Sony’s heritage in video is clearly evident in the A6300’s impressive suite of moviemaking capabilities which include many pro-level features and 4K recording. It uses the ‘Super 35mm’ image size for both 2K and 4K recording so it makes full use of the sensor’s area with no cropping. In fact, the 4K footage is oversampled from a 6K full pixel read-out (i.e. with no pixel binning) to optimise resolution and dynamic range. Additionally, Sony uses XAVC S compression with a 100 Mbps bit-rate to deliver exceptional image quality (and still recording internally). A 60 Mbps setting is available. XAVC S compression can also be used with Full HD recording at either the 25 or 50 fps speeds plus 100 fps – maintaining a 100 Mbps bit rate – for very high-quality slowmotion footage. Either AVCHD or MP4 compression are also available for shooting in the Full HD resolution with an extensive choice of speeds and quality settings. An interesting feature is ‘Dual Video REC’ which allows for the recording of a high-quality video along with a lower-quality copy – like the video equivalent of RAW+JPEG capture – the latter creating a smaller file that’s easier to share immediately. The A6300 has built-in stereo microphones which are adjustable for recording levels and have a wind-cut filter. There’s a standard 3.5 mm connection for coupling an external microphone although this can also be done via the ‘Multi Interface’ hotshoe if you stick with a Sony model. Curiously, though, there isn’t a stereo audio output for attaching headphones. Both 2K and 4K video feeds are available from the camera’s HDMI terminal for recording to an external device and with the option of simultane- ously recording to the memory card (to create a back-up). A UHS Speed Class U3 SDXC card is needed for 4K recording and for using the XAVC S codec.
The hybrid autofocusing system really comes into its own when shooting video as it’s very responsive and provides accurate tracking with the options of adjusting the speed and sensitivity as required from scene to scene. Many of the still photography features are available for video recording, including the ‘Creative Style’ presets and the ‘Picture Effect’ settings, but there’s also a set of video-specific ‘Picture Profiles’. Up to nine can be configured from parameters comprising Black Level, Gamma, Black Gamma, Knee, Colour Mode, Saturation, Colour Phase, Colour Depth and Detail. The Gamma setting options here include the S-Log3 profile (with either S-Gamut3.Cine or S-Gamut3 colour) which gives 14-stops of dynamic range and is specifically designed for the colour grading process in video post-production. Consequently, incamera the S-Log profiles are very flat in terms of colour saturation and contrast so Sony provides an adjustment for the LCD monitor screen called ‘Gamma Display Adjust’ which displays a colour corrected preview. The video feature list also includes a zebra pattern generator (with a choice of displays to warn of blown-out highlights at different levels), timecode support and high sensitivity up to ISO 25,600.
It’s a formidable package, only let down by the absence of the headphones connection and the touchscreen controls which would certainly be a bonus when using autofocusing when shooting video clips. It should also be noted there’s no sensor-based image stabilisation, so you’ll need an IS-equipped lens for this facility. If you can live with these omissions, then the A6300 is a hugely capable video camera.