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Sony A6300 versus Nikon D5600

The Sony Alpha A6300 and the Nikon D5600 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2016 and November 2016. The A6300 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D5600 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A6300 vs Nikon D5600

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6300 and the Nikon D5600 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A6300 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A6300 vs Nikon D5600
Compare A6300 versus D5600 top
Compare A6300 and D5600 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5600 is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Sony A6300. Moreover, the D5600 is markedly heavier (15 percent) than the A6300. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A6300 is splash and dust resistant, while the D5600 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6300) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5600). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony A6300, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the A6300 gets 400 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the D5600 can take 970 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A6300» 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Nikon D5600« 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon T6i« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T6s« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 849- i
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D7200« » 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« » 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Nikon D5200« » 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749- i
Sony A6500« » 120 mm 67 mm 53 mm 453 g 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony RX10 III« » 133 mm 94 mm 127 mm 1051 g 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX100 V« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony RX10 II« » 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i
Sony RX100 IV« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony A6000« » 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D5600 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the A6300, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A6300 vs Nikon D5600

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A6300 and Nikon D5600 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the A6300 and the D5600 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D5600 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the A6300, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D5600 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

A6300 versus D5600 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A6300» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Nikon D5600« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Nikon D5200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A6300 provides a higher video resolution than the D5600. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A6300 vs Nikon D5600

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6300 has an electronic viewfinder (2300k dots), while the D5600 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6300, the Nikon D5600, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A6300»2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Nikon D5600«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D5200« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Sony A6500« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n

The D5600 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the A6300 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A6300 was succeeded by the Sony A6500.

Review summary: Sony A6300 vs Nikon D5600

So how do things add up? Is the Sony A6300 better than the Nikon D5600 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6300:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 124x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 61g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2016).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5600:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (970 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

A6300 09:09 D5600

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A6300 and the D5600 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A6300»Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Nikon D5600«-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Nikon D5200« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749- i
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony RX10 II« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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