Holy CRAP, this is a good camera -- unbeatable at the price, I think (though I'm itching to do a direct comparison to Panasonic's GX8  [B&H|Amazon] ). It's only March 2016, but after four days with it down in Miami it's going to be hard to beat the a6300 for 2016 Camera of the Year. Is it as good as its bigger brothers, the a7R II  [B&H|Amazon] and a7S II  [B&H|Amazon] ? The answer isn't a simple "no" as you'd expect for a camera that's 1/3 the price of the other two: it actually has better 4K recording according to Sony itself, with no pixel binning and minimal crop 1080p 120fps. Then again, it doesn't have in-body image stabilization nor a headphone jack (it does have a mic jack), nor quite the low-light performance of the other two. PLEASE see my massive review on YouTube however, because it's much closer in the real world -- at least to the a7R II -- than you might think.

Sony a6000

My favorite camera in 2015, and I put my money where my mouth is to make it my personal stills and video camera. It’s unbeatable at the price – frankly, nothing short of an a7r II would get me out of it, including anything from Canon, Panasonic, Samsung, or anybody else. Really. Hybrid functionality is stellar, Sony’s popping out great lenses now, and with any number of adapters you have almost unlimited lens choices including anything from Canon (like their outstanding telephotos) or Nikon. Except micro 4/3 lenses like the outstanding Voigtländer Nokton series). Who cares if it doesn’t have a mic or headphone jack? I use the on-board mic for reference audio only, and synching is a breeze these days with dedicated audio.

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Sony FS7

I was able to muck around with the FS7 over a weekend, but I am not a dedicated camcorder shooter. With this written, it was plain as the nose on my face if your work requires this kind of camera, the FS7 is, like its little cousin the a6000, also unbeatable at the price.Do internal 4K 12-bit RAW recording (with 10-bit 4:2:2 Full HD and pretty much everything in-between), S-log3 at ISO 2000, internal ND filter, up to 3 hours recording time per battery, no need for a separate audio recorder or shoulder mount, and up to 180fps in FHD sound good to you? Canon’s closest competitor is the C300 Mark II at precisely twice the price of the FS7 – and there’s no Canon lens you can’t use on the Sony with an adapter (these days a Metabones adapter is included in the purchase price). Sure, a Canon lens will autofocus faster on a Canon body than on a Sony body, but are you going to spend this kind of dosh on a camera and then leave it to autofocus?

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Sony a7R Mark II

If I were to have only one camera to do it all, it would be the Sony a7R II, hands-down. There’s nothing from any other camera manufacturer that can touch it as a hybrid, full stop. But it’s pretty awesome as a stills OR video camera on its own. With its 42mp backside illumination sensor, it has just been crowned as the #1 camera in DxOMark tests, with a low-light score bested by a small fraction over its high-ISO dominating brother, the original a7s. Add 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS), internal 4K recording, focus and exposure assists that no DSLR can touch, fast autofocus if you want it, and a rapidly expanding set of outstanding lens options, and you’ve got the camera that single-handedly raises the bar for the entire industry – an overblown overheating issue notwithstanding (minor, in my book, except for equatorial, lengthy interviews).

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 Sony RX100 Mark IV

If I could have only one non-interchangeable lens camera, the Sony RX100 Mk IV would be it (I bought one). If you want a point and shoot (at least in terms of size and inconspicuousness) this is it. Yes, I’m on a Sony tear, but there’s a reason for it: Sony is THE hot hand right now, and this little cam will give you outstanding images both still and video, with internal UHD 4K recording, S-Log2, a 2+ megapixel pop-up viewfinder, and built-in 24-70mm full frame equivalent lens by Zeiss. Is the sensor nearly as good as the Sony a6000? Technically, no: the a6000 is crazy good, and blows away much larger and more expensive cameras. But the even smaller RX100 Mk IV in turn crushes its own competitors, and is literally more than twice as good as my old point and shoot standby for many years, the Canon S90.

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Panasonic GH4

If I wanted an interchangeable lens, internal 4K recording hybrid camera for under $2,000 – or were invested in Micro Four Thirds lenses or in love with the Voigtländer f/0.95 Nokton lenses (which I am), the Panasonic GH4 is the camera I’d look toward first. I had occasion to test one earlier this year, and it was lovely. On the other hand, its sensor just doesn't compete with the ones found in the Sony a7r II nor a7s II - but then again, the GH4 is less than half the price

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 Panasonic GX8

I had the opportunity to play with the GX8 at PhotoPlus Expo, and I really liked it -- I liked it more than its bigger and older brother, the GH4 (I prefer the rangefinder-y form factor). I'm on record as saying that this is the camera Sony will have to beat with its next iteration of the a6000, including internal 4K recording!

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Sony FS5

The FS5 is the newer, dramatically smaller brother to Sony's incredible FS7 (it's tough to tell them apart just from a photo, but here's the key: note that the FS5 doesn't have a built-in shoulder pad). There are tradeoffs, like no 10-bit 4:2:2 internal 4K recording (the FS5 does record UHD 4K internally, but only 8-bit 8:2:0 -- nor does it output 4K 10 bit 4:2:2) and it is not designed to be an on-the-shoulder camera. Instead, think of the FS5 as a Canon C100 Mk II killer and the right choice if you need a hand-held,  dedicated interchangeable lens 4K video camera at an amazing price point with image capture as good as you can get before moving up to 10-bit.

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Sony a7s II

 

I only had it for 12 hours during a Sony press event, but I was blown away by the a7s II. It's the first camera that might force me up from my a6000. Maybe. The a7R II is pretty tasty too, with low-light performance almost as good (the differences are significant when moving beyond 12,800 ISO, but geez...), better autofocus, and significantly more resolution for still photographers. But with this written, I recorded things with the a7s II in New York City at night I COULD NOT SEE WITH MY EYES, and that is extraordinary. If you're heavily weighted to video, I would seriously consider this over the a7r II - but I'm personally undecided between the two at the moment. 

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Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K

What has 15 stops of dynamic range, switch-selectable rolling or global shutter, internal RAW 4K recording, active Canon EF lens mount, a pair of XLR inputs and decent on-board pre-amp, and costs just under $5K? Got your attention? Welcome to the URSA Mini 4.6K. At the time I’m writing this, Mini 4.6K is not out yet – and no version of it comes with internal ND filters – but I’ve hoisted a pre-production unit on my shoulder during an interview with Blackmagic Americas President Dan May and you can color me intrigued. It’s about the size and form factor of the Sony FS7, and while the URSA Mini is heavier, it also sits more naturally on my shoulder. The 4.6K version is the ticket, which Dan assures me has cured the fine patterned noise (FPN) and “black sun” issues of the 4K sensor found in some of their other cameras as well as the base version of the URSA. UPDATE: as of March 21, 2016, Blackmagic has begun shipping this camera -- but without the global shutter!).

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