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Sony's new A6300 camera adds better autofocus and 4K video

With a much-upgraded autofocus system, new sensor and 4K video, the A6300 sounds like a worthy update. There's also a new series of pro full-frame lenses, called G Master.

The A6300.
Joshua Goldman/CNET

Stressing "curiousity" and "creativity" and timing the launch to avoid the noise of CES in January, Sony today announced the replacement for its immensely popular APS-C sensor-based A6000, the A6300, and a new line of flagship lenses, called G Master.

The A6300 incorporates a new 24.2-megapixel sensor and new 425-point phase-detection autofocus. It uses on-sensor phase detection so it works with A-mount lenses. Also new is 4K video recording with 14 stops of dynamic range, to the SD card. Other new video features include 120fps slow motion (albeit not in 4K).

Speed increases to 11fps continuous shooting with AE/AF, and a new high-density tracking AF system with clumps of focus points on the subject. This is new, since Sony has traditionally used contrast AF for its tracking. It also has continuous-live-view framing at up to 8fps.

It will ship in March for $1,000 body-only, and $1,150 for a kit. UK and Australian prices weren't available, but those prices convert to £685 and £790, or AU$1,400 and AU$1,615 respectively.

G Master lenses

The new lenses are basically a pro full-frame E-Mount line designed for high resolution and wide apertures. The first to ship will be the FE 24-70mm f2.8 GM ($2,200, coming in March), then the 85mm f1.4 GM ($1,800, also March) and lastly the long-awaited FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS (price TBC, coming in May). The latter has a minimum focus distance of under 1 meter and a fluorine coating on the front element for protection. There will also be a couple of 1.4x and 1.2x teleconverters designed for the 70-200mm lens.

Like most lens makers, Sony is working on creating products that can resolve to the new high-resolution sensors it's using. It has created a new extreme aspherical (XA) lens element, targeting a spatial frequency of 50 line-pairs per millimeter. According to Sony, this XA lens has a more precise surface, to smooth abrupt transitions between in- and out-of-focus areas, which should produce much more realistic images and softer bokeh.

The G Master lenses also have an update to Sony's quiet-operation Direct Drive Supersonic Motor technology, which needed to be scaled up to drive the larger, heavier glass in the faster lenses. Its SSM dual-linear motor also drives the front and rear lens groups simultaneously.

This is a developing story.