Camera - - ON TRIAL -

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.

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