Sony announces long-awaited a6300 with revolutionary autofocus

by | Feb 3, 2016 | News, Products

2014’s a6000 quickly earned Sony its reputation of being a dominant force in the world of photography. Loved by consumers and professionals alike for its high quality images and compact design, it heralded the tipping point in the DSLR versus mirrorless debate. Its 24MP APS-C sensor easily matched or outclassed both mirrorless and DSLR rivals at similar price points. Combined with Sony’s typical high-speed, high-tech performance, the a6000 made for an all-around impressive camera in a variety of shooting situations.

Two years later, and the a6000 is still the prosumer camera to beat. Or at least it was until this morning, when Sony officially announced its replacement: the a6300. (What happened to 6100 and 6200? Your guess is as good as ours.)

Sony A6300 front with lens

The headline feature of the new a6300 is the autofocus, which Sony is calling a “4D” system. It incorporates 425 phase detection points covering essentially the entire frame. Sony claims this system offers “unrivaled” performance and will track objects for live view shooting up to 8FPS, or up to 11FPS without live view.

As promising as 425 phase detection points sound, it remains to be seen how well they will perform in the real world, and whether or not Sony has developed a system that can actually rival the performance of DSLRs. At any rate, it should be a worthy upgrade over existing mirrorless AF systems.

Sony a6300 back tilt screen

The other new feature is, unsurprisingly, 4K video. The camera processes a 20MP region of the sensor to produce highly oversampled 8MP footage. In theory, this should mean incredibly sharp results. However, in other similar systems we have seen this approach lead to increased rolling shutter, due to the high number of lines being processed. Additional video features include 120FPS slow motion in 1080p and S-Log gamma for a claimed 14 stops of dynamic range. If these specs can jump off the paper and translate into real-world performance, the a6300 could be a very powerful filmmaking tool, either by itself or as a B camera to more expensive, dedicated cinema cameras.

Overall, Sony looks to have another winner on its hands. The a6300 should begin shipping in March with a body-only price around $1000.

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