Sony A6300 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Sony A6300 image quality to its predecessor, the A6000, as well as against several enthusiast ILC models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Fuji X-T1, Nikon D7200, Panasonic GX8 and Sony A7. We realize the Sony A7 isn't in the same league as the A6300 in terms of performance (and frankly, very few cameras are), but it's available for about the same body-only price at the time of writing so we thought including a full-frame model would be an interesting comparison to some of our readers.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Sony A6300, Sony A6000, Fuji X-T1, Nikon D7200, Panasonic GX8, and Sony A7 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Sony A6300 to any camera we've ever tested!

Sony A6300 vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
Sony A6300 at ISO 100
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

Here we compare the Sony A6300 to its predecessor, the A6000, at base ISO. As expected, image quality is very similar, but the A6300's image is a bit sharper and crisper, though it does however show stronger moiré patterns in our red-leaf swatch. It's possible Sony has reduced the strength of the A6000's already weak AA-filter for the A6300, or even removed it entirely. Also notice the stronger shift from yellow to green in the olive oil bottle, and slightly reduced saturation as well.

Sony A6300 vs Fujifilm X-T1 at Base ISO

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 200
Sony A6300 at ISO 100
Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 200

The 24-megapixel APS-C A6300 clearly out-resolves the 16-megapixel APS-C Fuji X-T1, and it produces a sharper image, too. However chroma noise is lower from the Fuji despite the higher base ISO, and the X-T1's colors are in general more pleasing. Thanks to its X-Trans sensor we don't see any aliasing in our tricky red-leaf swatch like we do from the Sony, however the Fuji struggles to render certain types of fine detail accurately, like the small red text in our Samuel Smith bottle label. The Sony somewhat exaggerates the offset printing coloration in the mosaic bottle label which the Fuji entirely eliminates.

Sony A6300 vs Nikon D7200 at Base ISO

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100
Sony A6300 at ISO 100
Nikon D7200 at ISO 100

The Sony A6300 closely matches the 24-megapixel APS-C Nikon D7200 in terms of resolution, though there are plenty of differences otherwise. The D7200 image has lower chrominance noise which is perhaps why the red-leaf swatch isn't as detailed, while the A6300 image has lower luminance noise. The Nikon image contains much more obvious sharpening halos as seen in the olive oil bottle crop at the top, but the Sony exaggerates the offset printing coloration in the mosaic label which the Nikon attenuates, perhaps also treating it as chroma noise. Overall, colors are more pleasing and vibrant from the Nikon, with much less of a shift to green in its yellows.

Sony A6300 vs Panasonic GX8 at Base ISO

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 200
Sony A6300 at ISO 100
Panasonic GX8 at ISO 200

The 20-megapixel Panasonic GX8 is actually fairly closely matched in terms of resolution here, because its 4/3" sensor has only 112 fewer pixels than the 3:2 A6300 on the vertical axis and we frame this shot vertically. Still, its smaller sensor and higher base ISO means noise is higher from the Panasonic, which does impact fine detail. Sony's default processing also produces a sharper, crisper image with higher contrast, giving its image much more "pop." Overall, we prefer the Sony's colors here, even though the yellow to green shift is stronger than the Panasonic's. The GX8 does not however generate the moiré patterns produced by the A6300 in the red-leaf fabric.

Sony A6300 vs Sony A7 at Base ISO

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 100
Sony A6300 at ISO 100
Sony A7 at ISO 100

Here we compare the 24-megapixel APS-C A6300 to a full-frame sibling with the same pixel count, the Sony A7. As mentioned in the intro, the A7 can be purchased for roughly the same price these days, so that's something to consider if you don't need the speed and other advanced features the A6300 offers. Here at base ISO, we see very similar image quality from the two siblings, though noise is a bit higher from the A6300, and colors aren't quite as good. Both show obvious moiré patterns in the red-leaf fabric thanks to weak or absent AA filters, however the A7's are more prominent.

Sony A6300 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

It's evident that Sony has tweaked its default noise reduction algorithm since the A6000, as fine detail in the mosaic and in the red-leaf swatch has improved. Noise appears just a touch higher from the A6300 so it seems as if Sony has backed-off a bit on its heavy-handed approach to noise reduction, but when comparing RAW files without noise reduction applied, it does look like the A6300's sensor has improved high ISO noise characteristics as well.

Sony A6300 vs Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the A6300 is still able to resolve noticeably more detail than the X-T1 in most areas of our Still Life target, however the Fuji produces a cleaner image with a finer, more consistent "grain" pattern, and it continues to render the subtle, low-contrast detail in the red-leaf fabric much more faithfully than the Sony. The Fuji's image is however slightly soft looking compared to the Sony's, but continues to display better colors.

Sony A6300 vs Nikon D7200 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600
Nikon D7200 at ISO 1600

The D7200's fairly strong blurring of the red-leaf fabric jumps out in this comparison, and its rendering in the mosaic crop appears softer as well, but its noise "grain" is much more natural and film-like than the A6300's. Colors from the Nikon continue to be warmer and more pleasing than from the Sony.

Sony A6300 vs Panasonic GX8 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GX8 at ISO 1600

The Panasonic GX8's higher noise means its noise reduction has to work even harder now at ISO 1600, and it shows. Fine detail suffers more than from the Sony especially in the red-leaf fabric, and Panasonic's area-specific noise reduction starts to generate some unwanted artifacts along edges and at transitions between differing subject matter. The A6300 produces a more pleasing, crisper, and more vibrant image, but its noise grain is coarser and more obtrusive than the GX8's.

Sony A6300 vs Sony A7 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600
Sony A7 at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, the A6300 compares surprisingly well to the full-frame A7. The A7 does produce a cleaner image with slightly better detail, but the advantage isn't as much as we anticipated. Both still however show signs of moiré patterns in our tricky red-leaf fabric, however the A7 produces a much smoother rendering which may look less detailed, but much of the apparent detail from the A6300 is false. Still, the A6300 performs well at this sensitivity.

Sony A6300 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

The A6300 continues to retain better detail than the A6000 at ISO 3200, with less blurring due to default noise reduction. We believe some of the improvement is from cleaner output from the newer sensor as well, giving the processor less noise and therefore more detail to work with.

Sony A6300 vs Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the A6300 continues to resolve more detail at ISO 3200, but the X-T1 produces a cleaner albeit softer image with fewer noise reduction artifacts. It is however amazing that the Fuji is still able to reproduce the fine pattern in the red-leaf swatch so well while the Sony produces just a rough facsimile.

Sony A6300 vs Nikon D7200 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200
Nikon D7200 at ISO 3200

Once again, the A6300 and D7200 retain similar levels of detail in most areas, however the Sony produces a slightly crisper image overall. The Nikon's noise pattern is more natural and film-like, though, and its colors are warmer and more accurate. And while the A6300 seems to do better in the red-leaf fabric, much of the apparent detail is heavily distorted at this ISO, as mentioned previously.

Sony A6300 vs Panasonic GX8 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GX8 at ISO 3200

The Sony A6300 pulls further ahead of the Panasonic GX8 at ISO 3200. While the GX8's image looks cleaner, stronger noise reduction has smeared away more fine detail, and smooth edges have become more distorted as well. Overall, the Panasonic's image looks dull and drab compared to the Sony's, though it still has less of a yellow to green shift.

Sony A6300 vs Sony A7 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200
Sony A7 at ISO 3200

The advantages of a full-frame sensor are usually more evident at ISO 3200 in terms of detail retention and noise, however advances in sensor technology and processing since the A7 came out do appear to mitigate them, allowing the A6300 to produce an image that is at least in the same ballpark in terms of detail and noise. Still, the A7 does produce a cleaner image with better detail (particularly in the red-leaf fabric), but perhaps not by as much as one would expect.

Sony A6300 vs. Sony A6000, Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D7200, Panasonic GX8, Sony A7

100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Sony A6300 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Fujifilm X-T1 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Panasonic GX8 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A7 test image taken at ISO 6400
Sony
A6300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-T1
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D7200
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GX8
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A7
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it, too. The Sony A6300 performs similarly in this regard to its predecessor at base ISO, but as you can see, it does better at ISO 3200 and especially at ISO 6400. As expected the full-frame Sony A7 comes out on top in this group, with very little degradation as ISO climbs. The Nikon D7200 does very well at base ISO, though with the most obvious sharpening halos, however it doesn't do quite as well as the A6300 at higher ISOs. The Panasonic's contrast is lower than the others, but it does quite well otherwise at base ISO, however image quality drops off more quickly than the other Bayer-filtered models. The Fuji X-T1's lower resolution coupled with its unique X-Trans color filter puts it at a distinct disadvantage in this comparison, producing the lowest image quality of the group.

 

Sony A6300 Print Quality Analysis

Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100/200/400; a nice 16 x 20 at ISO 1600; a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100 and 200 prints are excellent at 30 x 40 inches and higher, until you run out of resolution and begin to see individual pixels. Images are both rich and superb in depth and fine detail, with good color overall.

ISO 400 images also hold up quite well at 30 x 40 inches here, with crisp detail, good color and no signs of any unwanted artifacts. Most APS-C cameras have historically required a print size reduction at this ISO, so this is a welcome sign indeed.

ISO 800 yields 20 x 30 inch prints with very nice fine detail, full colors, and only mild apparent noise in flatter areas of our test target. There is a typical slight loss in contrast detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch as well, but virtually all cameras we test begin to succumb to this issue by about ISO 800 or even sooner.

ISO 1600 shots are quite good at 16 x 20 inches, which is a fairly nice-sized print for this sensitivity. 20 x 30's may be usable here for less critical applications depending on your subject matter, but display a bit too much noise in the flatter areas of our test target to merit our good seal.

ISO 3200 prints are worthwhile at 13 x 19 inches, with only mild issues similar to the 16 x 20 inch prints described at ISO 1600. We're still in fairly large territory for this print size, so unless you're moving to really large prints, this is an ISO you can safely depend on for most displaying situations.

ISO 6400 tends to be the southward turn for many a crop-sensor camera, and the Sony A6300 is no exception. 11 x 14 inch prints here aren't bad, and will likely be fine for less critical applications, but the 8 x 10's tighten up quite nicely here and receive our full seal of approval.

ISO 12,800 produces quite a nice 5 x 7 given how high this ISO sensitivity is. Nice detail and good color are still present, with little in the way of apparent noise at this print size.

ISO 25,600 delivers a good 4 x 6 inch print. As with the A6000, this is a nice feat for an APS-C camera to be able to yield, and is not "scorched" looking like so many APS-C cameras by this setting.

ISO 51,200 yields 4 x 6 inch prints that almost pass our good seal. You can get away with it for lesser applications, but for anything important you're best to avoid this gain setting.

The Sony A6300 excels in the print quality department for an APS-C camera. Not only does it deliver exceptional prints at base ISO and ISO 200, but it bests its predecessor the A6000 at ISO 400 and 800 with one available print size larger. For the remaining ISO's the A6300 scored a similar print size, but tended to look to our eyes just a bit sharper at each of these settings. It's too bad it can't produce a quality print at the new high ISO of 51,200, but that's not a big deal since the A6000 didn't even offer it. We can say without hesitation that the Sony A6300 does indeed best the A6000 in the print quality department, though certainly not in a radical way as the A6000 was already quite good.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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