Sony A6300 – review coming soon, in the meantime there are some issues to be aware of

Only Sony can put one of the world’s most advanced AF systems ever made into a $1000 camera but leave out a joystick for direct AF point selection and a touch screen.

Yet another Sony camera upon us and this time its very exciting. It ranks up there with the Panasonic GH4 and Samsung NX1 in terms of how well specced the video mode is for the price.

It could sell very well.

The AF system is the thing I am most interested in, but in my view it was complete madness of Sony to not implement a quick and intuitive way to use it. To be able to touch a subject on the LCD to bring it into focus during a shot, or to use the screen to move the single shot AF box around – even a joystick like a Canon DSLR – would be preferable to diving into one sub-menu after another.

This is certainly something to be aware of when shooting with the A6300.

The 4K mode is a bit like the Samsung NX1. The A6300 has a 6K readout on a fast running copper-wired sensor – but it’s important to bear in mind that this is only active in 24p and 25p 4K modes not in 30p 4K. Those 30p fans (yes they do exist!) will have to shoot with a field of view crop.

S-LOG 2 and S-LOG 3 are both present in the new camera. I would stick to S-LOG 2 though as 3 is just too flat for a 8bit codec at 100Mbit/s.

I would be tempted to give S-Gamut a miss too. Try selecting a different Color Mode in the picture profile menu when you have the gamma curve set to S-LOG 2, such as “Stills” which works better with auto white balance. S-Gamut doesn’t seem optimised for all colour temperatures, especially noticeable with red hues going cold / purple under warm sunlight.

Early 4K samples from the A6300 shot by others seem to show similar noise reduction (edge tearing at high ISOs) and macro blocking issues to the FS5 which Sony recently fixed with a firmware update. Until I buy my camera this week in Berlin I won’t know for sure if the issue is there or how bad it is. It might be that Sony have changed the way their imaging pipeline works with more advanced NR and compression, but they still have work to do to optimise it. The problem is nobody who gets their hands on the camera early seems to tell Sony that this is a problem and it is always left to the paying customer to complain about!

The camera has 1080/120fps too from a cropped region of the sensor, which should compare approximately to the quality of the same 1080/120fps on the Samsung NX1. That is to say – not bad. However 120fps on the Samsung NX1 does not use a crop of the sensor – it pixel bins from the full area of the chip, although it does have a bit of aliasing and moire, it seems that’s present on the Sony 120fps image too even with the crop.

Be sure to check EOSHD tomorrow or Wednesday, when I will have the camera in my hands.

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