ISO sensitivity of 51,200. More importantly, the sensor’s hybrid autofocus system offers a whopping 425 phase-detect points for burst shooting at 11 fps with continuous autofocus. At 8 fps, a live feed makes it easier to follow fast action*

Yep, the A6300 has amazing specs, and is a camera that I feel will be relevant for many years. The IQ if the new sensor is stunning, both for color or B&W work.

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4K VIDEO WITH FULL SENSOR READOUT

The a6300 reads the entire sensor area to maximize the quality of its UHD 4K/24p videos. Videos use the XAVC S codec with a maximum bit rate of 100MBps. In addition to 4K, the a6300 can also capture 1080p video at 120 frames per second, which can be played back in slow motion.

Tilting LCD

The a6300 has a 3″ tilting LCD display with 921k dots and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Tilting displays are great for overhead and waist-level shooting.

A little girl as she looks at the captive Orangutan, staring into HIS sad eyes. Click for larger.

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Weather-resistant body

The a6300 is a well-built camera with a magnesium alloy body. Its various buttons, dials and ports are sealed against dust and moisture.

The Pink Flamingo. I shot this with the 85 1.4, used spot metering to meter for the very harsh and direct AZ sun that was on the Flamingo. Click the image to see it larger and crisper. 

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It seems the new A6300 is gearing up to be a worthy successor to the hottest selling mirrorless camera ever (over $600), the A6000. In APS-C land, I find it hard to find a camera, at this price, that offers more or even gets close to what this new Sony offering serves up. Look for my full review soon. I think this would make a great camera all by itself or for some, a backup to their A7 series body.

As for the 85 1.4 GM lens, it is absolutely INCREDIBLE. I must own this lens. My 1st look at the lens can be seen HERE. 

The TECHART Adapter with M lenses works very well on the A6300. This one is with the Jupiter 3+

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You can order the A6300 at Amazon or B&H Photo

REVIEW SOON!

Steve

 

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50 thoughts on “The Sony A6300 and Sony 85 1.4 GM combo is STUNNING. 1st Look.

  1. Hi Steve — I’m new to your site and am really amazed by the great work you’re doing. Thanks! What do you think of a match up, say of the Zeiss Batis 85mm with the a6300 or even an old NEX 7? I’m still using the NEX 7 usually with a Zeiss 32mm f1.8 and wanted a light-weight short telephoto for outdoor city photography where I can’t get as close to my subject. The Sony 85 f1.4 seems a bit too heavy for me at approximately 1.8 lbs but the Zeiss Batis 85 is only about 1 lb which I like a lot. Can you offer any advice?

  2. Hi Steve – You may be the only reviewer in a position to answer my question based on real use experience. For head and shoulders portraits (in low light and good light) how would you rate this A6300/85 f1.4 against the EM1 with Oly 75 f1.8 and the Panasonic GX8 with Nocticron 42.5 f1.2? (I know that they are all not equivalent 35mm focal lengths but my feet can move!). Chris S

    1. An A6300 with 85 will give you a 127 equiv. focal length. An E-M1 with 75 will give you a 150mm focal length. The Sony 85 1.4 is the best 85 I have ever used. The Oly 75 is one of their best primes and is smaller and lighter than the Sony. The Nocticron will hive you an 85 equivalent so all three lenses are totally different in regards to focal length, rendering and character. They should not be compared as all are different. The E-M1 and 75 will double your effective focal length over the Nocticron, which is huge. For head and shoulders portraits, Id go E-M1 and Nocticron 😉 That would be my choice. Then the 6300 and 85 combo. Id skip the 75 1.8 as its too long for my tastes at 150mm equiv and I much prefer the E-M1 and even PEN-F to the GX8 just due to features alone. But all are fantastic choices and you would be happy with either.

      1. Thanks, Steve – informative as always. So the colours/skin tones and IQ from EM1 and Nocticron would be preferred by you over that from the 24mp in the A6300 plus 85?

        1. Well, I did not say that. I would prefer the focal length of 85 vs 135 or 150 is what I meant. As for color and skin tones, either will be good but each camera will also have its own color signature. I prefer Oly color to Sony but Sony files to Oly. But at the end of the day, the choices you mentioned..I would take the Nocticron due to focal length preference, and its a fantastic lens that I love 😉

  3. Great review, as usual! How does this compare with the latest Olumpus offerings in your mind as far as image quality?

  4. I’d love to see a comparison between this 85mm and the Sony FE 90mm macro lens which can also do portraits. The 90mm is like half the price.

  5. Sorry to tag this question onto this post but it is relevant to the discussion above. It’s something I’ve never understood.

    If the focal length of lenses effectively acts to crop the final image when used on an APS-C image sensor, and this happens because originally, when we moved to digital sensors they made them smaller than the equivalent 35mm film frame (because they were easier to manufacture), then why don’t all of these lenses that are primarily designed to work on APS-C cameras also work just fine on full frame cameras?

    Surely if a 50mm APS-C specific lens on an APS-C body gives an image crop that is equates to a 75mm lens on a FF body, then why won’t that same lens give a perfectly good 50mm image on the FF body; why do these lenses still result in heavy vignetting?

      1. Sure but then if there weren’t designing APS-C lenses to work with FF, why didn’t they design them to provide 100% coverage of the APS-C sensor, (rather than the 150% they do now) but still keeping a 35mm equivalent focal length (which I understand describes the distance from the point of convergence to the focal plane)?

        1. Why don’t you design you 35mm lenses to MF sensor size? Because your intent is not to design a MF lens but a 35mm. So is APS-C to 35mm. You can keep size, weight and costs lower by optimizing for a smaller image circle. That’s why you have M4/3, APS-C, FF, MF and LF lenses – and all make sense and all can be used on mirrorless with an adapter.

          And actually, some APS-C lenses can be used on FF without crop. But image quality is just not there.

  6. I would like to know your opinion about shooting 4K on a non-stabilized camera, as my experience with 4K smartphones shows that optical stabilization is crucial when shooting 4K handheld.

  7. Whatever magic Sony used to get 11 fps with continuous live view could be used with advantage on the A7R M3 or beyond. The extra reach (through reduced field of view) would work with these features for active sports as well. Even with the full-frame A7, you get the best 4K results with the Super-35 option, which is essentially APS-C. Except for the 29 minute clip limit, the A6300 might serve as a serious video backup camera. The sight of that monster 85/1.4 on this camera brings tears to my eye – both envy and laughter. Can’t wait for the full review.

    1. Much sharper, much faster to focus, and a totally different signature than the Canon. Closer min focusing distance as well. Build and feel, better on the Sony GM though the Canon is pretty hefty. You will not get the Canon 85 1.2 Bokeh on any other 85mm, including the Sony. I would compare this more to Nikon’s 85 1.4..and I would take this over the Nikon. Either way, all great lenses. Just cool we now have this option for Sony.

    1. Well, these lenees were really made for the A7 series but the 24-70 and 85 work very well on the A6300 and over 100 have asked me to use them on the A6300. With that said, the 85 feels fine on the little 6300, and is very easy to carry, hold and use. I carried it all day and just held the lens as I carried the camera. No problem at all. If I owned the 6300 I would not use the 85 every day. Id probably slap the 28 f/2 on it as that would give me a great every day combo.

      1. I’d love to see samples from the a6300 and the 28mm f/2, as it sounds like a great combo under 1500$. When you did the review for the a6000 you’ve used it with the Zeiss Touit 32 f/1.8, I got that combo for 950$ and I think I made a great choice. The a6300 with the 28 f/2 should be sharper and faster to focus.

  8. Hey Steve… I remember in one post you said that once you get used to the a7ii bodies the a6000 feels like a toy camera… Is that because of the size or other things ?

    1. I do not remember EVER saying that as I never refer to any camera as a toy, so show me where I said this. Many readers use the “toy” terminology and I usually correct them. The A6300 does not feel like a toy, at all. No Sony camera does that I have used. In fact, no modern camera these days (serious camera) feels toy like. With that said, both feel around the same, just one is smaller. The 6300 is weather sealed and like a smaller version of an A7 series, also with a smaller sensor. It would never replace my A7RII but it would be a nice back up or one to use with a tele lens for more reach.

        1. The A6000 DOES feel like a toy next to an A7RIi or A7II or A7SII. That’s true and fact. No where close to the feel/build of the full frame bodies. What’s your point? The A6000 and 6300 are incredible cameras, but not to the level of their full frame brother and sisters, especially in the way they feel in the hand.

    2. In terms of how the camera feels in the hand, if you’ve used the a6000, it will feel almost the same. The big difference imho is that the a6300 feels more dense and well built. With the Loxia 50 attached, the a6300 does a better job balancing the weight of the lens.

  9. For USD 1000 i was expecting a touch screen LCD and 5 axis IBIS for Sony’s latest APSC camera. Neither one of them is happening. For another extra USD 500 one could buy a new A7II body in my country now. I have to admit i am a lil bit disappointed since the Alpha 6000 was kinda put on hold by me two years ago when i sold my NEX 5N with its nice touch screen feature. I had had high hopes that this new apsc cam will be my A7II’s backup kit. Now i am stuck with my 1,8/24 apsc lens amd having that ideal apsc cam wishful thinking, but very happy with my FE 2,0/28 and 1,8/55 since i am still rejecting the idea of Sony’s bigger lenses.
    BTW, many thanks, Steve for your great hardwork.

  10. Nice write-up Steve but aren”t full-frame lenses better suited for full-frame cameras? An APS-c camera can only utilize about 40% of the light projected into the camera by a FF lens and too, the f1.4 becomes about f4.5 on an APS-c lens…and too, 85mm becomes about 125mm

    1. No, the opposite. APS-C lenses work best on APS-C as they will be in crop mode on a full frame. A full frame lens will work great on a crop body regardless. Just will be more reach/mag than on full frame. The 24-70, 85 1.4 will be stunning on the A6300 just as they are on the A7 series. On the full frame bodies you will have more of the lens being used, but still great glass is great glass.

      1. People who think putting a ff lens on a crop body (or anything else) magically increases its magnification missed out studying physics.

        1. Bit pedantic there James, clearly he means apparent magnification since we are effectively looking at the cropped out centre of an 85mm full frame shot. This also makes the depth of field appear One stop less I am told, even though it must be exactly the same as it would be at the central 40% of an A7 shot (same distance to mount, same optics). Quite how John calculates a 3.5 stop difference is beyond me. The light gathering is that of an f1.4 as Steve is by now sick of pointing out, since the same amount of light hits each square mm of the sensor that is there. The fact that there is less sensor to catch light outside it’s borders is irrelevant, the central portion couldn’t have used the light that didn’t hit it anyway.

          The flamingo shot is also lovely, thanks for the quick review.

          1. Damoo: the DoF argument has to be seen in the context of obtaining the same angle of view as with a differently sized sensor. But you knew that of course.

        2. A smaller part of the image circle is used (and then blown up to a similar viewing or print size as an image derived from a differently sized – part of an – image circle). Some people might call that “magnification”.

          1. As you say, Michiel, some people, but such pp “magnification” is possible with any lens on any body. Maybe call that blow-up simple “enlargement” for it certainly has nothing to do with the lens.

    2. Using FF lens on APS-C sensor does magnify.

      Using FF lens on FF sensor and activating crop mode does not magnify.

      Why?

      Pixel density, that is why.

      You get bigger (magnified) picture on APS-C sensor for the same image circle.

      And just like Karim said, using FF lens on APS-C sensor does not mean you lose light.

      F stays the same, you just use the center part of the picture that FF lens is projecting.

      Open an image in photoshop and crop it. Did the cropped part become darker?

      Of course it did not.

      The same applies when using FF lens on an APS-C sensor.

      Why in the world so many photographers believe in magic?! 🙂

  11. What if being stuck in ape prison right under our noses was part of their plan all along O_O’
    Step 1:Get dumb hairless apes to feed us.
    Step 2:Get dumb hairless apes to burn through their finite resources.
    Step 3:Walk out the gate and move into your new internet of everything ready flat.
    Step 4:Tell the galactic federation that it’s safe to come back now.

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