Sony a6300 Low Light Test – a Mini a7S II for Much Less?

The Sony Alpha a6300 is creating quite a stir – Johnnie already posted his mini documentary film shot with the entry-level mirrorless camera from Sony, and we are working on a series of further lab tests with the camera to see its strengths and weaknesses.

From the specs, the camera sounds almost too good to be true: 4K internal in XAVC S on an APS-C sized sensor for below $1,000. That’s about one third of the price of the popular low-light beast, the Sony a7S II.



The low-light test shoot setup

Many people who saw our first review asked how it performs in low light, particularly compared to the Sony a7S II. On a rainy miserable dark rainy winter night here in Vienna, I decided to put together a versatile yet unusual handheld setup that would make the camera as light sensitive as possible.

With a Metabones Speed Booster E-EF and a Canon EF L 70-200mm IS II f/2.8 zoom lens, I was out shooting a few test shots in the city center at an effective f/2.0 (gaining one additional stop of light with the Speed Booster). The base ISO of this camera is 800, but I used ISOs between mostly 3200 and 25,600 and to my surprise, the low light capability of the camera is exceptional. I didn’t do a comparison to the a7S II but it’s very very clean up all the way to 25,600 ISO.


Sony a6300 with Metabones Speed Booster and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8

Having the ability to use a Speed Booster on the Sony a6300 is a great gain because of its APS-C sized sensor, making the footage effectively look like it’s been shot on a full frame 35mm camera sensor, and adding over a stop of sensitivity.

I decided to go handheld purely for practical reasons and this was not shot to win any beauty contests – I was trying to see harsh contrasts and deep shadows combined with bright lights at night, to stretch the sensor’s abilities. Please scroll down to watch an ungraded version of the UHD clip – you can also download it on Vimeo and have a play with yourself. (It’s encoded with 40MBit in H.264.)

Noise reduction works differently

Details of this will be highlighted in our upcoming lab tests, but we observed that the internal noise reduction of the camera seems to be working a little differently, calculating the difference between frames – which results in some ghosting with fast movement. This might be down to inferior processing power in the camera compared to the Sony a7S II.

Ungraded version of the footage:

Music from Music Bed: Paperchaser – The World We Made.

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Jeremy DulacSony a6300 vs. Sony a7S II Image Quality – How Good is it Really?Stanley Kubrick’s Legendary f/0.7 ZEISS Lens Explored | Shaun Flannery Recent comment authors
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tom kelly

Hi Nino, Thanks for the video. Is there a reason your always using slog2 rather than slog3 cine? I use slog3 cine in EL mode on my FS7 so wanting to match the 2 cameras.



 Jon H Richter
Jon H Richter

Great review. For someone who owns no lenses and no camera, can you recommend any two lenses for this camera?

Also, do you think you can get similar results from this camera as with A7RII in video, with regards to image quality?

 Piotr Szubryt

i’m planning affordable seteup Sigma 17-50 and Sony 35mm 1.8 . Next step will be metabones (if its work with a6300) and full frame sigma 24-70 2.8 + samyang 35-50-85 T1.5

 Jon H Richter
Jon H Richter

How about image stabilization? Isn’t it necessary for handheld video shooting?

 Piotr Szubryt

its helpful but not necessary. If you export in HD you can rec in UHD and stabilise in postproduction. If metabonce will work with a6300 and stabilisation in for example canon mount. You can spend money for adaptor and canon lens with stabilisation.

 Andrew Dodd

Stabilization in postprocessing and the A6300 don’t mix.

The A6300’s rolling shutter is rarely noticeable, however, it becomes quite noticeable/disconcerting if you perform stabilization postprocessing of anything that has lateral shake. Stabilization removes the left/right shake, but leaves the rolling shutter artifacts, making the whole image look like wobbly jello.

David Peterson - "Sound Speeds!"

I recommend getting the Sony 18-105mm f/4, this is a great general purpose zoom lens! Nothing else quite like it. I have it.

Then you want for your 2nd lens to get a general purpose kind of prime (i.e with a “normal FoV”).

Two options to consider:
Sony 35mm f1.8 OS, or…
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D (very very cheap to pick up secondhand!) with a Mitakon Zhongyi Lens Turbo II (about US$135ish. Plus a normal adapter for about another twenty bucks).

Third option…. get *BOTH* the Nikon and Sony primes! ;-) As they are very affordable after all.

 Jon H Richter
Jon H Richter

Thanks for this, I’ll consider this.

Angel M.P.
Angel M.P.

Hi Nino. Great test. Please, Would you mind to explain how to do the rack focus with no touch screen, as in the rail train secuence? Is it made with the focus ring or with a custom key perhaps? Thanks

 Marco Del Guasta

I’d like to know this as well.


Really? You place your hand on the focus ring, and…. wait for it…. TURN.

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