Sony Alpha a65 review

High-end features in an SLT for a lower-end price

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Sony alpha a65 review

Currently, Sony's online shop price for the A65 stands at £789 (body only) or £869 (with 18-55mm lens). This places the A65 in the same arena as mid-entry-level DSLRs like the Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D5100 – albeit at a higher price-point that's justified by its raft of high-end features.

In essence, the A65 attracts largely the same points of praise and criticism as the more expensive A77, due to the fact that it shares much of the same technology underneath its unassuming plastic outer shell. For a lower price, you don't miss out on that many features, so if you're not bothered about having a weather-sealed camera body, top LCD panel, marginally faster continuous burst mode or more sophisticated AF system than the (still very good) one that the A65 offers, then it makes perfect sense to save some cash and plump for the A65.

What you do still get for your money is Sony's astounding new XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF, which offers the highest resolution and subsequent level of clarity we've seen to date, and is a shining example of the sort of advancements in camera design that the manufacturer's SLT technology affords. The A65's 24.3mp sensor also presents the highest resolution for any camera in its class, really coming into its own when you switch to shooting raw files in particular. JPEGs are still very good, but there is a more evident shortfall between the A65's ability to control noise compared to the competition if you stick with this image format setting.

In many other respects – namely its AF speed, the size of its viewfinder, Full HD movie mode and overall level of responsiveness – the A65 is a class-leader, matching and sometimes even exceeding the specifications belonging to some of its closest rivals.

We liked

The SLT-A65's comprehensive range of high-end features borrowed from its big brother – the A77 – all add enormous appeal to this camera when comparing it to the competition. Its EVF – although not quite able to knock the traditional optical viewfinder off its pedestal – is superb; the camera handles very well and is capable of producing very detailed, high quality images.

We disliked

The occasionally sluggish performance when navigating some of the menus takes a bit of the shine off the A65's otherwise speedy performance, as does the incorporation of only one control dial (if you work in manual mode a lot). The loss of the live view feed when using the A65's high-speed burst mode is also a little disappointing.

Final verdict

The Alpha 65 is very well-specified in comparison to its rivals, matching or exceeding the competition's feature-sets in many respects. It's pricier, but we feel the impressive stack of high-end features that this camera has to offer more than outweigh its cost.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLT Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution24.3 Megapixel
Product Familyalpha
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Memory Stick PRO Duo
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameSony
FeaturesSmile Detection, Face Detection, Live View, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, AVCHD
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)543 g
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution6000 x 4000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height97.5 mm
Width132.1 mm
Depth80.7 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelSLT-A65
Product Namealpha SLT-A65 Digital SLT Camera
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberSLTA65VK
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Take your photography to the next level with this α65 DSLR camera and included 18-55mm zoom lens. Featuring Sony's groundbreaking Translucent Mirror Technology, you can focus and shoot simultaneously for fast, precise performance and continuous shooting of up to 10 frames per second, complete with continuous auto focus. View setting adjustments in real time with a Tru-Finder OLED electronic viewfinder, and choose from three HD movie modes super-smooth 60p, standard 60i or richly cinematic 24p-to optimize the look and feel of your videos (records in 29-minute segments).