Paul F. Gero Photography News

Could the Sony a6300 change the way you think about an APS-C sensor camera??

The new Sony a6300 might be the camera that changes the way you think about small form-factor, APS-C sensor cameras.  I know it has me falling back in love again with the APS-C format.

The new Sony a6300 might be the camera that changes the way you think about small form-factor, APS-C sensor cameras.  I know it has me falling back in love again with the APS-C format.

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I’ll admit it,  I’ve always been a bit of a “full frame” camera snob (24 x 36 mm sized sensor).  I learned on that format (35mm film) and shot for a LONG time with those focal lengths from prime lenses burned firmly into my brain and my muscle memory.  Change can be difficult (but not impossible).


When I first got into digital capture in the late 90s, those cameras had something like a 2.5X crop (if I remember correctly) and it was merely a black line placed within the actual optical viewfinder.  


Not terribly precise and that crop factor really altered how lenses worked on your cameras!  


My first assignment with a digital camera was photographing a U2 concert in 1997 and using the 70-200 lens it was a wee bit tight, but it worked.


But my appreciation for cropped sensor and especially APS-C began to change when I got into mirrorless cameras in 2012 (what you see is what you get with the built in EVF) and when I switched to Sony with the a6000 the camera became my “go-to” camera when I needed a bit of reach and if I needed AF focus performance (plus speed).  At 11 fps it was a scary little camera beast when you considered how little it cost and how tiny it was.


So when Sony announced the a6300 earlier this year (Feb. 3, 2016) I let out an audible yalp (the release of the 3 new lenses didn’t hurt either) but I had been waiting for this little camera for quite a while.  It was worth the wait.


Recently I got 6300 camera and I have to tell you, it might very well be the best camera I’ve ever used when you consider size, features and price.


The size is small — under 1 lb. (14.25 oz with a card and a battery), the features include 11 frame per second with over 400 Phase Detect AF sensors, 8 fps in continuous Live View (making the experience more like an optical viewfinder), Face Detect, Eye AF in AF-C mode, Silent Shooting mode (and I mean SILENT), an electronic level, 4K video with no pixel binning in Super 35m size video, Slog2, Slog3 and Gamma Assist and comes in at a price of just under $1k.


It is, I firmly believe, the kind of camera that could be at the core of a six figure wedding and portrait (and maybe even a video business?), it’s simply that good of a camera.


And as much as I love my a7R II cameras and the a7S II cameras (which are full frame) that a6300 has made me SERIOUSLY rethink some of the lens choices I might be making in the coming year.


I’ve always felt that one should get the full frame FE mount lenses for Sony because they’ll work on both the full frame cameras and the APS-C sensor cameras but now with this camera I am totally thinking I might be investing in lenses that are specifically for E mount or APS-C sensors (and the added bonus with Sony is that they can STILL be used on full frame cameras like the a7R II in cropped, APS-C mode.  How cool is that?)


One of the reasons is that the size of the camera makes taking it out and about a serious joy.  It’s a fraction of the weight of a full sized or even cropped sensor DSLR and depending on the lenses you select, they can be smaller and lighter too.   It’s a camera that won’t tear down your body and when you consider the longevity of a career in photography, that is an important consideration.


I had the chance to use two of the a6300 cameras recently when shooting an assignment for Hail Varsity magazine on the University of Nebraska women’s beach volleyball team playing in Southern California and the camera performed like a camera six times the size and six times the cost.  It was that good.


(I’ll have a separate report on that shoot very soon — the magazine is finalizing the edit on the photos and I can’t wait to share it!)


If you stick with the Sony glass you have the ability to  have a small package in camera and lenses:  the 10-18, the 16-70 and the 70-200 f4 G OSS lenses are all relatively small, and allow you to cover a range basically from 15mm to 300mm with 3 lenses.


And there are two Sigma (yes Sigma) zooms that are made specifically for APS-C sensors and when you couple them with the soon-to-be-released Sigma adapter to mount their EF mount lenses on Sony E mount (MC-11, for about $250, coming in April) you’ve got an incredible range of optics and speed options — options that were unheard of or unimagined even as little as two years ago.  


The two lenses that I am thinking of specifically for the a6300 are the 18-35 f1.8 zoom and the 50-100 f1.8 zoom.  When you consider the crop, they are basically a 27-52.5 f1.8 and a 75-150 f1.8 lens.  Where were these lenses back in the day when we didn’t even have decent high ISO sensors?  I sure could have used the f1.8 aperture.  Plus Sigma just announced a 30 f1.4 lens for $339 which should be an awfully great “normal” focal length (like a 50mm focal length on a full frame camera).  For weddings, portraits and for videographers those three lenses alone could be the making of a complete kit and then supplemented

with perhaps a 70-200 f4 FE G OSS or the soon-to-be-released 70-200 f2.8 G Master with the 1.4X and 2X tele extenders.  If you need anything wider, then the 10-18 f4 Sony lens with OSS would complete the set.


The cost of the kit with the Sony lenses would be:


a6300  $998

a6300  $998

Sony 10-18 f4 OSS lens$848

Sony 16-70 f4 Zeiss$998

Sony 70-200 f4G OSS $1499


Total:  $5341



The cost of the kit with the fast Sigma lenses and adapters would be:


a6300  $998

a6300  $998

Sigma 18-35 f1.8 $799 (Canon EF mount)

Sigma 50-100 f1.8  $1099 (Canon EF mount)

Sigma 30mm f1.4 $339 (Sony E mount)

Sigma MC-11 adapter $249 (Canon EF to Sony E mount — Sigma lenses only)

Sigma MC-11 adapter $249 (Canon EF to Sony E mount — Sigma lenses only)


Total:  $4731


For that kit built around the Sigma lenses, you might add the 10-18 and the 70-200 f4 G OSS (or even the soon-to-be-released 70-200 f2.8 G Master lens).


Sony 70-200 f4 G OSS $1499

Sony 70-200 f2.8 G Master ($?)

Sony 10-18 f4 OSS $848

Sony 16-70 f4 Zeiss $998


Talk about some amazing options for photographers with gear that doesn’t break the bank or the back.  


Sony continues to raise the bar and change the game and I only expect that to continue.


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